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Gairloch

This postcard shows Gairloch.

Loch Gairloch is situated in Wester Ross. Gairloch comes from the Gaelic 'Gear Loch' meaning short loch.

The view is from the beautiful, sandy beach. The wall on the left belongs to a rocky promontory on which there is a small Pictish fort, An Dun.

On the far shore the building on the right is the Free Church, designed by Matthew and Lawrie and built in 1878. Behind it is Gairloch Hotel. Built in 1872 this impressive Jacobean-style building was designed by Andrew Maitland. It was extended in 1880 by Andrew Maitland & Son and again in 1896 by Ross and Macbeth.

When it was originally built the hotel had gardens and greenhouses, growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers. It provided the early Victorian tourists with every comfort including a bathing-machine on the beach. They came in search of health-giving air and outdoor pursuits, inspired by Queen Victoria's visits to the Highlands. The Queen visited Gairloch in 1877 when she stayed at the nearby Loch Maree Hotel.

In the distance, strung out along the shore, are the settlements of Auchtercairn, Strath, Smithstown, Mial and Lonemore which, together with Charlestown, have in recent times been collectively known as Gairloch.

Until 1843, when the road was built, almost all access to this remote area was by sea. Only now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, is the A832 being upgraded from a single track road with passing places to a two lane carriageway.

Crofting and fishing, particularly cod fishing, used to be the mainstay of the scattered community. Oysters and other shellfish were also harvested for the London market. Crabs, lobsters and prawns are still sent from Gairloch to markets in the south and in Europe.

Today there are hotels and inns, self catering cottages and caravan parks. The area particularly attracts hill walkers and wildlife watchers. Despite the summer invasion there is still a feeling of remoteness and of being on the edge of an unspoilt wilderness.

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Gairloch

ROSS: Gairloch

1920s; 1930s

postcards; hotels; lochs; beaches; gardens; greenhouses; tourists; Victorians; Queen Victoria; bathing machines; churches; Matthew and Lawrie; Andrew Maitland; forts; Picts; settlements; Charlestown; Lonemore; Smithstown; Mial; Auchtercairn; crofting

Highland Libraries

Highland Libraries' Postcard Collection

This postcard shows Gairloch.<br /> <br /> Loch Gairloch is situated in Wester Ross. Gairloch comes from the Gaelic 'Gear Loch' meaning short loch.<br /> <br /> The view is from the beautiful, sandy beach. The wall on the left belongs to a rocky promontory on which there is a small Pictish fort, An Dun.<br /> <br /> On the far shore the building on the right is the Free Church, designed by Matthew and Lawrie and built in 1878. Behind it is Gairloch Hotel. Built in 1872 this impressive Jacobean-style building was designed by Andrew Maitland. It was extended in 1880 by Andrew Maitland & Son and again in 1896 by Ross and Macbeth.<br /> <br /> When it was originally built the hotel had gardens and greenhouses, growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers. It provided the early Victorian tourists with every comfort including a bathing-machine on the beach. They came in search of health-giving air and outdoor pursuits, inspired by Queen Victoria's visits to the Highlands. The Queen visited Gairloch in 1877 when she stayed at the nearby Loch Maree Hotel. <br /> <br /> In the distance, strung out along the shore, are the settlements of Auchtercairn, Strath, Smithstown, Mial and Lonemore which, together with Charlestown, have in recent times been collectively known as Gairloch.<br /> <br /> Until 1843, when the road was built, almost all access to this remote area was by sea. Only now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, is the A832 being upgraded from a single track road with passing places to a two lane carriageway.<br /> <br /> Crofting and fishing, particularly cod fishing, used to be the mainstay of the scattered community. Oysters and other shellfish were also harvested for the London market. Crabs, lobsters and prawns are still sent from Gairloch to markets in the south and in Europe.<br /> <br /> Today there are hotels and inns, self catering cottages and caravan parks. The area particularly attracts hill walkers and wildlife watchers. Despite the summer invasion there is still a feeling of remoteness and of being on the edge of an unspoilt wilderness.