Introduction

It was a few years back that I walked the path into Peanmeanach on the Ardnish peninsula from the Mallaig road and having subsequently read a little of the history of the peninsula, and having spotted the ruins of one of the other settlements Mullochbuie below the path on the Loch nan Uamh side I decided to have a bit of an explore to visit not only Mullochbuie but also the other abandoned settlements of Camusruy, Sloch, Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu, and Peanmeanach, I find these apparently isolated communities fascinating on so many levels. When you stand among the ruins of these settlements one can not help but wonder, not only the the amazing dry stone construction of the buildings themselves but of the people and families that inhabited them. How long have these sites been lived in and how far back does the lineage of the folk who lived there go back. Where did they fit within the surrounding community and clan system? What did theses sites look like when they were inhabited and what was life really like? How did they manage to scratch any kind of living from the land which nowadays is a combination of rank heather, mossy bog, scrub birch and a great deal of rock! How on earth did they survive the winter? I think it is probably impossible for us to really conceive how hard it was and how tough these highlanders were. I have appended the photographs of each settlement's ruins in the appropriate section, but a description of the walk and a few additional photographs are available by clicking HERE - (NOTE: I did not actually get to Laggan just round the coast from Peanmeanach, as my my slightly ageing legs had had enough exercise for the day, but I have included a section on it.

However using the internet it is possible to at least give names to the families of the people who lived in these communities using the 1841 to 1911 census. There is also a admirable history available, plus snippets of documents, and maps on the National Library of Scotland website. To add a bit more colour I can heartily recommend the books by Ardnish books by Angus McDonald

The Ardnish Peninsula

Links to Aerial Photographs of the Ardnish Peninsula on the Canmore web site which include Sloch, Peanmeanach, Feorlindhu, Glasnacardoch and Laggan. View in Full, Screen and all images can be zoomed in to provide amazing details. (May not work on tablets e.g. I-pad)
NOTE: All imaged are © Crown Copyright: HES - No Commercial Use or Sale, No Public Distribution [eg by hand, email, web].

Folk have lived on and around the Ardnish peninsula for thousands of years and probably one of the earliest traces of inhabitation is the vitrified fort on Eilein nan Gobhar out in the Sound of Arisaig opposite Peanmeanach. Later the Vikings who settled throughout the Western isles from onwards almost certainly had a settlements at Peanmeanach and Feorlindhu as both names have their origins in Norse, with Peanmeanach being derived from the Norse for Pennyland - Pean and the Gaelic for middle meadhanach - Peanmeanach i.e. middle penyland, and with Feorlindhu being derived from the the Norse word for farthing - feorlig, and the Gaelic for black dhu i.e. Feorlindhu (black farthingland ) Both names presumably referencing their potential rental. Also down on the beach in front of Peanmeanach the outlines of "Nausts", basically hollows excavated into the foreshore above the high water mark, which would have been roofed, where boats could be dragged up and stored which are presumed to be Viking in origin.

Sloch, Glasnacardoch, and Feorlindhu, Peanmeanach and Laggan are all by the sea, so although now such places seem remote and inaccessible it has to be borne in mind that in times gone by the main highway for the folk of the West Highlands would have been the sea. When this is taken into account certainly lessens the remoteness of these sites. However in the winter with storms coming in from the Atlantic no doubt there would be long periods when travel by sea would have been impossible. The exception, Mullochbuie, is just over 250 feet above sea level with a steep drop to Loch nan Uamh below, although there are a couple of buildings shown down what appears to be a gully towards the shore. Seen from the other side of Loch nan Uamh there looks like little in the way of landing places below this settlement. However Donald McVarish a tenant at Glasnacardoch made a submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tenants on the Ardnish peninsula, in which he included a statement from the three crofters tenanting Mullochbuie - "We feel great hardship in having to carry sea-ware on our backs up a steep and high hill."

The first real cartographic evidence of the various settlements is in Roy's military map of 1747-1756 which shows an unnamed settlement at the head of Loch Beag which is assumed to be Camusruy, a settlement identified as Mor, (later shown as Mullochbuie), an unnamed settlement western end of the peninsula which is presumed to be Sloch, 2 unamed settlements round the southern coast, and two settlements on the eastern side of the peninsula identified as Theodlin and Earn. The bigger settlement on the southern coast is assumed to be Feorlindhu and Peanmeanach, and the other small group of three structures could potentially be Laggan. The position of Earn potentially could be Polnish but the settlement named Theodlin is a bit of a mystery as, as far as I am aware, no trace of such a settlement in that location has been identified.

