Torridon and Kinlochewe History

Torridon and Kinlochewe Community Collage
Torridon Calendar 1998 

The pictures shown in our calendar were some of those gathered for the Torridon Exhibition held by the school in July 1993. We are grateful to those who took the time to try and identify faces and share their memories. Those who let us share their photographs were -

Sammy Thorburn - Torridon School 1920s, Making the new Annat Road, The Four Daredevils, Keepers Cottage
Katie Mackenzie - The Long and Winding Road to Torridon, Salmon Fishing at Red Point, John 'Rudd' Mackenzie
Fraser Mackenzie - His dad' school photo!
Alistair Maclean - School photo 1936 and the Torridon Football Team
Chrissie Duncan - Willie 'Diabaig' at Work, The Torridon Hotel, Transporting Lorry to Alligin
Shena Aanonson - Eliza Macpherson on Croft 21
Peggy Mackenzie - The Annat Shop 18802
Murdo Macdonald - Outdoor Service at Ploc
Nurse Brown - Snow on the Banca Mor

Torridon Calendar 2000 "Memories of Yesteryear" 

As we celebrate the New Millennium and look forward to the future, here we take the chance to look back over life in the Torridon area in past years.

Our last Heritage Calendar promoted a lot of discussion and the photographs led to many stories from the past.

We hope that you enjoy using this and would welcome any further information on the photographs. As the native language of many of the characters featured was the Gaelic it seems appropriate to use it here too.

Bliadhna Mhath Ur le gach durachd!

Our Production Team - Printers - Anne Macrae and Katherine Mackenzie.  Collators - Alison Beaton, Claire Abbott and Hayley Ross, P7.

Torridon and Kinlochewe History

In order to view the Old Statistical Account (1790) and the New Statistical Account (1836) both of which include Torridon and Kinlochewe, see 'Gairloch' in this website, since the two communities form part of Gairloch Parish. 

Torridon Calendar 1998 

Transporting the first lorry to Alligin.

As there was no road to Alligin two boats are tied together with planks laid across for the lorry. We are not sure of all on board but sitting on the lorry bonnet was Johnny Macdonald, Alligin. The man in uniform was Mr Donald Maclean with his son Rory on front. Standing behind him was 'Funder' Maclean. Surveying the scene from Corry pier was Dolan's dog Dileas.


Back row from left to right:  Peggy Maclean, Alistair Maclean, Roy Macrae (Corry Pier), Rory Macdonald-Brownhill.  Front:  Nan Macdonald, Susan Macdonald-Brownhill, Morag Feinty (Gardener's Cottage).  Teacher - Bella Mackenzie

Torridon School in late 1920s.

In the 1920s and 30s when these photographs were taken there were also schools in Diabaig and Alligin. However, the Diabaig School was closed in 1957 and Inver-Alligin in 1961 so that by 1963, when our February picture was taken, the children travelled to Torridon daily as they do today.
We hope that you enjoy looking at and using our 1998 calendar.
The mother tongue of the children pictured on the left and the people featured on following pages was the Gaelic, so it seems appropriate to make use of it here too.
Bliadhna Mhath Ur le gach durachd!
Miss Peace with her charges. Standing in rear row are Roddy 'Dochan' Macdonald (Fearrach), Donald 'Moccan' Mackenzie, Donnie Mackenzie (Bayview).

Collecting the Torridon mail.

The Torridon mail-van backing across the line at Achnasheen Station to pick up goods. The main contractor, Donald Maclean, travelled daily with a horse and trap to Kinlochewe after the First World War. His son Alistair and daughter Peggy now live in Fasaig.

Torridon School late 1960s.

Back row l-r: Iain (Happy) Maclennan, Murdo Macdonald (Bella Vista), Ritchie Tough, Murdo Mackenzie (Bayview), Donnie Macdonald.  Middle row: Donnie Beaton, Murdo Alick Mackenzie, Willie Tough, Murdo Beaton, Murdo 'Corry' Macdonald.  Front row: Eleanor Beaton, Linda Low, Anne Macdonald, Jane Mackenzie, Catherine Tough.

The Annat shop

Mr Donald Mackenzie pictured by his shop in Annat in the 1880s. The shop was opened to cater for the men working at nearby Ben Damph house and sold a great variety of goods ranging from men's boots to the sickles and crooks seen at the upstairs window and the clay pipes below. The room on the left was used as an office. The shop was run until recent years by Mr Mackenzie's son Donnie.

