Laidhay Croft Museum
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Traditional crofter's cottages in Caithness were low stone structures, incorporating accommodation for both the crofting family and their animals with storage areas, workshops, and everything the family needed to live in this often harsh environment under one roof. One end of the Laidhay cottage is a byre, or stable area, with stalls for animals and a cobbled floor. The centre section of the cottage is a combination living, eating and sleeping area for the family, with inner divisions created by high-walled box beds.
Later a separate doorway was inserted for animals, and an inner wall added to completely separate the stable area from the living area for the crofting family. The large stable at the north end of the building was created in the early 20th century, and now houses a collection of horse harnesses and tack.
There are several examples of traditional Caithness chairs. These have a gap at the front of the seating area. The theory behind this odd-looking design is that timber was so scarce in Caithness that they didn't want to waste wood on a spot where no one put their weight if they were sitting upright properly! The wood shortage also explains why many of the chairs are made with driftwood gathered from the nearby beach.
I had a wonderful time visiting Laidhay. The interior of the longhouse is like Alladin's treasure cave, full to the rafters with a jumble of artefacts from daily life. Its like a time-capsule, looking into the life of a traditional crofting family. Visiting Laidhay really gives you a good sense of what it was like to live in Caithness, a way of life that changed little for centuries. Highly recommended.
About Laidhay Croft Museum
Address: A9, Laidhay, Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland, KW6 6EH
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: 1 mile north of Dunbeath on the east side of the A9 beside the tea rooms. Well signposted, and large free parking area.
Website: Laidhay Croft Museum
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Achavanich Standing Stones - 7.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Badbea Clearance Village - 8.2 miles (Museum)
Hill o' Many Stanes - 9.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Grey Cairns of Camster - 10.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Cairn o'Get - 11.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Whaligoe Steps - 11.1 miles (Historic Building)
Yarrows Archaeological Trail - 11.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Timespan - 12.8 miles (Museum)
Nearest Accommodation to Laidhay Croft Museum:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Laidhay Croft Museum. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tourist Information Centre
Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall
Highlands and Islands
Tel: 01847 893 155