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Glenbuchat Heritage

32 Glenbuchat Clachans 1865 map
The Glenbuchat Image Library
32 Glenbuchat Clachans 1865 map

Clachans

Once there were clachans up the length and breadth of the Glen, as there were in other Strathdon glens, but now they are gone. Up to 1850 there were at least seven main settlements in Glenbuchat.

Clachan (Irish: clochán, Scottish Gaelic: clachan), Gael; prob. < clach, stone, Middle English (Scots), from Scottish Gaelic, Date: 15th century
A Clachan is a type of small traditional settlement common in Ireland and Scotland up until the middle of the 20th century. It is usually defined as a small village lacking a church, post office, or other formal building. Their origin is unknown, but it is likely that they are of a very ancient root, most likely dating to medieval times. A true clachan would have been a cluster of small single storey cottages of farmers and/or fishermen, invariably found in on poorer land. In some cases, they have evolved into holiday villages, or one or two houses have taken over, turning smaller houses into agricultural outhouses. The remains can be seen in many upland and coastal areas. Sometimes they are clustered in a dip in the landscape, to protect from Atlantic winds, other times they stretch haphazardly along main roads.

Excerpts from 'The land of the Lost' by Robert Smith and other sources

In April 1902, some 30 years after the Banffshire journal’s visit to Upperton, the Aberdeen Free Press reported that four or five of the Glenbuchat clachans were still in existence – and still occupied. There were generally seven to ten houses in a clachan, holding ‘to the old system when the houses of inhabitants were huddled together for protection.’ The Free Press said it was of ‘great interest’ that they still remained I Glenbuchat, ‘the only instance of the kind known to the writer’.

James Barclay, who purchased Glenbuchat in 1901, was to rid the Glen of these primitive dwellings. When he called at Tullochcarrach he found water running out by the front door and was astonished to discover that this seemed normal. At nearby Tarantoul, the roof had fallen in and the tenant was living with relatives on a neighbouring farm. There were according to Barclay as many as ten to twenty five ‘fire houses’ in a clachan, built of stone lime and clay and with thatched roofs. Peat burned in open fires with large hearths and chimneys sometimes 10 feet wide. The floors were of earth or clay, beaten hard but full of moisture, and the sloping roof gave the impression of the inside of an inverted ship.

Off the main Strathdon road, less than a mile east of the Bridge of Buchat, is all that is left of the Croft of Delfrankie, which is said to have stood on the old route into Glenbuchat, past a small clachan at Easter Buchat and up the dusty road to Badenyon. Ann in at Delfrankie served travellers on their way up the Glen or heading west to Corgarff and the notorious Lecht Past.

Easterbuchat
Easter Buchat is shown in the 1860 map as a settlement, not simply a farm. Even today, people will tell you about a ‘Shopie’ that was there at the time and about a ‘rickle of steen’ where there was a ‘hoosie’ near the present farmhouse.

Up on the brae behind the farmhouse is a cottage called Culfosie. Like so many places, Culfosie has an uncertain origin. Go back three centuries and it becomes Culquhorsie, which in turn came from a common hill name, Quhorsy or Corsky. This means ‘the back of the crossing’, which makes sense when you link it with Delfrankie and the old route into the Glen.

Belnacraig (See Detailed map 33)
The road branches off in a long loop by the mill of Buchat, rejoining the Culstruphan road near Smiddyford. Baltimore and Belnacraig lie within the loop, while to the south is Belnaboth. Modern houses are scattered about the wooden slopes of Belnacraig.
At the back of Craighead the shape of other buildings could be traced out in the grass. One elongated pattern looked as it might have been a longhouse. Behind them, the line of the old track could be seen, perhaps the road that originally led into the clachan.

