CC BY-SA, Lagg, Isle of Jura © Patrick Mackie -

Location: Jura
fishing, worship

The miracle of the fishes at Lagg

Lindsay Neil shares a tale passed down from his mother's time on the Isle of Jura.

"During the 1920s, a miracle occurred in Lagg that my late mother remembered well. She and the rest of the Park family come to Lagg every summer to stay in the Lindsay cottage. The Rev. Graham Park, an upright, scrupulously honest and serious man, his wife Euphemia (Lindsay) and their five children, John, Lindsay, Katherine, Graham and wee Effie (my mother), all managed somehow to fit into the cottage.

"The Rev. preached at the Jura church to give the regular Minister a break. One day when two other Ministers were visiting and staying in the cottage, a seemingly divine intervention took place. No doubt, him up there (God), seeing such a concentration of aspiring holiness, decided to plant a miracle on them. Sort of good for street cred, He must have thought. He would have noticed them as in those days ministers were easily identifiable, never being without their dog collars and a peculiar sort of Minister's hat that you don't ever see nowadays – like a top hat with 9/10ths cut off.

"Into Lagg Bay which has no stream running into it, a vast shoal of sea trout mistakenly seeking an ancestral river to have their babies in. Lagg Bay was full of fish thrashing about, all looking for their promised land. This heavenly abundance of fish galvanised the holy men. Being practical men and holy, they immediately detailed someone to climb Lagg hill towards Gatehouse to watch out for the gamekeeper. Thereupon all three ministers, with their dog collars and flat hats on, rolled up their trouser legs and waded in, like a scene from the Sea of Galilee, grabbing fish in heroic and biblical style. Sadly without the loaves of bread anywhere in the story.

"Everyone who did not have an official or potentially censorial status got a fish - everyone from across the communities of Lagg and Ardmenish received a fish. As my mother said, they were all eating sea trout 'to the bands playing'. After giving away a lot, with plenty of fish left over, the Ministers wrapped the rest up in parcels and sent them to their friends and relatives on the mainland in Greenock and Gourock. And here's the miracle: they all arrived fresh!"

Contributed by Lindsay Neil, written in March 2005

More information on visiting the area can be found here.