A day in the northern Highlands

Old Aug 1st, 2020, 07:33 AM
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A day in the northern Highlands

On a photography site I frequent I recently posted this set of images (and the narrative) from a one-day road trip I took a few years ago in the northern Highlands of Scotland. I was in the country for a few days catching up with a bunch of old (and getting older) friends in and around Edinburgh, but has a couple of extra days to drive around, so I used two of them to revisit some parts of the western and northern Highlands that I hadn't been to for a long time.

I started and ended in Inverness, then went north via a couple of historic sites all the way to the north coast, then back. Here's the route if interested: Google Maps

Struie Hill, overlooking the inner Dornoch Firth

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The first historic site was the old church at Croick, in an isolated spot in Strathcarron, a wide and quite empty valley. The church (or kirk) is noteworthy from the role it played during the infamous Highland Clearances that followed the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Families of Highlanders, who had lived and worked on the land for centuries, were evicted to make way for sheep farming. Many of the local families were forced to stay in the Croick churchyard while they awaited transport out of the region - often to Glasgow, or to the coast, or in many cases to the West Indies and North America.

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While they were waiting for their forced relocation, some scratched messages in the window panes of the church, which are still visible. Some of them reflect the sense of guilt the church and landlords attempted to inflict on them; they were told their eviction was punishment for their past sins (such as supporting the rebellion.)
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As a result of these clearances, the region now appears almost completely depopulated, with some evidence of previous residents still visible.

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Of course not everyone fared poorly from these actions, in particular the landowners.

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I then headed north through extremely empty country, aiming for my second historic site, a prehistoric broch or fortress sitting along the side of a road so remote and tiny that it lacks an official designation.

The landscape is beautiful, wild, and lonely.

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Broch Dun Dornaigil sits next to the road. It was probably built around 1000 BC but nobody's certain. It was a hollow "beehive" shaped structure, now partially collapsed. It just sits there in a valley where the only noise is the wind and distant sheep.

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The triangular keystone over the low entrance is fairly impressive when one considers it was put into place with nothing but muscle power.

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I then went up to the village of Tongue, on the north coast, before turning south to return to Inverness. Just south of the village the panorama of the countryside, with Ben Loyal and Ben Hope bracketing the various glens and straths, was impressive.

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Attached Thumbnails A day in the northern Highlands-2-20130614_67dt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-3-20130614_63hs.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-4-20130614_25dt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-5-20130614_73hdt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-6-20130614_90hdt.jpg  

A day in the northern Highlands-7-20130614_94dt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-8-20130614_105dt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-9-20130614_118hs-1.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-10-20130614_172dt.jpg   A day in the northern Highlands-11-20130614_164dt.jpg  

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Last edited by Gardyloo; Aug 1st, 2020 at 08:12 AM.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2020, 11:33 AM
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Beautiful -- the photo near Tongue with the gorse in the foreground and the mountains in the background epitomizes northern Scotland IMO. Wish I could be there right now -- social distancing absolutely would NOT be a problem Getting there is the hang up . . .

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Old Aug 13th, 2020, 02:22 PM
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I believe I’ve seen some of these photos on another of your posts but love seeing them again and several are new. IMO, the northern Highlands are absolutely beautiful and probably my favorite place in Scotland. Love the isolation although with all the recent promotion of the 500, it is getting more popular. I too would love to be there now or any time for that matter. Thanks for posting and bringing back memories.
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