The MacGillivray Photo Collection

The MacGillivray family were from at least the late eighteen fifties staying in the farm at North Lyne Gorthleck, having come there from Balnain near Balnabeeran, Torness.  William who took over North Lyne farm had nine of a family, two of whom Donald and William went into the retail trade. The house known locally as Loch Mhor Stores, Lyne of Gorthleck was built around 1820 by Evan Barron and run as a general merchants and Post Office. Around 1870 it was sold to Donald Cameron when he came to Stratherrick from Islay

Lyne of Gorthleck at the latter end of the nineteen century was possibly the commercial centre of Gorthleck.   In 1883 there was the Post Office and General stores run by Donald Cameron, along the road westward at Laracks a general grocer store run by Ewen Fraser.  Donald MacGillivray in 1886 took over the mail contract between Inverness to Whitebridge.  By that year an Alex Fraser had opened up another shop at Moorland Cottage, Lyne below the road from Donald Cameron’s making it three shops in close proximity.

By 1896 Donald MacGillivray as well as leasing a shop in 58 Denny Street Inverness, also had taken over Donald Cameron’s shop (Loch Mhor Stores) at Lyne. Two years later Donald married Barbara Cameron, daughter of Donald Cameron. Barbara was one of the Nightingale nurses having been trained in St Thomas’s Hospital London by Florence Nightingale.  Following her marriage she performed nursing duties in Stratherrick, prior to the district nurse service starting.

Donald and Barbara had five of a family, Helen, Williameena (Meena), Donald, John and Angus. In 1898 Donald leased the shop at Gorthleck to his older brother William as his tenant. William previously had run the shop in Denny Street prior to Donald. By 1900 William had taken over the lease of Moorland Cottage and Shop (now called Economic Stores) from Alex Fraser and Donald moved back into Loch Mhor Stores, so the two brothers had both shops in the area as Ewen Fraser’s shop had closed some years previously.

This arrangement continued up to 1912 when William MacGillivray died and his wife Mary took over the running of the shop till it burnt down in October 1915. Donald meantime whilst continuing with the Shop and mail contract, had introduced a passenger bus to Inverness. He also turned the house into a Guest House, then unsuccessfully attempted to make into a licensed hotel. When this failed to get approval, it continued as a Guest house and he built a couple of wooden semi- detached houses for letting.

Donald also introduced a mobile shop to the district long before traveling shops became a feature of the country scene, installed a petrol pump, took over the family farm at North Lyne and for a period was awarded the local hearse contract. In 1933 Donald died and the business was taken over by his youngest son, Angus.   By this time it was a general merchants and grocers, the Post Office, mail and hearse contracts along with the passenger bus were no longer part of the family business

In 1957 Angus married Grace Macmillian from Strathnairn.   Grace was a nurse who was tending Angus’s sister Helen and mother Barbara . Angus and Grace had two of a family Fiona & Ruth.

Around 1969 with the Loch Mhor Stores beginning to show its age, Angus embarked in upgrading the 1890’s shop to a modern self- service store. Unfortunately no photos seem to have taken of the interior of the old shop. A sitting room at the front of the house along with the adjacent old store became the new shop complete with display window. Whilst the old shop was refurbished into a store-room for the new shop, this refurbishment was done in a two stage operation ensuring the local community had continuous access to supplies.

In 1981 Angus died, the business was then run by his wife Grace until 1983 when it was sold to Karl Heinz Fraser, whose wife Janet was a descendant of Alex Fraser who had the shop across the road in the 1890’s.

We have included pictures of interest from other contributors that are relevant to the MacGillivray family or shops around Lyne of Gorthleck.

Copyright Alister Chisholm 2023

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