The Moine is a vast area of
heather moor and peat moss which from ancient times has been a deterrent
to transport and trade
Travelling from Loch Eriboll, one had to cross
14 miles of this morass, then make the choice of risking life on the
ferry across the Kyle, or slogging another 9 miles overland via Kinloch to
reach Tongue Village..
The first good road across The Moine was built in 1830, and Moine House
was erected as a half-way stop. The grand name leads one to expect a
mansion house! It is a surprise to see an ordinary, good-sized cottage, which had two rooms downstairs, plus a loft.
There is a box-like porch at the front, perhaps added later. Moine House
was built facing south, on the edge of the old road. Nowadays the modern
road skirts the house on the north side..
The house has lain empty for many years although it still had a roof in
1987. More recently some conservation work has been done to preserve the
shell of the building.
The east gable carries an enormous carved plaque
extolling the new road and the people who created it.
The wording is
virtually illegible now; I copied the text from a guidebook.
In 1881 the house was occupied by GEORGE MACKAY, a forester aged 80, an
unmarried daughter, a married son and his wife, and five grandchildren! Crowded by our standards
- but no doubt they would make weary travellers welcome.
George's grand-daughter, CHRISTINA MACKAY, was 3 years old in 1881. She
may have been the last occupant, before spending her latter years in
Scullomie. At any rate, people in Scullomie remember "Kirsty
na Moine" as a kindly, generous person, a staunch churchgoer who had
"wonderful hands" with patchwork and baking. (family connection not yet
If you know more about the family who lived at Moine House,
or would like an original digital photograph, please contact me.