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Strathy, Sutherland

Strathy Picture Gallery

Curlew Cottage B & B
Aultivullin : Strathy Point : by Thurso : Sutherland  KW14 7RT
+44 (0) 1641 541235

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 Strathy West.

Strathy Today
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 food.
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 years ago.
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.