Strontian, which lies on an inlet off Loch Sunart, grew up around mining. During the 18th century there was a thriving lead mining enterprise here, and zinc, tin and silver were also mined. The village was created in order to provide accommodation for the miners, who at the peak of the extraction, around 1730, numbered 600. In the late 1700s French prisoners of war were working the mines, ironically producing lead for shot to be used in the war against France. It was during this time that another mineral was found which took its name from the village: strontium. The mining effort ended in the 1980s, by which time barite was being extracted for use in the North Sea oilfields. The decline of the village as the mining effort subsided reached the point, in 1968, where Strontian was included in a list of 2,000 dying Highland villages, and became the first of the villages to receive money for regeneration, resulting in a range of facilities including a shopping centre and a caravan and camping site. There is an interesting report in the Glasgow Herald from 1963 describing life in Strontian from the times when English "Landed Gentry" ruled the roost there, and discipline was such that whenever the laird and lady passed by the women had to curtsey and the men salute.
Map of the area.