Auchindrain Township is an open-air folk life museum of the West Highlands. Unlike many such open-air building museums, this was a real village. It was the only communal tenancy township in Scotland to survive on its same site and mostly in its original form. Its history dates back over 1000 years.
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The tenants (80 at the most) worked as a collective in the common grazings – the ‘out-bye’ lands. They farmed part of their land – the ‘in-bye’ lands, as a runrig, drawing lots each year for the use of the sets of rigs (five and a half metres wide strips of land, some more fertile than others). The soil was very poor.
The houses were designed to hold livestock at one end during the cold months while the family lived at the other end. A kitchen garden provided vegetables and fruit for the family.The buildings have been restored and are furnished in various periods. There is a visitor centre with displays on West Highland life of the past.
The most famous visitor to the site was Queen Victoria in 1875. She recorded the visit in her diary.
Some of the buildings that can be seen:
MacCallum’s house and barn—they were the last family to leave the township;
Munro’s house: one of the last families to still live at the sight;
MacNicol’s house and barn;
Bell Pol’s house;
a stable; a cart shed; a cottar’s house; a smiddy and corn kiln; a house and byre.
Auchindrain, Inveraray, Argyll and Bute
On the A83, 6 miles (10km) south-west of Inveraray, Argyll
Tel. 0 783 780 8225
Open: April-end Oct, daily, 10am-5pm; last admission 4pm
Shop; refreshments; parking
Photos © by Barbara Ballard and courtesy Auchindrain