The history of the parish is
enveloped in darkness down to the 18th century. The knowledge we have of the
past is fragmentary and cannot be woven into a continuous story.
After his defeat at the
battle of Largs, Haco, the King of Norway, is known to have landed at
Oldshore in course of his retreat homewards. Evidently he did not get much
to help him, for, after rounding Cape Wrath, he put in at Loch Eriboll.
There he sent a foraging party ashore, who were severely beaten by the
natives. This they well deserved, for on his way south the proud viking
pillaged and burned twenty villages in that region. King Alexander III.
settled any rights Haco had in this quarter by a money payment.
In the reign of Queen Mary,
Donald MacKay of Far forfeited her Majesty's favour, owing to some political
offence, and was deprived of his lands.
In 1551 she sent a letter to
the bishop of Caithness, presenting to him Robert, Bishop-elect of Orkney,
as his tenant in the lands of Oldshoremore, Oldshorebeg, Sandwood, Ceathramh
Garbh, Ceathramh hleadhonach, The Island of Hoa, the water of Abhainn Garbh,
with the salmon fishings, the water of Sandwood, with the salmon fishings,
half the water of Laxford with the salmon fishings; and with the tiends of
In 1559 the same Bishop of
Caithness, "for certain sums of money and other favours," granted to John,
Earl of Sutherland and his wife, Helen Stewart, Countess of Errol, and their
heirs, the same lands, tiends, and fishing rights.
Again in 1564 the Earl of
Sutherland forfeited the estate, and Queen Mary, "considering that Alexander
Gordon, the Earls' son, was an infant, and had not partaken in his father's
crime," granted the estate to him, by a letter, dated 6th March, 1564,
reserving the life-rent to his mother, the Countess of Errol and Sutherland.
The Earl's crime to which the
letter referred was a political one. Mary came home to Scotland a young
widow in 1562. The Earl of Huntly and his friends thought that his son, Sir
John Gordon, would be a suitable and worthy match for her. Mary, however,
scorned such a proposal. The Gordons were highly offended. Mary set out from
Edinburgh on a tour of the northern counties to make acquaintance with those
parts of her kingdom. At Aberdeen, Huntly warmly invited her to visit his
castle at Strathbogie in passing. This she declined to do. When she reached
Inverness, expecting to lodge in the castle, she found it locked in her face
by the Governor, in the name of Lord Gordon. Mary summoned the Highland
Clans, the Macintoshes, the Grants and the Frasers, to her standard. They
joined the royal escort, took the castle, and hanged the Governor. On her
return journey to Aberdeen, the clansmen, including the MacKays, escorted
her all the way, as they feared an attack from Huntly, who was declared an
outlaw. The loyal clansmen were ordered to punish him, and Huntly gave them
battle at Corrichie, twenty miles west of Aberdeen. "Huntly's force amounted
to but a third of that of his enemies, but he had been led to believe that
he had friends in their ranks, and the result of the first onset gave
countenance to his belief. The vanguard of the royal army was broken, and
the day was saved only by the determined attack of the detachment led by
Moray. After a fierce struggle Huntly's men were forced down the hill into a
morass which lay at its base; many were wounded; 120 were slain ; and among
those taken were Huntly's two sons, Adam and John. From the traitor's death
that awaited him, Huntly was strangely delivered; on the way to Aberdeen he
fell dead from his horse, stricken by some natural disease. A few days
later, Sir John Gordon, the chief cause of the trouble, was executed in
Aberdeen, his brother Adam being spared on account of his youth. Huntly was
beyond the reach of punishment, but his body was subjected to the ghastly
formalities of the feudal law. Seven months after his death (May 28, 1563),
the coffin containing his embalmed body was placed upright "as if the Earle
stoode upon his feet," at the bar of the Scottish Parliament, when sentence
of treason was pronounced upon him, and his posterity declared incapable of
office or dignity within the realm.
The Earl of Sutherland, who
had supported Huntly in this mad enterprise, fled the country, and was
condemned to death by Parliament, but four years later he was allowed to
return to Scotland.
In 1570, George, Earl of
Huntly, baron of the barony of Far, sold to Aoidh MacKay at Aberdeen, for
certain sums of money, some lands in the barony of Strathnaver, including
Kinlochbervie, Na h-Ardan, Oldshoremore, Oldshorebeg, and the fishing rights
of the rivers within the area.
Notwithstanding this, in
16oi, King James VI. made a new grant of these lands to Earl John.
