Old house at Suishnish

The community at Suisnish was cleared in 1853, along with the nearby village at Boreraig. This walk goes to the haunting ruins of Suisnish via a good track that has been upgraded by the military. It is an easy walk, but at about 8km return, it is at the top end of what this guide classifies as a stroll.

The starting point is at the end of the Kilbride road, where it reaches the beach at Camas Malag at NG582191. (From the approach road, there is a good view to your right of the marble quarries at Torrin.) There is plenty of space to park by the beach. Navigation is no challenge at all - simply follow the obvious track all the way to Suisnish.

 

Camas Malag - with Bla Bheinn beyond

On the way you pass interesting outcrops of weathered limestone and several waterfalls. All the way, the views over Loch Slapin are superb. You will know when you have arrived. The ruins are widespread and obvious. Do take time to explore them. Sit a while and contemplate.

The families who lived here were driven out forcibly. Many of the elderly died as hundreds were evicted into the snow that lay there in October 1853. The houses were razed to prevent their return and they had to find shelter as best they could in the open. One old crofter returned to the ruins during the night and was found dead from exposure in the remains of his home the following morning.

Archibald Geikie, the renowned Edinburgh geologist, was visiting the area at the time of the clearance. He recounted that:
'A strange wailing sound reached my ears. I could see a long and motley procession winding along the road that led north from Suisnish. There were old men and women, too feeble to walk, who were placed in carts; the younger members of the community on foot were carrying their bundles of clothes while the children, with looks of alarm, walked alongside. A cry of grief went up to heaven, the long plaintive wail, like a funeral coronach. The sound re-echoed through the wide valley of Strath in one prolonged note of desolation.'

Walking through the deserted ruins today, it is poignant to imagine Suisnish in its heyday, and in its demise. Such desolation and despair in such a beautiful place. Very sad indeed.