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The History of Land-Use in Camuscross

Summary

The SRP project in Camuscross aims to extend knowledge and understanding of the history of the township by focusing this study on the importance of land-use and its effect on settlement patterns. The few remaining signs of older land-use in the crofting township will be recorded and compared to the evidence of land-use in the neighbouring area of Baravaig which has remains of turf and stone buildings, enclosures and rigs from when it was cleared in the early 1800s. The physical evidence will be augmented by documentary research by studying the Clan Donald estate papers, the Duisdale school log book and relevant contemporary written sources.

Latitude: 57.1385
Longitude: -5.8066

Photographs

Baravaig stone house
Stone house from above
Baravaig turf house
Duisdale School Log Book
Beside Allt na Beiste
Buildings by Allt na Beiste
Building below Creag Dhonnchaidh

Findings

Place names of Camuscross

May 19 2008

Camuscross Community Steering Group was set up in February 2006, to work on developments for the benefit of the community of Camuscross and surrounding areas. The group has been researching local history and has collected a number of place names from local people. They mounted an exhibition of what they have collected so far at an Open Day on March 1st 2008, when five more names were added to the place name collection.

The crofts and the hill grazings of Camuscross are much smaller than those of townships in surrounding areas; it is thought that the landlord deliberately made the crofts small so that the crofters had to earn additional income by fishing. It is interesting that a lot of the place names which are still known are connected to the shore.

If you have any new place names to add to the list, or any stories or local history about the area, please contact the group at: enquiries@camuscross.org

Placenames of Camuscross

Cnoc Sheumais

James’ Hill

69392

11327

Cnoc an Fhreacadain

Hill of the Watch/Look-out

69274

11410

Càrn Seònaid

Janet’s Cairn

69007

11718

This is said to be where an old beggar woman died when she became lost in a snow storm while crossing Camuscross hill.

Lag nan Ceard

Hollow of the Tinkers (Travellers)

68764

12173

Cachaleith an Lònaid

Gateway of the lane

69777

11726

This was the main gateway for taking cows up to the hill grazings from this part of the village

An Lianag

The Green

69886

11648

In the past, the crofters would meet here on Saturday mornings to discuss township matters

Cidh’ a’ Chlachaig

Clachaig quay

69852

11479

This little stone pier was built during the famine years as a Destitution works – when the starving men were paid in meal for themselves and their families, as payment for building roads and other engineering works. This was common all over the Highlands and Islands.

Sgeir na Banndrach Thearlaich

Skerry of Charles’ Widow

69928

11475

Sgeir a Chairidh

Fishtrap skerry

69985

11524

Fishtraps can be found all around the coast of the West Highlands – walls were built across small inlets so that fish were caught as the tide went out

Sgeir a’ Chlachaig

Clachaig Skerry

69845

114

Dùn ‘Ic Mhartainn

Martin’s Son’s Fort

69865

11383

Eilean na Gainmhich

Sand Island

69925

11288

If people needed sand, this was where they collected it

Eilean an Sgadain

Herring Island

69888

11089

Sgeirean Dubha

Black Skerries

69984

11177

Eilean nan Caorach

Sheep Island

69907

11209

Creag Dhonnchaidh

Duncan’s Rock

69574

11841

There are two ruins of houses below this hill, but it is not known if ‘Duncan’ lived in either house, or who he was. As the ruins are outside the township headwall, these were perhaps cottars, who did not have a croft and subsisted on meagre bits of land on the common grazings. There are still clear signs of cultivation rigs or lazy beds near the ruins, a small turf building, two circular turf buildings and the rigs and buildings are enclosed by a turf wall.

Creag Aonghais Mhòir

Big Angus’ Rock

69401

11860

There is a ruin of a house (69370 : 11815) near to this rock, but it is not known if ‘Big Angus’ lived there, or who he was. The house is outside the township headwall so was perhaps the house of a cottar, or from before the time of the creation of the crofts in early-mid 1800s.

Coraraidh

Corary

69284

12207

It is not known what Corary means. There are remains of old cultivations, enclosures and walls. Hens were kept at Corary, An Ob, (on Camuscross Bay) and above Tobar Ard, (above the High Road) in a time before fences, when the hens had to be kept away from the arable ground, where they could do damage to the crops. A small enclosure (69251 : 12242) might be where people kept their hens – it might have been made using the walls of an older building or house. The old cultivation and enclosures suggest that there was a dwelling somewhere in the vicinity.

Cnoc na Buaile Carnaich

Hill of the Cairn-like Fold

69644

11971

The small hillock is surrounded by an old sod wall – suggesting that it could once have been used to hold animals.

Cnoc na Ceardaich

Hill of the Smiddy

69776

11927

Horseshoes were found in the ground here, while the crofter of this land was making lazybeds for his potatoes

Lòn a’ Bràigh

68591

11944

Drochaid Sheonaidh Fhriseil

Johnny Fraser’s Bridge

69222

12426

Cnoc Ollaig

Ollaig Hill

69966

12197

It is not known what ‘Ollaig’ means

An Staingean

The Troubles

70332

12089

The ruins of a poorhouse stand here

Uamh Tholl

Hole Cave

70899

11651

This is a long natural arch – in other words a cave with an opening at each end.

Uamh Fhliuch

Wet Cave

70272

11551

Duisdale School Log Books

May 29 2008

We are researching the Duisdale School Log Books, (Duisdale is next to Camuscross and was the local school for the area) as these give invaluable information about social history.  We will use the log book to research two themes:

1.    Rise and fall of population (or at least school age population) .  At the annual school inspection, the numbers of school pupils on the roll were recorded.  We could also create a more detailed graph of the weekly attendance, by studying the school register - and then compare that with the 'Crofting Calendar' (see below).  Click the link below to see the attendance table for 1878 to 1896 

http://www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk/images/Duisdale_School_Log_Book_Attendance_1878_1896.doc

2.   Particularly of interest to our study is the evidence of what croft and fishing work was being done, when and by whom, which is logged as reasons for school absences.   There are school log books covering the period from 1878 to the 1960s, and we hope, eventually,  to produce a 'crofting calendar' for the whole period.   Click the link below to see the Crofting Calendar for the period 1878-1896.   The entries are colour coded to show what activity kept children off school or closed the school, or took place at the school:

http://www.scotlandsruralpast.org.uk/images/crofting_calendar_school_log.xls 

Boswell's description of the turf houses of Sleat, Isle of Skye

Mar 23 2010

Emigration from Camuscross & Duisdale in the post-potato famine years of 1852-1855

Mar 23 2010

© Historic Environment Scotland - Scottish Charity No. SC045925.