When Debbie and Mike Clark were in Scotland they
visited this wonderful old smithy and forge. Such a place as
this was an integral part of the life of a blacksmith long ago.
This particular smithy as built about 1820 and used for
farrier and agricultural work until the 1950s. This old
smithy was acquired in 1992 as a centre for local history.
The Lochcarron Smithy heritage Centre has been
copying and collecting old photographs and documents since 1900, when they held their first Exhibitions on 'The Way of
Life' and 'Shinty in Lochcarron', under their then name of 'the Smithy Trust'. They have received much support over
the years since then for this endeavor and they have beevery grateful to the many people who have contributed to
their permanent collection. They publish a fascinating booklet called "Bygone Years." Debbie and Mike brought
us back a copy and we wish that all of you could see the many interesting pictures and captions included in the book.
You can write to the Lochcarron Smithy Heritage Centre at New Kelso,
Another part of the Lochcarron Smithy centre is the Kishorn Mines, which include four mines - two copper,
though one non-productive, and two iron, all occur in the
Durness Limestone (Ordovician in age - 490 million years
old) which outcrops in the Kishorn area. Unfortunately
there are no known records as to the yields of any of the
mines, or where the ore was taken for smelting or for what
it may have been used. All four mines seem to have been
fairly low key and short lived operations for one reason or
The Rassal Copper mine was being mined before 1762 and is said to have had copper of the best quality of
any found in Britain. It was probably exhausted by the mid-19th century. Small amounts of Malachite and Brochantite
can also be found in that area.
The Lower Sanachan Copper Mine seems to have begun around 1903 and lasted until at least 1907, but
the main lode was never found and the shaft was finally abandoned.
The Tornapress Iron Mine is the third mine in the area. Six men worked underground and brought up several
hundred tons of iron ore. The method used to transport it was that after it was brought up it would be left in a pile by
the stream at the bottom of the gorge prior to being winced up out of the gorge with a pulley and bucket system
lowered down from the rim. From there it would have been taken away by horse and cart. One time the entire pile was
washed away by a flash food before it could be uplifted, and
as a result of this and the irregular nature of the veins,
mining stopped in this mine in 1914 and was never resumed.
The fourth mine was the Upper Sanachan Iron Mine, which
was in operation at the same time as Tornapress and was probably run by the same company.
The archaeology of Lochcarron shows that people have inhabited the area since at least as far back as around
7500 BC, when a few amall groups of hunter gatherers
were moving up and down the coast and the islands. By
4000 to 2200 BC the first farmers arrived by sea from the
The Lochcarron Smithy