Raasay: The Island and Its People

By Norma Macleod | Go to book overview

8
The History of Raasay, 1900-C.1950

By the end of the nineteenth century, Mrs Wood was trying to sell the Raasay estate.

An Act of Parliament in 1910 relating to the value of property gave rise to the Ordnance Survey Name Books which were compiled, for the whole of Scotland, between 1910 and 1914. These are interesting as they give some details of the condition of buildings as well as noting other items of interest.

On Rona, the only slated buildings at that time were the lighthouse buildings and the shooting lodge at Big Harbour. The lodge had been built about 1866 for George Haygarth Rainy. He and his guests used it as a base for their shooting expeditions to the island. After the Woods bought the estate the MacRaes, who had been in Balachuirn, moved into the lodge as caretakers. They remained there after Mrs Wood sold the estate. The houses at Doire na Guaille, Braig and Dry Harbour were all thatched and in a 'poor state of repair'.

There is no description of the houses on either Fladda or Eilean Taigh. Fladda had a few acres of cultivated ground at the south end. The rest of the island was covered with heather.

As in Rona, all the houses at the north end of Raasay were thatched. At Kyle Rona several small croft houses with byres attached were, similarly, in a 'poor state of repair'. Some ground was cultivated. At Kyle Rona, opposite the Sound, there was a small schoolhouse. Although thatched it was 'in reasonable repair'. It was noted that this schoolhouse was provided entirely by a Society of Ladies in Edinburgh. The teacher, Mr A. Nicolson, taught only 'the first rudiments of education'. Average attendance was twenty-three.

Umachan had several houses, all 'in a bad state of repair'. The houses in Torran were not in good repair either.

At Balachuirn, several thatched houses were 'in a bad state of repair', as was the shepherd's house at Balmeanach. A few dwellings were noted on the north east coast of Holoman Bay and to the east of Holoman Island. There was only one shepherd's house at Brochel and one at Hallaig.

In the south end of Raasay, the school at Clachan was a one-storey building with schoolhouse attached, belonging to the Portree School Board. It was slated and nearly new. Only 'the first rules of education' were taught. Average attendance that year (probably 1910 or 1911) was thirteen. The previous year it had been nineteen. The Sub-Post Office received and despatched mails three times per week. The one-storey thatched house was 'in very good order'. There were a few cottages at Clachan. All were one-storey, slated and 'in thorough repair'.

Raasay House, described as a 'large beautiful mansion house', was three storeys high, slated and 'kept in excellent condition'. There were a number of cottages

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