***Please note all the maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland***

Ardnish Peninsula - from Roy's Map 1747-1756

In 1798 the properties Camussarie, Mulichbury, Feorlindow, Penmeanach, and Laggan were listed in "Tenants in Old Arisaig, Scotland as per the Judicial rental of 1798" with the following tenants and rents. It can be seen that Laggan was twice the rent of Peanmeanach at £42-0-0, partly at least due to the potentially income from its kelp harvest. Peanmeanach at £21-0-0 is twice the rent of its neighbour Feorlindow (Feorlindhu) at £10-0-0, with Sloch managing £12-0-0. Up on the north side above Loch nan Uamh, Mulichbury (Mullochbuie) was returning £9-0-0, with Camussarie (the settlement by Camas an Raoigh) returning only £6-0-0. I would imagine this may reflect the difference in land available. (Details from the Moidart Local History group website.)

Camussarie Mary Macdonald and others. - £6-0-0
Mulichbury John Maceachan and others. - £9-0-0
Slochk **Said John Maceachan - £12-0-0
Feorlindow Ewan Macdonald and others. - £10-0-0
Penmeanach Ranald Macdonald and others.   - £21-0-0
Laggan Angus Maceachan and others.   Make 4 tons of kelp. £42-0-0
** - appears as also paying rent on the Change House of Kinlochaylot (Kinlochailort) at the head of
Loch Ailort and and Druimindarroch opposite Sloch on the other side of Loch nan Uamh.

One of the factors often quoted as contributing towards the demise of the various settlements around the Ardnish peninsula, (and elsewhre), was the introduction of additional families from other areas that were being "cleared" to make way for sheep or sporting estates. That this happened at Peanmeanach was referred to by Donald McVarish, a tenant at Glasnacardoch, when made a submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tennants on the Ardnish peninsula - He stated that "It is a matter of recent history that Peinnmheanach and Laggan were in the hands of one man. The crowding and the poverty are the result of the clearing of the townships of Goadal and Ardnafuaran."

There certainly were families moved from Ghaotal, Arisaig (Guidale\Goadal) to Peanmeanach and Feorlindhu as shown by an excerpt from the "RENTAL of CLANRANALD’S Estates of ARISAIG, MOIDART, EIGG AND CANNA, at Martinmas 1825, certified by Duncan Shaw, factor to the Estate, and made out shewing the Estate as allocated for sale.". (Details from the Moidart Local History group website) This excerpt is for the name MacDonald only so it is not unlikely that there maybe others who were also cleared from their traditional settlements to Ardnish.

LOT 2 – PART OF ARISAIG
Peanmeanach* Angus Macdonald Year to year £3-4-6
Peanmeanach* John, R. & D. McDonald Year to year £20-19-6
Peanmeanach* Ranald McDonald Year to year £ 6-19-10
Fearlindow* John McDonald Year to year £11-0-6
Fearlindow* John and Dug. McDonald   Year to year £2-17-9
Feorlindow* Widow McDonald Year to year £5-15-6
*Came from Ghaotal, Arisaig – or Guidale

Arrowsmith’s map of 1807 shows four "locations" on the Ardnish peninsule. "Moir" which matches with place called Mor on Roy's map and is assumed to appear as Mulllochbuie thereafter, "Ardnoich" at the tip of the peninsula, assumed to appear as Sloch thereafter, and "Poulnich" assumed to appear as Polnish thereafter, along with the elusive "Theodlin" again shown in a similar position to Roy's map. This is the last appearance of the name "Theodlin" I have seen.

Ardnish Peninsula - from Arrowsmith’s map of 1807

John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832 shows the settlements of Camusarie, Mullochbuie, Sloch, Feorlindhu, and Peanmeanch but not Glasnacardoch. It also names the ridge to the north of Sloch which separates it from Loch nan Uamh as Drimfiachkloch, and the ridge seperating Sloch from Feorlindhu as Drimfeorlinedow.

Ardnish Peninsula - from John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832

The six inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of 1873 names the settlements of Mullochbuie, Sloch, Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu, and Peanmeanch but not the ruined settlement by the the Allt Camas an Raoigh burn where in enters at the head of Loch Beag. I also have a suspicion that what is shown on this map as Glasnacardoch was either a later addition to the peninsula or part of the settlement known as Feorlindhu, which for some reason became known as Glasnacardoch. Just the couple of dwellings over by Peanmeanach seemed to be identified as Feorlindhu.

