Conservation of Waternish estate plans and records

This collection provides an unrivalled insight into life on a small West Highland estate over a period of almost two hundred years.  It weaves between the intrigues of landlords and tenants, the family’s leisure and business concerns, the Highland Clearances, land raids and the development of the crofting system. It also interconnects with other estate collections that held by the service, and helps to provide a more in-depth insight into the western Highlands and Islands. However, it had suffered from poor storage conditions over the years prior to deposit.

Thirteen volumes, many with broken spines or in a fragile condition, and 62 maps and plans were identified for the project. The volumes provide evidence of the impact of famines and the clearances, as the Macdonald’s strove to provide additional grain and meal to the families living and working on the estate that had been moved to less favourable lands to make way for sheep. The maps and plans provide unique insights, including the names of crofters and the lands they were allocated.

Digital copies of the conserved items will be made available via Highland Archive Service’s bi-lingual digital image website Am Baile. This is a key resource for Gaelic learners and speakers, which provides access to digitised collections from across the Highlands and Islands.

The conserved collection is being promoted and accessibility to it increased, through an exhibition in the archive centre as well as online via Am Baile. The exhibition provides the opportunity to work with local community groups and to develop workshops that will be aimed at both local primary and secondary school groups.

2016
Waulking the tweed, in front of Stein School Building, Waternish.
Waulking the tweed, in front of Stein School Building, Waternish.
Milking a cow on the Waternish Estate, possibly at Trumpan.
Milking a cow on the Waternish Estate, possibly at Trumpan.
Conservation in progress.
Conservation in progress. Images courtesy of Courtesy of Highland Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre)