Corrigall Farm Museum is a fabulous place to visit in Orkney’s West Mainland. A house and buildings dating back to the 18th century. There is no admission charge to this Orkney Islands Council museum which is open throughout the summer months.
Rarely does this little gem in Harray become too crowded as large bus parties from the cruise ships do not have it on their schedule, with the exception of the Disney liner.
When the Orkney News visited relief visitor service assistant Sue Knowles was on hand, keeping the place tidy, lighting the peat fire and answering visitors questions. Sue has worked at Corrigall Farm for 5 years and loves it.
Corrigall Farm would have been quite a well to do place in its hey day and employed workers to assist the family in the running of it.
When you first enter there is a byre which is a later addition. It was the tradition in Orkney that the animals were kept in the same building as the people. The animal section being called the Oot-by and the sectioned off area for the family called the In-by.
The buildings were constructed with dry stone techniques examples of which you can see in Orkney starting from our very first farmers 5000 years ago at Skara Brae. Indeed as you go round the buildings you will soon notice the many similarities between some aspects of the rooms and those found in our ancient buildings: neolithic houses and Iron Age Brochs.
People wasted nothing in the active days of the farm. Every part of an animal or a plant was used. Every part of the house was used. Dry storage was essential for people who had to get through the long winters before the convenience of electricity.
What is great about this museum too is that you can wander through it and taking care you can handle items. That’s why kids, both young and old, love it so much. There are helpful information sheets and a guide book (£1.50) for people who want more explanations. And there are animals too. Not as many as there would have been but enough that you can feel that you are on what was once a successful farm.
The peat fire is on – even in summer – because that is where the family would have had their meals cooked. It was the only source of heat and the rising smoke would be used to preserve fish and meats. The smoke would also ensure that wee beasties were kept at bay.
Corrigall Farm Museum is open (summer only):
- 10:30am – 1:00pm and 2pm – 5pm Mon – Sat
- 12 – 5pm Sun
- Admission Free
- No dogs
- Free car park
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
You can watch a video of Corrigall Farm Museum here
Or watch it on The Orkney News You Tube channel