Saturday, March 7, 2015

Achencraig Clearance. Article V, 2/ 10/1879 - Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Badbea, and Neighbourhood – Part B

Article V. written by Alexander Gunn, aka A Native of Badbea was printed in the Northern Ensign on 2 Oct 1879. Part B

"Though none of the Achencraig folk could be said to be rich, one could get the loan of a twenty pound note from a neighbour fast enough. They lived a frugal, simple, and honest life: industrious and pushing, and very comfortable. There was this difference between them and the Badbea folks, that while one pony was all the horses Badbea could boast of, the Achencraig folk could turn out one each, at least, and all their farming being done in the usual way they raised excellent crops. I have seen as good crops in Achencraig as I have seen anywhere, but no matter. It was laid waste, and the people, some of them born in the place, and who had reached the allotted span, had to tear themselves away from a locality associated with everything that made their lives happy and comfortable. It may be asked, Where did they find a resting place for the sole of their feet?

Berriedale Church and Newport
OS One-inch to the mile maps of Scotland,
st Edition, 1856-1891. Sheet 110-Latheron.
 Publication Date: 1877
This 21st C image shows the Berriedale 
Church, centre left, surrounded by land 
that is still unproductive 

A closer look at the unproductive land near the Berriedale church
Well some of them settled on a mossy piece of ground above Berriedale Church, and some at Newport, on a rocky barren soil, which no manner of toil or expense could make fruitful, whilst some of them went off the estate altogether, and I do believe none of them succeeded to the same amount of ease and comfort and contentment which they enjoyed at Achencraig. Ah, what a loss to the county! The money which was emanated by means of fishing and curing, and all the other industries connected with the place, is lost for the sake of raising a few fat sheep.

A Cheviot sheep at Badbea
A sheep is a very harmless animal, and a very useful and necessary animal, for sure the introduction of Cheviot sheep by Sir John Sinclair then of Berriedale, has been the greatest curse and the most unfortunate disaster ever befell the north. What devastated Kildonan Straths, as well as Ousedale, but the same thing! And Sir John, who had been held up as one of the greatest friends to agriculture that Britain has ever produced, was the man who inaugurated the system of clearances referred to above."
Sir John Simclair at Thurso

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