Donald Maclean


camille dressler

Location: Small Isles

The wee doctor in the kilt

“I would be 12 when Dr Hector Maclean first came to Muck," remembers Lawrence MacEwen.

"He used to come by canoe and you would see him walking up the shore with the canoe on his head, always carrying a brown rucksack on his back and always wearing a kilt. It was quite a sight. He would come about a dozen times a year and visit everybody on the island whether they were sick or not. He was always talking about the weather. I think that was his real interest. When we went over to Eigg he always seemed to be on the pier either with his fishing rod or playing the pipes, welcoming people to the island."

Kilt-wearing Dr Hector Maclean MC became the Small Isles GP in 1952: a veteran of the North African campaign and the Normandy landing, Dr Maclean acted as unofficial dentist and vet on occasions and built the first Eigg helipad out of building rubble. He only retired in 1990, when sure of being replaced and two months into his retirement, he delivered the last baby to be born Eigg, an emergency arrival two weeks before the due date! “Better an old doctor, than no doctor, this is frontier medicine, the medical equivalent of the Falklands”, he famously said.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.