Ardnish Peninsula - Inverness-shire (Mainland), Sheet CXXXV - Survey date: 1873, Publication date: 1876

The six inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map of 1899 again shows the settlements of Mullochbuie, Sloch, Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu, and Peanmeanch but not the ruined settlement by the the Allt Camas an Raoigh. The earlier map of 1873 showed that after dropping down from the shoulder of Cruach an Fhearainn Dubh the path to Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu, and Peanmeanch went down the western side of the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain to Glasnacardoch and then on to Peanmeanach and Laggan. There is a path shown heading up the eastern side of the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain but it seems to finish in the birch woods. For the 1899 revision the path is shown as crossing the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain and heading towards the birch woods before joining the path as shown on the 1873 map and heading on to Peanmeanach. The path on to Laggan is still shown on the 1899 map but the path to Glasnacardoch stops at the school. (Can be seen in more detail in the map for the settlement of Peanmeanach.)

Ardnish Peninsula - Inverness-shire (Mainland), Sheet CXXXV - Revised date: 1899

A comprehensive history of the Ardnish Peninsula is available in the Ardnish estate website and can be read by clicking HERE

Donald McVarish, a tenant at Glasnacardoch, provided a submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tenants on the Ardnish. This can be read HERE

Links to transcriptions for the censuses 1841-1911 where available can be found in the individual sections for the various settlements on this webpage. "The Valuation Rolls for Moidart, 1869 -1975" as recorded by Gordon Barr are available on the Moidart Local History group website and make an interesting addition to the census details.


The Individual Settlements

Camusruy

There is a Camussarie identified amongst the properties named in the 1798 Judicial rental book of Old Arisaig. It was listed as tenanted by a Mary Macdonald and others, paying £6-0-0 rental.

The location is shown on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832 identified as Cumnusaroe and the location tallies with a group of unnamed dwellings shown on Roy's Map 1747-1756 which would suggest the settlement dates back to at least 1745.

It would appear to be the group of unnamed buildings on the earlier 1873 six inch to the mile O.S. map by where the Allt Camas an Ruighe enters Loch Beag. The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire translates Allt Camas an Ruighe as the "Burn of the Bay of the Sheiling" which would seem to both explain and confirm the name of the settlement.

The settlement by Allt Camas an Raoigh - Survey date: 1873

On the later 1899 six inch to the mile O.S. map, the buildings appear to be mainly identified as ruins. The fact that I have not found it listed in the censuses after 1861 might suggests the site had been abandoned as a permanent community for a some time.

The settlement by Allt Camas an Raoigh - Revised date: 1899

It is assumed to be the same settlement named in 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses as "Camusarue", "Camasruy", "Camasurye", which I have transcribed as best I can and which are available by clicking HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Camusruy as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Camusruy
1841 1 household - 1 x McDonald - 9 individuals
1851 1 household - 1 x McDonald - 10 individuals
1861 1 household - 1 x McMillan - 6 individuals
Not found named as such after 1861

Photographs of Camusury

Looking down to the bay at the head of Loch Beag where the Allt Camas an Raoigh enters. One of the ruins can be seen down between the trees.

Some of the ruins by the Allt Camas an Raoigh burn on the shores of Loch Beag

Looking back from the shore of Camas an Raoigh

Mullachbuie

There is a Mulichbury identified amongst the properties named in the 1798 Judicial rental book of Old Arisaig . It was listed as tenanted by a John Maceachan and others, with a rental of £9-0-0.

There is a group of dwellings are shown on Roy's Map 1747-1756 identified as "Mor", and the same location was identified as "Moir" on Arrowsmith’s map of 1807. However the same location is shown on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832 identified as Mullochboy.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Mullochbuie as the name which applied to a croft house situated about 120 chains S.W. [South West] of Polnish School, on the property of the trustees of the late F D P. Astley. Esq. per Stewart & Rule Solicitors Inverness.. The location appears identified as Mullochbuie in some detail on both the 1873 and 1899 six inch to the mile O.S. maps. There seems to be buildings at either end of what is now a flattish expanse of rough ground, with a couple of small structures shown nearer the shore. Of all the settlements Mullochbuie is the only one that is not obviously immediately accessible from the sea and although there are a as already mentioned a couple of small structure shown towards the shore these are down what appears to be a steep gully. In fact Donald McVarish a tenant at Glasnacardoch made a submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tenants on the Ardnish peninsula, in which he included a statement from the three crofters tenanting Mullochbuie - "We feel great hardship in having to carry sea-ware on our backs up a steep and high hill." Seen from the other side of Loch nan Uamh there looks little in the way of landing places below this settlement.

