Why you can’t visit Inveraray without stepping back in time at Auchindrain Township!

Step back in time. We’re heard that before! But this is precisely what’s on offer at Auchindrain, a fantastic ‘immersive’ visitor attraction just six miles south of Inveraray.

There’s nowhere like Auchindrain. It was the last inhabited Highland farm township and the most complete and well-preserved example that you can visit today. At one time such communal, tenanted farm settlements dotted the Highlands. But that was before mechanisation, modern farming practices and the associated Clearances put paid to these places by the hundred. Today many have vanished without trace, some exist as jumbled piles of stones and some live on in the folk memory.

But Auchindrain is different. Uniquely it survived, at least physically. The people have gone, but you can still be transported back in time to glimpse a vanished way of life as you enter this lost world deep in the hills of Argyll. It’s as if the villagers had just left. Step into their longhouses and see their everyday objects. Explore the byres, stables and fields. Vividly imagine life in the old Highlands as you walk through the 22-acre settlement and see how ordinary people really lived and worked all those years ago. You can wander freely and discover dykes, middens, a corn kiln and more. Look out for wandering hens, sheep and Highland cattle!

With all this on offer, it only takes a small leap of the imagination to picture life here a century or two ago. Indeed, Auchindrain goes back further than even 200 years, it dates to medieval times. Whatever century you choose to imagine, it would have been a hard life, especially in the depths of an Argyll winter.

Auchindrain’s history is known in considerable detail, even down to the lives of individuals who lived in each dwelling, what role they played in the community and in some cases why they left and where they went. Many Scots who emigrated to the new world would have left townships just like Auchindrain. For this reason, the museum is of particular interest to the Scottish diaspora.

Whether you have a personal connection to Auchindrain or not, its story will captivate you. The experience of wandering through the site will give you a fascinating insight into a lost way of life and a unique understanding of Scotland’s rural history. There’s also an excellent visitor centre, with a shop selling a wide range of souvenirs, books and local crafts and a tearoom serving up delicious home-cooked food every day. Sometimes you’ll find typical township fare from the past on the menu. In the late 19th century, an old lady known as Bell a'Phuill (Bell of the Muddy Place) lived in the thatched house next to the burn. She made pancakes for guests and apparently buttered them with her finger from a pot she kept under the bed. We promise that doesn’t happen in the tearoom today!

Auchindrain is set in spectacular scenery, with footpaths and hill walks in the surrounding area. The woodland walks at Crarae Garden and Ardkinglas are well worth a visit. Inveraray is just down the road, with great places to eat and drink. Find out more about things to do and see in Inveraray, Knapdale, Kilmartin & Crinan.