Tour the Laidhay Croft Museum
Located just north of Dunbeath in south-east Caithness, Scotland, the Laidhay Croft Museum is made up of three main buildings, with the farmhouse believed to have been built in the early 1800s. The main farmhouse is built in the longhouse style that was once quite common, but is now a rare site. With its thatched roof and whitewashed walls, Laidhay Croft Museum is a well-preserved example of a longhouse in this picturesque region of Scotland. The other two buildings are a small barn, with its original cruck-style roof, and a more modern shed that houses the museum’s extensive collection of historic farming implements.
Visitors to Laidhay Museum will note that the longhouse style building included all the family’s amenities under one roof. The building itself is 105 feet long and includes the stable on one end and a byre (barn) on the other. Next to the barn is the scullery, leading into the kitchen and then into the living area. In the original building, both animals and human occupants of the longhouse would enter through the scullery door, with animals entering the barn through the main house, sometimes with no permanent division between the humans and the animals. The separate entrance to the byre was added in the early 1900s and it now displays some workbenches and a collection of tools from that time.
The scullery displays an interesting collection of items that would have been used for making butter and cheese, as well as a wringer/mangle and other items for clothes and linen washing. Leading off from the scullery is the kitchen, which would have been the main area of activity for the family, with the hearth incorporating a cast iron stove. Items displayed in this area include a number of wooden chairs made from driftwood in a style that was unique to the Caithness area, a table and dresser, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery, a washstand with a pot scrubber made from heather, old irons and branders.
The living area contains a box-bed, which permitted the sleeper some privacy, as well as an assortment of bric-a-brac in the dresser, chairs, pictures and ornaments. The Laidhay Croft Museum gives visitors the opportunity to view a wide variety of items collected from all over the Caithness area that are considered to be of historical and cultural value.