Mr Macdonald ('Willie Diabaig') pictured at work lobster fishing aboard the Hilda. Willie was renowned for his sense of humour and his great ability to recount stories from the past.

Am Ploc 

Villagers gathered at Ploc for an outdoor service taken by Rev Peter Findlay. Among those braving the midges were Morag and Joan Macdonald, Katherine and Alice, Bayview, and Mary Macdonald who is in the foreground. It is not known if this historic site was an outdoor church or an early parliament where community decisions were made. Although it is possible to walk to the site, sadly the outer wall is now collapsing, allowing seaweed and bracken to cover the rows of stone.

Salmon fishing at Red Point late 1940s.

Pictured at the Salmon Fishing Station off Red Point are local men:  l-r: Murdo Mackenzie, Diabaig; Kenny Macrae, Red Point; Donald 'Rupert' Mackenzie, Opinan; Ali 'Corry' Macpherson, John Macpherson, George Warren, and Sandy Mackenzie, Diabaig.

Making the new road at Annat.

When the bridge at Balgy was replaced, finally enabling cars to travel from Torridon to Shieldaig, the road at Annat was widened to double track. Hard at work in 1963 is Raymond MacAllister, Beauly.

The handsome lads of Torridon football team in the 1930s.
Back row l-r: Finlay Maclean, Donald 'Moccan' Mackenzie, Duncan 'Willigin' Maclean.
Middle row l-r: Kenny Macdonald, Alligin; Donald 'Diamond' Mackenzie, Angus Mackenzie, Durrie.  Front row l-r: Murdo Dolan; George Mackenzie, Barnfield; Murdo Mackenzie, Annat Lodge; Donnie Mackenzie, Barnfield; Willie Maclean, Fasaig.

Eliza Macpherson gathering the hay on Croft 21, Diabaig.

Loch Torridon hotel.

Originally built in 1887 as a private residence this majestic building was converted to a hotel in 1962. An artist was brought over from Florence to work on the interior including laying the impressive mosaic at the entrance. Local schoolchildren were able to mark time by the sound of the clock bells chiming across the loch. Tariff for a room with private bathroom would set you back £3 and dogs were permitted in the owners' bedrooms for 2s/6d.

Sport included Salmon and Sea Trout fishing from hotel motor boats, Sailing, Riding and Stalking which cost £10 per day. Fishing charges varied from £1 on Loch Damph to £5 on River Balgy - a ghillie for the day was £1.50.

The four daredevils.

James Thorburn (2nd from left) with three friends (all also named Jimmy) at Ripon Training Camp in 1917, six weeks before leaving for France.

As his mother had recently died Jimmy was allowed to cover the second button on his tunic in black cloth. Aged 17, Jimmy had joined up two years earlier after lying about his age to get into the army. He lost the finger on his right hand due to an accident with a handgun in Glasgow but was sadly later to lose his right arm in the Battle of the Somme.

A winter walk on the Banca Mor.

Having no snowploughs, it could take up to a week to dig through the snow drifts to reach Fasaig from Diabaig.

Keeper's Cottage, Corry.

Pictured from l-r:  ? ; Duncan MacBeath ('The Gillie Ban'); Cathy; Donnie and Mary Macdonald (Donnie London's father and aunts); Murachadh Ban; John Macgregor; Roderick Maclean ('Rory Dubh').  Centre front: William Macdonald, Old Inn (Keeper); MacDuff's grandfather; Betty Macdonald and mother Bessie.

John 'Rudd' Mackenzie.

The long and winding road to Torridon.









As we celebrate the New Millennium and look forward to the future, here we take the chance to look back over life in the Torridon area in past years.
Our last Heritage Calendar promoted a lot of discussion and the photographs led to many stories from the past.
We hope that you enjoy using this and would welcome any further information on the photographs. As the native language of many of the characters featured was the Gaelic it seems appropriate to use it here too.


Bliadhna Mhath Ur le gach durachd!


Our Production Team - Printers - Anne Macrae and Katherine Mackenzie

Collators - Alison Beaton, Claire Abbott and Hayley Ross, P7

Mrs Mary Mackenzie, Upper Diabaig, July 1926.  She later moved to Maryburgh.

Looking back over the years.

At Diabaig pier is Alexander (Alla) Cameron.  Diabaig and Shieldaig were closely linked as boats were the main means of transport and Alla made weekly trips from Shieldaig to Diabaig with provisions each Thursday.

