History of Leckmelm

The first record of Leckmelm still extant is the Battle of Leckmelm in 1585 when the Earl of Sutherland's men waged war against the Clan Gunn.  They pursued them as far as Leckmelm where it is reputed there was a skirmish and Clan Gunn were overpowered.  It is thought that this took place in a field adjacent to the Farm called Blar Bog (battle field or field of blood in Gaelic).

Land was farmed at the settlements of Blarnahatha, Slioch Malen and Raonachrosaig in the runrig system.  In 1832 this changed when the owner at the time Col. Davidson evicted families from Raonachrosaig and enclosed land with drystone dykes to form crofts.

In 1879 a wealthy paper merchant Alexander Pirie took on the estate.  He ordered his factor Gauld to give all tenants notice at Martinmas 1880.  Tenants were given the option to stay and work for Pirie with no livestock or crops of their own - or leave.

The ensuing evictions were brutal.  A young family (Munro) were put out into the snow and all livestock that they had spent years breeding and tending which would have represented a considerable wealth were taken from them.  A deaf pauper woman had her house demolished as she was in it and then forced to seek accommodation wherever she could.

Piries’ actions caused uproar in the local community which soon grew into a national debate resulting in the plight of the tenants being raised in Parliament.  Allegations of families thrown out into the snow and the destruction of their houses fuelled the widespread anger and resentment.

These were the first stirrings of discontent which were to spread throughout the Highlands and result in the Government setting up The Crofters Commission which looks after the rights of crofters to this day.

However, Pirie's legacy is evident as Leckmelm is one of the few estates in the area which has no crofted land to this day.  Today the estate is under different ownership.  Since 1958 the Beattie family have aimed to work the farm with a mix of enterprises and now a small community thrives on the Estate.

I love it there - particularly the walk out and up at the back of the house, with the wonderful view of An Teallach as you walk along at the top. And the neighbour's bird table was an added bonus this time. Unfortunately we didn't see the red squirrels that she said come along occasionally. Maybe another time!
Mrs H Campbellton 2

Leckmelm Estate, Loch Broom, Ullapool IV23 2RN Scotland

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