Stones from the South Uist croft houses left behind by the Marloch emigrants are to feature in the design of a memorial proposed for Lochboisdale Gateway Garden.
The memorial is in the shape of the SS Marloch that took hundreds of islanders to new lives in Canada 100 years ago in April.
The theme encompasses the idea of “croft fires burning for the returning” to acknowledge the grief experienced by those who left and those who stayed and the comfort and warmth of a peat fire burning at ‘home’. The design is close to being finalised and intended to be relevant to all islanders who have left, whether by force or by choice and to those who have remained.
One of the community organisations involved, Storas Uibhist, commented about the memorial: “It will have a smooth black outer to represent the ship’s hull and internal stone seating. We hope to create the seating sections, and ‘deck’ using stones from old croft house ruins from as many villages as possible across the South Uist Estate, especially the villages and townships from which the emigrants left. The stones are intended to represent those people/families.”
As well as Storas Uibhist, the Lochboisdale memorial project also has input from Ceòlas, Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a’ Deas, Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh, Outer Hebrides Heritage Forum and local schools.
The centenary of the departure of the SS Marloch from Lochboisdale and SS Metagama from Stornoway is the subject of a Hebrides-wide commemoration.