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Suileachan Project

Suileachan Uig Isle of Lewis**View the Project Presentation

 It was agreed at a public meeting of the Bhaltos Community Trust that a suitable commemorative landmark monument be commissioned to mark the following :-

• To remember the 19th century Lewis Land Clearances

• To commemorate the 20th century land raids by the Reef Raiders

• To celebrate the Scottish Land Reforms and the creation of the Bhaltos Community Trust.

Marian Leven and Will Maclean, prestigious Scottish artists, were commissioned to design a suitable monument based on their understanding of the local culture and history of the land raids in the Western Isles. They have created landmark sculptures and monuments at the following places:

• Nan Gaiseach Memorial Cairn in 1994 to commemorate the Deer Park Raiders in 1887

• Aignish Memorial Sculpture in 1996 to commemorate the Land Uprisings of 1888

• Cuimhneachain Nan Gaiseach at Gress River to commemorate the land raids of 1915

• Craunghael at Sabhal Mor Ostaig

• Cairngorm View Point

The Workforce:

Suileachan Monument Land RaidersDesigners
Will MacLean
Marian Leven
Stone Circles
Ian Smith
Archway Jim Crawford JIM CRAWFORD
Blacksmith John MacLeod
Woodwork John Angus MacLeod
Groundwork D J Macdonald
Planning Application John Norgrave
Information Board
Rhone Merrit
Joni Buchanan
Anna MacKinnon
Project Manager Norry MacKay
Administrator Donella MacDonald
Photographer Colin MacDonald

Suileachan-010With help and advice from Finn, Sandy, Ian George, and many others who gave freely of their personal time to help with different aspects of the project.

The commissioned monument has been constructed on an elevated, panoramic site in the village of Reef, with views over the surrounding land, sea and islands. The monument has been designed with two circles, connected by a walled walkway. The eastern circle has a grey, stone circular floor, inscribed with the names of the Reef Raiders. The walkway leads the visitor through an archway, designed and constructed by Jim Crawford, to the west circle, overlooking the sea and islands of West Loch Roag, symbolically linking the past to the present. This circle has integrated seating inside and outside of the drystone walls and there is an iron fire basket to provide a beacon which will be lit at times of celebration and commemoration. Suileachan provides a setting for cultural events as well as being a place of reflection, contemplation and inspiration as it provides a panoramic view of the local area over to Pabbay Mor and also the smaller islands of West Loch Roag. The completion of this project brings together similar Hebridean communities who were involved in Na Gaisich. Suileachan describes the land struggle so that visitors to our area can learn about the impact of land ownership, past and present, on our community and understand the importance of working together to improve the future for the communities which live and work here in the 21st century.Will Smith and Murdo Macleod

Suileachan has been designed to celebrate island craftsmanship and skills. The land around Bhaltos is defined by old stone walls skilfully built and of a distinctive style. This is replicated in the walls of Suileachan which are constructed of stones from blackhouses in the area by an island stonemason with a knowledge of the local stonework.

The iron fire basket has been created by a Lewis blacksmith based in Stornoway and the seating inside and outside the walls of Suileachan has been created from local stone and timber from windblown trees from the Stornoway Trust and created by a local craftsman.

This project has been made possible by funding from Scotland's Islands, Community Regeneration Fund, Proiseact nan Ealan, Uig Community Council and The Bhaltos Community Trust and by volunteers in the community in Uig as well as Comann Eachdraidh Uig and Councillor Norman A Macdonald.

Will Smith and Murdo Macleod, chairman of the Bhaltos Community Trust, cut the first turf on the site of the proposed Suileachan monument – a wet and blustery January afternoon.


**Suileachan - Power Point file (36.2mb) please allow a few minutes to load this is a very large file!