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Home | Books | Other Publications | West Highland Notes & Queries | Breacachadh Castle & The Project Trust | West Highland Research | Join the Society | Trace your ancestors.

The Society of West Highland & Island Historical Research, which was founded in 1972, aims to encourage research into the history of the West Highlands & Islands of Scotland and to make this research available to the general public.

It produces West Highland Notes & Queries, which is issued  three times a year to all subscribers. It also publishes books and booklets and organises conferences about  the area.



Advisory Board

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol (Chairman & Hon. Editor)

Ronald Black

David Caldwell

Secretary: Lavinia Maclean-Bristol


The Society’s Headquarters is at Breacachadh Castle, Isle of Coll, Argyll, PA78 6TB.



Advisory Board: 

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol OBE, DL  was educated at Wellington & the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In 1955 he was commissioned into the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and served in Northern Ireland, Malaya, Berlin, Aden and Borneo. In 1968 he was seconded from the Army, under the auspices of Military Aid to the Civil Community, to run the Project Trust, the first Gap Year organisation in the United Kingdom, which he had founded in his spare time two years earlier. After this secondment he returned to the army to become Training Major of the 51st Highland Volunteers. In 1972 he retired from the Army to run the Project Trust as its director. In 1998 he handed over to his wife. He is now a full time writer of Hebridean history and farms Highland Cattle & Blackface Sheep on the Isle of Coll.

Ronald Black (Raghnall MacilleDhuibh) was trained in Celtic Studies in Glasgow and Dublin, following which he held a research assistantship in the National Library of Scotland and lectureships in Celtic in the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. He is Gaelic editor of The Scotsman and author or editor of numerous books and articles, including anthologies of Gaelic verse, folklore collections and a new edition of Johnson and Boswell's tour of the Hebrides. He is currently working on a study of the Campbells in the eighteenth century.

Dr David Caldwell After graduating with a degree in archaeology from Edinburgh University Dr Caldwell spent 38 years working for the National Museums of Scotland, latterly as keeper of two of the curatorial departments – Scotland and Europe, and Archaeology. He has a strong interest in the history and archaeology of the West Highlands and Islands. From 1990 to 1997 he directed excavations at Finlaggan, Islay, and has published extensively, including A Historical Guide to Islay, Jura & Colonsay (2001 and 2011); Islay The Land of the Lordship (2008); and (with M A Hall and C M Wilkinson) The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked (2010, 2011). He is President of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Convenor of Publishing for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a trustee of the Finlaggan Trust and a director of Fife Cultural Trust (a body responsible for running the libraries, museums and theatres in Fife).

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