Tag Archives: Sheep Fank and Shepherd’s Bothy

Scotland ~ Highland Folk Museum: Day 3, August 28, 2017


I woke up about 8:30, having had a weird dream last night.  According to my app, I got 8:19 sleep.

Today looks cold and rainy as seen in the screenshot, above. Good thing I brought fleece-lined jeans.

I turned on the heat in the solarium and tried uploading those sermons again.

Tom is still trying to mess with the drain problem from last night.

Found out that since today is the August Bank Holiday, the bikers continue on through tonight.  Not exactly like Labor Day:

The August Bank Holiday was instituted by the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 to give bankers a day off so they could participate in cricket matches. Since then, however, its significance has greatly expanded beyond those narrow limits. Now, it is a day intended to give workers of all stripes a three-day weekend before the summer holidays end and employees must return to the workplace and students to their schools.

(The video below says that they celebrate the August Bank Holiday on a different day in Scotland [August 7, 2017].  Where we were, they also celebrated August 28!).

Tom went to the main building to let them know about the drain issue.  They’ll fix it…sometime.

We decided to go to the Highland Folk Museum

The Highland Folk Museum is an open-air museum in Kingussie, Scotland. The museum, said to be Britain’s first mainland open-air museum, was opened in 1944. It was founded by Dr. Isabel F. Grant on a small site in Kingussie to house her collection of Highland life artefacts. Over the following years the museum was developed to include replica buildings such as the Lewis Blackhouse.

In the early 1980s, the museum, by then owned by the Highland Council, acquired a much larger site in Newtonmore. On the new site the open-air living history site was created. The new site was divided into four distinct areas: a 1930s themed working farm, a collection of re-located historical buildings, the Pinewoods and a reproduction of an early 1700s Highland township.

In 2013 the remainder of the collection in Kingussie was moved to the new site, which by then had developed to include a conservation laboratory, research areas, library, meeting rooms and offices.

The Museum now houses a variety of reconstructed buildings raging from an 18th-century highland township, traditional 1930s croft, tin school originally from Knockbain, corrugated church from Culloden, and various trades buildings such as joiners, tailors and clockmakers. Buildings are added on an annual basis to ensure that the traditional highland culture and heritage is preserved.https://www.highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum/



Welcome to the Highland Folk Museum. We are open every day, 10.30am to 5.30pm (Sept & October 11am to 4.30pm) until Friday 27 October 2017 – we look forward to seeing you in 2017!

Here at the Highland Folk Museum we give our visitors a flavour of how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up until the 1960s! We do this by displaying over 30 historical buildings and furnishing them appropriate to their time period.  Some have been built from scratch on site and some have been moved here from other locations.

Our site is a mile long with our 1700s Township (featuring 6 houses) at one end through to our 1930s working croft at the other. We have an on site cafe, gift shop and a fantastic children’s playground. The Museum is located at Newtonmore in the Scottish Highlands amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

We are also home to ‘Am Fasgadh’ storing 10,000 artefacts plus high quality meeting rooms, a research library, conservation laboratory and suite of offices.

Map to the Highland Folk Museum

The Museum was very cool.  We ended up walking 5 floors (some in stairs, some small hills), and 2.6 miles.

Stopped in the Gift store first.  Tom got a book on Scottish History for Children which actually looks very interesting – and I may “acquire” when he’s done.

After that, we went down the little slope and had to choose right or left.  Left went to the 1700s Township (featuring 6 houses) and the right got later in time up to the 1930s working croft at the other end.

We went to the 1700s first but stopped several places along the way.

In the gallery at the end of this post there are pictures of  thatched roof houses, a Steam Engine, the bus (we didn’t take it), D. MacPherson Tailor and Outfitter,  Craigdru Tweed Cottage,  Clockmaker with netting to keep the birds from nesting, Lumber/joiners, Engine House and Paint Store, under the machine workshop.

Going to the Pine Forest, we crossed into another county and saw Scottish Water.

We crossed over the Wildcat trail and walked through the Pine Forest where there were some tree sculptures.  Owl, squirrel and raccoon are the ones we spotted.  There may have been more.

We saw a Travelling People’s Camp, lumber, pigs and finally got to 1700s.  It was a bit more than a 5 minute walk but very worthwhile.

These homes were so dark it was hard to get pictures inside.  The first was supposed to be owned by the most well-to-do and they went down in social status from there but I couldn’t see a lot of difference.

The thatched roof with fire inside, no chimney, lots of smoke, dirt floor.  The young man outside said that the things in the house were low down to keep the folks away from the smoke.  He said that the smoke helped keep animals out of the building (which should have been a lesson for all!) and made the roof last longer because no insects or anything would make a home there.

Their thatch lasts about 12 years.  The people living inside about 35-45 years.

Ducks and chickens wandering around.

Outdoor cooking – first barbecue?

A cruck frame (a pair of curved timbers extending from ground level to the transverse beam or ridge of a roof and forming a structure frame in a medieval timber-framed house) that you could assemble (like paint by numbers) and take apart

We left the 1700 for more “modern” times

We sat in the schoolroom where a “teacher” explained the typical day.  The school had a garden and some livestock.

More modern house with actual light inside

We went into the shinty pavilion.

Shinty (Scottish Gaeliccamanachd, iomain) is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread in Scotland, and was even played for a considerable time in England and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.

While comparisons are often made with field hockey, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.

