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Cottages in Scotland on Walkhighlands

Ballachulish Slate Quarry

Ballachulish Slate QuarrySlate from the East Laroch quarries, established just two years after the infamous Glencoe Massacre of 1692, was used to provide the roofing slate for much of Edinburgh and Glasgow's skyline in the succeeding centuries. It is of good quality but one weakness is the presence of Iron Pyrite in the rock. These crystals quickly rust away when exposed to the weather, leaving clean square holes and a brown rusty streak. Over 75% of the slate cut from the quarries was unusable as roof covering for this and other reasons. The quarries closed in 1955. Optimistically, tests have recently (2008/9) been carried out to see if it is feasible to extract slate from them again.

On entering the village you will notice a large slate slab engraved with ‘Ballachulish’.  This has been erected in honour of the dedicated village GP Dr Lachlan Grant who served the local community in the 1900’s. In 1903 the Ballachulish slate quarry, who employed the Doctor, decided to dispense with his services. The slate workers who had their weekly wages docked to pay for the services of the Doctor were unhappy with this decision and decided that they would employ Dr Grant themselves and refused to pay the company’s levy. The company's response was to threaten dismissal and to seek a Court of Session interdict banning Dr Grant from practising in the area. However the workers continued their support of the young Doctor. The result was a 12 month lock-out which caused hardship in the area and some men had to seek work elsewhere. However help came from Keir Hardie who travelled north to address a mass meeting before returning to Westminster to raise support in Parliament. The company finally conceded defeat and the men returned to work with all their conditions met and Dr Grant was reinstated.

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