Plockton is often described as the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’. You’ll see some truth in this when you begin exploring the wonderful offerings of this Scottish village. Among them are its breathtaking landscapes, coral beach, and a small island located close to it. Plockton is situated on a sheltered bay and provides amazing views overlooking Loch Carron.
It is owing to such spectacular natural features that it has been featured in many television series and films. The most well-known among them is the ‘Hamish Macbeth’ series produced by BBC. Over the years, Plockton has successfully preserved its rich heritage and a heart-warming hospitality. During your time spent in this beautiful Scottish village, you’ll get to know its interesting history.
The early days
In the early 19th century, the village was surveyed and planned by W Cumming. The purpose was to exploit the west coast fishing industry. A renowned civil engineer named Thomas Telford designed many structures of the village. They included the bridge at Duirinish, the Plockton Parish Church, and a few homes. To encourage local employment, the homes were given on lease for 99 years.
By the mid-1840s, the population in Plockton rose to 547 with the presence of herring fishing. Although there was some hardship, this village fared better than the other villages during the highland potato famine. Herring fishing remained its major source of livelihood and additional support came from crofting in the late 19th century.
The advent of railway
In 1870, the Dingwall and Skye Railway was started. It ran from Dingwall and was terminated at Strome Ferry. This was where the fish landed and some of them were processed to be sent to the London market. Towards the end of the 19th century, the railway was extended to Kyle of Lochalsh.
This involved a major feat of engineering. It brought tremendous benefits to the locals as the fishing industry prospered. Kyle of Lochalsh became a major ferry port and railway terminus, laying the foundation for today’s tourism.
The World War days
With the beginning of the First World War, the local economy declined once again. This happened due to the fact that many of the men of Plockton had to serve in the war. The population of the village fell by significant numbers. Some of the house-building efforts and public works provided little support for the local economy.
One of the major public buildings constructed around this time was the village hall of Plockton. It was built in 1934. Some of the major changes to the Highlands were brought by the aftermath of the Second World War. In the late 1940s, electricity arrived in the village.
The local population increased during the 1960s. Plockton witnessed a growth in tourism with better roads and communications. This was instrumental in providing the required support for the community.
The history of education in Plockton
Sir Alexander Matheson had built the first school on Innes Street in 1865. It began by providing primary education for the children of this village. Later, many rented rooms in the homes were used for providing primary education.
For some time, the main school building was entirely used for higher grade education. In the 1960s the large Plockton High School complex was completed. Today, it is also home to the world-famous ‘National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music’.