The shop at Balemartine
Postcard of the shop at Balemartine.
Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Campbell
Kirsty MacKinnon (Cìorstaidh Ailein) and her half brother, Lachie MacDonald (Lachainn Dhòmhnaill) opened a shop in Balemartine that became the second largest shop on the island.
Their house and shop was built by Hugh MacKinnon, the contractor in Crossapol, for £600. When asked why it was being built so high, Lachie replied, “Tha mi sgith de thòit Ghorraig” (“I am tired of the smoke of Gorraig”, an old name for that part of Balemartine which had a bad reputation).
Lachie took over the coal business from Hugh MacLean of Balemartine. He brought in coal on puffers such as the ‘Starlight’ and the ‘Moonlight’ to Soroby beach, where there is still a mooring ring to mark the spot.
Postcard of Balemartine shop.