Take care... No one's here!

There is a sign by the pier in Inverie:

”Take care! You are entering remote sparcely-populated potentially dangerous mountain country. Please ensure that you are adequately experienced and equipped to complete your journey without assistance”.

And there is deserted here. The only way to come to the pub The Old Forge and the village on the peninsula Knoydart is by boat or hiking. Under a hundred people live here. They have fifteen cars - mostly Land Rovers - and 12-13 kilometres of gravel and asphalt roads. But this single road is without connection to the British main land.

A long time ago 2.000 people lived here, struggling through their hard lives. From before the time when the Vikings gave name to Knoydart (Knut's Fjord) and through 700 years rule by different clans, people here have lived at subsistence level. Mostly lived along the coast from the wheat and potatoes they could grow in the ´lazy beds´, you still see remnants of today along the walls of the houses.

In sharp contrast with the poor farmers the head of the island - the Macdonnels Clan - lived in wild luxury in ´The Big House´with a beauiful view of the bay in Inverie.

The population was greatest in the years 1764-1851. Some had been forced here from other places. But starvation and emigration put a stop to population growth.

A dark chapter in the history of the place is the year 1853. Jacqueline Macdonnel took no action as 322 of her subjects were forced on board the ship ´Sillary.´ According to the locals the poor farmers had been told that they would be sailed to Australia. But they ended up in Canada. 60 families refused persistently to bow down to the will of the Macdonnel Clan. Then their houses were burned down. Only with the catholic priest could these poor homeless people seek shelter.

The Macdonnels Clan drowe away the locals because they wanted sheep to grass on the Knoydart peninsula. But the sheep-breeding was a fiasco. The market collapsed and the peninsula was overgrazed. In 1890 the Macdonnels sold out. The sheep disappeared, but population remained low.

The proud people of Knoydart also have a story from recent times. The area is today owned by the inhabitants own Knoydart Foundation. After 850 years of suppression. But total freedom still took 50 years. In 1948 "the Seven Men from Knoydart" took ownership of parts of the lands on Knoydart. The lands they took from nazi-sympathizer lord Brocket. He didn't give up on his lands willingly and took the seven men to court. -And won.

But in 1999 the dream finally came through for the stubborn inhabitants after decades. Perhaps centuries. Now Knoydart is no longer in the hands of ruthless nobility and clans. Back in the hands of those who live here and all their lives have worked hard to survive.

And guests are much welcome. But you won't be allowed to settle overnight. The locals told us of a lady who lived here in a tent for several years... hoping that she may buy a house after 10 years, as the rules requires.

Last night saw Scottish folk music in the pub The Old Forge. The musicians jammed for hours. And it was not until half past three in the morning, before the last of us went to bed. A little dizzy from Guinness, whiskey and lots of lovely Irish music.

After a good nights sleep and the morning's oat porridge we were ready to take use of a good wind and head another 40 nautical miles to the south. We just rounded the Point of Ardnanurchan, the most western point of the British main land.

9,2 knots we just heard from the aft. The Sea Stallion is trotting well to day. We turned our backs to the Atlantic Ocean and is heading for Oronsay, where a landowner has invited us to come visit.


Created by Henrik Kastoft