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The Morning Star

The boat the Morning Star is the largest artefact in the Collection held for the community by Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath (CEUT). Between 2002 and 2007 it was extensively repaired as part of Turning the Tide, a heritage, craft and community programme run by the Grimsay Boatshed Turst at Taigh Chearsabhagh and at the trust’s workshop at Kallin.

In 2010 she was moored at the Wee Pier in Lochmaddy and provided short trips to the public around the bay, a NatureScot designated site of special scientific interest.

Baymore mooring
Baymore mooring, Lochmaddy Bay

Once it has refurbished the old Carinish primary school, CEUT plans to display the Morning Star there.

The boat has a fascinating history. It was built in 1928 at Ceannairidh, Grimsay by Tearlaich Uilleam (Charles) Stewart for Seonaidh and Alasdair Sheumais MacDonald of Ceann Ear, 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 specific 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 having beached on the shoreline at Port Roigh on Heisgeir, was badly damaged. The engine was reclaimed by the Northern Lighthouse Board and that seemed to signify 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.

Volunteers move Morning Star into situ at Taigh Chearsabhagh
Volunteers move Morning Star into place at Taigh Chearsabhagh

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 CEUT and relocated to the shoreline beside Taigh Chearsabhagh. In 2001 a management committee was formed to plan for her restoration. Finance for the work was secured from the Heritage Lottery / Turning the Tide Fund.