South Loch Ness Heritage Group

Public Meeting at Wildside on Tuesday 27th September 2022

Alister Chisholm gave an illustrated talk to an audience of around 25 people, on the subject of his researches in to the background of those named on the Stratherrick War Memorial from both World Wars. This research was the basis for the publication of his book, “Lest You Forget” which was launched in December last year.

Alister focussed on a few individual men to show how his work had uncovered interesting facts about them, which even their descendants were unaware of. His searches also unearthed previously unknown photographs, which in some cases showed more than one person named on the memorial and expanded the family history in these instances.

In the case of an airman killed in WW2, whose name had been missed off the memorial. Alister has arranged for it to be added, with the thanks of his surviving, elderly daughters.




During the illustrated talk on the book, Alister will relate the stories behind some of the names of the fallen, also events in the district during WW1.

Copies of the book will be available for sale on the night

Admission is free, but a collection will be taken during the meeting

On Saturday the 23rd July 2022 the South Loch Ness Heritage Group had had a stall in one of the larger marquees, along with the local spin and chatter group and the Strathnairn Farmers at the Corriegarth Highland Gathering . The Gathering was the first event of its type for several years for Strath and the first large event since Covid. The last one being the Stratherrick games at Compass around 1987, to raise funds for the upgrading Stratherrick Hall. The Gathering was well attended and lots of attendees came to our marque to see the displays, featuring all aspects of Sheep Husbandry, Game-keeping and the Startherrick Glass Ball /Clay Pigeon Club and the maps concerning Corriegarth and the British Aluminium water management in 1896 to provide hydro power to the factory at Foyers . There was also a mystery object competition for a £10 book voucher , which was won by Alan Beith, Trinliost area. Outside the tent was a pony saddle for carring deer from the hill after being shot and a shepherds shearing stool where the sheared sat at one end and the sheep was placed on the stool and clipped . There was also a selection of vintage tractors, agriculture equipment and a Saw mill that our chairperson Bob Main’s personal collection ,which through the afternoon were involved in giving working demonstrations .

Mystery objects stall
Sheep Display
Gamekeeping and Glass ball club display
Deer Saddle and Shearing Stool
Vintage Tractors
Saw bench

For our first summer outing since 2015, the South Loch Ness Heritage Group had a field trip on the 2nd July 2022 to the refurbished Medieval Kirkmichael in the Black Isle. The Kirkmichael Trust under the chairmanship of Dr Jim Mackay have repaired the ancient and derelict buildings at Kirkmichael and created a unique display of local medieval ornamental crosses within the refurbished buildings. Jim met the group and explained the layout of the old and new parts of the adjoining graveyard, why the older part is raised a couple of feet in height above new, due to the density of interments over the last six hundred years in that part. Also explained and showed example of pre reformation flat grave stones, table stones and the upright gravestones. One of Jim’s colleagues Davine showed us the only Gaelic gravestone in the cemetery even though that was the language spoken in the district, all of the older gravestones were engraved with old Scots. Jim then took us inside the refurbished Chancel and Nave of the church and explained the reason for the symbols on the medieval crosses there, also regaling us with stories about some of the families within the area that were interred in the churchyard .    The subject of  photogrammetry was explained  to us which is taking about 50 photographs of a badly eroded gravestone in various angles and in different lights and by a computer programme a more clear indication of what is carved  on the stone  can be obtained .   The trust have done a marvellous job at the site and are still actively repairing stones etc on site each Saturday. Our group were fascinated by the visit and of the restoration work that has been done, and still ongoing. Locally in our district we have Boleskine cemetery which the earliest stone recorded to date is 1729, which within its boundary has a Mort House, the only one in the North of Scotland, the nearest other ones are in Aberdeenshire .  On seeing what has been done at Kirkmichael surely there is scope for a similar project here.

The South Loch Ness Heritage Group have organised a field trip on the 2nd July at 12 noon to the refurbished Medieval Kirkmichael in the Black Isle, between Resolis and Jemimavile. The Kirkmichael Trust have repaired the ancient and derelict buildings at Kirkmichael and created a unique display of medieval ornamental crosses within the building. The trust are still actively repairing the old memorials within the adjoining graveyard. For our visit we will be met at 12 noon by their chairman Dr Jim Mackay, who will guide us throughout our time on site. If you could let Alister Chisholm 01463715713 or know if you would be interested in going to gauge numbers. See link for information on the site.

During both World Wars, extra timber was urgently needed and thousands of lumberjacks were recruited by the UK from Newfoundland (Newfies) to help cut and process trees, mostly in Scotland

Unlike the Canadian Timber Corps the Newfoundlanders were not military men (Newfoundland was not part of the Canadian Federation till 1949) and volunteered to come to Britain.  Generally the Canadians set up the camps and sawmills and moved on leaving them to be operated by the Newfoundlanders. The sawmills were set up all over the country where there was available timber, mainly in Scotland.

