The Ordnance Survey- 1872 6 inch 1st Edition gives us a map of this area when our MacDonald and Fraser ancestors lived in Easter and Wester Cudrish. An advert in the Inverness Advertiser of 23 Oct 1849 tells us the farms were contiguous and the combined acreage was 550 of which 75 acres were arable.

Tavish Fraser b.1795 came from a long line of Frasers who occupied the farm of Dunchea in Stratherrick. He and his brothers, John and Thomas, secured the lease of Easter and Wester Cudrish in 1828. They had been successful farmers in Stratherrick but turned out to make way for larger holdings and sheep.

John and Thomas and their respective families lived at Wester Cudrish, while Tavish and Jane lived at Easter Cudrish. Thomas was in Cudrish in 1841 but had moved to Easter Clunes by 1851. John was in Cudrish in 1841 but by 1851 he was in Byrefield in Kiltarlity where he died. His headstone in Dores churchyard reads 'John Fraser (Ian Cudrash) an elder of Kiltarlity Free Church an eminent saint of God in the highlands who died 2nd May 1877 aged 84 years'

Tavish died in 1865 and his wife Jane in 1875. Their son William inherited Easter Cudrish but in 1881 he had a stroke so moved to Corrick in Kiltarlity. He left the farm to be run by his sister Elizabeth and her husband Donald Macdonald. Elizabeth, who was my great grandmother, managed Easter Cudrish from 1881 until 1892 when her husband Donald MacDonald retired from the police.

In 1849 when the above advert was placed in the Inverness Advertiser, Wester Cudrish had probably been vacated by John and Thomas Fraser but it is not clear why Easter Cudrish was being offered to let as the family of Tavish and Jane were still its tenants.

Cardross to Cudrish in 1876

Ishbel Kewley wrote an interesting account of a journey Elizabeth made home to Cudrish in 1876 when trains and good roads did not exist in the highlands;

Grannie took mother, aunt Peggy and uncle Fraser ( aged 7,4 and 1 ) from Cardross to the Highlands. Cardross to Helensburgh, crossed to Greenock, Greenock to Banavie. Overnight there sleeping in waiting room. Next day Banavie to Temple Pier by the Caledonian Canal to go to Drumclune. Stayed at Drumclune with the Macmillan's, Mrs McMillan was granny's sister (later of Oakbank below the Free Church). Then to Achratagan to stay with the MacLeans. Mrs MacLean was granny's sister. From there to Easter Cudrish to stay with the Frasers (Granny's brothers and later of Corrich). On to Clunes to Auntie Jean (Mrs Michael). Over the big burn to Auntie Bell (Mrs Fraser) Aultfern. Left Aunt Peggy there and went by Blackfold and Bona Ferry to Easter Erchite to stay with Uncle Donald (Granny's brother). From there to Elrig to stay with Uncle John (Granny's brother and Malcolm's & Mina's father). Mother remembers helping Mina to gather the turnips which were being thinned, to give to the pigs. They returned from there to easter Erchite. Uncle John drove them part of the way. From Easter Erchite they went by Bona ferry to the main Inverness road where they got the mail coach to Milton to stay at Drumclune. Aunt Peggy was taken from Aultfern to Cudrish and from there to join them at Drumclune. Returned by boat from Temple Pier to Banavie and then to Helensburgh. Mother remembers they encontered a severe storm at the Mull of Kintyre. Their vessel towed a fishing boat which was in distress to harbour at Campbeltown.

Some pictures of Cudrish

The remains of Easter and Wester Cudrish are now surrounded by forestry but in their day they stood, 300 meters above sea level, on largely tree-less hills in Glen Convinth to the north of Loch Ness.

In the early 1950s my Grandfather, Donald MacDonald b.1877, knowing that he was dying of cancer, made a last visit to the farm in which he had spent his boyhood . Donald is seen here standing in front of the farmhouse of Easter Cudrish. The roof is intact and the wooden porch is still standing.
Donald with my mother, Flomay her sister and my brothers in front of Easter Cudrish in an almost treeless landscape.
Easter Cudrish surrounded by pine forest in May 2013. Roof tiles having been removed, the roof timbers have rotted and collapsed. The porch over the front door has fallen away from the house and the outbuildings are in ruins.
The wall in the foreground, also seen in the two pictures above, is probably the one, in front of which, my Great Grandfather assembled his surviving children for a family photograph before they all left Cudrish for Glentore in 1904. At that time the roof of this building was of thatch.
Rear view of Easter Cudrish farmhouse with the remains of some of the barns.
Wester Cudrish farmhouse in 2013 with its barn in the distance (the only building that still has a roof).
Both of the farms had a horse mill. This photograph shows the remains of the mill workings and its gearing inside the barn of Wester Cudrish. Outside the barn, on the other side of the wall shown here,was the horse driven capstan .

See also: Highland Historic Environment Records for Wester and Easter Cudrish made in 2008.

Rental history

In 1904 my great grandparents moved with their family to Glentore. For a time, Cudrish continued to be rented by Donald.

From the Valuation Rolls for Kiltarlity in the County of lnverness

Date Farm name Tenant Rent
1881/2 Easter Cudrish D. MacDonald  
  Wester Cudrish Alex Fraser  
1899/1900 Easter Cudrish Donald MacDonald 34/0/0
  Wester Cudrish Malcolm Fraser 25/0/0
1902/3 Easter Cudrish Donald MacDonald  
  Wester Cudrish Malcolm Fraser  
1904/5 Easter Cudrish Donald MacDonald  
  Wester Cudrish Malcolm Fraser  
1906/7 Easter Cudrish Donald MacDonald 30/10/0
  Wester Cudrish Malcolm Fraser 25/0/0

The proprietor of these properties is stated as A. W. Merry of Belladrum

After the Second World War both Eastern and Wester Cudrish crofts were offered for rent of £45 pa for both. No one took up the tenancy as the nearest water was in the "Red Burn" at the main road (A833).

Page last updated - 28/1/14