Empty glens – a brief look at Highland Clearance history

Driving north west along the Strath of Kildonan from the small village of Helmsdale on the Sutherland coast you pass through mile after mile of almost empty glen. The houses are few and scattered sparsely along the wide, fertile strath. But it wasn’t always empty like this. In fact, two hundred years ago it was very different with a relatively large population living in many small scattered communities throughout the glen. If you stop and look at the lower slopes of the hills, all about are remains and ruins of numerous pre-clearance crofting townships.
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A little more local history

Loaneckheim to Boblainy

What’s in a name?

I’ve recently been attending a series of local history talks run by a group who are undertaking an archaeological project in the local woods. Their research will cover everything from exploring ‘lumps and bumps’ ie evidence of early history settlements (stone huts, etc), through 18th century land use (farming and crofting) up to the WW2 forestry operations.

I’ve never really studied much local history before am finding this interesting.

As a wee aside from the forest project, I thought I’d look up information about our house. The house is at least 150 years old and was originally a croft. It was owned by Lord Lovat as part of his large estate and had tenant farmers.
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Canadian Forestry Corps in the local woods

Last week I went to a very interesting talk about the Canadian Forestry Corps in the Highlands of Scotland. I was interested to learn more about this as the CFC worked locally – both here at Kiltarlity and where I work at Glenmore.

The Canadian Forestry Corps. was composed of professional woodsmen and was first organized during World War One at the request of the UK to help meet Britain’s timber needs during the war. It was re-formed in World War Two to play the same role. Most of its activities were centred in the Highlands of Scotland during the latter conflict. There were 33 camps scattered in north-eastern Scotland.
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