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The Highland Clearances

The Highland Clearances were all about Highlanders of the 18th century being pushed off their land and moved to the coast - making way for sheep !

Highland Clearances were the forced displacement of highlanders during the 18th and 19th centuries. They led to mass emigration to the sea coast, the Scottish Lowlands and the North American colonies. The clearances were part of a process of agricultural change but were particularly notorious due to the late timing, the lack of legal protection for year-by-year tenants under Scottish law, the abruptness of the change from the traditional clan system and the brutality of many evictions.

In 1725 General Wade raised the independent companies of the Black Watch as a militia force to keep peace in the unruly Highlands. This increased exodus of Highlanders to the Americas. Increasing demand in Britain for cattle and sheep and the creation of new breeds of sheep such as the black-faced, which could be reared in the mountainous country, allowed higher rents for landowners and chiefs to meet the costs of their aristocratic lifestyle. As a result, families living on a subsistence level were displaced, exacerbating the unsettled social climate. In1792 tenant farmers from Strathrusdale led a protest against the policy by driving over 6,000 sheep off the land surrounding Ardross. This action was dealt with at the highest levels in government, with the Home Secretary Henry Dundas getting involved. The Black Watch was mobilised; it halted the drive and brought the ringleaders to trial. They were found guilty, but later escaped custody and disappeared. 

1792 became known as the "Year of the Sheep" to Scottish Highlanders. The people were accommodated in poor crofts or small farms in coastal areas where farming could not sustain the communities and they were expected to take up fishing. In some villages the conditions were so harsh that, while the women worked, they had to tether their livestock and even their children to rocks or posts to prevent them being blown over the cliffs. 

Others were put directly onto emigration ships to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Ontario and the Carolinas. Elizabeth Gordon, the 19th Countess of Sutherland, and her factor, Patrick Sellar, were especially cruel and their names are reviled in the county of Sutherland to this day. Donald McLeod, a Sutherland crofter, later wrote about the events he witnessed: "The consternation and confusion were extreme. Little or no time was given for the removal of persons or property; the people striving to remove the sick and the helpless before the fire should reach them; next, struggling to save the most valuable of their effects. The cries of the women and children, the roaring of the affrighted cattle, hunted at the same time by the yelling dogs of the shepherds amid the smoke and fire, altogether presented a scene that completely baffles description — it required to be seen to be believed. A dense cloud of smoke enveloped the whole country by day, and even extended far out to sea. At night an awfully grand but terrific scene presented itself — all the houses in an extensive district in flames at once. I myself ascended a height about eleven o'clock in the evening, and counted two hundred and fifty blazing houses, many of the owners of which I personally knew, but whose present condition — whether in or out of the flames — I could not tell. The conflagration lasted six days, till the whole of the dwellings were reduced to ashes or smoking ruins. During one of these days a boat actually lost her way in the dense smoke as she approached the shore, but at night was enabled to reach a landing-place by the lurid light of the flames."

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Torlundy House
Torlundy House is a family run Guest House located in the rural settlement of Torlundy some 3 miles (5 kilometres) from Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland. Your hosts, Michael and Maxean, have been providing B&B for 19 years in Torlundy. At this time we want to assure our guests that we have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitisation procedures and as a result been certified as "Good to Go" under the UK wide scheme to reassure guests we are doing all we can to mitigate risk and prevent COVOD-19 entering our business and home. You can find full details of the action we are taking on our own website, or if you want to discuss anything further please telephone or email us. We have lived in Torlundy for nearly 20 years now so are very conversant with the area. We welcome you to our home nestling among Britain's highest mountains (a short distance away from Ben Nevis) and most spectacular scenery. Be prepared to spend more than a day here as there is so much to do and see no matter what weather we are having, and you will not tire of the people, culture or scenery. Many of our guests say that they wished they had stayed more than a couple of nights at our Guest House because they missed so many sights. Others return year after year and still find something new each visit. We are proud to be distinctly different to hotels, many of our guests prefer the more personal and relaxed atmosphere and genuine hospitality in a "home from home" without the formality and impersonal atmosphere many hotels have and you can expect some touches rarely found in hotels that we hope make you feel there is little else we could do for you. Perhaps the only thing you might miss is room service, but then with all there is to do why would you be in your room except to get a good night's sleep? VisitScotland have awarded Torlundy House 4 Star Gold Guest House status under their Quality Assurance Scheme and our breakfast menu holds the "Taste Our Best" award for it's use of locally produced and Scottish foods. Torlundy House has 3 double (king beds) ensuite rooms and a twin bed ensuite room. We can accommodate young adults over the age of 16 years. You can expect a warm Highland welcome, a comfortable home from home and a full Scottish Breakfast, using as many locally produced items as we can, to set you up for the day, whatever you are doing. Please tell us if you have any special dietary requirement so we can get some extra things in for you. We have free complimentary WiFi internet access throughout all resident's areas. *Torlundy House is a non smoking and non vaping house* We can also offer secure cycle storage and hard standings for motorcycles, and of course ample parking for cars.
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Cedar Lodge Cottage
Cedar Lodge is one of the closest self catering places to Fort William's downhill mountain biking tracks and winter skiing/snowboarding at Nevis Range. We are also within 10 minutes of the Ben Nevis North Face car park, and 15 minutes from the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre where most people begin their walk up the mountain footpath on Ben Nevis. Facilities Cedar Lodge offers two ensuite bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, washing machine/dryer, dining area and cosy TV room. You can let it for a short break - 2 or 3 days or a full week. We provide cleaning materials, kitchen rolls, toiletries and almost everything you might need during your stay. Other facilities We have lots of private parking and additional storage space for outdoor equipment. We provide WiFi internet access.  Our views of Ben Nevis and the Nevis Range of mountains is probably the best in the area - it's awesome. There is a cycle path nearby which you can ride or walk into the town centre. Our garden deck is a great place to relax and soak up the scenery. For full details of our current short-break offers, please visit our Cedar Lodge website link below.  This very cosy self catering holiday home is well maintained and comes with everything you will need during your stay. Our prices are all inclusive of electricity, heating, towels and bed linen, with nothing else to pay. Cedar Lodge is great place to base yourself for a week of exploring the west Highlands at any time throughout the year. For more details and photos please visit our website. Or, you can check availability using the form on this page or visit our website. We have a hot tub which can be made available to you during your stay, subject to conditions. Visit our website for more details.
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