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main image Part of the cleared settlement of Rossal, Sutherland
During the early 19th century, many parts of the Highlands and Islands were cleared of tenants to make way for large, commercial sheep farms. Clearances on the Duke of Sutherland's estates achieved particular notoriety.

Rossal was a joint tenancy farming settlement or 'fermtoun', where several families worked the land. Surrounding it, and separated by a dyke, were the extensive pastures where they grazed their livestock – mostly cattle – during summer. The slight remains are the stone footings of a longhouse – house and byre combined end to end. The upper courses would have been built in turf and so have long since rotted away.

There is no money now in sheep farming; forestry – as here – is the new money maker. At least the settlement site has been spared afforestation.

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