SOUTH LOCH NESS HERITAGE GROUP
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.

Normans presentation began with a name on a grave stone in Tomnahurich cemetery with died B.C. carved on it, which lead us to an expedition to the Yukon by four Invernesians and a Free Church minister. The intention of the Invernesian was to go to the gold mines in the Klondike to find their fortune in gold. Whilst the Minister intended to raise money to furnish the newly built Queen St Church by preaching to the people there and to give lectures on his return. The talk detailed the difficulty’s they had in reaching the goldfields in Dawson City with sinking of their boat on rapids on the Yukon river, resulting in the loss of one of their party.  There were no fortunes made by the remaining Invernesians at the Klondyke. The minister the Rev AC Macdonald was the first to return sending his account of the expedition on route to the Inverness Courier in late August 1898 and gave a lecture on 28 October in the Music hall Inverness.  A short history of the Rev AC Macdonald was given by Norman. Born in Garthbeg, Stratherrick went to Canada to get his Divinity degree, returned to Inverness to preach, and frequently travelled abroad, as far as India and Australia on various missions. In 1901 he retired from the active ministry of the congregation of the Queen St and engaged in spite of long-continued ill-health, farming.  Where he died at Leek, Fort Augustus in 1910. Two of his G-Grand nephews were in the audience for the talk. An excellent informative evening for the first talk since the start of the Covid pandemic.

SOUTH LOCH NESS HERITAGE GROUP
Summer Trip to Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway Museum
Saturday 18 September

further details contact Bon Main 01456486317

This event has unfortunately been cancelled

SOUTH LOCH NESS HERITAGE GROUP
7.30pm, Wednesday 22nd September, Stratherrick Hall
Inverness Klondikers in the Yukon, 1898: four adventurers and an eccentric Free Church minister
A talk by NORMAN NEWTON
Normans will relate the story of their experiences and actions in getting to Skagway, Alaska, their perilous trip up to the goldfields of the Klondike and the rewards if any they achieved there. The Eccentric Free Church minister was from Stratherrick
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Norman’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. This event will be hopefully broadcast simultaneously on Zoom. If you are interested on viewing on this platform contact Alister Chisholm alister.chisholm@btinternet.com

South Loch Ness Heritage Group after a gap in 2020 have produced this year their calendar, Boleskine and Dores Calendar 2021. Featuring pictures around our area of bygone times. On Sale now cost £12, Ideal Xmas present . Contact Alister Chisholm 01463715713

In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, we cancelled our March talk “Maps, map makers and map making; stories from the Lovat Estate by Roland Spencer Jones . We hope to have this in 2021 sometime, dependent on the current situation at the time .
For our Summer event this year we had hoped have two trips ,one to Invergarry Railway Station to see the work done by the Invergarry Station Preservation Society + we hoped to visit the the restored Kirkmichael Church in the Black Isle to look at the restoration work inside the church and adjoining graveyard . In light of current restrictions these will not now go ahead , we hope to hold these trips some time in 2021, all dependent on situation at time . Our talk in October following our AGM was to be by Norman Newton , “”Inverness Klondikers in the Yukon, 1898: Four explorers and an eccentric Free Church minister”, again this was cancelled we hope to have this in 2021, dependent on the current situation at the time .

On Tuesday 15th October 2019 at Stratherrick Hall we had a very interesting talk, excellently illustrated, by local author Jim Miller. Jim’s talk “The Great North Road” is based from his book “The Finest Road in the World: The Story of Travel and Transport in the Scottish Highlands”.
Jim led us on a journey from Perth to Thurso taking in the evolution of road transport, through the last three hundred years. How from drove roads taken by cattle to the markets in the south, the routes of a lot of them became the highways of today.
Of how General Wade and Major Caulfeild in the seventeen hundreds built the military roads for fast movement to troops to quell any uprising by unruly highlanders. The first road being from Fort George to Fort William through our district via Dramashie ,Torness back of Errogie, Gorthleck , Whitebridge over the Suidh to Fort Augustus . Jim mention Tolls or Turnpikes roads (charges for using roads) there were two toll stations in our area one at Scaniport and one at Drummond (Whitebridge).
Jim related anecdote’s of early travellers on horseback and the difficulties they faced including river crossings and accommodation, also the coming of the stagecoaches on the newly constructed roads in the early eighteen hundreds from Edinburgh to Inverness.
The coming of the railways saw the demise of the stagecoach, but they were still used on minor routes till the early part nineteen hundreds till the car or motorised bus replaced them.
Jim’s talk was preceded by a brief AGM of the Heritage Group.

Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June 2019 at Stratherrick Hall

Following the resounding success of our ‘Things we used to use’ two-day exhibition last summer, we decided to stage something similar this year. To mark the 100th birthday of the Forestry Commission, the Trees and Forests of South Loch Ness exhibition was mounted in (and outside) Stratherrick Hall, masterminded by Bob Main and Mags Fraser, with an informative and hugely entertaining talk by Bryce Reynard on the Friday evening. As last year, the local primary school pupils were our first guests on the Friday, and found the exhibits fascinating, asking lots of questions which showed their enthusiasm and interest.

Inside the hall were a wide variety of wall displays, maps, ‘browsing tables’ of books and magazines, forestry tools from ancient to modern, including power saws, trees themselves from seedlings of different species to full-grown cross-sections showing annual growth rings. Particularly impressive was Mags’ and Janet’s ‘timeline’ showing the history of forestry in South Loch Ness and its effects on the life and landscape of our area. Outside, on the hall wall, were some of the Forestry Commission’s signs (including fire warnings) that have been so familiar over the years, while in the car park were old Ferguson and Fordson tractors, a vintage McConnel circular saw and a modern mobile saw mill producing boards from logs – these were all demonstrated, attracting much interest. We had some members of the public looking in after the Friday school visits, but many more enjoyed the exhibition on Saturday, including a group of local retired foresters.

A good turnout of about forty heard Bryce’s talk on Friday evening. After a short but fascinating black-and-white film about Scottish forestry in the early 50s, Bryce launched into a wonderfully colourful life history, with anecdotes from his forestry career which took him to virtually every corner of Scotland. As his life history advanced, his assistant Fred Millwood modelled the various Commission uniform jackets used over the decades, from tweed with red collars with crowns on them, right up to modern fleeces. Bryce found a growing interest in hillwalking fitted in ideally with his job, and another profitable sideline was running bed-and-breakfast with his wife in their several forestry homes. Bryce and Fred rounded off a great evening with a tuneful and amusing duet, and one was left with a feeling that here were two men who had found the ideal life career!

In conclusion, many thanks are due to Bob (himself a civil engineer with the Forestry Commission) and to Mags (who got a little presentation for all her hours of meticulous preparation) and to the numerous people who lent material and artefacts for the display, and also several from outwith the Heritage Group who gave their time over the two days to help man (and woman!) the event. In all, another huge success for the Group.

On Tuesday 23rd April at Stratherrick Hall we had a wonderful talk, excellently illustrated, by Dr Iain Robertson of the UHI Centre for History at Dornoch.   Iain’s style was clear and dynamic, befitting a professional lecturer on history, and it was pleasing to see a good turnout to hear him.

Iain explained the background to land problems;  how the traditional clan idea that the land you lived and farmed on was ‘yours’ was slowly eroded as clan chiefs came to be seen as ‘owners’ who could sell their land, and it often became sheep runs and deer forests in the 18th and 19th centuries, causing the notorious ‘clearances’.   These resulted in many smallholders, or crofters, getting squeezed on to congested, marginal land where they were tenants.   Starvation came with frequent potato harvest failures, and desperation led to ‘land raids’ as the 19th century moved towards its end.   Acts, such as the 1911 Crofters’ Act, tried to mitigate the crofters’ plight, but with very limited success.

