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Carrbridge treasure reopens at the Highland Folk Museum

A woodsman’s caravan – cut in half during Storm Arwen by falling mature pine trees – has been restored to its former glory at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. The tiny home had only been open to visitors at the site for a matter of months, having been relocated from Carrbridge, when tragedy struck in November 2021. However, thanks to a generous benefactor, this special exhibit can be enjoyed by the public again.

The Woodsman’s Caravan, which was the home of sawmill worker Charlie Ross for over 60 years, was donated to the Highland Folk Museum in 2020. After being almost completely destroyed by Storm Arwen, Steve and Mary MacLennan donated £2,500 from their annual fundraising ceilidh to restore the damaged exhibit with staff and volunteers pitching in and ensuring a high standard of workmanship.

Charlie Ross, who worked in the sawmill in Carrbridge from 1966 was a well-known and popular person in the village and lived in his caravan with only a diesel generator for power until nearby business Landmark Press had electricity installed in the caravan for Charlie in 2000. Charlie’s caravan and well-tended garden were often photographed by visitors and everyone who passed was greeted with a warm wave and a cheery hello.

When Charlie became too frail to manage living alone, he moved to sheltered housing and left his caravan to his great friend and neighbour Robert McInnes, who donated the much-loved caravan to the Highland Folk Museum, operated by High Life Highland.

The restored caravan is sited near the entrance to the pinewoods and still retains many original features including the steps, door, and the antlers and lamp made from a baked bean tin above it. The bed, cupboard, stove and some of Charlie’s personal effects are also back in place.

Entry to the Highland Folk Museum – where you can experience life in the Highlands from 1700s to the 1950s – is free but donations are welcome. Open from 10am-5pm, there are over 35 historical buildings onsite for visitors to explore and discover how people in the Highlands lived and worked.