The parish, one of the most
remote and least considerable in Scotland, provides us with a good
illustration of how the rulers of the past tried to govern the country by
the aid of the clan chiefs.
In the sixteenth century the
parish of Eddrachillis was inhabited by two clans, the Macleods of Assynt in
the Scourie end, and Morrisons, from Syke, in the Kinlochbervie end. Behind
the historic account of how it came into the hands of the MacKays there is
an intriguing romance that merits preservation.
Huistean MacThormaid, the
progenitor of the Morrisons, was a Skyeman, who traded between Stornoway and
Thurso. At Thurso he had some business dealings with the Bishop of Caithness
with whose sister he fell in love and married. With her as her dowry he
received the church lands of Durness and Oldshore, a large estate. Here he
settled a number of his clansmen from Skye, who occupied it for generations.
The last chieftain of the Morrisons married a daughter of Donald Ban
Matheson of Shinness, but he died without an heir. The clansmen made the
widow's life so unhappy that she fled to her father's home, taking care to
carry with her the charter by which the Morrisons held the land from the
Bishop of Caithness. In her distress she appealed to the Earl of Sutherland,
who relieved her of her destitution—and also of the charter. Thus he came
into possession of the property. He did not find it a valuable asset, for
the Morrisons, backed by the Macleods and the MacKays, refused to
acknowledge his title and to pay rents which he demanded. So obstinate did
they prove that the Earl was glad to get rid of it. For sixty merks a year
he agreed to give the land to Hugh MacKay, Huistean Dubh na Tuagh (Black
Hugh of the battle axe), father of the first Lord Reay.
Huistean Dubh went on a
hunting expedition to Foinn Bheinn. There he had a hunting hut in the
vicinity of Loch an Tigh Sheilg. Loch na Tuagh is in its neighbourhood. It
was the hospitable custom of the time that when the Baron of Far came to
hunt, the local people acknowledged his presence, and presented such gifts
as butter, cheese and bread. One day a handsome young lady presented herself
with gifts of that kind for the chief and his party. Hugh fell in love with
her and pled with her to stay with him in his hunting camp. The lady proved
as high-minded as she was handsome and repelled his advances, declaring that
she was the wife of another—the Morrison chief—and that she would not
dishonour her husband or herself by such consent. Hugh, on learning who she
was, professed to be profoundly impressed, and sent some of his retinue to
fetch Morrison. Presently they returned carrying the chief's head, which
they laid at his wife's feet, saying:-
We found him in his
We left him in his bed ;
We did not think of rousing him,
We merely brought his head.
So here we brought his head
To show that he is dead:
The lady need not mourn for him,
For now she's free to wed.
Filled with fear lest a
similar fate might befall herself, she remained in the camp. A son was born
in due course, who was seen to bear a prominent birthmark on his
forehead—the mark of Morrison's blood ! He was called Donald, and was known
ever afterwards as Domhnull Ballach, or Spotted Donald.
The MacLeods of Assynt and of
Eddrachillis were constantly harrying the Morrisons, who eventually called
upon MacKay to come to their help. They agreed that if the MacLeods were
beaten Eddrachillis would be divided between them.
Donald MacMhurchaidh mhic
Iain Mhoir, the notorious freebooter, the Rob Roy of the Highlands, though a
MacLeod, was called in to aid the Morrisons. If he slew MacLeod, the young
chief of Eddrachillis, he would get Scourie to himself. MacKay kept in the
The day of battle was fixed.
When it came and the two opposing forces were facing each other, Black Hugh
appeared with ioo men to help the Morrisons. The MacLeods saw that a contest
was hopeless, and capitulated. MacKay had all the parties in the hollow of
his hand. He gave Eddrachillis to his son, Donald Ballach: he induced Donald
Mac Mhurchaidh mhic Iain Mhoir to accept as his portion the Davoch of Hope,
together with the hand of Morrison's widow, Donald Ballach's mother.
The facts, of course, were
that Hugh MacKay, Huistean Dublh na Tuagh, honourably married his cousin,
Helen, daughter of Hugh MacLeod of Assynt, that Donald Ballach was their son
and heir, that he inherited Scourie through his mother, and became the
founder of the famous family of the MacKays of Scourie.
