Loch Ness heritage group letters

On Thursday 18th April 2024 at Stratherrick Hall the South Loch Ness Heritage group held its spring talk “History of Inverness Hospitals” the speaker being Steve Leslie . Before an enthralled audience of around forty people, Steve a Consultant Cardiologist at Raigmore Hospital and co-author along with his father Jim, of the book The Hospitals of Inverness, took us on a virtual road trip across the highlands describing medical facilities from the eighteen fifties till the present day. Steve told us of Fever Hospitals, Cottage Hospitals, Maternity hospitals, Military Hospitals, Asylums and Sanatoriums , illustrated with photos of some of them and highlighted important design features of attributed to different types of hospitals. Steve went on to give a brief history of the medical facilities in our area, with the coming of the British Aluminium Company which provided funding in the late eighteen nineties to bring a doctor to Foyers.

Steve recounted the different types of facilities for medical assistance that existed in Inverness and mentioned the Inverness city walking audio tour of them. The tour is available at and search for ‘inverness’

There is a website, History of Highland Hospitals which Steve and Jim Leslie provide a comprehensive medical history of the area , that also gives a link to the Inverness walking tour (Hospitals on Geotourist )

For our Spring talk we have the History of Inverness Hospitals by Stephen Leslie on the 18th April at Stratherrick Hall at 7:30 pm . Stephen a Consultant Cardiologist at Raigmore Hospital is co-author of the book The Hospitals of Inverness, will talk on medical facilities in Inverness and our locality from last Century and before.

On Tuesday 5th December 2023 at Stratherrick hall the South Loch Ness Heritage group held its AGM followed by a talk by group stalwart Alister Chisholm.

The presentation consisted of two audio recording of Stratherrick residents past to which Alister had added a superb selection of photographs relevant to the topics mentioned.

The first recording was of Maisie MacMillan (1924-2011) who was raised at 2 County cottages, Gorthleck, spent her professional career away and then returned on retirement. Maisie spoke on numerous subjects on growing up in the strath, amongst these schooling, employment and characters were prominent.

The second recording was of David Rose (1891-1968) David lived most of his life in the Strath mainly following his father as a gamekeeper at Farraline estate. David was as Gaelic speaker and it was interesting to hear his pronunciation of local place names, and when speaking English David spoke in the authentic Stratherrick accent.

David spoke on many interesting subjects amongst there life in the strath in the early 1900’s, illicit stills, whisky smuggling and excise men and the numerous ‘characters’ that inhabited the Strath.

Despite the icy conditions there was a reasonable turnout and Alisters efforts were much appreciated by all present.

Further talks will be held in the New Year, watch social media and local notice boards for details.

Today (Sat 30 Sept 23) saw our much anticipated Errogie to Inverfarigaig walk via the Farigaig pass. Hosted by Alex Sutherland the walk attracted about 35 participants of all ages. Alex enthralled us with many stories highlights of which were those of a bloodless battle, the skeleton of a highlander within a growing tree and a murder whilst he also showed us the location of croft houses long collapsed and a gate to the world of the Faeries. Alex was not our only commentator, John Townsend spoke about General Wades roads, Alister Chisholm showed us one of the locations where our outside pulpit was used for open air services. He also described in some detail the life and death of James Bryce to whom a memorial stands in the pass.

Bob Main spoke on a number of subjects especially of note was his description of the old Bobbin mill whilst Morag gave us an insight into the pronunciation and meaning of the Gaelic names we met with and told us the story of Deidre of the sorrows and Dun Deardil.

The SLNHG would like to thank all those who assisted and gave freely of their time to make the walk a success.

 For a belated summer event the Heritage Group on Saturday 30th September will have “A WALK IN THE PASS/T “.

Starting at Errogie Corner at 10am we will walk down the Pass of Inverfarigaig arriving at the shores of Loch Ness at approx 1pm.

 This 4.5km guided walk will look at the Geology, History, Archaeology/Past Industry, Mythology and General Anecdotes about the area.

This event coincides and will feature as part of the Highland Archaeology Festival 2023.  If you intend going please contact Bob Main on 01456486317 for further information and to book a place on walk. This is to enable us to assess numbers attending and to arrange logistics.

