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Joanne B Kaar's Mary Ann's Cottage Blog

Mary Ann's Cottage From Above At Local Live

Mary-Ann's Cottage
Near Dunnet
Open June to September
  Daily 2.00pm - 4.30pm
150 Years Of Crofting Life
Step into a cottage frozen in time
just as Mary Ann left it

How To Get There
Take the A836 to Dunnet, turn towards Brough and Dunnet Head and at the first junction(100 yards)
KEEP STRAIGHT ON.  Where the road bends left to Dwarwick Pier you will see a red roofed barn. 
And you are 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 Croft - "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 intact."
Click Here to go To Professor Fenton's full length article on Mary's Cottage published in the 1996 Bulletin of Caithness Field Club.

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.

Plan Of Buildings

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The Croft is not a museum.  The furniture, fittings, and artefacts of all kinds are original: nothing has been brought in to make it appear more "authentic".

 

Mary-Ann died peacefully on the eve of her 99th birthday in September 1996, but visitors will find as they go round the building that her robust spirit still pervades the Croft.
 

 

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