The settlement of Mullochbuie - Survey date: 1873

The 1899 map shows two buildings at the end of the track which in 1873 were depicted as one larger that the other are both now shown as the same larger size. They would seem to match the two ruins that are in that location now. It is also noticeable that the area presumed to show cultivated ground has increased with a substantial addition on the west end of the settlement. There is also a drystone wall the remains of which are just visible which seems to cut the cultivated ground in two.

The settlement of Mullochbuie - Revised date: 1899

I have transcribed as best I can all the various censuses from 1841 to 1911 for Mullochbuie. The transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Mullochbuie as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Mullochbuie
1841 2 households - 1 x McEachan, 1 x McDonald - 16 individuals
1851 4 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McVarish, 1 x McDonald - 23 individuals
1861 3 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McVarish - 20 individuals
1871 2 households - 2 x McEachan, 11 individivuals
1881 3 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McDougall - 21 individuals
1891 3 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McDougall - 16 individuals
1901 3 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McDougall - 24 individuals
1911 3 households - 2 x McEachan, 1 x McDougall - 21 individuals

The settlement seems to have been lived in by McEachans from 1841-1901 and this may well be the same McEachan family named as tenants in the Old Arisaig Judicial rental book of 1798 when it was listed as tenanted by a John Maceachan and others, with a rental of £9-0-0. For 1841-1861 the third family seems to have been McDonald\McVarrishes who were replaced by a McDougall family, originally from Sloch, from 1881-1901.

Looking down from Mullochbuie to Loch nan Uamh (Loch of the caves) is in itself a fine vista, but it is made all the more striking when one considers that if you were stood on the same spot on 25 July 1745 you would have seen Prince Charles Stuart disembark from the the French privateer the Du Teillay on the other side of the Loch, marking the beginning of his attempt to win back the the throne for his father James. From the very same spot just over 9 months later you would have born witness to what is sometime called "the Jacobite's Last Stand" when on 30 April 1746, a pair of French privateer vessels, the La Bellone and the Le Mars, anchored in Loch nan Uamh carrying money, gunpowder, arms, and brandy for the Prince and his army. It was all too late as the army and the cause had been destroyed fourteen days earlier at Culloden on 16 April 1746. Ironically the hills overlooking the head of the loch were occupied by some 400 Jacobites, most of them Clanranald Macdonalds, who at first mistook the French ships for Hanoverian supporters and fired on them. However when the ships raised their French flags the mistake was realised and some supplies were unloaded, and Jacobite fugitives were taken on board,. However a couple of days later on 2-3 May three British ships sailed into the loch and engaged the French vessels, which were anchored close to the rocky islets at the head of the loch. After several hours of exchanging broadsides, and casualties on both sides, the English ships withdrew and the French ships made good their escape. And finally if you were to return one lst time just under 5 months later on 20 September 1746 you would have been able to watch the defeated prince boarding the French ship L'Heureaux from the same spot he had landed some fourteen months later, leaving the Highlands to bear the wrath of the Government troops under the Duke of Cumberland.

Photographs of Mullochbuie

Mullochbuie - the approach and general views of the ruins.

The views down to Loch ana Uamh and Loch Beag with the Loch nan Uamh railway viaduct just visible. Would have made a grand ringside seat for the so called "Jacobite's Last Stand" on 30 April 1746 and possibly the ancestors of the same folk would have witnessed. (and heard) the first trains crossing the viaduct 155 years later from the same vantage point.

What would appear to have been the two main dwellings at the east end of Mullochbuie.

What would appear to have been the main dwelling at the west end of Mullochbuie.

Some slightly odd ruins! There are two small structures that show up on the 1873 and 1899 maps but all that can be seen appears to be two gable ends with chimneys with no trace of the walls one might expect.

The view out from the remains of a dry stone dyke adjacent to the ruins in the previous photograph. Looking out across the Sound of Arisaig and the Arisaig peninsula with Eigg in the distance.

Sloch

There are a group of dwellings shown in on Roy's Map 1747-1756 in the location later identified as Sloch although unnamed.

There is a Slochd identified amongst the properties named in the 1798 Judicial rental book of Old Arisaig. It was listed as tenanted by a John Maceachan with a rental of £12-0-0. It is noted that this John Mceachan was also paying rent on the Change House of Kinlochaylot (Kinlochailort) at the head of Loch Ailort and Druimindarroch oppsite Sloch on the other side of Loch nan Uamh.

