One of the most controversial episodes in the history of Scotland was that of the Highland Clearances, by which entire communities were forcibly moved away from their homes by aristocratic landowners bent on agricultural revolution. The people affected ended up in the Scottish lowlands, on the coast, or even in North America. Bettyhill on the north coast of Scotland was the result of such clearances, populated by people displaced from the Strathnaver valley - the valley of the River Naver - which formed part of the estate of the Countess of Sutherland and her husband. The first name of the Countess was Elizabeth, and it is thought that this was where the name Bettyhill came from.
The village overlooks the sand dunes of Torrisdale Bay and Farr Bay with its brilliant golden sand. Those who want to find out more about the Clearances should head to the Strathnaver Museum, housed within an 18th-century church. The museum also has displays on Strathnaver's archaeological sites, which include ancient brochs and cairns and the remains of a pre-Clearance village. The churchyard is notable for the Farr Stone, a Celtic carved cross-slab from the 9th century. Nature lovers should head for the west bank of the Naver estuary, where the Invernaver National Nature Reserve includes mountain plants which have strayed almost to sea level.
Map of the area.
© 2002 Bob Jones, via Wikimedia Commons