The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
4.0
1 votes
Are you familiar with this?
Feel free to rate it!
Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland KW6 6EH
  • The low height of these dwellings was to offer some shelter from the wind and even on such a nice day as it was when we visited in May 2018, it was obvious why this design was necessary as it is very exposed, enjoying a scenic but exposed position overlooking the rocky coast
  • The wooden door to the building was very low, which might be a problem for some visitors but not an issue for a vertically challenged person like myself
  • My first impressions of the interior was that it was very cluttered and I wondered if this was how the family that lived here would have actually lived or if many have the items had simply been crammed inside for effect
  • The Laidhay Longhouse was probably built around 1800 and it is one of the best preserved examples of its kind and certainly well worth a visit if you are in the area

by Mick Spicer
TRUSTWORTHY

all reviews
    I came upon the Laidhay Croft Museum by chance whilst driving to John O’Groats in Scotland, which is the most north westerly point of the British mainland. It is an example of a typical 18th century farmer’s croft house known as a Longhouse, which were once common throughout this part of Scotland but today very few examples remain.
  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • It is situated directly beside the A9 road which runs from Inverness to Thurso and was visible from quite a distance as I drove north. As I approached I saw the sign outside advertising that it was a museum and intrigued I pulled into the car park. There is a tea room adjacent to the museum and a small sign advised visitors to the museum to enquire at the tea room.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Surrounding the Longhouse there is an old barn and a more modern building, both of which contain artefacts. The doors of these buildings were open so we had a quick peep inside before heading to the tea room.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • The barn is an original building with a typical wooden cruck thatched roof.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Inside the barn there was lots of farming equipment as well as bicycles and a selection of hand pulled carts and ploughs.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • There is an admission charge of £3 for adults and £1 for children. There was just myself and my partner so the total fee of £6 seemed quite modest for such a lovely building in such a beautiful setting.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Upon payment we were handed a guide, which was basically a printed pamphlet and told we could either wander around on our own or wait for a guide. The guide seemed to be the proprietors of the tea room, which had quite a few customers and they looked rushed off their feet so we opted to look around on our own.

    The building is very long and low with a thatched roof made from local rushes (grasses). The low height of these dwellings was to offer some shelter from the wind and even on such a nice day as it was when we visited in May 2018, it was obvious why this design was necessary as it is very exposed, enjoying a scenic but exposed position overlooking the rocky coast. The length of the building was because each end would have housed a stable or a place for the animals in the winter and the family would have lived in the middle section of the building.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • The wooden door to the building was very low, which might be a problem for some visitors but not an issue for a vertically challenged person like myself. Immediately inside the building to the left were two toilets for the visitors.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • My first impressions of the interior was that it was very cluttered and I wondered if this was how the family that lived here would have actually lived or if many have the items had simply been crammed inside for effect.

    We were told that the last family that lived here were the Bethune family who lived here from 1842 up until 1968. The croft comprised of 16 acres of arable land and a further 15 acres of rough grazing land so it was a very large plot. When William Bethune died in 1968 the house and land was put up for sale. It was eventually purchased by a trust who preserved it as a museum and opened it to the public in 1974 and it has remained more or less untouched ever since.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • These white washed onghouses were a variation of the traditional blackhouses which can still be found on the remote Western Isles of Scotland. Having previously visited one of these and been overwhelmed by the choking smoke from a peat fire in the middle of the room I realised that one of the main improvements was that these Longhouses had chimneys and in the case of this particular house there was a large open fireplace.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • In front of the main fireplace there was a large wooden dining table surrounded by chairs. The table was set with plates and crockery which added to the cluttered feel of the place.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • There was also a large wooden cabinet, again full to capacity with items and on the walls there were pictures and a large clock. I imagined that the family that lived here would have been rather wealthy and that this is not how a typical farming family would have lived around here.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Adjacent to the kitchen there was the living room which was also used as a bedroom. Again it was very cluttered and somewhat claustrophobic

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Beyond the living room was the original stables which had lots of horse harnesses on the wall.There was was an exterior door in the stables so we left the building via this.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Once outside the main Longhouse we walked back across to the modern building which was full of typical items from the era.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Outside there was a plough and other farming implements. A few of these might have actually belonged to the family that lived here but many other items had probably just been acquired as I cannot imagine that one family would have had such a vast collection of equipment.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Inside there was lots of farming equipment including several machines that would have been used for refining grain.

  • The Laidhay Croft Museum, Caithness, Scotland
  • Sadly there was nothing to explain what many of the different objects were and we had to guess what some of them might have been.

    The Laidhay Longhouse was probably built around 1800 and it is one of the best preserved examples of its kind and certainly well worth a visit if you are in the area.

    The museum is open daily from Easter until the end of September. Opening hours are from 9am till 5pm.

    It is situated just north of the village of Dunbeath, 20 miles south of the town of Wick in Caithness, Scotland.



  • Don't Be Nice. Be Helpful.

The review was published as it's written by reviewer in May, 2018. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3815051663600231/k2311a0515/5.15.18
Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms & Conditions
Privacy Policy