Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2010-01-07
An example of the older type of Caithness croft building has been preserved by the Laidhay Preservation Trust. It is a long single storey 18th-century croft complex with the traditional byre being incorporated into the dwelling. There are many examples around the area which are now at different stages of decay.
The museum can be found on the outskirts of Dunbeath and shows how a dwelling, stable and byre were central to crofting life. This is also a handy stop off point as it is one of the few watering holes in this part of the world with a cafe where refreshments and delicious home baking are on offer. Caithness Croft House or Laidhay Croft Museum is listed property of The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
This typical “longhouse” croft building croft, which comprised 16 acres of arable land together with rights over 15 acres of rough grazing, came into the possession of the Bethune family in 1842, with whom it remained until 1968. The property has a thatched ancient longhouse, old farming equipment and typical early croft house interior. Stable has horse harness. Byre housing small hand tools pertaining to a glimpse into the life of crofters.
A free standing cruck constructed barn at the Laidhay Croft Museum can also be seen in the survey drawings of Sammi houses from West Finnmark, Norway, an area with very similar to those encountered in the Outer Hebrides, Sutherland and Caithness. The walls are pointed with lime and whitewashed. During your visit trace the development of this croft and find a taste of glimpse into the life was like for the croft-dwellers. Tearoom in a nearby building run by the members of the trust, now this crofting museum.
Alternative Name(s): DUNBEATH LONGHOUSE, CRUCK FRAMED COTTAGE; LYDEBRAE
Museum Hours: Open Easter to October.
Contact: Caithness Croft House or Laidhay Croft Museum and Tea Rooms Phone: 01593 731244 Fax: 01593 721548
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