The Statistical Account of Scotland

By the late 19th century, Inverlael was abandoned. The Statistical Account of Scotland tells us that people were leaving this area as early as the 18th century due to the changes in farming.

The Statistical Account of Scotland is a valuable source of information. From 1791 to 1799, a written record was made of over 930 parishes, usually undertaken by the minister of the local parish church. The New (1834-1845) and Third (1951-1992) Statistical Accounts followed. A comparison of all three provides a picture of the agricultural changes and their affect on society since the 18th century.

In 1798, Reverend Macrae wrote that the population of Lochbroom parish was declining. For this, he blamed the landowner’s treatment of their tenants and "the engrossing of farms for sheep walks".

"The mode of farming being introduced lately into some parts of the parish and proved the occasion of reducing to hardship several honest families who lived tolerable happy on the fruits of their industry and frugality". Statistical Account, 1798.

As a result, many families left the area, either emigrating to America or moving to find new work elsewhere.

Dramatically he described land as empty:

"...where formerly hundreds of people could be seen, no human faces are now met with, except a shepherd attended by his dog."
Statistical Account, 1798.

It is important to remember that these accounts were personal and could be biased. While the population diminished, townships such as Inverlael continued for a further one hundred years and more.