The Smithy/ A Ceardach- a brief history

“Is Airidh Am Fear-Oibre air a Lon”
The Smithy/ A Ceardach

The first smithy was Finlay Murchison, known as Fionnladh Gow, who came from Corrieleerie, a few miles further up Glencarron. He had traced his ancestos to a Roman Catholic priest in Kintail who changed faith at the reformation. Family traditio relates that Finlay sharpened the chisels for the stonemasons who built the original bridge over the Ahainn Bhuachaig, around 1817 as part of the road from Dingwall to Stromeferry.

The bridge was built to the west of the river over dry land and the river was then diverted to run under the new bridge. Following completion of this bridge Finlay leased a croft from the Mackenzie of Applecross and built the Smithy and the house opposite, the house was extended and improved over the years.

the old stone bridge was replaced by the present bridge in 1976.

The smithy was built on the road junction to New Kelso and the old road is still visible and a popular walking track today.

On the hill slope to the north of the Smithy, there was an old village which had bee unoccupied for some time prior to to Finlay Murchison’s arrival.  dyke, clearly visible on the hill behind the Smithy, was built from the stones of the previous houses. Finlay built part of this dyke.

Finlay Murchisons only child Kenneth took over the business and was known as Coinneach a’Gow. One the his children Finlay , usually called Philip, was the last Smith, Philip did not marry and the Smithy remained more or less unused after his death in 1954.

In 1990 it was donated to the community, to be managed by the Smithy Heritage Centre charity which has formed out of the Lochcarron and Applecross historical society. the Smithy was restored to be used as a Heritage center and became a popular visitor attraction, and venue to various cultural events. Around 2007 it closed to the public due to a lack of volunteers to run it and problems with flooding. in 2009 the charity was taken over by lochcarron community development company ( called Kirkton woodland and heritage group initially ), the Smithy remained unused as it would take too much funding to bring it up to a modern standard.

In 2015 a local potter took on a the tenancy of the Smithy doing some renovation work and opening the building up again as a pop-up working & teaching pottery studio. As the pottery trial was a success and bought more people to the site, in 2016 LCDC invested in some insulation for the building making it usable all year around.

In Front of the Smithy 2001

March 2002

Drama in the Smithy . August 2001



all rights reserved (c) 2018 Lochcarron Community Development Company

Kirkton Settlement Filming Project

We are delighted to announce that Lochcarron Primary School, in partnership with Lochcarron Community Development Company, is busy making a film. Based in 1872, the film is a fictional re-enactment of a family being
cleared of their home and has resulted from a series of ‘heritage workshops’ that local animateur Lynda Beveridge has been delivering with the school throughout the year.~

This has involved the children making a number of visits to the ruinous settlement at Kirkton, examining and surveying the buildings there as well as researching and learning about the lifestyles and livelihoods of its inhabitants – informing their understanding of local heritage and concepts such as Shelter, Community and Sustainability.

The remains of the half-dozen or so buildings of Kirkton have been hidden from view for the last fifty years by the conifer plantation. Purchase of Kirkton Woods from the Forestry Commission by the Lochcarron community group in 2015 – and consequent tree harvesting operations – have once again brought the village to light.

With EU funding from LEADER, a new footpath network is being developed to improve access and the primary school will soon be involved in developing new signs and artwork to be deployed there, explaining the history and local significance of the site. Volunteer work parties from the community have also been busy tidying up the surrounding
area to make the context of the site more attractive to walkers and other visitors.

Here are a few photos from the film shoot to whet your appetite. We’re hoping to have a public preview of the final film in the New Year. So watch this space……………..

Engaging with Lochcarron Primary school pupils.

AS part of our ongoing ‘Haven on Earth’ project to develop Kirkton community woodland. we are undertaking some community engagement work, and working with the pupils from Lochcarron Primary school.  Lynda Beveridge and Paul Swan have started things off with some school visits this March.

