Reading About The Clearances

Whilst we wait to hear about whether planning consent will be granted, we sit in London and try and fill our time with useful things. Paint, trees, space planning, registering for schemes, permaculture learnings and reading about the history of the place that we are soon to live in.

On the reading pile this weekend is this rather impressive tome from one of the Penguin imprints, Allen Lane. Written by TM Devine, an expert in his field and Sir William Fraser Professor Emeritus of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh, he is described as “a towering and fearless intellect” and this book as the definitive reference guide.

There are deserted villages dotted all over the Isle of Skye from the clearances in the eighteenth century, as is true across the whole of the Highlands and Islands.

They are sad and beautiful places, empty of all but the low, overgrown ruins of the house walls, and visited by few people.

The story of the forced clearances and the destruction of entire communities, enacted in the name of economic efficiency, is one that is both shameful and terrible. Truly the story of the dispossessed.

I think that we should be mindful and respectful of sensitivities on the island, shaped so brutally by this period in history. So many of the local names have family links and ancestors affected by the clearances. It will be sobering to hear their stories.

3 Replies to “Reading About The Clearances”

  1. I have had great interest as of late to learn more about the Highland Clearances and the Scots that emigrated to America. The Scottish (and Irish) diaspora had tremendous influence on this county which can still be seen and felt today. I think it’s fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is fascinating. The sheer greed and ability of some to close their eyes to others suffering, is something that seems to have always been part of human nature, and the Clearances are a horribly real example of that. What also strikes me is the resilience of those that settled in new countries, and their strength. The outcome is a large base of people with genetic and cultural affinity to Scotland that seems remarkably powerful. 👍

      Liked by 1 person

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