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  • Outer Hebrides


  • Agriculture
  • Birds
  • Employment, industry and industrial relations
  • Fish and fishing
  • Landscapes and seascapes


  • Documentary
  • Sponsored


  • 1980s

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Overall rating:


Reference number: 3296

Date: 1981

Director: filmed by Allen Moore & Jack Shea

Sponsor: Film Study Center Harvard University, The Highlands and Islands Development Board of Scotland, The Scottish Arts Council

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 54.00 mins

Description: A portrait of the people of Berneray, a small island to the north of North Uist in the Parish of Harris. Documentary tracing the life of the island and its people through the changing of the seasons, concentrating on the sheep and fishing industries of the island.

Shot over twelve months from May 1978 to 1979. Took 18 months to edit. See transcript of interview with Shea, June 2000, on the making of the film.

See also Jack Shea's website at [last accessed 18/2/2011]

Credits: ph. and ed. Allen Moore
conceived, p. and recorded by Jack Shea
exec. p. Robert Gardner
nar. Finlay J. MacDonald
songs Mary MacAskill, Duncan MacKinnon, Christine Munro
poetry Duncan MacLeod

Made with funds from The Film Study Center, Harvard University, The Highlands and Islands Development Board of Scotland, The Scottish Arts Council

To the people of Berneray

principal characters; Kate Dix, John Ferguson, Angus Beag MacLeod, Angus and Chirsty Ann Munro, John and Christine Munro

thanks to Gordon Beck, Michael Callahan, Cinema Sgire, Steve Clark-Hall, Douglas Eadie, Chris Gerolmo, Alfred Guzzetti, Colin MacLeod, Dr. Roderick MacLeod, Joseph Moore, Ian and Bessie Patterson, Ed Pincus, The School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.

Dedicated to the memory of The Berneray Bard Duncan MacLeod of Besdaire (1906-1980)

Shotlist: old woman Kate Dix sitting outside her croft, credits, panning shots of the coastline and the smaller islands of Berneray (2.20) October shots of sheep being herded onto the coastline, then being transported onto small boat - the sheep are taken from one of the smaller islands where they have been grazing to the main island (5.03) shots of a small fishing boat lobster fishing of the coastline of the island (5.42) John Ferguson, an elderly crofter, working in the field moving onto John talking to camera interspersed with general shots of sheep in the fields and derelict crofts (8.24) gv's of the island with a woman singing a Gaelic song on the soundtrack [with subtitles] (9.35) shots of Crofters sheep dipping moving onto shots of the rams being introduced to the ewes with shots of the rams fighting each other, scenes of the island and the sheep with a man singing a Gaelic song on the soundtrack [with subtitles]; a snowstorm on the island, nightfall (15.31) January Angus Munro gathering seaweed in snowy conditions moving onto Angus Munro's wife Chirsty Ann in her kitchen making stock from a sheep's head, moving onto the eldest son John Munro talking about his lobster fishing with shots of him fishing, scenes of his wife Christine and children with general shots of family life (23.05) shots of children in classroom then going home (24.51) April shot of a sheep giving birth, young lambs in the field moving onto John Ferguson slaughtering a sheep (30.10) crofters retrieving a sheep and lamb from the coastline moving onto old crofter reading from the bible, night scenes (33.53) June general shots of the sheep with c/u's of castrating (38.24) Chirsty Ann baking flat bread in her kitchen (39.30) gv's of the island with a woman singing a Gaelic song on the soundtrack [with subtitles] (40.37) children playing as their John Munro mends lobster pots (41.24) sheep shearing (43.51) September int of the Free Church with a service by a lay preacher with a small, mostly elderly, congregation (45.55) shots of the sheep travelling via boat from one island to the other in stormy conditions, gvs of the windswept island (49.19) crofter working in field, cutting hay and making haystacks (50.42) children gathering bird's eggs, gvs of the island moving onto Kate Dix talking and singing outside her croft (53.25) ecs (54.27)