Two new books explore life in the Western Isles

Stornoway-based publishers Acair have produced two new books which offer a unique perspective, in their differing ways, of life in the islands.

A week on Saturday (30th June) they will officially launch “Rhenigidale – A Community’s Fight for Survival” at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert from 3pm.

It is written by well-known village resident Kenny MacKay, a former councillor who did more than anyone to campaign for a road into the remote and fragile coastal hamlet which until the completion of that project in the mid-1980s was only accessible by sea or mountain path.

Acair have also released a new edition of “Air mo chuairt – Memories of an Island School Teacher”, first published in Gaelic to great acclaim in 1982.

It is a classic account of the life of Ealasaid Caimbeul growing up in Barra and Vatersay after World War One, the impact of the Second World War and her return home to work as a teacher.

The original has now been translated by another Barra schoolteacher, Mary Flora Galbraith.

Speaking after the release of the new edition, Acair manager Agnes Rennie commented: “This is a book for everyone with an interest in island communities during a period of immense change. Ealasaid Caimbeul’s description of life in Vatersay prior to the causeway is particularly evocative.”