Call for Scottish heather to thatch lost 17th Century turf house in Glencoe

A campaign has been launched to buy hundreds of 'Hugs of Heather' to thatch a restored 17th Century turf house in Glencoe. PIC: NTS/Alistair Devine.
A campaign has been launched to buy hundreds of 'Hugs of Heather' to thatch a restored 17th Century turf house in Glencoe. PIC: NTS/Alistair Devine.
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A fundraising campaign has been launched to buy hundreds of bundles of heather to thatch the roof of a 17th Century turf cottage in Glencoe.

The National Trust for Scotland is seeking funding for the traditional material needed for the project that aims to illuminate how life was lived in the now empty glen hundreds of years ago.

NTS announced the recreation of the typical Highland home after archaeologists unearthed a number of abandoned settlements in the glen, all which were occupied during the horrific Glencoe Massacre of 1692.

The restoration project will out the human story back into one of Scotland's most loved landscapes.

READ MORE: Who ordered the Massacre of Glencoe?
NTS is now appealing to lovers of history and the great outdoors to back its Hugs of Heather campaign, with bundles starting at £20.

Emily Bryce, Operations Manager at Glencoe, said: “We’ve already had so much support for our campaign to unearth the forgotten history of Glencoe and this project wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our supporters.”

Heather - or fraoch - was commonly used in Highland thatches and mixed with other materials including marram grass and rashes.

READ MORE: Archaeologists trace lost settlements of Glencoe destroyed after 1692 massacre

A team of experienced traditional building craftspeople will work on the reconstruction of the house with NTS archaeologists, who unearthed remains of dwellings at the former township of Achtriochtan.

Five structures were surveyed at the settlement which featured in the narrative of the 1692 massacre when 38 members of Clan Donald were killed amid claims its chief failed to meet a deadline to pledge allegiance to the new king, William II.

Achtriochtan is one six settlements in Glencoe that appear on Roy’s 18th century military maps but which disappear from documents by the 19th Century given the townships were cleared for sheep.

Finds made at the site have built up tantalising small details about life in the glen, from pieces of pottery and glass to a quern stone, which was used for milling.

Copper coins, metalwork and tiny glass beads have also been recovered from an enclosure, which may have been used as a yard next to one of the turf and stone buildings.

The reconstructed turf house will sit close to the Glencoe Visitor Centre.

For more information on the campaign and to donate, visit www.nts.org.