The true story of the “Wee Hoose” on the loch

The Wee Hoose - of Broons Hoose - on Loch Shin in Sutherland. PIC: Creative Commons/Flickr
The Wee Hoose - of Broons Hoose - on Loch Shin in Sutherland. PIC: Creative Commons/Flickr
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They love a good story in the Highlands - and it appears the BBC are the latest to be taken in by a tall tale surrounding the Wee Hoose which sits on a tiny island in Loch Shin.

The Wee Hoose - also known as Broons Hoose - was featured in this week’s episode of Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs with presenter Paul Murton telling how the tiny shelter came about.

Viewers heard how it was built on Loch Shin near Lairg in 1824 by poacher Jock Broon who was gifted land by a local laird in return for being taught how to distil whisky.

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Broon is said to have built the ‘wee hoose’ to mark his new status as a landowner but died shortly afterwards when he shot himself in the foot while out hunting, the story goes.

“His Wee Hoose remains his legacy,” viewers were told.

However, Broons Hoose was built only 20 years ago as a float for the Lairg Gala.

It was taken to the island by boat at the end of the festivities and has since become a landmark loved by locals and tourists alike.

Lairg postman Lindsay Macdonald helped make the house - which has been rebuilt twice after being destroyed by bad weather - and create the local legend of Jock Broon.

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He said: “Rather than just throw the house away at the end of gala week it was placed out on the wee island in the loch.

“It is one of the most photographed houses around and it is one of these things that grew arms and legs. It took off.

“We decided to put up one of these interpretation boards. We used photos of local people and just made them look a bit older.

“It was all made up as a bit of a joke. When we live in the age that we do, it is just a bit of fun.”

The tale is well recorded in the village with an interpretation board at the lochside detailing the life story of Jock and his large extended family.

It’s probably no coincidence they have the same first names as The Broons in the famous Sunday Post cartoon.

Mr Macdonald said he saw the house mentioned on the BBC Scotland programme.

“I was quite excited when I saw it mentioned it on the telly as a lot of what he said was contained in our original story.

“I wondered how much they had really been taken in by it all.”

The house was last rebuilt in 2015 following a storm with an earlier version having a conservatory and mini wind turbine.

Mr Macdonald claimed the house was also kitted out with electricity and lit up at the same time as the village street lamps.

“You wouldn’t actually get into the house but we could get you onto the island as long as there was a boat,” Mr Macdonald said.

Whatever the story of Broons Hosse, it remains a much treasured feature of life in Lairg.

“You get those who have grown up in Lairg and when they come back and see the hoose, they know they are - they know they are home,” Mr Macdonald added.

Broons Hoose even has its own Facebook page, such is its status.

BBC Scotland has been approached for a comment.