John Macdonald - Uig (1827)

John Macdonald was on his third trip to the island of St Kilda; he had a passion for the people there and was longing to go.

I left home on Tuesday, the 12th, accompanied by my second son, and met Captain B. at Loch Bracadale, in Skye, on the evening of the 16th; but Corry being indisposed could not accompany us. Early on the 17th we set sail for St Kilda, and after being detained that and the following day, partly at Harris and partly at N. Uist, by contrary winds, on the forenoon of the 19th we got fairly out of the Sound of Harris, and were scudding our way across the billows of the Atlantic till we had reached within about fifteen miles of St Kilda, when on a sudden, owing to a tremendously heavy gale, which sprung up quite ahead of us, we were obliged to put back to Harris; and after remaining some days there, expecting the weather would take a favourable change, we were obliged to abandon the attempt altogether, Captain B. having found that the time allowed him for the expedition had expired. In these circum­stances of disappointment, I thought of taking a trip to the island of Lewis. Mr Macleod, the minister of Uig, having given me a pressing invitation to assist him at the Sacrament of our Lord's Supper to be administered there on the 24th current, my son and I set out accordingly, staff in hand, on Friday last, and reached the Manse of Uig by 11 o'clock on Saturday forenoon. Mr Macleod having been in a very weak state of health at the time, and having but few friends to assist him, I preached on Saturday, Sabbath forenoon, and yesterday. The crowd which assembled on the occasion was immense. I suppose the number on Sabbath Day was not under 7000. The occasion, I trust, was a season of awakening to some and of refreshing to others, and to myself among the rest. The Lord seemed to have favoured us with a shower of divine influences, which had been evidently felt both by saint and sinner.

On Tuesday forenoon my son and I parted with our kind and worthy friends at the Manse of Uig and came about eight or nine miles on our way towards Harris that evening. Soon after our arrival at the house where we took up our night's quarters the people of the neighbourhood assembled for the sermon, to the number of about 200. I addressed them from Rom. iii. 19, 20. Something of the shower with which the Lord favoured us at Uig seemed to have fallen upon them. Many were in tears, and there was much weeping on the occasion. Oh, it is not difficult to preach to people in these circumstances! Next day (Wednesday) we travelled partly by water and partly by land, and reached our good old quarters here about eleven in the evening. I had scarcely sat down when I began to mention to Mr Maclellan how vexed I was, and how sadly disappointed, at being obliged to return home then, a second time, without being able to see the poor people of St Kilda. I had not, however, gone through with the one half of my tale, when he interrupted me by saying he felt for my situation, and was disposed, notwithstanding that it was highly inconvenient for him at present to do so (having his cattle to remove to S. Uist to a new farm he had taken there), to accompany me in his own boat to St Kilda; and that if Mr Stewart, Harris's factor, who had taken his present place into his own hands, would allow these cattle to remain a few days longer on the island, that he would set off with me to-morrow, wind and weather serving. I could not but thank him in the warmest terms for having offered his services in so handsome and generous a manner, and told him I would take it upon myself to write the factor on the subject, who, I had no doubt, if it lay at all in his power, would grant my request. On Wednesday, accordingly, I wrote the factor, and had his answer in course, mentioning most politely that, in con­sideration of the object I had in view, my request was granted. Thus a hope was afforded me of yet seeing St Kilda, and I desired to bless the Lord who had opened up the way and the prospect so far. But we have ever since been prevented from setting out owing to the state of the weather and must remain as we are till it may become more favourable.

For the last two evenings I preached to the people of this neighbourhood, who assembled at Mr Maclellan's, and dis­covered great eagerness to hear the word. Indeed, some of them seem to be inquiring what they must do to be saved. I have been sometimes led to think that the Lord has thus drawn me out of my course in order that I might preach the word to perishing souls, whose opportunities otherwise of hearing it, like angel visits, are "few and far between." "I must," says Christ, "preach the Gospel in other cities also"; and on another occasion, "Wilt ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

Additional Information

This is where the Communion took place. There is a small piles of stones that mark the spot and a dear Christian has put a white wooden marker next to it, although it is difficult to see as the sheep have rubbed the paint off. This Glen used to be very beautiful, but the quarrymen have been through it and there are scars everywhere.

The site is 1.9 miles from the ruins of the first church in the area, near Timsgarry, by the white sands (see this website), and 2.8 miles from the first house as you come into Carishader from the east.