In view of the ruined settlement at Kirkton Community Woodland pupils were asked to consider; why did the former residents of Kirkton choose to settle there? Having examined the local OS map,  Pupils set about constructing their own ariel view of a settlement using natural materials.  They were assigned team projects e.g Settlements, Roads and Paths, Water and Rivers, Vegetation & Mountains.  With great gusto and teamwork pupils set about making their own settlement comprising of a Tipi, houses, grazing enclosures, places of worship, roads, bridges, rivers, forests, flora and fauna and mountains.  Not to mention a harbour with marina and pier, an ancient stone circle, an ant sanctuary and their very own version of Rio’s  “Christ the redeemer” overlooking the settlement.  Great work for the pupils of Lochcarron Primary school!

We hope to see some of them at our Easter Activities Programme at The Treehouse in Lochcarron.

LCDC/ KT NEWS October 2016

The July and August Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall were exceptionally busy. We want to say a very big ‘Thank you!’ to all the volunteers for their hard work in running this monthly fund-raising event. The October Market Day will be the last one for this year, on Friday 28 October. Next year’s dates are already organised. Come along for a tasty homemade lunch, and browse the stalls selling local art & crafts and produce.

The iGallery at the Smithy Hub will shut for the season on Friday 29th October, giving us time to organise the Christmas Fair in there, running from Monday 21st November to Friday 2nd December, Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm. Anyone who would like to showcase their talents – crafts, baking, produce, etc., will be very welcome. To book a place call us on 01520 722 952, or email, or pop into the iGallery to discuss your requirements (the sooner the better, as space is at a premium as usual).

The monthly Volunteer Workparty in October will be on Sunday 9th, from 11am – 3pm. Meet up at the Smithy Hub. Wear warm outdoor clothing. Lunch provided. All welcome!

As part of this year’s Highland Archaeology Festival we are holding an exhibition of The History of Kirkton Settlement. A visual timeline from 1583 to 2016. Maps, documents, photographs, text relating to Kirkton . In the Smithy Hub Treehouse, Mon 3rd to Thurs 6th October, 10am to 4pm. Free.

kirkton poster 1 copy barn-door-1

You can download the HAF Events Guide from 

The Railway Exhibition in the Treehouse throughout September had many visitors. Thank you! to all the folk who have given or lent us historical photos to add to our archive. We still have some photographs to scan and add to the archive and will be working throughout the winter to do this. If you have any historical photos of this locality we would be very grateful to borrow them so we can scan them and add them in. See some of our Heritage Photographs on this website

We are holding a fund raising event for the Treehouse at Halloween. Spooky Stories by Lynda Beveridge and a Sweetie Hunt on Sunday 30th Oct. 4 – 5.30pm. £3.


We are currently organising our Autumn/Winter programme of Adult Education classes and courses. What would you like to have on the programme? What classes would you like to attend? Could you run some classes to teach people some skills you have? Please get in touch by email on

 Micro Dairy and Artisan Kitchen update:

With planning approval granted the next phase of the project engages the services of a professional team, tasked to deliver Stage 2 – 4 drawings and submit for Building Warrant purposes. LCDC is working closely with Just Enterprise, HIE and the Lottery Assets team to deliver this exciting project.


As you know, this is a long term project, with many different strands.  Our Access and Recreation Plan gives a flavour of our project timelines together with an indication of costs. It is worth noting, that the early stages of development will be heavily reliant on grant funding and therefore subject to amendment

Priorities – Immediate Short Term

Years 2016-2018 – Capital Costs;

  • Construct 1st leg of new forest roading including new woodfuel hardstanding, relocate woodfuel operations Circa £25k
  • General purpose shed to be erected within close proximity to wood yard Circa £40k
  • Reinstate drainage network across entire harvested site. Construct ATV trackway through lower forest area
  • Fund raise and build new all abilities trail around old  settlement  £15k
  • Purchase Woodfuel equipment, forest tractor, processor, log trailer with crane, quad with heavy duty trailer, generator £72k
  • Establish memorial “quiet” zone £25k
  • Clear brash from settlement zone. Re-purpose threshold hard standing for car parking zone
  • Investigate social housing proposals – self build and affordable. Housing Needs Survey carried out Summer 2016
  • Source agreement with private landowner for acquisition to allow new threshold access for woodland trails  Circa £80k including District Valuer and other professional fees
  • Explore options for fencing – neighbouring land ownership boundaries
  • Investigate collaboration with neighbouring landowners to achieve broader, cross-boundary objectives
  • Negotiate standing sale, road building for 2nd tranche clearfell
  • Engage with a broader network of stakeholders
  • Implement lower slope restocking with commercial broadleaf and conifers
  • Continue to clear brash from social zones
dog walking

dog walking

Revenue Costs;

