The boat Morning Star is the largest artefact in the Collections held for the community by Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath. Between 2002 and 2007 Morning Star was repaired by the Grimsay Boatshed Trust as part of ‘Turning the Tide’ a heritage, craft and community programme run by the Boatshed at Taigh Chearsabhagh and the workshop at Kallin on Grimsay.
Morning Star now operates regular educational trips for the public between May and September. In 2010 she was moored at the Wee Pier in Lochmaddy and offered short trips around the special marine habitat of Lochmaddy Bay. For protection through the winter months the boat is kept undercover at the Old Boatshed at Ceannairidh on Grimsay – her original birthplace.
The boat has a fascinating history. Built in 1928 at Ceannairidh, Grimsay by Tearlaich Uilleam (Charles) Stewart for Seonaidh and Alasdair Sheumais MacDonald of Ceann Ear, Heisgeir who had the postal contract for Heisgeir and the Monach Isles lighthouse. She was the first Grimsay boat built for engine alone. At that time the boat had no real name but was called Pacaid Heisgeir (Heisgeir Packet) or Eathar Glas (The Grey Boat). She was also used to transport cattle and ferry coal by the Ceann Ear community.
In 1942, the boat broke loose from her mooring and was left badly damaged on the shoreline at Port Roigh on Heisgeir. The engine was reclaimed by the Northern Lighthouse Board and it seemed to be the end for the Pacaid Heisgeir. However, in 1947, she was towed back to Ceannairidh for repairs and then sold to Calum MacIsaac from Berneray. Renamed Violet, the boat was used for many years to ferry stores from Lochmaddy to the MacIsaac’s shop on Berneray. In 1963, she was towed back to Lochmaddy and used to move sheep by Angus Ailig and Iain Morrison. Eventually, the boat was bought by Iain Fraser of Lochmaddy, was renamed Morning Star and used as a fishing boat with the registration CY 59.
In the early 1990’s she was acquired by Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath and was relocated to the shoreline beside Taigh Chearsabhagh. In 2001 a management committee was formed to take forward plans for her restoration and funding was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund under the Turning the Tide project.
Many volunteers have had a hand in the care and maintenance of Morning Star and Taigh Chearsabhagh is keen to establish a Morning Star Boat Club to allow people a chance to get involved in helping with this precious and historic boat. Follow the link to Facebook for more details about the Morning Star Boat Club.