The Story of Island Roan. Please click at bottom of page to proceed with the story.

This story is printed here with the kind permission of Mr Stewart Mackay, grandson of the author, J.G.Mackay, Borgie, Skerray
I shall, for easier reading, insert the story over several numbered pages.

The links are at the bottom of each page.
All acknowledgements shall be forwarded to him.
With his permission I can forward his contact details

PREFACE by John George Mackay

My reason for putting in book form the story of Eilean-nan-Ron is to help to preserve the memory of this once prosperous and happy little island. I was born on the island and spent my childhood and adolescent years there, and now, with old age creeping over me, and having to spend most of my days alone, I often think of those happy times on the island. Now that the island is desolate and its surviving natives getting fewer, I feared that soon there would be no-one left to recall the old days. The thought grieved me. Why, I said to myself, why allow the memory of my island to die? But then, how was it going to be kept alive? There was no-one left capable of writing the history of its habitation. I knew full well, with my limited education, that I could not do this either. Nevertheless, I decided to try, and I thought, however simply written the book might be, it might serve as a dedication to the memory of the industrious and God fearing people who spent their lives on the island.

J.G.Mackay, Number 6 Borgie, 1962


Eilean-nan-Ron* - there is magic in the name of it. There was kindness there and a welcoming. The visitor, whether on business or pleasure bent, had to call at every house; thereafter young and old conveyed the guest to the top of the almost perpendicular stairway leading to the jetty, and they parted with a blessing. They lived, those folk, near to the sea and close to their God. Some left for the Dominions early in the century. Today a few of the older folk live within sight of the Island; many of the younger have fared forth southwards. Wherever they are, their thoughts must oft return to their beloved rock-girt isle where soothing waves whisper in the calm, and where in the storm the caves resound with the pounding breakers. John George Mackay, a true son of the Island, has, in his semi-retirement, successfully accomplished the task he set himself to pass the winter evenings - the writing of this little saga. It will bring back a treasure of memories to the exile and to the chance reader it will afford a good deal of pleasure.

*Eilean-nan-Ron is Gaelic for 'Island of Seals'

Eilean nan Ron, Eilean nan Ron,

Eilean a's aillte dhomh 'n diugh fo na neoil;

'Se bhi fagail thu falamh d' fhag mo chridhe fo leon;

O is duilich leam 'nis bhi 'gad fhagail.

Donald Macleod M.A., F.S.A., Scot. Schoolhouse, Bettyhill - 12th of October, 1962