The location is shown on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832 as Slochk.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Sloch as the name applied to a cluster of houses Situated about 50 Chains N.W [North West] of Glasnacardoch and that they were thatched and in good repair, the Property of the Trustees of the late F D P Astley. It also translates Allt an t-Sluichd as the "Burn of the hollow". The settlement appears in some detail on the 1873 six inch to the mile O.S. maps.

The settlement of Sloch - Survey date: 1873

On the 1899 six inch to the mile O.S. maps the building furthest from the shore as a ruin.

The settlement of Sloch - Revised date: 1899

Hidden behind the trees on the left looking towards the shore is a cave described in the Scottish Cave and Mine Database on their website as "situated at head of small gorge on true left hand side of valley approximately level with inland limits of shingle beach. Single inclined rift of varying height for much of length eventually closing down to small tube at furthest point, (approximately 30 to 40 m). Floor rounded cobbles which taken with marshy area outside entrance indicates there might have been active stream flowing through cave at some time. Rock of dark brown to black colour & differs markedly from igneous rocks, (granite?) which make up rest of peninsula. The cave goes back about 100 feet, gets tighter and lower all the way and ends in a tiny round chamber that just fits 3 people."

I have not found Sloch listed in the 1911 census, and it is possible that it may have been abandoned as a permanent settlement by then. Of the 3 tenants listed at Sloch for the 1901 census - John McDonald was 77, John McDougall was aged 65, and Donald McDougall was aged 60, described as an "Ill person". John McDougall is believed to have died in 1903 and there is information on the web that says his son, Alexander McDougall, moved to Glen tanner in the same year. It is also the most remote of the settlements and although Glasnacardoch and Peanmeanach are just along the coast to reach them by land involves a a journey up and down over some rough and rocky terran. I have transcribed as best I can all the various censuses from 1841 to 1901 for Sloch. The transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Sloch as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Sloch
1841 3 households - 1 x Mceachan, 1 x MacGilvery, 1 x MacDougal - 20 individuals
1851 3 households - 1 x MacDonald, 1 x MacGilvery, 1 x MacDougal - 18 individuals
1861 2 households - 1 x MacDonald, 1 x MacDougal - 15 individuals
1871 3 households - 1 x MacDonald, 2 x MacDougal - 20 individuals
1881 3 households - 1 x MacDonald, 2 x MacDougal - 21 individuals
1891 3 households - 1 x MacDonald, 2 x MacDougal - 14 individuals
1901 3 households - 1 x MacDonald, 2 x MacDougal - 12 individuals Not found named as such after 1911

One family name recorded through from the 1841 census through until the 1901 census is McDougall, starting with the family of Angus McDougall and Ann, nee McNeill, in 1841, (although Angus appears to have been away from home for the 1841 census), through to their son John and his wife Bella (Isabella) nee Gillies, recorded in the 1901 census. John's brother Lachlan and his wife Bella (Isabella) nee Smith had moved from Sloch to Mullochbuie sometime between 1871 and 1881 as already mentioned. It would appear that descendants of this McDougall family have been notable pipers. Details of their genealogy can be found at the end of the West World page for October 2005 and a photo of John McDougall with his wife Isabella (nee Gillies), their daughter Sarah, and what is believed to be a granddaughter, at Sloch dated circa 1900 can be found on the Burgess Bagpipes Ltd website.

Just on round the coast from Sloch is an area of relatively level ground which slopes down to a bay known as Port na h-Afrinne. The name of the bay in translation is "the harbour of the mass" and the name is linked to a visit by Bishop Gordon in 1707 to the "farr west". At the time Catholicism was proscribed and to avoid a garrison in Castle Tioram, the Bishop came instead to the southern tip of Arisaig, and "the people, crossing over the hills and descending to the sea-coast at Roshven, were ferried over to the this bay to where he was ready to receive them". (From "Moidart; or Among the Clanranalds"-by the Rev Charles MacDonald, the priest of Moidart from 1859 to 1892.). With a little imagination one can almost envisage the boats pulled up on the beach with folk gathered together in this secluded place to receive mass.

Photographs of Sloch

The approach to Sloch showing it sitting in the "hollow" it is assumed be have got its name from.

The first of the ruins. It would appear from the OS map that this was at least partly ruinous by 1899.

What would appear to be the ruins of two dwellings. Set on the north of the bay facing south they would seem to have be sited to get the best of the sunshine and benefit from the shelter of the tail end of ridge named as Drimfiachkloch on Thomson's 1832 map.

The ruins on the south of the bay. One has the look of a dwelling, but I suspect the remainder may have been stores.

The first of the ruins on the north of the bay. As usual the dry stone construction is amazing but this boasts a couple of very impressive pieces of stone towards the right bottom corner.

