Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula
|Knoydart shown within the Highland council area|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
The northern part of what is traditionally known as na Garbh-Chrìochan or "the Rough Bounds", because of its harsh terrain and remoteness, Knoydart is also referred to as "Britain's last wilderness". Only accessible by boat, or by a 16-mile (26 km) walk through rough country, its seven miles (11 km) of tarred road are not connected to the UK road system.
Designated as a National Scenic Area, Knoydart is popular with hill walkers, mountaineers, sailors and wildlife enthusiasts. It includes the Munros of Ladhar Bheinn (1020 m), Luinne Bheinn (939 m), Meall Buidhe (946 m) and Sgurr na Cìche (1040 m).
Knoydart formed part of the kingdom of Somerled (died 1164), before passing to the Clann Ruaidhrí branch of his descendants - the eventual heiress of whom married John of Islay (died circa 1386). Members of Clan Donald held Knoydart from the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century is generally believed to have descended from Allan Macdonald, 2nd of Clanranald (died circa 1429). However, in the early 17th century, Macdonell of Glengarry succeeded in wresting control of Knoydart from Clanranald, receiving official confirmation of his ownership from the king in 1613. Prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion the population numbered nearly a thousand and in spite of much emigration, mainly to Canada, remained at that level in 1841.
In 1852 four hundred of the inhabitants were given notice of eviction for the following year and offered passages overseas, originally to Australia, but later their destination was changed to Canada. On 9 August 1853 three hundred and thirty inhabitants from the west coast of the peninsula went on board the Sillery and left for Canada. However, 11 families comprising over 60 people refused to go and the story of their eviction became notorious as part of the Highland Clearances. Knoydart was finally sold by the MacDonell family in 1856, passing into the hands of an Ayrshire ironmaster, James Baird of Cambusdoon.
In 1948 an unsuccessful land raid was undertaken by the 'Seven Men of Knoydart' who attempted to claim land in the ownership of the estate for their own use. Their claims were contested by the estate owner, the Second Baron Brocket who took the case to the Court of Session which ruled against the land-raiders. An appeal to the Secretary of State for Scotland was rejected and the Seven Men gave up their fight to obtain crofts on Knoydart. A cairn commemorating the Land Raid was unveiled at Inverie in 1981.
Inverie is the main settlement on the peninsula, which has a resident population of roughly 100 adults. There is a post office, a primary school, and a variety of accommodation for visitors, including B&Bs, bunkhouses and self-catering accommodation. The Old Forge Inn, Knoydart's only pub, is the most remote public house in mainland Britain.
A vehicle track runs from Inverie to the smaller settlement of Airor, on the west side of the peninsula, a little over 8 miles. On its way to Airor, the track passes the settlements of Scottas, Sandaig and Doune. The track is a designated public highway and is maintained by the Highland Council - however in common with the Small Isles, a resident or visitors permit is required to drive on the road.
The Highland Council-subsidised ferry is operated from Mallaig to Inverie by Western Isles Cruises, previously known as Bruce Watt Cruises. For a period of three years Knoydart Sea Bridge had the council contract; this reverted back to Western Isles Cruises on 1st April 2016. Various passenger and equipment services are offered by private boat operators.
The Knoydart Foundation was established in 1997 to take ownership of the 17,500-acre (71 km2) Knoydart Estate which makes up much of the peninsula. The Foundation bought the estate in 1999. It is a partnership of local residents, the Highland Council, the Chris Brasher Trust, Kilchoan estate and the John Muir Trust. Their aim is to preserve, enhance and develop Knoydart for the well-being of the environment and the people. The Foundation operates a micro hydro-electric scheme which provides power to the estate as the area is entirely off the national grid. An increase in demand for power during the summer, when the area has visitors, has led to localised power cuts. A Wi-Fi light bulb able to change colour and a website (introduced in 2015) drawing on information from the hydroelectric turbine warns residents when they are close to the maximum available power. The project was developed by a team from the University of Edinburgh.
In May 2005 the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company hosted its first conference in Inverie, during which the company was officially launched. A new pier at Inverie was officially opened on 24 August 2006 by Tavish Scott MSP. In 2009 the Knoydart Foundation celebrated 10 years of community ownership with an extensive timetable of events including a music festival, ceilidhs, volunteer weeks, talks, an art display and a book reading by the author Ian McEwan.
- "2001 Census Profile for; Knoydart". Highland Council. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- "National Scenic Areas". SNH. Retrieved 30 Mar 2011.
- Dennis Rixson, Knoydart: a history (Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh, 1999)
- MacDougall, A. (1993). Knoydart: the Last scottish Land Raid. Billingham, Cleveland: Lindhurst Publications.
- "Old Forge". Retrieved 22 April 2007.
- Hutchison, Colin (12 November 2006). "Remote patrol". Sunday Herald. Glasgow.
- Knoydart Permits. "Knoydart Permits". Highland Council. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- "Knoydart Ferry Service". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Knoydart Ferry Service". Retrieved 22 April 2007.
- "Knoydart Ferry Service". Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Getting Here. "Getting Here". Knoydart Foundation. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "Knoydart Foundation". Retrieved 2007-04-22. Cite error: Invalid
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- "Residents' buy-out victory". BBC News. 2 March 1999. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
- David Ross "Village's power-cut problem solved by lightbulb", The Herald (Glasgow), 26 May 2015
- HIE News (2006-04-18). "Community Energy: Leading from the Edge". Retrieved 22 April 2007.