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“Closed but nothing to tell you until at the door!”

Auchindrain Highland Farm Township
Ranked #6 of 18 things to do in Inveraray
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Auchindrain/Achadh an Droighinn is a very special place - the only surviving example of a Highland Farm Township that was not either abandoned or modernised. The 21 acre site, set in the dramatic Argyll landscape, gives visitors a fascinating insight into life and work in the old Highlands. Wander through the township, learn about its people, and explore the longhouses where they lived with their cattle and horses under one roof.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase
Larkhall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Closed but nothing to tell you until at the door!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2014

Staying in Oban and we had seen the sign at this attraction highlighting it was open and saw a couple of reviews on here which indicated it was open at his time of year too.
We had past it by a few times and had never gone in so thought this was the time to visit.
Drove 90 minutes to get there (Friday 21st March) only to find their sign outside says it is open but the lady inside says sorry we are closed !
In fairness, once I said we had travelled a good bit and it was specifically for this attraction, the lady did offer to open all the buildings for us but explained they weren't prepared or dressed properly yet as main season hadn't started.
we will come back to visit in the summer but in an area where internet signal is pretty poor it would be handy to have an updated sign outside showing accurate opening times.
Not put off as I know it is run on a budget and by volunteers - looking forward having a proper visit.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Brian S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AuchindrainTownship, Manager at Auchindrain Highland Farm Township, responded to this review, March 27, 2014
First, our standard response whenever we learn that someone hasn't enjoyed a visit to Auchindrain as much as we would wish. Please contact us direct via the email address listed on our website, and we will send you a voucher guaranteeing free admission for you and anyone with you when you return another time. Had you paid for admission, we would also have refunded your money in full, without question.

Second, it seems that some wires may have become crossed. From 1st April to 31st October we are fully open 10am to 5pm, seven days a week. Between November and March our visitor facilities are closed, but because people are often around on weekdays undertaking maintenance or other work free admission is available to any visitors who would like to take a walk around. However, in ALL of the publicity we circulate, in printed form or on the internet (although we can't be responsible for the content of listings we don't create or control), we very explicitly say that during the winter people should telephone or email first to check that someone will be around when they want to come, and on the basis that they take us as they find us. If you had made contact with us before planning a visit, you would have known what to expect, we would have been ready for you, and you would perhaps have felt inclined not to leave us a bad review here.

There is a large sign on the edge of our car park in front of our Visitor Centre which states our summer and winter opening hours: unfortunately you must have missed this.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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149 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Inveraray, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
110 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Don't drive by”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

This us a fantastic little museum that's well worth a visit. All sorts of insights into how things were not that long ago.

It's easy to drive by - make sure you take a break to walk found the museum and sample the food in the cafe.

Helpful?
Thank Becsbri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
379 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
“A fantastic piece of our History”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2013

It is well worth stopping off to visit this site and experience a bygone Highland settlement and thus help with the preservation.

Their are descriptor boards at every building which really help with the understanding of what day to day life was like.

There is also a small cafe and gift shop run by delightful people.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Hamish42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AuchindrainTownship, Manager at Auchindrain Highland Farm Township, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Thank you for your very kind comments. We think Auchindrain is fantastic too.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dalkeith
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“The clearance”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2013

I was interested to find out how 'fermtoons' were run, so went to see this, as I thought it would be a highlight, but it was in fact a lowlight. I couldn't make up my mind if those responsible for running it just couldn't be bothered, or did not have the funds to do what needs to be done. There was very little in the buildings, no decoration of the buildings, many of the buildings seemed to be being used to store junk. The information boards on those who lived there was ok but the information could have been put in a pamphlet. When we arrived in the car park the main entrance advertised a sale, but the sale seemed to be children's toys unrelated to farming. There was a wide variety of subject and area related books but they didn't seem to be included in the sale. This place has SO much potential but is a work in progress that needs more progress.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank DennisW128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AuchindrainTownship, Manager at Auchindrain Highland Farm Township, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
We are extremely sorry that you did not enjoy your visit to Auchindrain as much as we would have hoped. Please contact us offline - there is an email address on our website - so we can arrange for you to receive a full refund.

