Highlands & Islands

Film to tell Highland Clearance story

Robert Aitken Image copyright Handout
Image caption Robert Aitken will start making the film this autumn in the Highlands

A young woman's ordeal during the Highland Clearances in the 1800s is to be featured in a new short film.

Kate McPherson was among 80 people who were forced off land in Sutherland and emigrated to Canada where they were to be settled in the Red River colony.

Once in Canada, they had to walk 100 mile (161km) to the colony in wintry conditions in handmade snowshoes.

Sutherland-born composer Robert Aitken will make the film, Last Footsteps of Home, this autumn in the Highlands.

The short will be free of dialogue.

Mr Aitken said: "The film follows Kate McPherson at the precise point when she is leaving her home, her way of life and her country and we will quite literally follow her 'last footsteps of home'.

"While the Clearances are well documented, what happened to the displaced Highlanders following the evictions and the impact they made on the world is not so well known."

Forcibly evicted

Starting in the late 18th Century and running into the 19th Century, the Highland Clearances saw townships occupied by generations of families cleared to make way for large-scale sheep farming and the rearing of deer.

Landowners were seeking to "improve" their estates in line with the industrial revolution. Their hope was to make more capital from the land by running shooting estates, or starting industrial-scale livestock farming.

In some cases people who had lived on the land for generations left voluntarily, while others were forcibly evicted and their homes burned and demolished.

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