Achaneich through history

Achaneich has been in existence before records first began in Scotland in the year 1600.

The main house was much smaller than the present one and probably consisted of two two-roomed dwellings. Evidence of this was found during recent renovations, when the previous owners found old doorways and open hearths.

The age of the Stable Cottage is unknown, but is certainly pre-1700. In the early 1700s, it was used to house a detachment of troops – they kept their horses down below whilst their senior officer stayed up at the house. These men formed a small part of General Wade’s army involved in the Highland Clearances.

The common language of the West Coast and Islands was Gaelic, and in this language Achaneich meant “the place of small horses”. It would appear that in those early days it was part of the bigger Tririndrish estate and probably housed the tacks men who cared for the horses.

In 1623 - 1626, the Privy Council records show Donald MacRanald in Achaneich (a Keppoch chief), and later on “disposed to Ronald MacDonald of Achaneich with consent of the Marquis of Huntley October 1641”. MacDonald paid annual rent to the Marquis for Achaneich of 23 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence.

By the 1841 census, there were 17 people living in Achaneich. In one dwelling were the MacDonalds (6), in the other the Macintyres (7). A third family of 4 Camerons also lived somewhere – possibly the Stable. By the 1861 census, these numbers had dropped to a single family: the Taits (10). Twenty years later it had dropped again to the Grant family of just 6 people.

Before the Stable was saved from ruin, the house was lived in by the headmistress of Spean Bridge primary school (the old school – not the modern version which our daughters attended). She was a popular teacher, and on her retirement, her pupils made her the bird table that you can see outside our kitchen.