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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