That part of the Reay estate
known as modern Strath-naver was sold by the first Lord Reay to the Earl of
Sutherland in 1642. He was obliged to sell it in order to pay debts incurred
in the course of the Thirty Years War, in which he and his followers took an
The remaining part of the
estate was sold by Eric, the seventh Lord Reay, to the Marquis of Stafford,
who became the first Duke of Sutherland. The late Evander Maciver's account
of the transaction is as follows:—"Mr. Loch told me that Lord Reay had
offered his estate to the Marquis of Stafford, who at once, in decided
terms, refused to purchase it, much to the disappointment of Mr. Loch. The
Marquis had generously offered to lend money to Lord Reay, if that would
suit his views, and prevent the sale of an old paternal estate. Lord Reay's
reply was that he had resolved to sell it for family reasons. These reasons
were: he was a bachelor, had an illegitimate daughter whom he had educated
as a lady; that he could not leave her the estate, but could give her the
money. It is odd that in 1834 I had dined with Lord Reay in London, when
this young female had sat at the head of the table as mistress of the house.
She afterwards married Sir Frederick Minto, and it is said it did not prove
a happy marriage. I afterwards heard that on her marriage she got £10,000
from her father, with the promise of succeeding to to what he would possess
at his death ; that Lord Reay had lent his money on \Vest Indian property
and lost it, and that he actually died a bankrupt. His property embraced
three Highland parishes, viz., Tongue, Durness, and Eddrachillis, with an
area of about 400,000 acres, a wild, hilly, rocky district, with rivers and
valleys, and some good hill pasture. The family residence was at Tongue, to
which a parliamentary road had been constructed from Lairg, and there was a
coach road from Tongue to Thurso. Durness and Eddrachillis were absolutely
roadless and otherwise unimproved, and in a state of nature. The result of
the negotiations was that the Sutherland family purchased the estate for a
sum of £300,000, which was much more than its value at the time."
There is another version of
the transaction, but let it be. The price paid for the estate, including
fishing rights, house property, etc., was 15s. per acre.
The feudal system, which so
long prevailed in the Highlands, is not well understood to-day. The case of
Kinlochbervie will help us to understand it so far as land tenure is
In the year 1678 the tacksmen
of Kinlochbervie were, Uilleam Ruadh MacEoghainn Mliic Anaoghais who paid 20
marks; Donald Og 20 marks; John MacThomais :lihic Dhomhnuill Riabhaich, 12
marks; and John MacNeill Og, 12 marks. In Oldshoremore, Hugh MacKay paid 20
marks; Hugh Mac Dhomhnuill Mhic Allin, 20 marks; and Effie Munro, a near
relative of Sir Hector Munro of Foulis, 20 marks.
A century later, in 1789,
Donald Forbes of Ribigill, was tacksman for the whole district at an annual
rental of £56 16s. 4d.
The tacksmen were responsible
to the superior for the rent, and were free to impose on their sub-tenants
any rent they pleased. The appointment of factors, who acted directly as the
servants and representatives of the superior, was a step in the right
direction. The hated factor of later times was much to be preferred to the
old rackrenting tacksman, for tenants had the privilege of personal access
to the proprietor with their proposals or grievances.
The people's wealth lay in
their stock. That was strictly limited in feudal days and in our own time.
About a hundred years ago, each tenant was allowed "three small Highland
cows, eight sheep, and one horse." The rent of holdings ranged from £2 to
£5. The price of cattle averaged £3 a head; sheep 21s.; goats 7s.; and
horses £9. Daily unskilled labour could not command 1s. a day. Tradesmen,
such as masons, carpenters, and tailors averaged 2s. 6d. per day; domestic
servants £3 10s. annually; and farm hands £7.
A Settlement for the
These were the economic
conditions when the clearances took place. That was in 1819 and 1820. The
tenants of Strathnaver, Achumore, Strathmore and Strathbeg fled, they knew
not whither, when their homesteads were set on fire, under sheriff's warrant
of eviction. Those who did not go abroad or into the large towns were
permitted to squat on the inhospitable shores of An Ceathramh Garbh.
They came carrying their
household possessions in "crubags" on horseback, and leading their wives,
children and cattle over roadless hills and moors, poorly shod and clad and
fed. When they came they had not where to lay their heads. "They wandered
about in sheepskins and goatskins—being destitute, afflicted, tormented ;
they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the
earth." There was no one before them who could shelter them. Their children
were born under the shelter of the rocks and in caves by the sea shore.
Their sick and their aged were subjected to unspeakable hardships till death
mercifully released them, and they were received into everlasting
Referring to their
sufferings, Mr. Maciver wrote:—"The feeling created by the introduction of
sheep in the early years of the century, and by the clearances in
Strathnaver, which were carried out in a harsh and ruthless manner by some
of the parties who acted for the Sutherland estate, and by removals of
crofters to make way for sheep, had generated a strong rebellious tendency
in the minds of the lower classes in Sutherland against their superiors."
