Sunday, 22 May 2011

Back in time at Auchindrain township...

On our way back home from a recent holiday on Islay, we realised that we'd be driving right past Auchindrain township, so we made time to nip in for a look around.

I'd already had a folk museum fix while on Islay but I wasn't going to let that stop me from having another! Auchindrain isn't quite a folk museum though, it's the last remaining example of a Highland farm township, where a group of families worked the land in common. There are buildings from different eras, including houses, barns, cartsheds and stables and some of them are set up inside as they would have been in their heyday, with furniture from the appropriate period.

Many of the buildings were homes and barns all in one, with the animals living under the same roof as the humans. The MacCallum's longhouse, which was lived in until 1954, had the living area at one end of the building, a dairy in the middle and the cattle housed in a byre at the far end...
MacCallum's House 3

The byre seemed very well organised, with a special system of posts and pegs (thought to be unique to Auchindrain) to tether horned cattle...
Cow tethering area in the byre

I liked the patterns of the cobbled floors in the byres...
Cobbles in the horse stall

In one of the living areas I spotted a great wheel (as in 'great wheel' is the type of wheel it was, it's not just that I thought it was great...)
Great wheel

And a lovely treadle sewing machine all set up ready to sew...
Close up sewing machine

There was also a handy trout bag hanging from the rafters...
Trout bag

Although the windows were quite small, the light that came in was lovely...
Sink view 2

Desk and chair by a window

Some of the homes were much poorer, having only one room. The Cottar's house is built in a very rough and ready style compared to the other buildings and was lived in by landless labourers, who worked on the township's land in return for a home like this one...
The Cottar's House

The unusual thatched roof is made from bracken...
Detail of Cottar's House thatch

The inside structure is very rustic looking...
Cottar's House structural detail

Another building for poorer members of the community is Bell Pol's house...
Bell Pol's House 1

This house is named after the last resident, who was called Bell Pol (Gaelic for 'muddy Isabella'). She worked in the lead mines and returned to Auchindrain single and penniless in her old age. She was looked after and provided for until her death in 1913.

Inside Bell Pol's house...
Inside Bell Pol's House

Although she didn't have much, I was quite envious of Bell Pol's horn spoon collection...
Bell Pol's lamp and horn spoon collection

So much so that I couldn't help myself when we got back to the visitors centre shop and I had to buy a lovely handmade natural horn spoon to take home with me...
My horn spoon

If you'd like to see more pictures of Auchindrain, check out my full set of photos on Flickr here :)

2 comments:

  1. Great photos and an extremely interesting read. Thanks.

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  2. Somehow those cottages look so cosy, you can just imagine sitting there with a roaring fire on a winter's evening. I bet it was actually freezing and really miserable though. xxx

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