A photograph album from the 1860s

Among the treasures held by The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is an old photograph album, described as "The Melville Album: portraits, interiors, tableaux, plus some views of Abyssinia, etc." The Melville in question was Ronald Ruthven Leslie Melville (1835 - 1906), the eleventh Earl of Leven and Melville, head of an Anglo-American banking house and director … Continue reading A photograph album from the 1860s

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Culduie – then and now

A picture is worth a thousands words, so they say, and an old photograph is probably worth even more. I've been looking through a few old photos of Culduie recently and thought it was worth comparing how it looked then with how it looks now. 1. Culduie from the West This old photo from the … Continue reading Culduie – then and now

Poaching in Applecross

The mystery of the posts at the Bay Several years ago, while walking across the northern part of Applecross Bay at low tide, I noticed several short stumps of what looked like wooden fence posts sticking out of the sand. They intrigued me as they were too far from land and too scattered to be … Continue reading Poaching in Applecross

Clachan Church, Applecross, 1817-2017

Stand in front of Clachan Church at the head of Applecross Bay, look up at the corners of the building, and you'll see a faint number 18 inscribed on the left hand corner, and a slightly more distinct 17 on the right hand corner. These record the date the church was built - 1817 - … Continue reading Clachan Church, Applecross, 1817-2017

His gruesome project

Wednesday 8th April 1835. Dr Dickson stood in the Parish Church of Applecross. He bent over the greatly decomposed corpse, freshly dug up from the graveyard outside, and taking his scalpel carefully cut through skin and muscle... Incredible as it may seem, this is not the opening scene of a gruesome novel about body-snatchers, although … Continue reading His gruesome project

A window’s journey – from Edinburgh to Applecross in the 1930s

In 1987 while demolishing the old shed beside our house in Culduie, I found an old shipping address label, on top of the window frame, sealed behind the wooden planking of the wall.   The label reads: "Per Rail Steamer Carriage FOB Glasgow To Mr Duncan Gillies, Culduie Applecross Rossshire, Rail to Glasgow thence per … Continue reading A window’s journey – from Edinburgh to Applecross in the 1930s

The Applecross ‘diaspora’ – stories of emigration (Part two)

The Bains of Culduie/New Zealand Often it’s the families’ descendants in the destination country that give us the story of what happened to people only hazily remembered in Applecross. For example, I have often been told the story of how a Mr Bain held the tenancy of Culduie in the 1830s, but wanted possession of … Continue reading The Applecross ‘diaspora’ – stories of emigration (Part two)

The Applecross ‘diaspora’ – stories of emigration (Part one)

Applecross today attracts visitors from all around the globe. Just have a look at the map of the world displayed on the wall of the Applecross Inn to see the number and wide spread of pins placed by visitors to show where they have come from. In past centuries, the direction of travel was more … Continue reading The Applecross ‘diaspora’ – stories of emigration (Part one)

His Bloody Culduie book

In September 2016 a historical crime novel, written by a then relatively unknown Scottish author and published by a small Scottish publishing house, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Set in Culduie, Applecross, it was supposedly based on a document found by the author, Graeme Macrae Burnet, in the Highland Council archives, giving the first person … Continue reading His Bloody Culduie book

The ‘Kishorn Dwarfs’

  When a young American boy, 'General Tom Thumb' (real name Charles Stratton), toured in Britain and Europe in 1844-45, he attracted rave reviews from the newspapers of the day. Stratton was six years old at the time, but had stopped growing at the age of six months, when he was 25 inches tall. Brought … Continue reading The ‘Kishorn Dwarfs’