Photograph of the smiddy at Kilkenneth in the early 20th century.
Courtesy of Mr Sandy MacKinnon
In the Highlands and Islands, horses were used for transport and agricultural work, unlike the Lowlands where oxen were used as draught animals. Of great value to the local people, native ponies fetched £3 to £9 at the end of the 18th century.
The numbers of horses on the island between 1870 and 1945 varied from 400 to 550, enough to support at least nine smiddies which were situated at Kilkenneth, Kilmoluaig, Balephetrish, Gott, Caoles, Balinoe, Hynish and Cornaigbeg, where there were two.
In addition to shoeing horses, blacksmiths repaired agricultural implements such as ploughs and harrows, made hinges and latches for wooden gates, hand tools like sickles and pitchforks, and other metal objects like swees for hanging cooking pots over a fire.
Black and white of the smiddy at Kilkenneth in the early 20th century,
The smiddy at Kilkenneth in the late 19th early 20th century. The blacksmith on the right is the father of Sandy MacKinnon (Sandaidh a` Ghobhainn).