Shieling huts in Lael Forest

Cattle were an important part of the daily life for the people of Inverlael Township.

In the summer months, the women and the young people left the village to go to the nearby shielings. Shielings were areas of good grass land for cattle to graze, often in remote or mountainous areas.

Shieling huts

Within Lael Forest, there are the remains of temporary structures, called shieling huts. The young women from the township would stay at these huts with the cattle during the summer. They made butter and cheese form the cow's milk and prepared for the winter ahead.

Nearby the huts, you can discover a stream called Allt na-h-ighine, which translated means "the stream of the young women". Perhaps it was their source of fresh water during the summer months.

The men would stay at the township, prepare for harvest and undertake any necessary renovations to the buildings; again in preparation for the winter.

In the autumn, the farmers sold any extra cattle to cattle dealers or drovers, who took large herds south to markets in the lowlands.

An old drove road passes close to Inverlael, continuing on to Dingwall. You can discover more about drovers at the cattle market site on Mull, Cnoc nam Dubh Leitre.