In June 2007, a man of 60 went out canoeing with his youngest son. He was a father of 11, living in the village of Arnol, 15 miles north of Stornoway. That afternoon, the two were seen by a chance walker off the coast by the next village, Bragar. Thinking nothing of it, the walker went on her way, and after a little while came to the beach by the cemetery at Bragar.
Where one of the canoes was found washed up. She immediately raised the alarm, and the Coastguard found the man in the water. He was quickly transferred to hospital, but did not survive. His son was not found for another 3 weeks, in spite of intense search efforts which were carried on quite late in the evening, on account of the long evenings in June.
Whenever I pass through Arnol, I pass the house where the family used to live - I seem to remember they moved away - and feel the sadness. As in all communities by the sea, this is only too common an occurrence. Even in the few years I've been here, several tragedies like this have occurred. Those left behind remain in my thoughts.
View across the walls of Arnol to the next village, Bragar.