Remnants of the mill at Whitebridge, just north of the Wildside Centre was examined and photographed by Alasdair and featured in the presentation, where 35 people came to hear Alasdair’s fascinating talk. He included slides of the crowded boats that crossed the Atlantic, foresters in action, maps of camps and a historic newsreel. Many Newfies stayed and married local lassies.

Alasdair brought his collection of old axes (including double-bladed) and tools, and our own Alister Chisholm displayed his grandfather’s Board of Trade purchase order dating from 1946 for equipment from the Whitebridge sawmill. On display was the large circular saw blade and rollers from the bench.

A Newfoundland man living in Invergarry came to the talk and brought his father who had arrived in Scotland the previous day to visit his family. They added greatly to the discussions afterwards. It was good to hear the noisy hubbub of a live interactive meeting.

£210 in donations were made for the Disasters Emergency Committee (Ukraine)

Visiting Lumberjacks: Forestry Corps in Wartime Scotland, on 11 May at 7:30pm, at Wildside, Whitebridge. 

Alasdair Cameron will talk about the importance of timber in both World Wars and how lumberjacks crossed the oceans to harvest the Scottish trees and meet the Scottish Lassies.  With reference to the Newfoundland (Newfies) Forestry Camp at Whitebridge which was active in the later part of WW2 and for a period at the end of the war.  Though masks are not compulsory, Heritage group talks attract many people from at risk groups so we would request that masks will be worn for the talk.

Admission to this talk is free with donations welcome .On this occasion all donations will be given towards aid in Ukraine via the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Future Heritage events:- 2nd July trip to  Kirkmichael Trust  in the Black Isle( ) and Lest You Forget Stratherrick, talk by Alister Chisholm in September.

“Lest You Forget Stratherrick” by Alister Chisholm.  Cost £7 + P& P where applicable . Now available to get a copy contact Alister at 01463 715713, or . Also available from Cameron’s Tea Rooms, Foyers and Inverarnie Stores .

The book gives information on the names of fallen of both World Wars that are listed on the Stratherrick War Memorial. Also detailing events in the district during the First World War, including recruitment locally to the forces, how the manufacturing and agriculture of the area managed during WW1 when so many men were away at war. Fund raising for help and comforts to be sent to the local serving men, military service tribunals and land raids by returning demobilised servicemen. Also includes a Roll of Honour of servicemen from the district who served during WW1 and List of Subscribers who contributed to the memorial. See Publication page

Yesterday evening (Tuesday 23rd November 2021) saw the latest in a series of talks, held at Stratherrick hall and hosted by the South Loch Ness Heritage group. The evening’s speaker was Roland Spencer-Jones from the North of Scotland Archaeological society (NoSas) and the subject was Stories from the Lovat estate maps, maps, mapmakers and mapmaking.It was heartening, despite the inclement weather and necessary covid measures to see a good turnout. It was especially pleasing to see some of the younger members of the community in attendance. Hopefully they found the talk of interest.Roland’s talk was delivered with enthusiasm and not a little humour. He described his discovery in the Lovat estate office of some 395 maps dating between 1757 and 1890, how he catalogued them and with assistance from the National Library of Scotland and some stalwart volunteers, the maps were digitised and made available on-line to everyone.With a particular focus on Stratherrick, Roland spoke about the surveyors who made the maps and the challenges they faced. He described the reasons why maps were, prior to the formation of the Ordnance survey produced and how mapmaking evolved over this period from what were little more than pictures with only a passing resemblance to the country it described to the kind of cartographical images with which we are familiar today.The final part of the talk became a little more hands on. Roland produced a selection of items which would have been used by the surveyors who produced the maps. The use of chains, for calculating distance and cross poles for ensuring straight lines and accurate 90 degree angles were demonstrated with assistance from audience members.Roland closed his talk with a cri de Coeur. One map was found missing from the Lovat estate archive, that map is the 1757 map of Stratherrick by Peter May. Roland asked if anyone came across it, stored in an attic of under their bed could they let him know as it was a national treasure.Having finished speaking Roland was thanked by Bob Main, Chairman of the South Loch Ness Heritage group for a most entertaining evening.

7.30pm, Tuesday 23rd November, Stratherrick Hall
Stories From The Lovat Estate Maps
Maps, Mapmakers, Mapmaking, of the Lovat Estates which includes large parts of Stratherrick
A talk by Roland Spencer -Jones

Roland will decribe the NoSAS project which digitised the maps of the Lovat Estates, showing a number of examples. He will explore the world of pre-OS map-making, focusing on the stories that the Lovat Estate maps tell us

Wade Bridge Trust
Roland’s presentation will be preceded by a short AGM

Due to Covid, for this event at Stratherrick Hall the wearing of masks will be compulsory for everyone, no exceptions during the period you are in the building. This is for the protection of yourself and others attendees of the event. Sanitizer will be provided and list of Attendees for track and trace will be taken . Dress warmly as hall window may be open to give ventilation.