The Loch Indaal Tragedy of 1879

Colin S MacDonald

Over the centuries nearly every coastal town and island community in Scotland has experienced a loss of life as a result of a maritime tragedy. We can read about Scottish history from the ancient times right up until the present day and find stories of shipwrecks, drownings and of lucky survivors.

Some of these events are well remembered and commemorated, while others have fallen out of memory. Sadly, some of the great maritime disasters of our past only live on in the research of family historians who chance upon a discovery and give fresh recognition to the tragedies of the past.

I recently stumbled across one such maritime accident that claimed the lives of thirteen people, including two from my own family.

On the 14th of November, 1879 people from all over the island of Islay were in Bowmore to attend a seasonal feeing market. It was an opportunity…

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