  • Forest Officer – 50%fte Circa  £30k
  • 2 Forest Workers – 50% fte Circa £29k
  • Memorial/Quiet Zone – path, pond, amenity planting Circa £3.5k
  • All abilities heritage trail – circular trail to Kirkton settlement ruins Circa £15k
  • Walk to village trail – paths, hard and soft landscaping Circa £10k
  • Drove Road trail – renovation and drainage Circa £10k
  • Cnoc na Staing Viewpoint – access and furniture upgrade Circa £500
  • Event site – hard and soft landscaping Circa £5k
  • Quad Training £900

Funding applications in support of the above are at various stages of development, some approved, some awaiting a response, some yet to be submitted.

vision statement2



The History of Kirkton Settlement. Exhibition.

poster For Highland Archeology Festival 2016 we will be putting on an exhibition in the Treehouse of the History of Kirkton Settlement. The Exhibition will be on throughout October, Monday to Thursday 10 – 4.
More information about HAF events is on the official website

glebelands map - titled


Heritage Exhibition. Our Local Railway


Heritage Photograph Exhibition
 The Local Railway

A collection of Old photographs of
The Skye & Dingwall Railway line, Stations and Trains.

Free Entry
The Tree House at the Smithy Hub.
On until September 30th
Open 10am—4pm. Monday to Friday
please note the Treehouse may also being used for a private function, please check if making a special journey

01520 722 952
any further information or Photographs
always welcome.

attadale-railway-station-lms-1962-on-the-dingwall-kyle-photo scanoldphoto034 walking-the-line-late-19th-century-caithness-horizons





H.E.R.  No.  MHG56895

GRID  REF.  92304205

The Magazine , looking Northmagazine 1


1. The thickness of the walls and roof.

2.The robbed stone from the corners.

3.The faint impression of the outer wall running down the right edge and along the bottom of the photo.

From the Ordnance Survey maps survey dates, this structure was built sometime between 1902 to 1907 (most likely nearer 1902 than 1907). It being built, possibly over safety concerns, to replace the original which was located at the south east side of Battery Park in the centre of Lochcarron, and used to store munitions for the artillery battery that was based in Lochcarron.

The structure is approximately 5 metres square and 2 metres high, its walls are some 40cms thick throughout and roofed by concrete slabs 20cms thick in the centre thinning to 15cms at the edge. It is sub divided internally into three rooms, the two smaller ones having smooth cemented floors while the larger room has a dirt floor. Finally, it was surrounded all round by a substantial wall of 40cms thick to an unknown height (now only exists to one course in height).

All the stone from this outer wall along with all the corner stones and doorway edging stones of the magazine have been taken for reuse, indeed, if it were not for the weight of the roof which would cause a potential collapse, then it is likely that all trace of this structure would have been lost to history as people usually reused any good building stone.

 magazine maps

Ordnance Survey map evidence.

 magazine 2

Internal arrangement

This room takes up half the building and has an earthen floor. The other half is split into two rooms, approx one third-two thirds and has smooth cement floors.

by Paul Swan

all rights reserved (c) 2015 Paul Swan & Lochcarron Community Development Company

Archive Photographs

The Gallery of photographs below have been uploaded from our Archives. These were inherited from former Smithy Heritage Society and gathered from many sources over the years. Click the small pictures to see larger ones. If anyone has any further information about any of these photographs please let us know either by writing in the comments box or via e-mail; If you have any old photographs of local interest and would like to share them to this digital archive, we would be very grateful.

all rights reserved (c) 2016 Lochcarron Community Development Company