Sutherland is one of the most ruggedly beautiful and sparsely populated parts of Scotland. In the nineteenth century, the Duke of Sutherland set about improving his landholdings to make them more productive by building lodges for sporting tenants who came to enjoy the summer fishing and shooting grouse and deer. In the 1870s some 3,000 acres of land were reclaimed at Shinness. A lodge was built there in 1882 and allocated some 2,500 acres of moorland for grouse and grazing, together with the fishings on Loch Shin and its rivers. One of the first keepers at the estate was John Fraser. His daughter, Iby, became a teacher at Lairg School. In the 1970s, long after the Fletcher family had taken on Shinness Estate, Iby wrote down some recollections of her early life for Mrs Fletcher's interest.