The second of the ruins on the north of the bay.

Although there is a rough wall built at the entrance from the description of the cave itself in the Scottish Cave and Mine Database, the cave was probably used for storage, most likely for beasts.

Looking back towards Sloch from the beach. I line of substantial stones can be seen, built, one presumes as some kind of jetty or landing place.

Glasnacardoch

A group of dwellings that would encompass the later named settlements Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu and Peanmeanach is shown on Roy's Map 1747-1756 although unnamed. Glasnacardoch was not amongst the properties named in the 1798 Judicial rental book of Old Arisaig, nor does the name appear on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Glasnacardoch as the name which applies to a few houses Situated about 30 Chains West of Peanmeanach and identified them as thatched and in middling repair. The property of the Trustees of the late F. D P Astley

It was named in the 1873 six inch to the mile O.S. map as a group of structures with a track going through to a larger building, and a second larger building further up the burn. The track running off between Glasnacardoch and Feorlindhu appears to have been the original path down to the settlements of Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu and Peanmeanach.

The settlements of Glasnacardoch and Firlindhu. (Feorlindhu) - Survey date: 1873.

The 1899 six inch to the mile O.S. map shows the "new" schoolhouse and the track which previously ran on finishes at the school and the building which was at the end in the 1873 map is now identified as a ruin . The building further up the burn was shown substantially smaller although not marked as a ruin. The track shown running off between Glasnacardoch and Feorlindhu in the 1873 map is no longer shown it was part of the path that came down from Cruach an Fhearainn Dubh following the west bank of the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain before heading of to the right to Glasnacardoch. The path now immediately crosssed the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain after coming down from Cruach an Fhearainn Dubhand ran down through the birch woods before heading straight across the field behind Peanmeanach. (See Peanmeanach Map)

The settlements of Glasnacardoch and Feorlindhu - Revised date: 1899.

I have not found Glasnacardoch named as such in the 1841 census although it may have been included as part of the settlement identified as Feorlindhu. It was also not named as such in the 1851 census although for the 1851 census the dwellings were probably included as part of settlement identified as Ardnish which is presumed to have also included Feorlindhu, Peanmeanach and Laggan. (See Peanmeanch) As Glasnacardoch does appear in the 1798 Judicial rental book of Old Arisaig, or on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832, and does not appear in the 184 and 1851 censuses I wonder if Glasnacardoch was either initially part of Feorlindhu and was separated off or possibly came into existance as a new set of buildings around the 1850's. I have transcribed as best I can the censuses from 1861 to 1911 for Glasnacardoch. The transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Glasnacardoch as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Glasnacardoch
1841 - Not found named as such
1851 - Not found named as such but may be included in "Ardnish". See Peanmeanach
1861 4 households - 2 x MacDonald, 1 x MacVarish, 1 x Smith - 19 individuals
1871 3 households - 2 x MacDonald, 1 x MacVarish - 22 individuals
1881 4 households - 2 x MacDonald, 1 x MacVarish, 1 x McKay - 24 individuals
1891 3 households - 3 x MacDonald - 15 individuals
1901 3 households - 3 x MacDonald - 13 individuals (Note: 1 household is the School House)
1911 1 household - 1 x Mceachan - 9 individuals

Photographs of Glasnacardoch.

The ruin at Glasnacardoch further inland by the small burn. I suspect this may be the building shown on the end of the 1873 path and latterly shown with no path and as a ruin on the 1899 map.

Further ruins at Glasnacardoch looking down towards the shore

The ruins of Glasnacardoch school house from the beach in front. Before the "new" was built here, the children had to walk to the entire length of the path from Peanmeanach to the original school at Upper Polnish. The Glasnacardoch school house finally closed its doors in 1932.

Feorlindhu

The village of Feorlindhu would seem to derive its name from Norse with Feorlindhu being derived from the the Norse word for farthing - feorlig, and the Gaelic for black dhu i.e. Feorlindhu (black farthingland ). The name presumably referencing the potential rental.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Firlindhu as the name which applies to a storey farmhouse situated between Glasnacardoch and Peanmeanach. The property of the Trustees of the late F.D.D. Astley esq

In 1798 the property of Feorlindow was listed in Old Arisaig, as per the Judicial rental book tenanted by a Ewan Macdonald and others with a rental of £10-0-0

