North Lewis Maritime Society



2019 season


We are planning a series of events for this year including the training sessions detailed below. This site is regularly updated so more events will be added as they are confirmed.

Coming events

Launch of Callicvol

Falmadair adopts new constitution


Local charity Falmadair (Gaelic for tiller) held a Special General Meeting on Friday 22nd March 2019 at 7pm in the community room at Lews Castle, Stornoway. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on the adoption of a new constitution.

The new constitution will allow Falmadair to become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). Being a SCIO will mean that Falmdair is a legal entity, allowing it to enter into contracts and hold property in its own right. Falmadair will continue to be a charity, regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. A key element of being a SCIO is that if the organisation does not comply with Scottish charity law, it will cease to exit.

The management committee has been working with Third Sector Hebrides to draw up its new constitution and ensure that it complies with Scottish charity law.

All members were invited to attend and vote on this important decision.

The Special General Meeting was followed at 7.30pm by a workshop on Basic Chart Skills led by Falmadair committee member David Skelly. 

Chair, John Smith said ‘The proposal to adopt this new constitution marks the next step in Falmadair’s development. Being a SCIO will give us a clear legal structure and help us to obtain grant funding’.

The dipping lugsail of recently resostored sgoth Callicvol

The dipping lugsail of recently restored  traditional sgoth Callicvol

Past events


Recent raffle raises £1,360 to preserve maritime heritage


Local businesses generously donated fantastic prizes. Natural Retreats gave the first prize: a night at Lews Castle. Seafari contributed trip for two to the Shiant Islands and Digby Chick provided a £40 meal voucher.

Local couple Mairi and Colin Maciver won the first prize, after Colin’s brother Ruairi bought tickets and gave them to his brother and sister-in-law as a wedding anniversary present. Mairi said ‘I can’t wait to spend a night at the Castle; I want to go as soon as possible!’ Colin will notice quite a change from the last time that was in the upper floors of the castle: his last visit (an undisclosed number of years ago!) was as a labourer for a local building contractor when he had to carry materials up one of the towers.

Colin and Mairi met Natural Retreats’ General Manager for Lews Castle (also called Colin Maciver!) last week to make arrangements for their stay. They are pictured in the castle courtyard where Callicvol, one of Falmadair’s three Sgoth Niseach (Ness Skiffs), is on display.

Falmadair Treasurer, Alasdair Macleod, was also on hand to mark the occasion. Colin Maciver of Lews Castle by Natural Retreats said ‘We are delighted to support Falmadair. It’s important that these boats are looked after, and that local people and

visitors can go out sailing in them.’

John Smith, Chair of Falmadair said ‘I would like to thank the companies who donated prizes and everyone who bought raffle tickets. These funds will help us to look after these great boats and ensure that more people have the experience of sailing them and finding out about the maritime heritage of Lewis.’

Falmadair is keen to attract new members; no sailing experience is necessary to come sailing or to help with maintenance of the boats. Details of membership are here


We are working with other local organisations such as Comman Eachdraich Nis, Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway Port Authority and the Lewis and Harris Sports Council to plan our next series of activities. Details of our sailing trips and other events are posted on the Falmdair Facebook page. (Opens in a new page).

Falmadair has teamed up with Museum nan Eilean and the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association to run two sailing skills workshops: Knots on 22nd February and Basic Chart Skills on 22nd March. These will take place in the Museum’s Community Room at Lews Castle, starting at 7.30pm. Entry is by donation.


Death of John Murdo Macleod, Master Boatbuilder

It is with great sadness that Falmadair reports the death of John Murdo Macleod on 4th December 2018 aged 96. A boat builder who constructed the last Ness sgoth fishing boat, originally from Port of Ness lived in Stornoway and was the son of John Finlay Macleod, the hero of the HMY Iolaire tragedy, who swam ashore with a rope, saving many men from the shipwreck in the early hours of New Year’s Day 1919.


Mr Macleod’s craftsmanship in constructing An Sulaire, a sgoth Niseach was filmed for a TV programme which was first broadcast by the BBC in 1995.


Mr Macleod’s father and grandfather before him built boats at Ness.


Maritime Heritage Day at Museum nan Eileen Saturday 17th October 2018

On the afternoon of Saturday 17th October the sgoth Callicvol was on display in the courtyard of Museum nan Eileen at Lews Castle, Stornoway as part of their Maritime Heritage Day. Ian Stephen, renowned local author and storyteller was on hand to share the details of this beautiful craft. Many people came to see Callicvol and find out more, we hope that many of them will come and join us for a sail soon.


Annual General Meeting Tuesday 3rd October 2018

Our Annual General Meeting was at Stornoway Sea Angling Club on 3rd Oct. A committee was elected and the organisation readied for adopting a new constitution in the near future. This was followed by an informal session of tunes and chat, with melodeons, fiddles, whistle and general good craic. 


By necessity, Falmadair will be changing its constitution in order to comply with OSCR the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and become a SCIO a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation . In a Special General Meeting on Thursday 20th April 2017 the Committee agreed to start the process. We therefore shall, in the future, be changing our charity number, bank account and name of the organisation which will be: Falmadair: North Lewis Sailing Heritage Trust.

Registered charity number: SC038938