The Duke's factor and ground
officers granted and allocated lots of land to the refugees in such spots as
the poor creatures blindly selected.
They settled in Kinsaile,
Moll Ban, Rhimhichie, Achlyness, along the coast from Rhiconich to
Achrisgill river, in Achrisgill, Rhuvoult, Inshegra, Badcall, Kinlochbervie,
and Oldshore in such spots as were not already occupied.
Their first task was to erect
some shelter. Their houses were of the most primitive order. How could they
be otherwise? A foundation was cleared, usually at the head of the
allotment, and walls of stone and turf were raised. Lime or even clay was
not obtainable, and so they used turf to make the walls air-tight. Their
chief difficulty was to obtain wood for roofing, which consisted of turf
divots and heather or bent.
They lived on shell fish and
such other fish as they could catch. They had not been accustomed to the
sea, but it was kind to them. It was then teeming with fish. The trawler had
not come upon the scene to scatter and destroy the spawn. What they suffered
during the first years of occupation it is now impossible to relate, but the
sufferings and privations of those years of oppression and want left their
mark on the most thoughtful among them, and sent many to premature graves.
This large influx of people
made it necessary for the church to supply them with the ordinances of
religion. Kinlochbervie was but a sample of many districts in the Highlands
in which the population had been doubled, and even trebled, in the short
time of two or three years. So great were the changes, owing to the
evictions, that the Church appealed to Government to provide churches and
ministers. The response was great and, on the whole, generous. Churches and
manses, known as Parliamentary Churches, were erected, and a sum voted for
ministerial stipends. One of these was erected at Kinlochbervie—the first
church in the district—in 1829.
The land which they were
allowed to reduce to a state of cultivation could not have been wrought by
the plough. It was not only in a state of nature, but so rough and stony
that pinch, pick, and spade were the only instruments fit to be used on it.
The appearance of these lands, at the present time, suggests a long process
of laborious and unremunerative effort that is extremely pathetic. The
little heaps of grey stones with which these holdings are dotted, and the
dykes surrounding them were dug from the patches of soil that became the
fields in which they grew their crops.
The superior moderns, who
smile at the caschrom and caib, have little understanding of the poverty of
the soil, or of the futility of the toil of the poor folk, who were
condemned to eke out a living from land like that. A little knowledge might
modify their foolish scorn.
When unremitting labour
reduced the rough land to arable patches or fields the landlord gave
expression to his appreciation by increasing the rent, and there was no
appeal. Pay or go was the law. These increases took place as a rule on the
succession of a son or other relative after the decease of a holder—a mean
form of death duty.
When the Reay Estate passed
into the hands of the Sutherland family it was without roads. The Duke took
a most enlightened and generous interest in the construction of roads, by
means of which the country was opened up to the great advantage of the local
people and of the general public. The first road was constructed from
Kylesku to Durness, and thence to Tongue. Mails were conveyed by Kylesku and
Inchnandamph to Lairg, and by Durness and Tongue to Thurso. Foot runners
went and came between Kinlochbervie and Invershin, by Loch Garbad, Loch
More, and Lairg.
The outbreak of the potato
disease in 1846 caused much distress throughout the Highlands, and
particularly in this parish. Funds were raised by public subscription to
relieve distress, and a National Committee was formed for the equitable and
judicious distribution and administration of the money throughout the
affected area. That Committee recommended that work should be given to
able-bodied men, who were in need, and who were willing to work at
road-making. Public money would thus be used for the public service while at
the same time it relieved the immediate distress.
The Duke of Sutherland
informed the Committee that he would look after his own poor, and that no
grants would be needed from the Fund. At the same time he placed a large
amount of money in the hands of his factor, Mr. Evander Maciver, to provide
work and food for the people, saying, "that none must die for want of food."
The road from Rhiconich to Kinlochbervie was finished, and extended to
Sheigra under this scheme.
At the same time, and rising
out of the same distress, the road from Lairg to Laxford was constructed. It
cost £7,000, the Duke paying one half, and the National Committee the other.
