Highland Scots - Settlements

Inverness is the largest city, with a population of 57,000 in 1981. On the east coast, the town of Wick is the largest remaining sea-fishing port. On the west coast, Kyle of Lochalsh, Ullapool, Mallaig, and Stornaway have active fish sales and harbor facilities. The settlement pattern in these communities focuses on the harbor. Houses are close together and there are few streets. Another settlement pattern is associated with crofting. Crofting was established with the 1886 Crofting Act. The croft is a 0.4- to 2-hectare parcel of land, on which the crofter has the right to build a house. In addition, the crofter enjoys common rights to grazing land and access to peat as a source of fuel. Crofting has largely disappeared, and crofts today are often holiday homes used only during the summer months, with the grazing rights given or rented to others. The majority of crofting townships are located along the coast at an elevation lower than 75 meters. This pattern reflects the dual adaptation of crofting-fishing. Croft houses are usually one-story dwellings arranged in a scattered or lineal pattern with wide separation between dwellings. The crofting community might contain a post office and a small shop. The most recent housing and settlement pattern is attached flats built by the Forestry Commission to house employees engaged in reforestation efforts.

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