Loch Ness heritage group letters

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.




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.