A Croft in Caolas

A Croft in Caolas

(78 customer reviews)

Warmest thanks to all who have bought a copy of A Croft in Caolas, and thank you too to those who have posted so many kind reviews.  These are greatly appreciated. The book has sold remarkably well since it was first published in February 2021.  The author, ever an optimist, thought that he would be lucky to sell six copies.  The actual sales figure (to date) is nearer 500!   The latest printing is now in stock.  So…order early for Christmas – and for 2023!

As a boy in the 1950s, Donald Meek lived in ‘Coll View’, Caolas, in the Hebridean island of Tiree, with his parents and elderly MacDonald aunts and uncles. He was enthralled by their experiences of life in Tiree, Falkirk, Africa and Canada. Here he brings the MacDonalds and Meeks to life, setting them in their contexts in Tiree and beyond.

Read the first 20 pages here 


This book tells the story of one Tiree crofting family over 250 years.  In the 1770s, Donald’s ancestor, John MacDonald, lived in the joint-tenant farm of Caolas.  When crofts were created in 1804, the MacDonalds moved to their own croft in Àird Deas, Caolas, but economic difficulties in the 1840s compelled the senior members of the family to emigrate to Orillia, Canada, leaving behind two of their children, Hector and Christina.  Through the kindness of his MacLean relatives, Hector MacDonald, the writer’s great-grandfather, obtained the holding on which ‘Coll View’ stands to the present.  Hector and his wife Effie produced a family of ten, seven of whom had to seek employment on the Scottish mainland and across the Atlantic.  In 1913 Hector MacDonald Meek, their grandson and the writer’s father, was ‘orphaned’ by the emigration of his parents to Vancouver, and he too was brought up in ‘Coll View’ by Hector and Effie MacDonald. This alone ensured the continuation of the croft within the family.

Donald Meek reflects on the immense changes and challenges which he has witnessed in his family and community, and describes his own struggle to restore the family holding, now in the capable hands of his elder daughter, Rhoda Meek.

The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the family archives and documentary sources.

Shipping Countries: United Kingdom (UK)

78 reviews for A Croft in Caolas

1-5 of 78 reviews
  1. This is a wonderful book, interesting and beautifully written. The storyline is fascinating about the family’s history and island connections. I recommend this book and Isle 20 to everyone.

  2. I think this book is very special indeed and Donald Meek has done Tiree and all of us with a connection to Tiree a real service by writing it.

    I asked for the book for Christmas 2021 (and should have provided a review much sooner). It came alongside a dozen other books that Christmas but it was an easy choice to pick up first, in large part because my family too is from Caolas, related to Donald and his. There are many books about Tiree, but Donald Meek has done something uniquely valuable, using his personal story to bring to life the story of big changes on the island, from the formation of the crofts in Caolas through to the present day. A wonderful book.

  3. Looking forward to reading this and my dad is too!

  4. Hello Donald , I didn’t realise you personally sent the book .I was at OHS same time as you but I doubt you will remember me. Shirley Evans from Tobermory .I shared lodgings with Jessmie Rutter .The book is for a friend who is going to Tiree in September

  5. An outstanding book. I have no connections to Tiree but this volume traced the history of a family and croft. It could be any family, anywhere.

    If you have an interest in people and how the works works you will love this!

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