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Balnakeil


Highland

A settlement in Durness Parish, N Sutherland, Highland Council Area, Balnakeil lies on the broad Balnakeil Bay which forms an inlet between Cape Wrath and Loch Eriboll. Balnakeil House was built in 1744 by the Mackay Lords of Reay. There has been a church here since the 13th century. The ruined Durness Old Parish Church was built in 1619 (with further work in 1692 and 1727). It was in use until c.1814. In the churchyard there is a memorial to Rob Doun (Robert Calder Mackay, 1714-78) the drover and Gaelic poet. A military encampment, a half-mile (0.8 km) to the south, has been converted into Balnakeil Craft Village. This camp was constructed in the early 1950s to support a cold-war monitoring base, but this was rendered obsolete before it could be completed. It was never occupied and given over to the County Council who promoted it as 'craft village' in the 1960s for those 'dropping out' from society at that time - somewhat of an irony given its intended purpose.


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