The Highland folk museum is my kind of museum, one with no endless corridors and stuffy rooms of glass cases. One where, instead of sullen guards reminding you not to touch/keep your kids under control/not to slide down the banister, there are knowledgeable interpreters, dressed up and in character, ready to enthuse children and adults alike in Highland history.
It is also an outdoor museum and laid out on a site a mile long with significant buildings, from curling hut and tailors, to railway halt and farmhouse reconstructed and relocated at the site.
There’s simply too much to properly fit into a day and so here are our top suggestions of things to see
1. The sweetie shop
Kirks stores is a traditional shop with all the traditional sweeties: aniseed balls, soor plooms, barley sugar. And they sell them by the quarter.
2. The school house
We always race here first. It’s near to the entrance but there must be something inherently attractive in a 1940s classroom with a teacher brandishing a leather strap who is only strict with the grownups and gives the kids good marks in their handwriting tests using pen and dipping ink.
3. The curling hut in the woods
I’ve got a soft spot for curling huts (we happen to live opposite one in Glasgow) The woods are great for a picnic too – all Scots pines and blaeberry beneath.
4. The Black house Village
Right at the far end of the site is a reconstructed township from the 1700s. Here you can meet Highlanders and sometimes even a redcoat. On our recent visit we got to try traditional basket making with an expert and watched a skilled weaver creating a tweed from wood dyed using bracken (she was extolling the various uses of pee in creating textiles, but I think they may have used a more modern fixing agent this time…)
Against the council of the weaver we went to speak to the redcoat and regretted it when he tried to join the kids up to the kings army.
5. The Old Kirk
An example of an early prefab. Built in the 1890s, apparently churches just like this were sent all over the empire. But it’s not so much the story of the kirk but the unaccompanied Gaelic singing playing inside that I go for. I could sit and listen and contemplate happily.
Or click here
But mainly I get dragged off to the cafe, shop and playpark.