Heritage Project – Images

New Old Photos

These photos have just been given to us by Jonathan Mutch whose family holidayed on the island for four summers around 1962,

Not that long ago:

We recently  received some photos dating to around 1974, when the island had a manager, Douglas Stroud, who kept cows, cut hay etc


Douglas and his wife Ann were living in the ‘McLeod House’




The Herring Fishing in 1775

Below are some  sketches of fishing and boats, contemporary with the building of Isle Martin fishing station. They come from John Home’s Survey of Assynt, dating to 1774

Above are depictions of what were probably small local boats, one with a crew of only two and the other with seven. Before the commercial development of fishing, these local crews had no means of preserving their catch, which would lie ungutted on the open floor until the boat got ashore.

These are depictions of larger boats with decks and storage below deck. Until the mid-18th century this type of fishing boat, called a buss, was used by the Dutch who fished the herring around Scotland to take back to the Netherlands. Eventually, such boats were built in the Clyde and could store large catches, salted, below deck. Their limitations were the time it took to reach the fishing grounds once the herring arrived, and the need to return to the Clyde with their holds full.

On the left is a view of Culag, Lochinver, the year before the fishing station was built. Once the herring could be gutted and cured on the spot, both large and small fishing boats would benefit as they could continue fishing until all the herring were caught or moved away. On the left is a painting of the brig ‘Caesar’, belonging to John Joseph Bacon who established the curing station at Culag. The brig is in the bay of Naples in 1788, presumably having exchanged its cargo of red herring for wine.


Isle Martin: The Crofters

  ‘The Street’ as it looks today. The last crofter left by the end of the 1920s and when the mill was rebuilt on the ruins of the curing station., it looks like some materials were robbed from the old croft houses



The Old Schoolhouse’, built to the north of the croft houses after the Education Act of 1870 required that all children between 5 and 12 be schooled. One of the first teachers was Hugh McNiven, from Scoraig, son of the schoolteacher there. He was only 16 in 1881. The teacher in 1891, James Stewart, was aged 19, and in 1901, Roderick Mackenzie, was only 15. The school was renovated in 1907 but closed for good in 1925 when the last family moved to Bonar Bridge


The ‘New Schoolhouse’ when it was still in place at Strathan. Over on Isle Martin, in 1940, six children of mill workers living on the island needed an education, so the Strathan school was moved to the island.

Teacher and pupils at the door of the ‘New School’. Rebecca Mary Ross was teacher for six years. She cycled every morning from Ullapool to Ardmair to catch the ferry across. In winter she walked. She was also the Pearl Insurance representative, so on Saturdays she cycled to Letters and Loggie. She needed a new bike evry three years. The pupils are Isabel, Christine, Derek and James Boa, Nora and Robin Campbell and one unknown child













This group of photos all date to the period of the flour mill. Commander Clare Vyner bought the island in the 1930s and had the (mad?) idea of rebuilding the ruins of the curing station into a flour mill. The island had no grain, which was brought up by boat from Glasgow, no workforce, who were brought over by Vyner, no natural power supply so generators ran all the time. The flour was shipped back down to the central belt, but after the ship, the Penola, sank, it was sold via Vyner’s own chain of grocery stores, under the name Lochbroom Trading Co. Ltd. The mill closed down in 1948


Some photos of the island before the trees were planted and before the bracken took hold on the old in-bye.

Pictures from the Superwind350 Installation Day 

June 25th 2017

Clean, green, renewable energy to power the Isle Martin Heritage Project’s micromuseum.

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