Strathaird (1842-1843)

'On the same day [Oct 1842], we sent intimation that there would be preaching at Sconser. The day turned out wet and there was no place for the people to sit with any degree of comfort, but on the shingle of the seashore, when the tide was out. For a shelter, and pulpit for the ministers, oars were set upon end and a sail thrown over them.

The Rev Mr Macdonald preached with effect to an eager congregation and we then wished to dismiss them, but they would not go away. They would insist on getting another sermon. I then preached: and after a time the tide was gaining upon us, so that those in front of the tent had to retire by degrees to the sides. Still, they would not go away, until I intimated to them that I hoped to preach next day in the Parish Church at Broadford, some eight miles off, where they might go and hear more. This intimation spread, and next day many came great distances to hear, but unfortunately the parish minister would not give the use of the Church on that day, but offered to give it the next day, and word to that effect was sent to those assembling. We were much disappointed as well as they. Among them a boatful of people came from Strathaird, who offered to take us to see the stalactite cave there on condition that we would afterwards preach in their mission Church. We gladly agreed, and set off with them. After a time we landed, the female passengers who ran in various direc¬tions intimating that there would be a sermon at three o'clock. At that hour the little Church was crowded. After the sermon, we proceeded to the boat to return to the manse by six o'clock, as had been arranged; but the whole congregation followed us and pled so earnestly for another sermon, many weeping as they spoke, that I agreed to remain, and preached, though at the risk of offending the parish minister, and being denied the use of the Church next day, thereby disappointed hundreds.

Rev Donald Fraser of Kirkhill (came to help with the revival).

Another helper, Alexander Grant, Tobermory, reported in February 1843.

'In compliance with a very pressing request from Mr McQueen to visit Skye, I went in February [1843] by the steamer to Broadford, and remained during two weeks, preaching through the parishes of Strath and Sleat. The weather was very severe, with heavy falls of snow. We preached once every day, and frequently twice. Owing to the poverty of the people and want of accommoda¬tion, we had sometimes to travel seven or eight miles over snow-clad hills; and, after preaching, had to return to Broadford without tasting anything, except cold water. On one occasion we travelled over a high hill covered with deep snow; the day was soft and rainy, and we had often to wade knee-deep through puddles of snow and water. In crossing a river, brother McQueen was almost carried away with the stream. We had several times to cross stormy lochs in small open boats. One cold night we slept in the same barn where brother A. Ferguson caught the cold, which issued in his death; but the Lord was our keeper. The sun did not smite us by day, nor the moon by night, and we were amply rewarded for all our labour, by seeing so many asking the way to Sion, and the people everywhere flocking to hear the word of God and listening with great atten¬tion. We spent two days at a farm where several members of the church reside and were informed there were there more than twenty promising converts. Four of the number applied for baptism, and gave ample satisfaction; the baptism of the others was delayed. I was highly pleased with the promising appearances last year, but the prospect is now much more encouraging.'

From ‘The Skye Revivals,’ by Steve Taylor, published by New Wine Press, p68-9, 83-4.

Additional Information

Around 1860 there was a Free Church where the marker is. It is therefore reasonable to assume that this was the mission church that is mentioned below.