Communities in the north and west of Lewis were enterprising and largely self-sufficient. Distance from Stornoway, poor road conditions and lack of adequate transport provided local entrepreneurs with new opportunities.

Each village from Eoropie to Ballantrushal had a least one general merchant’s shop. These emporiums supplied a range of essentials for home and hearth, crofting and fishing, stocking everything from coarse salt to candles, paraffin to papers. The village shop was, during the day, a life-line for all and, in the evenings, a cèilidh gathering place for menfolk, young and old.

Specialist suppliers also thrived. Businesses, including cobblers, bakers and even two lemonade factories flourished in an area remote from the centre of commerce.

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