The Macdonald family, Alligin, were well known boat builders and one of their boats The Queen Mary can be seen outside Gairloch Museum. Pictured left are Murdo 'Dollan', his grandfather Murdo Macdonald ('The Old Carpenter'), Ali Dubh, and partly in the picture is Sanderman.

Torridon House staff outing.

Pictured possibly on a Torridon House staff outing to Gairloch are estate workers. Some of the faces have appeared in other photographs but as yet have no names. In the middle row, 4th from left, however, is Duncan MacBeath, Mr Thorburn's grandfather, then Murdo Macdonald and Bessie MacCulloch who were Donnie 'London's' grandparents. Mrs Susan Macdonald, Brownhill (Willie Crupach's sister) stands at the rear on the left, whilst the piper is thought to be Angus Mackenzie 'Durrie', the Estate Piper. J. Campbell, the photographer, lived in Diabaig before moving on to Gairloch.

Car at Corry.  Pictured with pride.  Estate workers at Corry show off the latest technology.

The Cutting.
In 1951 work started on the road down to Alligin.  Until then there had been only paths such as 'the Burma road' which can still be used today.

l-r: Donald 'Moccan' Mackenzie, John Mackenzie, ? , George Mackenzie, Roddy 'Dochan' Macdonald, Donnie 'Bayview' Mackenzie, Teacher - Miss Clark.  Mary Ann Macgregor, Mary Macdonald, Jessie Macrae, Lizzie Mackenzie, Isa Macdonald, Annie Mackenzie, Dolly and Katie Macrae, Betty Macdonald.  Willie 'Dochan' Macdonald and Charlie Mackenzie.
Donny 'Bayview' is a well known figure in Annat today and Donald 'Moccan' and dog Lassie enjoy seeing friends in Strathburn House, Gairloch.

At work in Annat.
John 'Bullar' Mackenzie (standing) takes a break. We would be interested to know who his companion was and what exactly their load was. Possibly old thatch?

Mairi Eachainn's cottage, Annat.

The Diabaig fank.

Shearing by hand is still a common sight in the area each summer. Hard at work are Duncan Macdonald (at the gate), Neil Maclennan (standing) and John 'Rudd' Mackenzie.

Fishing nets drying.

Fishing nets at Alligin Pier. The village of Alligin has long been associated with fishing and boatbuilding.

At work on the home farm.

Working the land was an important way of life and crops were carefully tended on crofts. Today the main Torridon - Shieldaig road runs along the back fence and the Thorburn family home now stands at Newton. The cottage shown is now used by Grampian Climbing Club.

The walking postman's presentation.  Presentation in the Old Village Hall.

Marking his retiral as postman in Torridon (late 1960s) John 'Buller' Mackenzie is presented with a gift of gratitude by Duncan Mackenzie (Old Shoemaker) and Kenny Macdonald (Alligin Post Office). Also looking on are thought to be Murdo 'Mollan' Mackenzie, Iain Mackenzie and Murdo Macdonald, with a fresh faced Murdo 'Corrie' Macdonald sitting in his kilt.

The coal puffer.

Coal came to each village by Puffer from Glasgow. Tides were important as the boat would beach before unloading coal which was then distributed by horse and cart and later by lorry.

Community Christmas party.

Enjoying the games at the Community Christmas Party in the old Village Hall are, amongst others, Wilma Holmes, Eleanor Beaton, Tibby and Anne Ross, Morag (in her mini), Nurse Brown, Marjory and May Carswell, Chrissie Duncan, Wilma and Marianne. A young Ronnie Holmes chats to Alice 'Bayview' Mackenzie. Bella 'Moccan' is on the left whilst the Alligin boys take the stage.

Ladies of New Street, Fassaig.

Pictured here are Mrs Macgregor and Mary Anne Macgregor who lived in the house (now a ruin) nearest to the school, Mrs Maclean who lived next door (now Mrs Connel's house) and Mrs Maclean, Roselea (Alistair and Peggy's Grandmother).

Do you recognise these three likely lads?

Donnie 'London' Macdonald, Charlie 'Moccan' Mackenzie and Bobby Thorburn.

Mrs Katie Macdonald, Ploc.  Her husband was an uncle of Donald 'Moccan'.

John 'Rudd' Mackenzie, Diabaig, with a telescope which had come thrkough the Boer War.

Boats in Diabaig bay.


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