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Bicentenary Festival

This year Strathnaver Museum, with the help of the local community, are staging a programme of events to mark the bicentenary of the Strathnaver Clearances. The Bicentenary Festival will commemorate the tragic events of the Clearances but also celebrate the heritage and culture of the north Highlands.

The festival will start at the Durness Highland Gathering on Friday 25 July where copies of the Bicentenary Festival programme will be available from the Strathnaver Museum stand. The festival programme is packed with events to suit every taste including music, Gaelic, family history, heritage walks and talks, children’s event and much more.

A special bicentenary ceilidh will be held in Bettyhill Village Hall on Saturday 26 July with entertainment from talented local musicians from Feis Air An Oir. The next day a service in Syre Church will feature a performance from members of the Melvich and Lairg Gaelic Choir.

Gaelic will also be explored in a workshop led by Strathnaver Museum’s Margaret Macdonald. The Gaelic in the Environment event will be a fun introduction to the language using place and plant names.

For those interested in family history research there will be a family history workshop and talk led by Chris Halliday of the Highland Archive Centre. A heritage walk and talk to the pre-clearance township of Achanlochy has also been arranged and will be lead by Jim Johnston.

A treasure hunt for children organised by the Highland Council Countryside Ranger will explore traditional Highland plant uses. There will also be a demonstration and taster session of the traditional art of spinning at Strathnaver Museum.

There will also be two talks as part of the fortnight of events. Dr Laura Hamlet from the North West Highland Geopark will explore how the first settlers to our shores lived. While Dr Elizabeth Ritchie from the University of the Highlands and Islands will ask the question ‘Why did the Clearances happen?’

Strathnaver Museum has recently launched a very popular new exhibition which follows the story of one family cleared from Totaig through to the present day. A display of patchwork squares embroidered by local people and telling the story of the Clearances can also be viewed at Strathnaver Museum.

The Bicentenary Festival is supported by our local councillors through the Ward Discretionary Budget and will run from 25 July to the 9 August. For programme details and more information please contact Strathnaver Museum at