Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baile Lingay - Isle of Pabbay

I love walking across island terrain where the ground is covered by short grass, and slopes gradually to an azure sea. Even better is if the sky is as blue as the sea. I had that very experience on Pabbay, an island in the Sound of Harris, when I passed through Baile Lingay while making my way down from the summit of the island.

Baile Lingay
Baile Lingay
Baile Lingay was one of four townships on Pabbay. It was a substantial settlement; with over 40 buildings and four corn drying kilns. Skins with holes pierced in them were placed over the round, stone lined well in the kiln (see next photo). At the bottom of the well a flue led to a lower part of the building. A fire would be lit at the end of the flue, and warm air rising through the skin would dry the grain. Pabbay had plenty of grain, and so whisky-making was a regular past time.

Lingay was last occupied in the late 1830s and early 1840s by a family of Macleods. They were coopers (barrel-makers) from Harris, and one wonders how many barrels of Pabbay hooch they got past the gaugers. The Macleods were replaced by sheep in 1843.

Kiln
Pabbay is a difficult island to reach. There are no regular boat trips, so I ended up chartering a small RIB from the Uist Outdoor Centre. Larger boats don't visit because the sea is shallow here, and it's not possible to anchor close. If the weather and sea cooperate, we hope to visit Pabbay during our 10-day cruise in May by anchoring a ways off, and making a long RIB run to the island. For more photos of Baile Lingay see this CANMORE page. And for more on the history of Pabbay see Bill Lawson's The Teampull on the Isle of Pabbay.

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