|Scottish Gaelic: Breacleit|
Breaclete shown within the Outer Hebrides
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||Na h-Eileanan Siar|
|Lieutenancy area||Western Isles|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ISLE OF LEWIS|
|UK Parliament||Na h-Eileanan an Iar|
|Scottish Parliament||Na h-Eileanan an Iar|
Breaclete (Scottish Gaelic: Brèaicleit) (Old Norse: "Breiðiklettr") is the central village on Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Despite the fact the village name comes from a geographical feature rather than a steading it is generally believed to be an ancient settlement. It is marked on Murdoch MacKenzie's first Admiralty chart of 1775 and was never affected by the clearances. The oldest building in the village is the thatched water mill by the shore of Loch Risay which was restored in the 1990s. It was formerly a tiny crofting / fishing settlement of just 12 crofts surrounding the natural harbour of Loch Beag but crofting has now ceased and holiday homes have taken over.
In 1939 the author Neil Gunn ("The Silver Darlings") stayed in Breaclete and wrote some of his essays for the book Highland Pack there. His experience of staying with Dr PJ Macleod and leaving Loch Beag in the fishing vessel "Rhoda" for the Flannan Isles provide an invaluable insight into pre-war Hebridean life. Also of literary interest are the writings of the former schoolmaster John N Macleod who lived in the village in the early part of the twentieth century. Writing under the the pseudonym Alasdair Mòr (named after the first mate of the "Rhoda" from croft number 11), his weekly series of highly entertaining articles in the Stornoway Gazette called "Litir à Beàrnaraigh" were collected into a book "Litrichean Alasdair Mhòir" in 1932. These essays outline the distinctive wit, character, courage and craftsmanship of the people of the village and the island of Bernera.
Breaclete produced a golden generation of talent in the early twentieth century. The most prominent being Callum Macdonald (dob 4 May 1912) born at Croft number 10, an Edinburgh History graduate and WW2 Squadron Leader. He became one of the most important literary figures in 20th century in Scotland, he published works by Hugh McDiarmid, Sidney Goodsir Smith, Norman MacCaig, Sorley Maclean and Iain Crichton Smith. An exhibition celebrating his contribution to Scottish and Gaelic literature was held in the National Library of Scotland on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 1987 and his portrait was hung in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 1997 to celebrate his 85th birthday.
Breaclete is today home to a small museum, mini-mart & off licence, school (opened 1881), a post office, church (1880), former Free Kirk (1890), War Memorial (1929), community centre with café (1976), petrol station, fire station and doctor's surgery. Many of the older buildings were constructed from Lewisian gneiss hewn from the nearby quarry of Buaile Chruidh. The village has about 35 houses with the oldest 'whitehouse' dating from 1911.
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