'Lost' village resurrected for future generations

THE sound of voices will once again fill a lost village which has been brought back to life after being forgotten for half a century.

The 300-strong population of Daingean, near Glengarry on Loch Ness-side, was almost completely displaced in the 18th century during the Highland clearances.

The landowner introduced sheep to the area, and a few shepherds and gamekeepers lived on in the village for about another 100 years until they, too, drifted away.

After the Second World War, the land was acquired by the Forestry Commission, which established a conifer plantation, Glengarry Forest, and, over the years, the remains of village buildings were hidden beneath trees, moss, lichens, grass and spruce needles.

They were discovered again six years ago when forester Allan MacKenzie surveyed the area to plan a harvesting and replanting programme. Since then, work has been ongoing to create a heritage trail around the old Daingean community, which will be officially opened on Thursday and used to bring in tourists.

Mr MacKenzie recalled finding the first of the original 31 buildings. "No-one had been in there for years. Suddenly this building appeared in front of me, covered in moss.

"The atmosphere generated by this silent witness to a bygone era in the silence and semi-darkness of the forest was amazing - it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end," he said.

Realising the heritage value of the discovery, the commission decided to protect the remains from further damage and not to replant trees on the site.

Then, local people, with the help of the commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Highland Council, raised the funds needed to create the Daingean Trail.

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