Friday, 11 January 2008
Calum Mackay - "The Boer" in South Africa.
As already stated,Calum Mackay(The Boer)was one of the "originals" who settled in Dalmore when the sheep farm of Peter Sinclair was broken up,and the land returned to the isles folk,60 years after the clearance of 1860.Calum had seen army service during the Second Boer War(1898-1902)in South Africa.He was designated "a wild horse trainer"and this,his main duty,was to break in horses for the cavalry and artillery.He had a way with horses,and this had been put to good use here,so far from his home in Lewis.Between times he had to care for the steed of a General Macmillan and to ride by his side during manouevers.Being batman to a general must have had its payoffs for Calum.During one such military manouevre,their cavalry troop had to cross a wide,fast flowing river.As Calum crossed at the side of the general,he noticed that a horse had lost its footing,and that its young officer was being swept away in the fast flowing current.Calum immediately swam to his assistance and they both made it safely to the river bank.The young man whom Calum saved was one Sublieutenant Mathieson whose father was Sir James Mathieson the proprietor of the Isle of Lewis.(This Highland battalion would have been raised in Lewis for the South African Wars). When Calum Mackay returned to Lewis,Sir James offered him a choice of many crofts in gratitude for saving his son.For some reason the "Boer" never took up that offer.If he had,I would never have met a wild horse trainer!