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Knoydart Estate

Forming the major part of the Knoydart Peninsula in Highland, the Knoydart Estate has had a controversial history. The estate passed from the MacDonalds to the MacDonnells of Glengarry, who had their ownership of the area confirmed by royal charter in the 16th C. Josephine MacDonnell was responsible for clearing her tenants of the area in 1853 in order to turn the estate over to more profitable sheep farming. She did, however, cancel their rent arrears and offer the population free passage to Nova Scotia (Canada).

The estate was bought by Alan Nall-Cain, Lord Brocket, a Conservative Member of Parliament and Nazi sympathiser in the 1930s. He became an infamous absentee-landlord and did not endear himself to the local people by dismissing many of his estate workers because he only wanted the estate for entertaining his friends with occasional shooting and fishing trips. In 1948, the 'Seven Men of Knoydart' took over a small area of Brocket's land on which they established crofts. They brought attention to the case that landlords across Scotland were denying local people their crofting birth-right and rendering the great estates unproductive.

After changing hands several more times, with various owners doing their best to improve the estate, it was finally acquired by the Knoydart Foundation, on behalf of the local community, in 1999. The £750,000 necessary to purchase the estate was raised from government agencies and various charitable foundations, including the John Muir Trust, who already owned a neighbouring estate of 1250 ha (3088 acres).


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