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Gradually communications between the town and the far west improved.
The first wagon train set out from Stornoway in 1841, leaving from Bus Station used to be) to the cheers of the populace.
20 wagons in total, with a trail of sheep, cows and hens behind them, left the safety of the town for far flung Uig.
It wasn’t long until settlers from the town started to think about making the long trail across the moors to find a new life amongst the scenic beaches and rich mountains of the west.
This was to become known far and wide as the Uig Trail.
These hardy souls, bedecked in rabbit fur bonnets and sheepskin jackets, had brought back tales of rich salmon rivers, wild deer and prime quality sheep.
These ‘mountain men’ would risk life and limb for the rich pickings offered in this Promised Land, bringing , rabbit skins, Uig sheep fleeces and chess pieces to the town and finding a ready market for their spoils.
The journey was to be a long and arduous one, taking nearly two days, with an overnight stop off in Lodge) for use by the pioneers.
Promises of vast tracts of land and easy going Common Grazing’s Committee’s soon attracted eager settlers in their droves.
Soon carters and wheel-rights throughout the town were working to capacity to build covered wagons in preparation for the great trail westwards.
Often the wagon trains would have to form a defensive circle as coves appeared on the skyline, waving their weapons (poaching nets and tarrisgeirs), until they could be calmed with the promise of beads and trinkets (and a few casts on the Creed).
And of course Mac in s’ and soon Stornoway was awash with poached salmon sent home to grannie.
There were rivers to ford, long sea-lochs to negotiate and narrow mountain passes.
There was also the constant threat of the natives nicking hens under cover of darkness.