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Landmark Trust To Spend £600,000 On Berriedale Cottages

6th June 2011

Photograph of Landmark Trust To Spend £600,000 On Berriedale Cottages

Homes of early Caithness fishermen saved

A fundraising appeal to raise £600,000 to save a row of early fishermen's dwellings has been completed. The Landmark Trust, the building preservation charity behind the project, will now begin to restore the Shore Cottages at Berriedale, Caithness in order to give them a secure, new future.

Fishing at Berriedale was developed by Sir John Sinclair around 1800 as an alternative livelihood for crofters from the Highlands, who were moved to the coast during the Clearances. Along the coast men set sail in boats known as 'fifies', while the women gutted fish at troughs on the shore and packed them in ice. At Berriedale, both herring and salmon were landed. The Shore Cottages at Berriedale probably date from the 1840s and are reminders of this harsh existence.

The cottages had stood derelict since the 1950s and their continued survival was threatened by the weather and sea until Landmark took them on in 2008. The Landmark Trust has been rescuing humble buildings such as these since its formation in 1965, believing that they give an important glimpse into the past lives of ordinary people.

Peter Pearce, Director of the Landmark Trust said, "These cottages tell the story of a past way of life, one that deserves to be remembered. We are very grateful to all those who have donated to our appeal and look forward to opening the cottages for all to visit next year. Until then our team of conservation builders will be on site repairing the fragile fabric of the cottages."

In 2010, the Landmark Trust undertook work on the cottages to make them weather tight and ensure their condition did not worsen while the remaining funds were being raised. Now the building team will move on site to restore the cottages using traditional materials and skills. Their work will include uncovering and recording the original Caithness stone beneath a modern concrete floor and repairing a cobbled sluice area at the north end of the cottages which may once have been used for gutting fish. The footbridge across the Berriedale Water also requires repair as this will be the main access to the cottages. Once restored they will be let for self-catering holidays with one cottage sleeping two and the other six people. The rental income generated will support the buildings' ongoing maintenance.

The Landmark Trust cares for 18 buildings in Scotland including The Pineapple near Stirling, an extraordinary pineapple-shaped folly.

To follow the restoration of the Shore Cottages and to find out more about staying in them for holidays see

- The Landmark Trust is a building preservation charity that rescues and restores historic buildings and lets them for holidays. There are 190 Landmarks ranging from castles to gamekeeper's cottages, towers to follies.

- Neil Gunn's epic adventure The Silver Darlings is one of the best-loved Scottish novels of the 20th Century. It is an evocative story about families like those who lived at The Shore Cottages at Berriedale.

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