Please be assured that the unpaid Trustees and the very small paid and volunteer staff team VERY MUCH can be bothered. But we do not, and have never had, anything like the funds required to do many of the things we would like - or even which are obviously necessary. This situation may change in the future, but despite the site's acknowledged national and international uniqueness and importance so far over the 49 years of the museum's history no public body has been willing to commit to providing financial support, whilst what we can earn from visitors falls a long way short of the amount of money required to make something of the place. But one supposes that over the years we have rather got used to scratching around for pennies and constantly having to hold out the begging-bowl.

You say that there was very little in the buildings, and comment on the state of their decoration. In terms of the displayed contents of the buildings, please remember that these were people living on the edge of poverty - they had very little so it would be historically incorrect and deceiving to dress the buildings up like the houses of rich Lowlands farmers. In terms of the state of decoration, we agree and are currently in discussion with the relevant statutory authorities seeking approval to paint and whitewash some interiors over this winter. However, this isn't work we can just go ahead and do on our own initiative: the entire township is both Category A listed and a Conservation Area, and there are very considerable restrictions on what we can or cannot do.

We have to dispute your suggestion that "many of the buildings seemed to be being used to store junk". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is perhaps the case the items that seemed to you to be "junk" others would recognise as being the domestic chattels and working equipment of what was almost subsistence farming. We know exactly what we have got both in terms of historical items and stored building materials, and everything has a use and a purpose. You may have seen inside one barn which we use to store working tools and materials, and we would agree it's a shame we have to use the building in this way. The reality, however, is that even if we had the funds to construct modern storage and workshop facilities (which we don't), because of the site's A-listed and Conservation Area status it is improbable in the extreme that we would ever be granted planning consent to add any new buildings - today's statutory authorities have even let it be known that they would not now grant approval for the construction of the Visitor Centre building added in 1975. In the circumstances, we make the best of the facilities and space we have, in much the same as the people of the township back in the past.

In relation to your comments about the information panels inside some buildings, when you purchased admission you should have been given a free copy of an illustrated guidebook which explains the history and significance of the place and offers the route of a self-guided tour. If this did not happen, that was a most regrettable failure on the part of whichever member of staff was on duty in the Visitor Centre that day. The information panels in the buildings supplement the guidebook by providing a greater depth of information about that particular building and the people who lived in it in the past than would be possible in the guidebook's limited length - and even then the guidebook runs to more than 6,500 words!

The "Sale" you saw advertised was our annual end-of-season sale for the stock in our souvenir shop - where, during the summer, there is a significant demand for children's toys and the like as inexpensive mementos of a day out. With the season coming to a close we always discount what remains to limit what needs to be stored until next year. Unfortunately our book stocks cannot be included in the sale because of restrictions imposed by our supplier - we are not supposed to sell books at below their cover prices.

We do, however, absolutely agree with you about the potential of Auchindrain. There is so much we could do and so many stories we could tell, and we are not short of ideas, creativity or inspiration. But we have absolutely no money! Auchindrain was preserved 49 years ago by an independent charity because at the time (and indeed since) none of the public bodies that could have stepped in was willing to take on the long-term commitments involved. Since then The Auchindrain Trust has ensured that the place at least survives, but it is the hardest work imaginable and so very, very disappointing when our best efforts are not appreciated.

Please do contact us to obtain your full refund.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chepstow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“stepping back in time”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013

We initially drove past but turned around to visit as it looked interesting from the road. We are so glad we did! it was a worthwhile experience made even better by the face that Sgioba Luaidh Indhirchluaidh (Inverclyde Waulking Group) were making one of their occasional visits demonstrating the finishing of Harris Tweed in one of the houses. The houses are authentic and not full of imported clutter - just how they would have been.
The restaurant is good with friendly staff and good food - some grown in the garden, including the blue salad potatoes!!!
One word of caution - wear sensible footwear as there are sheep and chickens roaming and they tend to leave little piles - waiting for the unwary foot, but this just adds to the authenticity and must not put you off!!!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank MikeandMack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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