James Macgregor


on the yachts: lochbroom seamen 1880-1950, james macgregor and robbie mackenzie (2019)

Location: Ullapool, Gairloch and Lochinver
ships and boats

The sailing legacy of Loch Broom

The men of Loch Broom were well known for being excellent sailors. Most of these sailors came from the south side of the loch (known as ‘lochside’). This settlement was largely made up of people who were cleared from Inverlael to the steep and less-favoured land of the lochside. People did their best to make a meagre living from land and sea, but it was often necessary to take outside work to support larger families.

West Highland men were popular crew for yacht owners; they were used to the sea and were considered hard-working. The 1901 census records that 22 men from the lochside were employed crewing yachts. This meant that homes and crofts were largely left to the women to manage for several months of the year, but the regular cash income would have been difficult to resist. Men would often write home weekly with payments of around £1 enclosed.

Employment on British yachts declined greatly after the First World War and had largely ended by the 1950s.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.