Auchindrain to Reopen After Earthquake Damage

The last surviving township in Scotland, which has been preserved as a museum since 1964, has announced that the site will reopen to the public on 1st June for pre-booked visits after the earthquake that hit Mid Argyll on 16 November 2021 damaged several of the aging buildings, and some of the historic structures were considered to be unsafe for public access.
“Bail' Ach' an Droighinn/Auchindrain Historic Township is normally open all year, but after the earthquake we had to close to the public while we assessed the magnitude of the damage. We have liaised with experts in the fields of building conservation and structural engineering, and now have a plan to make the buildings safe again”, said Bob Clark, Director of the museum at Auchindrain.
The organisation has secured funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to cover the cost of emergency repairs so that the buildings can once again be opened to the public. It is expected that repairs will continue through to the autumn. To ensure that people can still visit such an important part of Scotland’s history whilst work is being done, access this year will be limited to timed guided tours booked in advance.
Sharon Martin, Head of Collections and Visitor Services, said “this is a great opportunity for us to try something that has not been done before at Auchindrain. Visitors will be treated to a personalised experience at no extra charge for the tour. We want them to have a memorable time and properly appreciate the rich heritage that Auchindrain represents, but we must not put people or the historic buildings at risk. Guided tours will allow us to do both.”
While the site has been closed to the public, conservation work has continued. One recent and current project has been replacing and rethatching the roof of the house that was once home to the township’s wise woman “Beal Poll”, Isabella McCallum. Everything has been done by the museum’s own staff following traditional methods and utilising locally sourced materials such as heather from a nearby hillside. The process has been documented on social media.
Initially there will be one guided tour at 1:30PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, with the possibility of adding more tour times and days if there is enough demand.  Bookings can be made through the museum’s website.