Model Farm

Applecross Mains is a mid 19th century farm and associated buildings including cruck-framed ventilated stone barns. The Crac Barn had wattled and louvred openings, a pair of earlier stores known as Top Barns up on a knoll to take advantage of the drying winds are rubble-walled and were once thatched with heather. A sluice and disused saw mill are depicted on the current edition OS map, also a smithy and mill pond dam (listed). The dam and sub circular pond all stone made & lined. The mill wheel is attached to the side of mains buildings, & a channel ran from here under lane with outlet above burn. This portion under the lane was removed during laying of new pipes by Scottish Water.

Remains of water mill machinery on the lane (N) side and wheel pit. Some mill wheel machinery was retrieved from the Crait Barn site that was being re-developed and re-sited at the caravan park according to the SMR.

The distribution pattern of ventilated cruck-framed barns spreads throughout Applecross, Lochcarron, Kintail and Glenelg as well as Gairloch where they are always found in association with more prosperous holdings, the better farm or laird’s estate rather than at the level of subsistence agriculture.

The damp climate created a need for well ventilated barns in which to store or dry hay and unthreshed corn vital for overwintering cattle feed for livestock destined for the south where they would be taken by drovers. These 18th and 19th century barns are cruck-framed, to carry the weight of the heavy heather-thatched roof as the louvred or wattle-panelled walls providing the ventilation are barely loadbearing (Baldwin, J,R. 1994).

Long low rubble byres and barns with corrugated iron roofs replacing the original thatch, can still be seen among crofting settlements in the area, even where crofting has ceased as they provide useful stores. Aound the Applecross Mains Farm, Crac Barn in the farm square is mid-nineteenth century, a stone barn with ventilated openings. Crac otherwise “Crait” Barn complex also included a slaughter house and was the subject of alteration and conversion to social housing. Two earlier barns, which were heather thatched, are on higher ground to catch the wind better. The heather-thatched barns are currently in a derelict condition. These buildings have significant potential for restoration – they form a significant landscape feature. Circa 1976, these were heather-thatched, and wattled ventilation panels were in place. (Baldwin, J.,1994).

A number of villages were cleared to make way for Applecross Mains Farm which was one of the very early model farms of its day. The settlement of Langwell once lay in this area, with map evidence available among the Applecross estate papers. There are a series of house remains on the ground and a double field boundary approaching from the N which was the old access track. The former populations of Borrodale, Langwell, Achachork and Keppoch were thought to be resettled in Milton and Shore Street (Dagg, C. 2004).

The proximity of a number of heritage sites, including the cleared villages, the broch at Borrodale, Applecross Mains Top Barns and the ruinous barn buildings lend an opportunity to read in the landscape the story of profound cultural, political and economic change and have potential as part of a heritage trail in the area.

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