Turbitail was the name of a cot-house of Langskaill on the bank of a burn known thereabouts as the Burn of Turbitail, situated on the western slope of Kierfea Hill above the parish of Wasbister. There is no reasonable explanation for the origin of the name – Hugh Marwick in his ‘Place-Names of Rousay’ admits defeat, explaining ‘origin therefore obscure’!
In 1841 it was occupied by the Craigie family. James Craigie at that time was a 50-year-old army pensioner. His wife Margaret Shearer was the same age as her husband, and they had five children; Gilbert, born in 1821; Eleanor in 1827; Margaret in 1828; Isabella in 1830; and Hugh, who was born on May 4th 1834.
By 1861, another Craigie family was living at Turbitail. Hugh Craigie was the son of James Craigie and Betty Marwick of Milnhouse, Sourin, and he was born on November 22nd 1825, the family having moved to nearby Guidall. He married 23-year-old Ann Gibson on February 27th 1852. She was the daughter of George Gibson and Ann Mainland of Langskaill, who was born on September 3rd 1829. They had five children; Ann was born on December 27th 1854; Lydia, on October 27th 1858; Mary Jean, on May 5th 1860, but she died in 1873; Hugh, born on August 30th 1866; and Maggie, born on September 25th 1868. In 1887 Hugh paid £7.0.0. rent but only £5.0.0. in 1888, having been adjusted by the Crofters Commission, and by this time Hugh was farming 17.622 acres.
Daughter Lydia married Robert Gibson of Langskaill. She drowned at the age of 35 with three of her children when the Rousay mail-boat was overturned in a storm in Eynhallow Sound in October 1893. The boatmen, who were also lost, were James Sinclair of Newhouse and John Reid of Tratland.
Lydia’s brother Hugh, born in 1866, married Margaret Inkster of Upper Cogar. Pictured above, they lived at Deithe and had five children; Maggie Jessie, born on February 5th 1889; Mary Jane, on November 11th 1890; Barbara, on March 2nd 1893; James Campbell Bruce, on October 2nd 1895; and Hugh Gibson, on December 19th 1899.
Lydia and Hugh’s father died in 1906 at the age of 81, and their mother Ann died soon after, on April 3rd 1907 when in her 78th year.