The Lobster and The Lacuna: Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist, May - July 2017
The Lobster and The Lacuna is our summer 2017 exhibition. Spread across two rooms at Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist, it is a descent through the log books of Roberta Sinclair, naturalist and submariner. Stationed on Berneray after the second world war, she was a keen sea swimmer and regularly explored the waters around the island, gaining the nickname An Giomach (The Lobster).
During the Slighe Sìoman's heyday in the mid 1950s, the system expanded into the sound of Harris, when an unsuccessful attempt was made to create a new shipping hub on the east coast of the tiny island of Hermetray. Backed by investment from the then owners of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, a small team built a prototype car which travelled from Berneray along the Grey Horse Channel to Hermetray, spending much of the route underwater to avoid crosswinds and interference with shipping.
Ms. Sinclair helped modify HCTC gondola No. 72 into an amphibious vehicle and was the only passenger on the prototype's single voyage. Thinking both of a species of intertidal sea snail (Lacuna Vincta) and also of the silent unknowns of the world beneath the waves, she referred to her adapted cable car as The Lacuna.
The exhibition presents content from her log books and workshop, as well as the restored remains of gondola 72.
Suspension and Disbelief: An Lanntair, Stornoway, Nov 2016 - Jan 2017
"If ever a vehicle was driven in defiance of God’s will, it was across the Barvas moor".
These were the words of Hugh Morrison: Leodhasach, engineer, visionary, in the aftermath of the Second World War. "What Lewis needs is a modern, sustainable, brave new transport solution".
Suspension and Disbelief, the first exhibition by the Hebridean Cable Transit Company, told the story of the company's roots in post-WW2 Stornoway, and the development of the "Slighe Sìoman": the Barvas to Tarbert cable, and at the time the longest cable transit system in the world.
It featured a fully restored HCTC cable car and artefacts such as a cable operator's control panel, ticket machine and uniform, popular songs from the time which were inspired by the Slighe Sìoman, engineer's drawings and more.