The history to Duncan Mackay and Sons Ltd (as we know them today) officialy started in 1951 but can be traced back a few years earlier to a war time era when a young Duncan, keen to avoid conscription (The Royal Air Force were not recruiting and he was faced with the Army or the Coal mines) enrolled on an engineering course. Engineering was deemed, under the Essential Works Order, a trade needed at home.
Following the engineering course in Glasgow, illness in his family, and now in a post war situation Duncan returned to his native Island to find that following the end of the war all ‘War Work’ had dried up. Unemployment was looking a distinct possibility but for the work orientated Duncan this was not an option.
Duncans parents bought him a Harris Tweed Loom for £100.00 which he spent the next 2/3 years at before his love of the outdoor life took him firmly back there. He had diversified a small bit while weaving and started to buy the wool from neighbouring crofters and then creating the tweed with the Mills only involvement being in the finishing process.
Even at this stage in his career Duncan was offering his services as an Agricultural contractor in the form of Duncan Mackay, Horse, Cart and Plough. Ploughing and harrowing agricultural land but at the same time bringing home the Peats’, for both himself and neighbouring crofters.
His reputation as a hard working, reliable and thorough ‘contractor’ meant that not only did his workload rocket but horse sales increased as crofters realised they now had no need of, or expense associated with keeping a horse if Duncan was around.
As Duncans workload increased he soon realised that he had to embrace ‘modern technology’ (of the era), and through the money he had saved from his time weaving, put down the deposit on a Ferguson TE20 Petrol Tractor in addition to plough, harrows and an old lorry. It was at this time that Duncan began a seeding and sand spreading service as well as beginning to make concrete blocks.
It was not long before the local council called upon his services with his first (of many) contracts. The installation of street lighting and it was not long before the council began recommending him throughout the Islands of Lewis and Harris.
As his family were born, Duncan Mackay and Sons was born. The eldest son, Donald, chose to move away from the Island and pursue a career in civil engineering in his own right. Iain Hector and ‘Buddy’ were the more ‘stay at home’ sons who have continued to develop the business to where it now stands.
Duncan is immensely proud of how his sons and daughter Chris have developed the business embracing everything that modern day engineering requires and when asked at which point he retired he replied “ I have never retired, just grown older “.