The Great War changed this climate radically.  The Highlands produced a bigger proportion of the fighting force than other UK areas, and these men were promised ‘a land fit for heroes’.   Further ‘land raids’ took place, which although they were illegal, were viewed with increasing sympathy due to the war sacrifices made by the ‘raiders’.   After the war, further Acts of Parliament strengthened campaigners’ hands, and most people wanting land ultimately succeeded in their quest.  Housing improvements were made too.   While the greatest pressures for granting land were in the Western Isles and Skye, land raids were recorded in the Kingussie area, and at Dell farm in Stratherrick.

Coming up to date, these campaigns for land can be seen as the forerunners of successful, modern ‘community buy-outs’ as seen in Assynt, Eigg, North Harris and Gigha.

Iain’s talk stimulated a considerable number of questions from his audience, which he ably answered, and thoroughly deserved the hearty vote of thanks accorded to him.

 

WADE BRIDGE OF WHITEBRIDGE TRUST AGM

Before Iain Robertson’s presentation, John Townshend, chair of the Wade Bridge Trust, gave a brief report, indicating that no significant events had occurred since the last AGM.   The committee remained the same.   Information and photos of the Trust’s successful work in stabilising the bridge were on display.

Louise Boreham who gave us a fascinating and thoroughly researched talk us at Aldourie Castle on the Aldourie Pottery in Dores on 22nd March 2016, has completed her book on Mary Seton Watts  and the Compton Pottery. Mary’s childhood home was Aldourie Castle, and between 1900-04 was involved with  setting up a pottery in Dores though the main pottery was at Compton near Guildford . The book will be published on 2nd May 2019 in Hardback,
ISBN No 9781781300855, price £35 and is already available to order in advance from

Watts Gallery on-line shop    https://shop.wattsgallery.org.uk/collections/bespoke-books/products/marty-seton-watts-and-the-compton-pottery

Bloomsbury   https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/mary-seton-watts-and-the-compton-pottery-9781781300855/

Waterstones    https://www.waterstones.com/book/mary-seton-watts-and-the-compton-pottery/hilary-calvert/louise-boreham/9781781300855

Amazon    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Seton-Watts-Compton-Pottery/dp/1781300852

Blackwells    https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Mary-Seton-Watts-and-the-Compton-Pottery-by-Hilary-Calvert-author-Mary-S-Watts-Louise-Boreham-author/9781781300855


Mary Seton Watts  
and the Compton Pottery

By Hilary Calvert and Louise Boreham

The first biography of Mary Seton Watts showcasing her outstanding design skills and the art potteries she established.

This comprehensive book is both a biographical exploration of the early life of Mary Seton Watts and a survey of the pottery she designed. Her roots in Scotland, her artistic career and her marriage to the Victorian artist George Frederic Watts all influenced the design of the Grade 1 listed Cemetery Chapel at Compton and the art potteries which she then set up, both in Compton (The Potters’ Arts Guild) and in her home village near Inverness. The pottery at Compton was in business for more than fifty years, making terracotta garden ware, memorials and small decorative pieces. It remained open through two World Wars and a trade depression. This highly illustrated publication showcases the beautiful and individual pieces of pottery and is a fitting tribute to the ability of Mary Watts to coordinate both people and resources.

Hilary Calvert‘s interest in The Potters’ Arts Guild started with a chance visit to the Watts Gallery in 1988, when the then Curator showed her pottery as well as pictures. Having previously written a book on ‘Chameleon Ware Art Pottery’, this was another opportunity for research which soon led to a collection of Compton pottery and ultimately to the publication of this book.

Louise Boreham has been researching the Compton and Aldourie Potteries following the discovery in the 1980s, that her sculptor grandfather, Louis Deuchars, began his career as the lead modeller of the terracotta decoration on the Compton Cemetery Chapel. She has contributed to books and published articles on architectural sculpture and ceramics, lectured to specialist interest groups and taken part in radio and television broadcasts on the subject.