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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
by James Barron
Newspaper Index and Annals

Highlands - The Wild North West starring Granddad MacRa

Volume 1

No. I - 1807
No. II - 1808
No. III - 1809
No. IV - 1810
No. V - 1811
No. VI - 1812
No. VII - 1813
No. VIII - 1814
No. IX - 1815
No. X - 1816
No. XI - 1817
No. XII - 1818
No. XIII - 1818
No. XIV - 1819
No. XV - 1820
No. XVI - 1821
No. XVII - 1822
No. XVIII - 1823
No. XIX - 1824
Appendix A

Appendix B
Appendix C

Volume 2

No. I - 1825
No. 2 - 1826
No. 3 - 1827
No. 4 - 1828
No. 5 - 1829
No. 6 - 1830
No. 7 - 1831
No. 8 - 1832
No. 9 - 1833
No. 10 - 1834
No. 11 - 1835
No. 12 - 1836
No. 13 - 1837
No. 14 - 1838
No. 15 - 1839
No. 16 - 1840
No. 17 - 1841

Volume 3

No. 1 - 1842
No. 2 - 1843
No. 3 - 1844
No. 4 - 1845
No. 5 - 1846
No. 6 - 1847
No. 7 - 1848
No. 8 - 1849
No. 9 - 1850
No. 10 - 1851
No. 11 - 1852
No. 12 - 1853
No. 13 - 1854
No. 14 - 1855
No. 15 - 1856
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Reminiscences of a Clachnacuddin Non Agenrian (pdf)
Guide to Inverness (pdf)


Achanlochy Clearance Village
One of the last villages to be cleared on the Sutherland estates

In the early 19th century a small community of crofting families lived on low ground beside Lochan Duinte, at the north end of Strathnaver. The Strathnaver region was part of the vast Sutherland Estates, and like so many crofting communities in the estate, it suffered from the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland's decision to clear existing farmers from the land in favour of more lucrative sheep.

Achanlochy was one of the last communities to suffer from the Clearances. The man responsible for the earlier clearances was the Sutherland's factor, Patrick Sellar. Sellar had been forced to resign his post in part due to adverse publicity generated by his harsh methods of evicting families from crofting villages. But Sellar did not leave the region, instead he became a sheep farmer himself. Sellar, and others like him, wanted even more land cleared for sheep. It fell to his successor, Francis Suther, to carry out the clearances.

Though it seems Suther was himself a generous man, he gave his constables free reign to enforce evictions of families from the glen. This including burning cottages so they could not be reused. Though the methods of the constables drew more adverse publicity, it did not stop the evictions.

In 1819 there were 7 families living at Achanlochy, sharing the fields in a communal system and growing oats and potatoes. They kept cattle, chickens, goats, and sheep, and fished from the nearby lochan. Six of these families were resettled locally, using barren ground at Strathy, Aultiphurst, and Armadale. One family left for a better life in the south. As for the village, it was left to moulder into ruin, and now bracken covers the foundation walls of the houses, corn kilns, and barns.

Achanlochy is a lonely place, a feeling emphasized by the fact that so little of the foundations can be seen. It takes a keen eye to pick out the shape of buildings beneath the turf and bracken. For that reason it is best to visit in Spring before the bracken reaches its full height. That said, you can make out quite a bit of the building remains. There are a pair of excellent information plaques with a layout of the major buildings and a history of the site. To the west of Achanlochy is a white house called Achaboorin, the home of the first sheepmaster to farm the area after the village was cleared.

Achanlochy forms part of the Strathnaver Trail, linking historic sites throughout the glen. Just north of the village is Coille na Borgie Chambered Cairs, and the Iron Age broch at Achcoillenaborgie. If you want to learn more about the Sutherland Clearances I can recommend Timespan in Helmsdale, and the Strathnaver Museum in Bettyhill; both are excellent local resources.

Location: On the minor road to Skelpick, off the A836 south of Bettyhill. Well signposted on the east side of the road. Nearest postcode is KW14 7SQ

Achanlochy Township Part 1

Achanlochy Township Part 2

High Life Highland
High Life Highland is a charity registered in Scotland, formed on the 1st October 2011 by The Highland Council to develop and promote opportunities in culture, learning, sport, leisure, health and wellbeing across 9 services throughout the whole of the Highlands, for both residents and visitors.

For info on everything from the hugely popular High Life leisure card (which offers affordable access to dozens of leisure facilities), to how to get the best out of our Highland Libraries, what happens at the Highland Archive & Registration Centre or a host of other aspects of cultural, sporting, leisure and learning life in Highland, just follow the links on this site.

Visit HighLife Highland

The Catholic Highlands of Scotland
By Dom. Odo Blundell, O.S.B., FSA SCOT in two volumes (1909)
Volume 1  |  Volume 2

Ancient Catholic homes of Scotland
By Dom. Odo Blundell, O.S.B., FSA SCOT (1907)

Records of the Presbyteries of Inverness and Dingwall 1643-1688
Edited, with an Introduction, from the Original Manuscript, by William Mackay (1896) (pdf)

Return to our History Page


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