Drum-a-chork House was originally constructed in the mid 17thcentury on the ancient ‘Lands of Drum-a-chork’ in Wester Ross on the North West coast of Scotland. The estate would have sent many clans men to fight for the Jacobite uprising with Bonnie Prince Charlie & after the battle of Culloden in 1746, the Highlanders fleeing the battle were hiding out on the ancient ground of Drum-a-chork resulting in the burning of the houses by the red coats.
After the destruction, utilising the original gable walls, Drumchork House was reconfigured to a 2 storey Lodge with high ceilings popular at that time. Towards the end of the 18th century, sheep were more profitable than people & this period in Scottish history is known as the Highland clearances. Eviction notices were issued from the re-built Drumchork Lodge & all tenants were cleared from the farm settlements. The good lands of the estate were turned over to grazing sheep & hunting & fishing for the wealthy Southerners. Any tenants left were forced to become fishermen, still having to pay their croft rent. Smuggling & illicit distilling had now become the main source of income for the poor tenants. Although the clear Uisge Beatha was consumed straight from the small pot still, as the output increased, a vessel had to be found to transport the clear liquid. As there was a plentiful supply of the empty 1 gallon smugglers cask, the casks were utilised for the transportation of the uisge beatha at the same time giving varied colour & flavour.
Illicit Distilling continued to be a main source of income to the tenant of the estate until the outbreak of the WW2. After the Royal Oak was sunk in Scappa Flow, the North Atlantic Fleet re-located to their new secret base at Loch Ewe. Loch Ewe was under strict Military control throughout the war years when the trade in illicit whisky soared. The estate was also conscripted to the military & various temporary buildings were constructed on the estate. In 1948, ‘Lands of Drum-a-chork’ was divided resulting into various smaller estates. MOD presence continued with a NATO base being constructed in 1962 & with lack of bed spaces close by, Drumchork Lodge became a hotel at that time.
In 2003, permission was granted to begin a distillery in Loch Ewe in order to highlight the history of illicit distilling in the area. Although Wester Ross is the most infamous area in Scotland for illicit distilling, there had never been a distillery in Wester Ross. The first legal distillation in Wester Ross was completed using the illicit sized still @ Loch Ewe Distillery in 2006 & produced 1 gallon of Uisge Beatha.