National Geographic : 1954 Oct
for having given in to the Macleod against her better judgment. I spent a week end at Rodel in the com fortable hotel, itself a home of romance. From its walls in 1850 the comely daughter of Balranald, the Macdonald estate in North Uist, was kidnaped, but not unwillingly. "Red Jessie," so called from the auburn color of her hair, eloped from North Uist with Lord Macdonald's factor there, a young man from Skye. Pursued to Harris, Jessie was recap tured by her relatives and held prisoner at her uncle's house at Rodel. But Jessie's lover, aided by Skyemen sum moned from that isle, broke into the house at night and forcibly removed his sweetheart, not without much commotion, for they were dis covered in the attempt. They fled first to Skye and later emigrated to Australia. Over the Mountains to Tarbert Leaving my knapsack to follow by bus, I set out from Rodel on a sunny September morning for the long but beautiful walk to Tarbert, the chief port of Harris 23 miles away. The road leads north along the west coast, then turns east through a mountain pass and descends to the narrow isthmus where Tarbert stands between its two lochs. Three miles from Rodel I passed the village of Leverburgh, whose name was changed from the Gaelic Obbe (which means a bay) in com pliment to the late Lord Leverhulme. His untimely death 29 years ago cut short his philanthropic efforts to better the conditions of the Lewis and Harris crofters. He was one of the most generous patrons the Hebrides have ever known. A quarter of the way to Tarbert I ate my lunch on the white sands of Scarasta, where the surf thunders in from Labrador. On the roadside above it stands the church and manse where Lord Macaulay's great-grandfather, Aulay Macaulay, was once minister. At Luskentyre I waited for the motorbus and was carried over the mountains to Tar bert, which has a delightful hotel. In its vis itors' book I saw the signature of Sir James Barrie, creator of the beloved Peter Pan. In 1912 Sir James rented a castle on West Loch Tarbert and drew inspiration for his drama, Mary Rose, from its neighborhood. From the busy pier at Tarbert, steamers sail south and east to Skye and Lochboisdale (page 572). They have also been known to go from West Loch Tarbert to America. That loch is now lonely and silent; Britain's only whaling station, formerly operated there by a Norwegian company, was closed down for the second time in 1951. It is 36 miles from Tarbert to Stornoway in Lewis. The road lies over the shoulder of Clisham, highest mountain in the Outer Isles (2,622 feet), and is very wild and grand. As it was too long for one walk and there is no hotel halfway, I again decided to set out on foot and let the bus overtake me in the afternoon. On my first journey I had spent the night at the hospitable home of a farmer and his daughter at Balallan, a village about 21 miles from Tarbert. Although I had arrived unex pectedly, they had treated me like an honored guest. In a blizzard of rain three kindly roadmen lifted me in their lorry over the high shoulder of the mountain and set me down on the shore of beautiful Loch Seaforth, where the bound ary between Harris and Lewis is passed al most unnoticed (above).