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As Argyll’s historic township museum prepares to reopen to the public its director gave local history fans a unique insight to the stories behind it.
Auchindrain director Bob Clark addressed the Inveraray History Society members to give them background to the history of the familiar heritage site.
The open-air museum offers a first-hand insight into original Gaelic life.
Auchindrain was the last inhabited Highland farming township where people lived and worked from the medieval period up until the 1960s; the last tenant died in 1963.
The oldest map available, produced in 1789 by surveyor George Langlands, indicates recommendations for dividing the area into crofts but, as the owners of the land, Inveraray Castle decided it would not be financially viable.
A large proportion of the land was only suitable for grazing mainly tough small black cattle, the rest being used as arable land to feed the hard working community in the harsh conditions.
While staying at the castle in 1875, Queen Victoria visited Auchindrain to see for herself one of the last surviving ‘primitive’ settlements, following the infamous clearances. During the 1960s, it was decided to preserve the small township as a museum.
Members were given a visual tour of the current site, showing evidence of cottages housing people offering different trades for the whole area, such as a weaver and a tailor.
A wise old woman, otherwise known as the local witch, created herbal remedies for the locals.
Long houses were used with cows kept in the next room to provide some warmth for the houses in winter.
Auchindrain started using corrugated iron in the early 19th century, for its light and easy to use properties, although it was expensive.
By 1892 corrugated steel was being used and one roof still exists today, 120 years later. Auchindrain had a contract for transporting ore by horse and cart.
Maintenance of the museum relies heavily on volunteers and it would welcome anyone who would like to learn more about thatching or dry stone walling.
The Inveraray history society will meet again on the first Tuesday of October and will publicise the topics for the season on the Inveraray and District History Society Facebook page.