Whilst doing the memorial recording at Boleskine graveyard the Heritage Group members noted the further decay in the state of the roof on the Mort house building within the graveyard.

A tree had come down in a storm in 2013 and broke and dislodged slates on the roof, this had never been repaired by the Highland Council who own the building.

The Heritage Group had approached the Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust in 2019 to see if a grant could be obtained to repair the roof, but due to their policies at the time was outwith their remit. In 2023, we again contact the Trust with a view to submitting a request for a grant to repair the roof and were advised to submit an application via them to the Stronelairg Windfarm Fund.

However as the intervening the weather and other factors had taken its toll on the building resulting in the mort house requiring a new roof which will entailed applying for Listed Building consent.

We submitted an application to Stronelairg Windfarm Fund for a grant to renew the roof, repair damaged stonework and to repoint all the building’s wall’s.

We are delighted to announce that we were successfully with our application and work is currently ongoing to sort the stonework and repoint the building. Once Listed Building consent is granted, work will then commence on renewing the roof.

The latest South Loch Ness Heritage groups series of local interest talks was held on Thursday the 30th March 2023 at Stratherrick Hall. Unusually there were two showings, an afternoon matinee at 1.30pm and an evening showing at 7.30pm, and fortunate it was as the talk attracted unprecedented numbers to attend. The afternoon showing attracted 47attendees some of whom came from outwith the Strath and included eleven Primary 7 pupils from Farr School accompanied by their teacher Donna Grant. Whilst the evening event attracted 49 some travelling from as far afield as Wick.

What attracted so much attention you may ask! Well the answer would be for the first time since 2005 Alister Chisholm (jnr) was presenting a series of audio interviews that his father Alister Chisholm (snr) gave back in the 1980’s. Alister introduced the recording of his father’s memoirs in the Strath going back to the years after the two World Wars. Accompanied by many photographs on screen in keeping with the narrative we saw how costume had changed, the type of work people did then, what transport was like, when power came to homes, what events/ sports took place, how dominant the 12th August was for the start of shooting parties to the Estate Lodges and tracing the history of the churches and schools in the area, etc.   Appropriate dates were included.

    It was indeed a very fascinating and interesting Talk which captured the attention of everyone young and old. It certainly gave us much to compare and think about.

Thanks are due to Ernie Randall for once again setting up and controlling the sound element of the talk. Thanks are also due to the ladies of the Soup to go group for arranging teas, coffees and a wonderful selection of biscuits.

A total of £228 was received in donations from those attending both talks for which the SLNHG offers their thanks.

Future talks are planned and will be advertised on both the SLNHG and local Face book sites, on roadside boards and on local notice boards.

M Fraser, R Morley.


At Stratherrick Hall on Thursday 30th March, the event will run at two separate times. An afternoon one at 1.30pm and an evening one at 7.30pm

The Alister Chisholm Tapes (1923-91), which were last played locally in 2005, are recordings of the late Alister’s memories of Stratherrick throughout the 20th century and before, with many contemporary photographs of the area .

All Welcome. Admission is free, but a collection will be taken at the meetings

The Heritage Group are still actively seeking new committee members to assist with their current and future projects. If you are interested in helping , please contact Bob Main or Alister Chisholm.

The recording of all memorials within the Boleskine Graveyard is now complete, See details under Project Tab

The South Loch Ness Heritage Groups latest talk was held at Wildside on Tuesday 28th October. The talk followed on from the groups summer visit to the restored medieval Kirk of KirkMichael which is located on the Black isle.

Dr Jim MacKay took the group on a journey starting at the realisation that the Kirk was in danger of total collapse to, 15 years later its full restoration. Dr Mackay described how funding was found, how the project was almost abandoned when the roof fell in one snowy night, and how with the perseverance and common sense of numerous tradesmen and volunteers the Kirk and surrounding Kirkyard were restored to what can be seen now.

The second part of the talk illustrated the numerous beautiful and historically significant medieval engraved stones found at KirkMichael and nearby Cullicudden kirk. The methods used to preserve the stones was described as was the methods used for reading inscriptions illegible to the naked eye.

At the talks culmination SLNHG chair, Bob Main thanked Dr MacKay on behalf of the group for an interesting, engaging at at times humorous talk.