The game was derived from the same root as the Irish game of hurling and the Welsh game of bando, but has developed unique rules and features. These rules are governed by the Camanachd Association. A composite rules shinty–hurling game has been developed, which allows Scotland and Ireland to play annual international matches.

Another sport with common ancestry is bandy, which is played on ice.

We met a man, another visitor, who explained shinty to us.  He is from Wales but has visited the states often.  He’s planning to come back to VA so Tom gave him his business card 🙂

A house with a real bathtub!

A Sheep Fank and Shepherd’s Bothy. A bothy is a basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge. It was also a term for basic accommodation, usually for gardeners or other workers on an estate.Bothies are to be found in remote mountainous areas of Scotland, Northern England, Ireland and Wales. This bothy was made from an old railway sleeper.

Sheep dip at this time they used tar.  Sheep dip is a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds and farmers use to protect their sheep from infestation against external parasites such as itch mite, blow-fly, ticks, and lice.

We saw 3 coos aka cows:



Unfortunately, the sweetie store closed when we got there.

The Highland Folk Museum is where the TV Series Outlander was partly filmed so they have an Outlander Day: https://www.highlifehighland.com/highlandfolkmuseum/outlander-day/

Speak to any fan of the television adaption of Outlander, and chances are they’ll mention the incredible costumes, sophisticated sets and breathtaking locations utilised to convincingly recreate 18th Century Scotland. In previous editions of this Scotland Magazine column, we’ve visited various Outlander locations that – largely on account of their construction from stone – haven’t changed too significantly over the years. However, in the rural communities of Scotland’s past, wood was often the building material of choice for many township structures. Unsurprisingly, no suitable originals survived the long years since their construction intact.

This could’ve caused something of a stumbling block, particularly when filming scenes such as those seen in episode five of season one (‘Rent’). The protagonist, Claire, having joined the men of Clan MacKenzie, is taken along on a rent-collecting trip in the Highlands, on behalf of Laird Colum MacKenzie, and visits many impoverished villages constructed in the traditional style of the 1700s.

The episode is of particular note for giving an intimate look at the lives of women in such communities, and in one scene Claire joins the local women in a song as they ‘waulk the cloth’ (also known as ‘wool walking’ or ‘fulling’). The process involves pounding a large mass of wool, stretched across a long table, in order to eliminate dirt and thicken the material; songs were sung to help set the pace of work. The scene holds particular weight, as it is such everyday tasks that are often left out of historic fiction.

From our vantage point in the 21st Century, replete with modern comforts, it can be hard to imagine quite how hard life would have been for the occupants of such villages, thus making a faithful recreation of the period environment pivotal for the success of the series. In many countries, film-makers would now be faced with the daunting task of either building a set from scratch or relying on computer generated effects to create the desired environment; both are costly options and, as we have all seen on-screen many times before, the results of the latter can be less than convincing.

Thankfully, Scotland has its very own, painstakingly recreated, 18th Century township at the Highland Folk Museum near Newtonmore, Inverness-shire. Founded in 1935 by Dr Isobel F. Grant, a pioneer in British folk life studies and author of the seminal text Highland Folk Ways (1961), in just under a decade the collection had outgrown its original home, a church on the Isle of Iona, and relocated to a new site in Kingussie. This new museum, which was named Am Fasgadh (The Shelter), included a recreated late 19th Century blackhouse, livestock, crops and activities.

The Highland Folk Museum subsequently relocated once again, in 1996, to a significantly larger (80 acre / 32 hectare) location in nearby Newtonmore, and ever since has existed as a piece of ‘living history’ that is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. The collection, which now includes over 10,000 items, from teaspoons to tractors, was recognised in 2015 as a ‘Collection of National Significance’ by Museum Galleries Scotland, an accolade that coincided with its 80th anniversary.

The township itself, named Baile Gean (The Township of Goodwill), is based on a real settlement that once existed at Easter Raitts, high up the Spey valley near the hamlet of Lynchat. Raitts, the main settlement in the area prior to the 1790s era ‘planned town’ of Kingussie, was located on a drove road that crossed the River Spey from north to south, leading to the township of Ruthven.

The recreation was informed by significant archaeological excavation, physical and documentary research and extensive practical experimentation on site. Visitors are invited to learn of the complex techniques employed to build the various structures, which include the tackman’s (principal tenant) house; a barn; a cottar’s house (the house of a tenant who cultivated land); a weaver’s house; a stockman’s house (complete with animal pens) and a kiln barn (that demonstrates how villagers would have dried their grains).

After featuring in Outlander, the township has become very popular with fans of the series and as a result the museum now holds an annual ‘Outlander Day’ each June. This includes additional costumed interpreters on site (including a redcoat); cooking in the houses; weaving; an exhibition by the herbalist who advised on the TV series; additional animals; a working pole lathe and, of course, a display of ‘waulking the cloth.’

From http://www.scotlandmag.com/magazine/issue87/12011605.html



Stopped at Tesco.  Way fewer people now that the Thunder in the Glens is finished.

Got back about 5 and fell asleep immediately.  Woke up just after 9 making the total day’s sleep 12:52.

Looking back, I see that yesterday (Sunday) shows as 00: 00 time in the app.  Not sure what happened because I know I slept – and added the time to this blog (10:52).  Maybe the app was confused with time changes.  Interesting that both Sunday and Monday end with 52 minutes.  Hmmm.  The 7 day average is still ok.

And more pictures.  Sooner or later I may add more captions.  Click on any to see the larger slideshow…




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