The lost house
Remnants of the old crofting communities are still to be found - nestled among the humps and hollows of these windswept glens. To pick your way over the rough ground here is to stumble upon old histories sinking slowly back into the earth.
One such ruin lies above the shores of a small loch where a whisky-brown burn chuckles past the remains of an old sheepstead, just to leeward. Abandoned long ago, only the crumbled outer walls of the croft remain – the bare bones of a home. A doorway gapes like a lost tooth, the fallen lintel long since buried in an angry carpet of briar and nettles. In the vestige of a chimney breast, tongues of bracken sprout where peat-fires once burned.
A carrion crow calls harshly, like a petulant ghost.
There was a living, of sorts, to be had here once. But that was before the horsemen came. The sour earth yielded oats, potatoes and turnips, while scattered sheep and shaggy cattle grazed around. This squat little house of thick stone walls and low thatched roof, had shielded generations. Then the glens were emptied and the final dwellers scattered to the margins of life: to a storm-wracked coast, the drumming of the Atlantic and the call of unknown continents.