Allt Catanach

All that survives of what was a substantial building known as Ruighe nan Catanach is this chimney. With a saltire painted on it (now faded) it has been a landmark in remote Invernessshire on the road between Brig o’ Broon and Nethy Bridge. I have been aware of it all my life:

Ruighe nan Catanach sits beside the 18th century military road and was contemporary with it. However no stories survive of it and the lives of its occupants and visitors. It is not depicted on any of the historical ordinance survey maps. It is also not depicted on General Roy’s map of 1750 but, curiously enough, lies just at the point where the map folds and the paper is worn and illegible.

Peter Davidson, in his wonderful book ‘Distance and Memory’ remarked:

“to be the attentive student of belatedness, the topographer of the shadow-lands in their intractable remoteness, the knower of the lost and overshadowed places of memory . . .”