On the south edge of Sunart forest, at Tarbert Bay, lies the remains of the old Tarbert farm, part of the Ardnamurchan Estate. While the estate was passed from one owner to another, fought over and sold, the tenants continued to live, work and farm the land.
1st edition Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (1875) shows Tarbert already abandoned.
In the 13th century, Ardnamurchan was the possession of the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles, later passing into MacIean control. In the 17th century, however, the Campbells of Argyll took the land from them.
First records of Tarbert
The first record we have of Tarbert comes from 1651, as part of the lands of Swennart (Sunart today). In 1716 six men from Tarbert were named on a list of those who had carried arms in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, and this is the earliest record of the people who lived on the farm:
"John Cameron he gave in his gun and pistol to Lochnell"
Landlords of the estate
Lochnell was Alexander Campbell of Lochnell, one of the many Campbell landlords who managed the estate. In 1722, however, he sold the Ardnamurchan and Sunart estate to Alexander Murray of Stanhope.
Over the next forty years the estate was owned and ran by three different Murray brothers before being sold to James Montgomery in 1767. He immediately sold it and the owner changed again.
It remained the property of the Riddell family until 1920, when the government purchased it and, soon after, came into the care of the Forestry Commission.
The exact location of Tarbert is grid reference NM 681 638.
There are no official trails to the site, and it is not easily accessible. You will require a map and GPS to locate it. Please note this is a working forest and forest operations might be in progress.
From the A82 use the Corran Ferry to cross to Ardgour. Follow the signs to Strontian on the A861, then continue until you reach Salen. At Salen take the B9007 along the coast line. Less than a mile from Salen you will see a small picnic spot and car park at the side of the road. This is the closest parking to the site.
All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.
Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.