The benefits of that road have been incalculable. At first, mail gigs went
and came twice a week to Lairg. Later there was a mail every second day, and
eventually a daily mail each way. Thus the potato disease, which was a sore
calamity at the tithe, has, by the wise fore-thought, self-sacrificing
service, and co-operating goodwill of our fathers, proved a real blessing to
The estate management took
advantage of the distress to remove many families from the parish, in order
to form sheep farms. Mr. Maciver tells us that he strongly advised His Grace
to assist the crofters to emigrate. "This," he says, "was an immense relief
to the remaining crofters, as the land possessed by the emigrants was
divided amongst them." That would have been a humane policy, if congestion
and distress were mitigated by emigration and enlargement of holdings for
those who remained. The facts, however, as revealed by Mr. Maciver himself,
show that the land cleared was not given to the remaining tenants, but was
formed into sheep farms.
In the case of Handa we have
this illuminating statement: "It was deemed best to convert it into a sheep
grazing. My farm being directly opposite to it, I became tenant of it, and I
occupied it for upwards of forty years." The people who removed from Handa
did not all emigrate. Some of them settled in the already congested district
of Kinlochbervie. Kinsaile and Moll Ban were cleared and Rhimhichie formed
into a sheep farm with 1,920 acres ; Skercha was cleared and made a sheep
run with 4,470 acres; the district between Rhiconich and Achrisgill river
was cleared and given to the hotel-keeper, 1,520 acres; Shegra was cleared
and made a sheep run of 1,300 acres; Sandwood was cleared and made a sheep
farm with 1,940 acres. Not an acre of the land cleared went to the
enlargement of the holdings of the remaining tenants, unless Sandwood may
possibly be conceived as such a case. It was let to Hugh MacKay, merchant,
Kinlochbervie, who already occupied Kinlochbervie farm.
The population varied greatly
in those years. In 1851 there were nearly 1,000 people in the parish. In
1861 it was between 800 and 900. The population in 1921 was 671. By 1931 it
had fallen to 593, that is by 78 or 11.6 per cent.
The first school at Badcall
Inchard was built on the shore, as people travelled along the shore before
roads were constructed. Boats conveyed pupils from Achlyness and Rhimhichie
to the school. For a time the teacher was Air. Samuel Grant. When the road
to Kinlochbervie was made the new school was built at the roadside.
The old school on the shore
was converted into a storehouse. During the years 1846 to 1849, the Duke
placed a large sum of money in the hands of Mr. Maciver to be used at his
discretion to relieve distress among the people. The inside walls of the
school were lined with tin foil. The floors were covered in the same way.
Quantities of meal were conveyed in bulk by ship from Caithness and placed
in the store for sale to the people at a reasonably cheap rate. The meal was
lifted in buckets out of the ship's hold and transferred ashore in small
boats. Factory-made meal sacks were not then in use.
In the early sixties
steam-boats came with supplies. Meal and other goods were properly labelled
and invoiced, addressed to each consignee. There were no local merchants
except Hugh MacKay, Kinlochbervie. It was then Colin Morrison, Balachrick,
began to deal in groceries, dry goods and live stock. He prospered. He was a
big-hearted, generous soul, who, though childless himself, could not bear to
think of a hungry child without supplying the parents, however deeply they
may have been indebted to him. It is said that when Colin was dying he sat
up in bed with his books on his knees and his pen in hand, and cancelled all
his outstanding arrears, praying, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our
Up till then the people grew
their own barley and oats, and made their own meal. There was a mill on the
river at Oldshore from time immemorial, and a small mill was erected on
Achrisgill river after tenants had settled in the district. Each township
had its own kiln, where the grain was prepared for the mill. The drying of
the corn was an art in which some, both men and women, were experts.
The kiln was a social centre
where young people met in the warmth of the oven, and spent the long nights
in song and story. Every house had its riddle to winnow and separate the
chaff from the grain, and its sieve to separate the husks from the meal.
When the meal returned ground from the mill, the sifting process was a heavy
task—a task which fell too often to the lot of the women of the household,
who toiled hard for their daily bread. They not only sifted the meal—they
baked it, and of the husks they made "sowans," that most delightful of all
cooling drinks in summer, or of heating drinks in winter.
The Great War.
It is not necessary for us to
receive a certificate from anyone as to the character of the people of the
parish, but if a certificate were needed for their public and social
behaviour, no one was better fitted to give it than the late factor, Mr.
Maciver, for he was not known to have shown much love for the people. In his
reminiscences he left his opinion of them in the following passage:—"The
crofters on the Sutherland estates had been treated with kindness ; while
the rents of the large farms had been more than doubled, the additions made
on the death of a crofter and his wife to the rent were trivial, if not
nominal, and removal was not carried out except for gross misconduct or
illegality, and for thirty years after I became factor, they were easy
managed in the Scourie agency. They had confidence in my sense of fairness
and justice as their factor, and the rents were paid, as a rule, with
regularity; in short, it was satisfactory as compared with most Highland
estates with crofter tenants."
