Applecross past & present

The Applecross peninsula has a rich cultural and built heritage dating back over 8,000 years to when some of Scotland’s earliest Mesolithic inhabitants arrived to occupy a rock shelter at Sand. During the millennia that followed, other early settlers left their own cultural footprints. Of these, perhaps the Iron Age Applecross broch (ca. 200AD) is the most striking.

Most significant for the peninsula’s religious heritage was the arrival of the Irish monk Maelrubha in 673AD, and the formation of the Christian settlement and monastery at Clachan. The latter marked the beginning of the idea of Applecross as a sanctuary, from which the Gaelic name of Applecross, A’ Chomraich, is derived. Here, some of the region’s beleaguered residents would seek refuge in the centuries to come in times of crisis.

In Applecross, just as elsewhere in the Scottish Highlands, the Highland Clearances led to the forced eviction of communities, and for hundreds of years much of the land was owned by a series of powerful lairds. The last landowner established the Applecross Trust in 1975.

The area has a strong Gaelic tradition and a strong sense of identity. In part this has been influenced by its remoteness, with the mountain pass of the Bealach nam Bò providing the primary overland access route since the early 19th century until the completion of the north coast road in 1976.

Today, Applecross is home to a vibrant community of crofting townships. Traces of the area’s extraordinary history, however, are never far from view. This makes Applecross a fascinating place to visit.

The best source of material on the history and culture of the area is the Applecross Historical Society, who prepared a Cultural Audit of the peninsula as part of the Landscape Partnership Scheme. This excellent, scholarly source of information on local history is available for viewing in the Downloads section of this website. The Historical Society manages the Heritage Centre at the north end of Applecross Bay, and its exhibition and genealogy service are a rewarding experience for anyone with an interest in the cultural history of Applecross.
Promoting the rich
heritage, wildlife & culture
of the West Highlands

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