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Open June to September
Daily 2.00pm - 4.30pm
|150 Years Of Crofting
Step into a cottage frozen in time
just as Mary Ann left it
How To Get There
In 1990 just before her 93rd birthday, Mary-Ann Calder moved from her life-long home at Westside Croft, Dunnet to a Wick nursing home.
Her grandfather John Young, had built the cottage in 1850, and the croft was successively worked by him, his son William, and finally his grand-daughter, Mary-Ann and her husband James Calder. Over the three generations the way of life and working practices had continued largely unaltered.
When the time came for Mary-Ann to leave, because of its historic nature she sought to have the croft preserved as it was, and so the Caithness Heritage Trust was formed to acquire it and carry out her wishes.
One Trust member, Professor Alexander Fenton, has written about Westside
"I have known about this croft for a long time. It is in its
own right a most important social document. It incorporates in its
layout and fittings a natural a natural blend of the old and the new,
showing how innovations and more concepts gradually displace or replace
the old. In terms of field layout and details like the tethering
of animals and the siting of plant-cots for cabbage-propagating on
adjacent waste ground, there are rare pointers to older, pre-improvement
community system that prevailed throughout much of Scotland. It
can be used, therefore, to interpret both the past and the more recent
present, especially if it can be preserved with all its contents
The Trust has restored the Croft, as near as possible , to its state when worked by Mary-Ann and James Calder. Visitors are taken on a guided tour of the buildings.