Harris and Lewis are connected by one long major road, the backbone of the Longisle, really. Any time you detour from it, be it towards the West or towards the East, you are bound to discover things. Heading north from Tarbert, the first junction takes you to the western most point of Harris – Hushinish or sometimes spelled Huisinish. The the remains of the old whaling station Bunavoneader spread an atmosphere of decay. Huge carcasses were processed here in the past.
Further on is Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, a holiday rental for those who can afford it.
But the real treasure lies at the end of the road, you arrive there after many curves and bends after the best part of an hour.
At first sight, there’s not much to see. Hushinish consists now of four houses (the name means “house headland”) but it has two burial grounds, one obviously fairly new even though it seems to have old marker stones in it. Rather surprising that two burial ground were thought necessary considering the population. Especially since the older burial ground looks albeit small not particularly crowded. Very few headstones and a number of marker stones are all that‘s in the enclosure. And to make matters more intriguing – there is another headstone outside of both enclosures. Did the families have their own private burial ground each?
Even more mysterious not all the people from Hushinish were buried in Hushinish, a WW I fatality, a Donald John MacLellan of Hushinish was buried in the old burial ground on the Isle of Scarp, not far away but accessible by boat only.
Like most places on Harris, Hushinish has a beautiful beach and Machair and is thinly populated.
The MacLeods of Harris, also known as Sìol Tormoid (the Seed of Tommod), were also based on the Isle of Skye, in Dunvegan, as well as from the 14th century onwards in Glenelg on the Scottish mainland. Their Chief is the MacLeod of McLeod.
The Maclennans were once strong supporters of the Mackauleys who were a Lewis based sept of the MacLeods of Lewis. The other branch of the MacLeods who owned land in the northern part of the island, on the Isle of Lewis. This could be a reason why there are different burial plots here.
The Morrisons had a long standing feud with the Mackauleys. The MacDonalds with the MacLeods of Dunvegan.
Although Hushinish was very likely much bigger than it is now before the Clearances, there would have been no need for several burial grounds. No reason but one – the surname.