Glencoe's 'lost townships' to be recreated

National Trust for Scotland launches project to excavate three townships in Glencoe.
National Trust for Scotland launches project to excavate three townships in Glencoe.
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Three ‘lost’ villages in Glencoe are to be excavated by archaeologists in an ambitious new project being launched by the National Trust for Scotland.

Three ‘lost’ villages in Glencoe are to be excavated by archaeologists in an ambitious new project being launched by the National Trust for Scotland.

The townships of Inverigan, Achnacon and Achtriochtan were left to go to wrack and ruin following the Highland Clearances.

In the 1690s, the settlements, now covered by grass, loose stones, rocky debris and heather, was home to around 60 people.

The project could also provide fresh insight into the Massacre of Glencoe of February 13 1692, where 38 men, women and children of the MacDonald clan were slaughtered by two companies of soldiers they had welcomed into their homes.

The initiative will also see the construction of two replica traditional turf house.

Neil Oliver, historian and president of the trust said: “Never before has this type of work been carried out at Glencoe.

“We now need to raise £300,000 to bring this project to life.

“This will support our archaeological work and enable us to recreate two turf houses, using traditional methods and materials wherever possible.

“We need the public’s help to do that and as a charity, we rely on donations to help us share the stories of iconic places like Glencoe.

“With your support we can bring alive the sights, smells and sounds of the 17th century and help us to remember those who lost their lives in the troubled times that shaped Scotland’s history.

“This project will also help us celebrate the resilience of the Highlanders and their way of life, now and for generations to come.”

This latest project follows the £1 million refurbishment of the Glencoe visitor centre in May, which details the history and wildlife of the glen.

The new centre includes a new film screening area, exhibition space, café and information hub with 3D features.

More than 210,000 people visited the Glencoe Visitor Centre in 2018.

Simon Skinner, the trust’s chief executive said: “It has been an exciting year for Glencoe, one of the most significant and spectacular treasures cared for by the National Trust for Scotland and which is known the world over for its outstanding beauty.

“We’ve invested heavily in telling the area’s incredible story and the new centre has been very well received by visitors. The glen attracts thousands of people every year from all over the world and this latest project is an opportunity to share even more of its history.”

“This latest project is part of the conservation charity’s five-year plan to enrich Scotland’s built and natural heritage.

Fundraising for the project is now underway.

A donation of £25 will allow the trust to buy specialist archaeological equipment, allowing community volunteers to unearth the glen’s history.

A £50 donation will help to bring Glencoe’s stories to life while a £100 will help source traditional materials to build the turf houses and create a visitor experience.