Along with Strathbran Lodge, Cabuie was one of two "out stations" (as it were) of a 30,000 acre (12,000 hectare) sporting estate, the "headquarters" of which was Lochrosque Lodge, just west of Achnasheen on the A832 going west towards Kinlochewe and Gairloch.
|Lochrosque Lodge by kind permission of Helen Murchison of Achintraid|
Lochrosque "New Lodge" was built as a replacement of an earlier house (just out of view on the right of the picture above). Known as Lochrosque "Old Lodge", it still exists and is the building in the left foreground in the picture below. (The buildings in the right foreground are, I think, the Home Farm buildings of the New Lodge (visible behind). Most of them have gone now as well.):-
You can see the development of the estate in the differences between the 1881 and 1905 editions of the Ordnance Survey 6 inch maps below:-
|The Old Lodge as shown on the 1881 OS 6 inch map|
|The New Lodge appears to the west on the 1905 OS 6 inch map|
|The Old Lodge (left) with the later gate lodge behind the trees to the right|
|Picture copyright RCAHMS|
The owner was Arthur Bignold (1850-1918) who acquired Lochrosque Estate in, I believe, 1879 although, to judge by the references in Grimble (see below), it's possible he bought the estate in three tranches, and it was only after he acquired the last of these, Lochrosque around 1890, that he embarked on redevelopment of the lodges. Grandson of the founder of the Norwich Union Insurance Company and knighted in 1904, Bignold was, from 1900 to 1910, the Conservative MP for "the Northern Burghs", namely Kirkwall, Wick (where he is the eponym of Bignold Park and the former Bignold Cottage Hospital), Dornoch, Tain, Cromarty and Dingwall. You can see details of his speeches to Parliament on the Hansard website (a tremendous free resource for local history). Bignold's contributions range through such esoteric topics as lady inspectors of factories and the supply of saddles to Indian cavalry officers but a recurring theme is the North Sea herring fishery as you'd expect from the MP for Wick which was one of the most important fishing ports in Scotland at that time.
|Sir Arthur Bignold MP|
The reason for Bignold's defensiveness where deer forests were concerned becomes obvious from that bible of Victorian sportsmen, Augustus Grimble's The Deer Forests of Scotland (1896). Speaking of Sir Arthur's estate it says:-
"Achanalt was first afforested [i.e. converted from a sheep farm to a deer stalking estate] in 1879, Strathbran came next in 1887, followed by Loch Rosque in 1880 [sic. 1890?]. The three estates are excellent examples of what can be done with deer in a short time, for when Mr. Bignold first bought the property, there was nearly as good a chance of meeting with a Red Indian as of coming across a red deer."
As well as developing the sport, Bignold is also said to have planted 8 million trees on the estate but this has all become an over long preamble to the strangest Lochrosque story and its sequel in the 20th century which I'll come back to in Part 2.
|Stone marking plantations in Strathbran established by Arthur Bignold - photo credit Rob Woodall|