Feorlindhu was mentioned in the "RENTAL of CLANRANALD’S Estates of ARISAIG, MOIDART, EIGG AND CANNA, at Martinmas 1825, certified by Duncan Shaw, factor to the Estate, and made out shewing the Estate as allocated for sale.". (Details from the Moidart Local History group website) as having 3 Macdonald tenants moved in from Ghaotal, Arisaig, (or Guidale). This excerpt is for the name MacDonald only so it is not unlikely that there maybe others who were also cleared from their traditional settlements to Feorlindhu. These additional tenants were referred to by Donald McVarish, a tenant at Glasnacardoch, in his submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tenants on the Ardnish peninsula - He stated that "It is a matter of recent history that Peinnmheanach and Laggan were in the hands of one man. The crowding and the poverty are the result of the clearing of the townships of Goadal and Ardnafuaran." This excerpt is for the name MacDonald only and Donald Mcvarish mentions tenants cleared from Ardnafuaran as well so it would seem likely that there may be other tenants identified in the document who were not MacDonalds but had been cleared from elsewhere.

Feorlindhu was listed in the 1841, 1861 and 1871 censuses but no longer appeared thereafter. For the 1851 census the dwellings were probably included as part of settlement identified as Ardnish which is presumed to have also included Glasnacardoch, Peanmeanach and Laggan. I have transcribed as best I can the censuses for 1841, 1861 and 1871 and the transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Feorlindhu as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Feorlindhu
1841 6 households - 3 x MacDonald, 1 x MacGilvray, 1 x Smith, 1 x Gillies - 38 individuals
1851 - Not found named as such but may be included in "Ardnish". See Peanmeanach
1861 2 households - 1 x MacDonald, 1 x MacGilvray - 7 individuals
1871 1 household - 1 x MacDonald - 4 individuals
Not found named as such after 1871

Photograph of Feorlindhu.

One of the ruins identified as part of Feorlindhu on the OS map. There is a further very similar ruin the other side of the rocky outcrop behind this one which is closer to the beach and the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain. Both ruins are clearly visible in the aerial photos on the Canmore website for Peanmeanach and Feorlindhu.

Peanmeanach

The village of Peanmeanach would seem to derive its name from Norse with Peanmeanach being derived from the Norse for Pennyland - Pean and the Gaelic for middle meadhanach - Peanmeanach i.e. middle pennyland. As with Feorlindhu the name presumably referencing the pontential rental. Down on the beach in front of settlement there are the outlines of which it is believed were originally Viking "Nausts", basically hollows excavated into the foreshore above the high water mark where boats could be dragged up and stored.

In 1798 the property of Penmeanach was listed in Old Arisaig, as per the Judicial rental book tenanted by a Ranald Macdonald and others with a rental of £21-0-0

Peanmeanach was mentioned in the "RENTAL of CLANRANALD’S Estates of ARISAIG, MOIDART, EIGG AND CANNA, at Martinmas 1825, certified by Duncan Shaw, factor to the Estate, and made out shewing the Estate as allocated for sale.". (Details from the Moidart Local History group website) as having 3 Macdonald tenants moved in from Ghaotal, Arisaig, (or Guidale). These additional tenants were refered to by Donald McVarish, a tenant at Glasnacardoch, in his submission to the Napier Commission at Arisaig on 6 August 1883 on behalf of the tennants on the Ardnish peninsula - He stated that "It is a matter of recent history that Peinnmheanach and Laggan were in the hands of one man. The crowding and the poverty are the result of the clearing of the townships of Goadal and Ardnafuaran." This excerpt is for the name MacDonald only and Donald Mcvarish mentions tenants cleared from Ardnafuaran as well so it would seem likely that there may be other tenants identified in the document who were not MacDonalds but had been cleared from elsewhere.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Peanmeanach as the name which applies to a cluster of houses Situated about 45 chains N.W [North West] of Laggan and identified them as thatched and in middling repair the property of the Trustees of the late F D. P Astley Esqr.

As already referred to the path to Peanmeanach was shown on the earlier 1873 maps as down the western side of the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain before veering of to the right and heading to Glasnacardoch before then going on to Peanmeanach and Laggan, and although there is a path shown heading out of Peanmeanach to the north it seems to finish in the birch woods.. However for the 1899 revision the path is shown as crossing the Allt na Loch Doir a Ghearrain and heading towards the birch woods before following heading across to Peanmeanach following the course of the 1873 path. It is also noticeable how much what I assumed to be cultivated ground in the area to the north of Peanmeanach is shown on the 1899 map as oppose to the 1873 map.

The settlement of Peanmeanach - Survey date: 1873 and 1899.