Indeed, throughout the
history of the past century, serious crime was unknown. It is questionable
if there is a parish in Scotland with so clean a record. A high moral sense
has pervaded the community. That was not due to any fear of the law, but
wholly to the fear of God, and an enlightened public conscience.
The people of the parish have
always been noted for their patriotism. Whenever the country needed men it
found them standing at attention. Sixty-six men obeyed their country's call
and served in the Great War. Of these nine offered the supreme sacrifice,
which love has commemorated in the beautiful Memorial on Rhian point. (See
One of them, Robert M'Beath,
won the most coveted distinction open to any soldier in the ranks, namely,
THE VICTORIA CROSS, for a feat of bravery such as has not often been
surpassed in the far-flung fields of British warfare. His cool,
self-forgetting, and successful action indicated the spirit of his
Kinlochbervie comrades. The deeds of the one express the spirit of all.
The official terms of the
award speak with restrained eloquence of his "most conspicuous bravery" as
The King has been pleased to
approve of the award of
THE VICTORIA CROSS
to the undernamed for most
conspicuous bravery on the 20th November, 1917, when with his company in
attack and approaching the final objective, a nest of enemy machine guns in
the western outskirts of a village opened fire both on his unit and on the
unit on the right. The advance was checked and heavy casualties resulted.
When a Lewis gun was called
for to deal with these machine guns, L/Cpl. McBeath volunteered for the
duty, and immediately moved off alone with a Lewis gun and his revolver. He
located one of the machine guns in action, and worked his way towards it,
shooting the gunner with his revolver.
Finding several other hostile
machine guns in action, he, with the assistance of a tank, attacked them and
drove the gunners to ground in a deep dugout. L/Cpl. McBeath, regardless of
all danger, rushed in after them, shot an enemy who opposed him on the
steps, and drove the remainder of the garrison out of the dug-out, capturing
three officers and thirty men. There were in all five machine guns mounted
round the dug-out, and by putting them out of action he cleared the way for
the advance of both units.
The conduct of L/Cpl. McBeath
throughout three days of severe fighting was beyond praise.
The Divisional Commander
congratulates the recipient. Date of award, 11th. January, 1918.
L/Cpl. McBeath was attached
to the Sutherland and Caithness Battalion (Territorial) of the Seaforth
The publication of the news
of his heroic exploit and of His Majesty's award caught the imagination of
the Highland people, who proudly feted the hero and presented him with a
large sum of money as an expression of their boundless admiration.
After demobilisation he went
to Canada where he joined the Police Force in the City of Vancouver. Always
brave and fearless, he was placed on night duty in a part of the city noted
for disorder, the rendezvous of all nationalities, where he was shot dead
while on his rounds. It was a distressing calamity which filled all who knew
him with general regret. That a hero, who had won the highest award of his
King and the highest esteem of his friends, who seemed to have a promising
future in the sphere of service he had adopted, and who was still but a
youth, should have been cut off by the hand of a skulking assassin, was a
tragedy well calculated to produce, as it did, feelings of profound sorrow
When the Duke of Sutherland
resolved to sell his estate in small parcels, this parish was put up for
sale and was purchased by a native, the late Mr. George Morrison.
Mr. Morrison was born in
Strathan, where his father was for many years a shepherd on the farm of
Keoldale. He was educated at home, principally by the late Mr. George MacKay
of Badcall (who had been tutor to many lads who afterwards prospered), and
at Oldshore School. He was a lad o' parts. Though he went out into the world
penniless, he carried with him two valuable assets in life, a high ideal of
duty, and a great love for his native place. Fortune smiled upon him, and
when opportunity offered, he bought Kinlochbervie, and became the proud
laird of his native parish. He did not find it a gold mine, however, and,
beginning to feel the hand of time and disease heavy upon him, he sold it to
the late General Stronach. He then retired to his farm in Ullapool where he
Summers Stronach, C.B.E., was Vice-Chairman of Roadrails Ltd., the Stronach-Dutton
Roadrails Patent, which was operated mainly abroad. He surveyed the ground
for the introduction of the system between Lairg and Kinlochbervie.
He was educated at Merchiston,
served with the Colonial Forces in the Boer War, when he was severely
wounded. In the Great War he was Director of Roads and Bridges.