In the 19th century most of
Sutherland was owned by mainly the same clan chiefs whose families had
been there for centuries. The land had been divided into estates and when
economic circumstances became harder the owners began to see sheep a s way
of obtaining more wealth. The income to be derived from this source then
was many times higher than provided by tenants.
The northern communities began to
be moved to the coastal areas where it was generally harder to live at
that time. This clearing of people came to be known as "The Clearances".
Strathy and nearby Armadale were two such clearace areas where people were
forced to set up new homes or take the offer of cheap passages to the
United States or Canada. some of the worst atrocities in the movement of
Highland people took place in nearby Strathnaver.
Some landowners like Captain John
Mackay of Strathy in 1790 sold all of their land. He sold his estate to
an Edinburgh lawyer William Honeyman who became Lord Armadale of Strathy.
He introduced the Cheviot sheep to northern Sutherland and cleared
Armadale of its people. the present village of Armadale dates from that
time. He then leased the land to sheep farmers from Northumberland and
became immediately wealthy. William Honeyman sold the Strathy estate in
1813 to the Marquis of Stafford husband of the Countess of Sutherland.
The clearances continued and by
1815 families living in Upper Strathy had been cleared to the coast and
joined by families pushed out of Strathnaver.
Strathy Mains the main farm of the
estate was subsequently divided into crofts to form Strathy East and
The change in the landscape is one of the most noticeable points about
the move into Strathy from Melvich. The road follows the ups and downs of
the ground. The road twists and turns and has less straight section s
than you find in Caithness. It makes for a new scenic view around every
corner. Few stretches of coastline in Scotland have what awaits you
round every bend in the road as you now being the journey into north ands
West Sutherland. Spectacular coastal views interspersed by amazing moors
backed by the distant hills and mountains. Skies that are ever changing
that sometimes burst with blue making the small beaches look like a
paradise in the north. This is turn is reflected in the colour of the sea
that remains cold. But the ruggedness of the countryside is matched by
the weather that is constantly changing. Early in the year ferocious
storms lash the coast and the skies can be even more dramatic. There is
always something to see. Birdlife abounds in the area with the seabirds
on the cliffs and using the waters of rivers flowing into the sandy bays.
Wildlife including deer are also seen from time to time although it is
more likely in winter when thy may leave the higher ground in search of
The village has a new village hall compliments of the National Lottery
that supplied most of the funds through the Village Halls initiative a few
The population is still small and scattered with crofting the main
industry and fishing from small boats carried out by a few. Sutherland is
the emptiest county in the UK and you do not have to go far from the main
road to find large tracts of uninhabited spaces. Much of it is unspoilt
or underdeveloped depending on your point of view. Sheep have grazed much
of the land for nearly two hundred years and this has had an impact of
what you now see in the way of vegetation.
Staying In Strathy
The Strathy Inn is once again open from 2003 and there are several Bed
and Breakfast establishments in the area.