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Hill and marginal grazings
Clearance for livestock
Sheep, shelters etc
main image Crofts, Aird of Sleat, Skye, Inverness-shire
When Highland and Island settlements were cleared for sheep farming, some of the displaced population was re-housed on small plots of land known as crofts.

Initially, one reason for doing so was the income to be had from harvesting and burning kelp (seaweed), as a raw material in the chemical industry. Once the price of this collapsed, there was less incentive to keep a large population, but the settlements remained.

Further evictions and subsequent discontent prompted a government enquiry, the Napier Commission. Its report, adopted in 1886 as the Crofters' Holdings Act, guaranteed security of tenure, fair rents and rights to inherit holdings.

The patterns set by the 1886 Act have remained to this day. Most crofters, unable to make a living solely from these small holdings, have supplementary jobs in other activities.

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