Following on from the post “Slipway“, we continued on the Golden Road down the impoverished east coast of South Harris. The rocky coastline soon gave way to a vast expanse of peat moorland littered with lochs and lochans. The land was devoid of trees, save for those seeking shelter in a few gullies or nestled beside buildings. Those that existed were bent by the wind and appeared to be begging for mercy.

It is no wonder that those evicted to the East coast during the clearances looked to the sea to make their living. What else was there?

Lobster Pots
Fishing Vessel

The sea continues to provide bounty, but the days are not as fruitful as they once were. The empty and ruined houses bear testimony to those that sought their fortune elsewhere.


In the South Eastern corner of Harris lies the 16th-century church of Roghadal, dedicated to St. Clements. It is thought that Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, the 8th clan chief of the MacLeods, was responsible for the construction of the current building. Inside the church lie a number of fine medieval tombs, the grandest one being set aside for Alasdair himself.

When we went to Roghadal Church, we found it to be protected by the most belligerent of sheep. To avoid the confrontation escalating any further, we had to pass on the other side of the road. What a stand-off.

I didn’t take any pictures inside the church, feeling that any taken in the dim light would fail to do it any justice.

Credit: the source of information used for Roghadal Church is ‘Walking on Harris and Lewis’ by Richard Barrett (Cicerone Publishing)

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