Situated on the A99 between Dunbeath and Wick in Caithness, it’s impossible to miss a striking thatched longhouse. It’s worth taking a stop at Laidhay Croft Museum!
A small entrance fee (£2.50 payable in the tearoom, more about that later) gets you access into the three buildings that comprise Laidhay Croft. You are also loaned a booklet which gives more detail about the buildings.
With over 250 years of history, you can step inside for a taste of crofting life.
At the gable ends of the longhouse, are the stable and the byre. The middle section is the dwelling, which was packed with items that were used for life and work. Throughout the flooring is black Caithness stone – we have some in our utility room in our much younger house (which was built in 1905!).
There were two box beds in this room, and you can imagine families creeping into bed for warmth – this one below was facing the hearth fire (above) so the room was dual purpose.
There’s so much to look at. My parents recognised some homeware items and branded items that their own grandparents had in their houses!
It is amazing that cottages and croft houses are preserved so that visitors can see what life was like for generations before us. It really does give an insight as to how hard life was, a world away from the ease of modern life that we now enjoy.
The next stop was the kitchen, and there was a whole assortment of pots and pans, china and earthenware to look at.
Outside and in a modern built shed was a collection of farming machinery – another reminder of how technology has improved farming tools over the years.
There was enough to look at for at least an hour, all three buildings were crammed full of exhibits.
An added bonus is having an on-site tearoom which is bright and with friendly staff. Mr B loved their breakfast rolls (with locally made Latheronwheel Lorne sausage and tattie scone if you’re buying) which are served all day, while I was torn between so many cake options in the glass cabinet – there must have been at least twenty options to choose from. Next time I’ll have to try the Cullen Skink as that’s been recommended to me!
Visit the Laidhay Croft Museum website for more details on their opening times and history.