Peanmeanach appears as such in the 1841, 1861 (Baenmeanach ), 1891 and 1911 censuses. For the 1851 the dwellings were probably included as part of settlement identified as Ardnish which is presumed to have also included Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu and Laggan. For the censuses of 1871, 1881, and 1901 it would appear it was identified as Ardnish. I have transcribed as best I can all the various censuses from 1841 to 1911 for Peanmeanach. The transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Peanmeanach as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Peanmeanach
1841 7 households - 4 x McDonald, 2 x McEachan 1 x Smith - 48 individuals
1851 21 households - 12 x McDonald, 3 x McEachan 2 x Gillies 1 Smith 1 McVarish 1 x McLean 1 x McDougall - 92 individuals
1861 7 households - 5 x McDonald, 2 x McEachan - 37 individuals
1871 9 households - 6 x McDonald, 3 x McEachan - 42 individuals
1881 9 households - 7 x McDonald, 2 x McEachan - 51 individuals
1891 7 households - 4 x McDonald, 2 x McEachan 1 x McAskill - 50 individuals
1901 7 households - 5 x McDonald, 2 x McEachan - 42 individuals
1911 3 households - 2 x McDonald, 1 x McEachin - 13 individuals

Photographs of Peanmeanach.

Peanmeanach circa 1900 (The house that was to become the bothy was built in the gap a few years later) (Acknowledgement Ardnish Estate Webpage

The settlement of Peanmeanach today. The roofed building to the left of the photograph was the last house to be inhabited in Peanmeanach and was once the home of the schoolmistress of the school at Glasnacardoch. It was abandoned in 1942 but the building was latterly re-roofed and opened as a bothy by Ardnish Estates but sadly due to abuse this has now been closed up.

View from above Peanmeanach showing what are believed to be the outlines of Viking"Nausts" which can bee seen bottom middle. (Acknowledgement to Nigel Webber - Google maps guide)

Laggan

There are a group of dwellings shown in on Roy's Map 1747-1756 in approximately the same location as later identified as Laggan although named Theodlin.

In 1798 the property of Laggan was listed in Old Arisaig, as per the Judicial rental book tenanted by a Angus Maceachan and others with a rental of £42-0-0. It was noted that it "Make 4 tons of kelp".

Neither the name nor any indication of a dwelling\settlement is shown on John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland 1832.

The OS Name Books of 1876-1878 for Inverness-shire identified Laggan as the name which applied to a Small house Situated about 10 chains north of Eilean Nan Trom it is thatched and in good repair the Property of the Trustees of the late F.D.P Astley

On the six inch to the mile O.S. maps of 1873 it appears to be a main building with a further building and scattered structures shown further back from the shore.

The settlement of Laggan - Survey date: 1873.

On the six inch to the mile O.S. maps of 1899 a second building is shown at the end of the track and the structures either side of the building shown further back from the shore are identified as ruins.

The settlement of Laggan - Revised date: 1899.

Laggan appears named as such in all the censuses from 1841 to 1911 with the exception of the 1851 census. For the 1851 the dwellings were probably included as part of settlement identified as Ardnish which is presumed to have also included Glasnacardoch, Feorlindhu and Peanmeanach. (See Peanmeanach). I have transcribed as best I can all the various censuses from 1841 and 1861-1911 for Laggan. The transcriptions can be found HERE

I have attempted a breakdown for the various censuses for Laggan as in the number of households, the names of the heads of those households, and the number of individuals in the settlement in total.

Laggan
1841 2 households - 1 x McDonald, 1 x Chisholm - 15 individuals
1851 - Not found named as such but may be included in "Ardnish". See Peanmeanach
1861 1 household - 1 x McDonald - 19 individuals (Note: Extended family - 4 roomed house)
1871 2 households - 2 x McDonald - 16 individuals
1881 2 households - 2 x McDonald - 22 individuals
1891 2 households - 2 x McDonald - 19 individuals
1901 2 households - 2 x McDonald - 12 individuals
1911 1 household - 1 x McDonald - 7 individuals

Photograph of Laggan (From the Ardnish Estate webpage).

Never made it to Laggan as my somewhat old legs were tiring, so I have "borrowed" an image from the Ardnish web page. I believe the house at Laggan was occupied up until the 1960's before being abandoned. It has since been refurbished by the Ardnish Estate and is available as a seriously off-grid holiday rental as per the photograph below.. The aerial photographs from the Canmore site for Laggan, Peanmeanach, Feorlindhu, Glasnacardoch School House, and some of Glasnacardoch can be zoomed into to show ruins of at least a further two structures (dwellings?) in the next bay behind this house that correspond with structures shown on the OS maps.