1696 Poll Book belnacraige
It., Arthour Mories, tennent, & his wife, thr G : p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., John & Arthour Morises, his sones, G : p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Jean Mories, his dautr. 0 pounds 6 0
It., George Robson, tennent, & his wife, G: p:
It., Arthour Morise, yr, tennent, & his wife, G : p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Hendry Black, his servant, his fie is 8 pounds p. annum, 40th pt qrof is 4s., and G: p : 6s.,both is 0 pounds 10 0
It., Alaster brody, tennent, & his wife, thr G: p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm Brody, his son, G: p: 0 pounds 6 0
It., Alexr Hunter, tennent, & his wife, G : p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Adam Roily, tennent, & his wife, G : p : 0 pounds 12 0



Belnaboth (See Detailed map 34)
Belnaboth appears in the 1860 map as a fair sized township, yet the name means ‘the town of huts and boithies’, which suggests that at one time there were shielings there.
(shiel·ing (shlng, -ln) n. Chiefly British
1. A shepherd's hut.
2. A mountain pasture used in the summer.
[From Scots shiel, hut, from Middle English schele, possibly from Old English *scla, probably of Scandinavian origin; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.])
1696 Poll Book belnaboth

It., James strachan, tennent, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., Alaster M'CillaMie, his servant. 8 pounds p. annum of fie, 40th pt qrof is 4s., and G : p : 6s., both is 0 pounds 10 0
It., Elspet gow, his servant, who keeps a child, her fie is 40s., 40th pt qrof is Is., and G: pole 6s.,inde both is 0 pounds 7 0
It., Patrick riach, a tennent, & his wife, G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., John Riach, tennent, & his wife, G: p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Catherin Fforbes, his servant, her fie 4 pounds P annum, 40th pt qrof is 2s., and G: pole 6s.,both is 0 pounds 8 0
It., George M'Robie, tennent, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., John Robson, tennent, & his wife, thr G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., James Robson, yr, tennent, & his wife, thr G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm callem, tennent, & his wife, G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., James Robson, tennent, & his wife, G: p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., James Couper, tennent, no wife, G: p: 0 pounds 6 0
It., Jean Couper, his dautr, her G: p: 0 pounds 6 0
It., John alexander, tennent, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., Patrick Alexr, his sone, G: p: 0 pounds 6 0
It., James Yooll, millert, & his wife 0 pounds 18 0


The Crofts
In the 19th century the Crofts was home to the Gaulds, a rage of giants, famous as fist fighters, who could have made today’s ‘heavies’ seem puny. The tallest James Gauld who was 6 feet 4 inches in height, and the others were a few inches shorter. It used to be said that anyone under 5 feet 11 inches was a ‘sharger’ (thin and stunted).
William GAULD 30th May 1758 Born in Glenbucket,
1st Jul 1799 Birth of son Jonathan GAULD in Glenbucket,.
17th Mar 1801 Birth of son John GAULD in Glenbucket,
24th Mar 1803 Birth of daughter Jannet GAULD in Glenbucket,
25th May 180 Birth of daughter Hellen GAULD in Glenbucket,
15th Feb 1807 Birth of son William GAULD in Glenbucket,
25th Mar 1809 Birth of son George GAULD in Glenbucket,
17th Aug 1812 Birth of son Alexander GAULD in Glenbucket
30th May 1814 Birth of son James GAULD in Glenbucket,
30th May 1819 Birth of son Robert GAULD in Glenbucket,

1696 Poll Book Crofts
It., Adam Roy, tennent thr, & his wife, G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm Ffarqr, a shoemaker, & his wife . 0 pounds 18 0
It., Wm kellas, tennent thr, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm mitchell, weaver, & his wife, G: p : 0 pounds 18 0

1841 census
William Gauld 83 Farmer
Helen do 60
Jonathan do 40
James do 20
Helen do 30
Alexr. Kellas 15 Ag.Lab.

Peatfold (See Detailed map 73)
Beside the deserted farm and cottage at Dulax runs a rough track north towards the Cabrach hills, passing the old croft of Peatfold, which stands picturesquely on the banks of a burn coming down from the moors of Creag an Sgor. In the middle of the 19th century there were five shoemakers and two tailors in this lonely spot. By the turn of the century there was only one souter ("maker or mender of shoes," O.E. sutere, from L. sutor "shoemaker," from suere "to sew, stitch.") in the whole Glen, supplementing his income as a Post Runner.
Further up the track is Davidson's Cairn. A small cairn marking the spot where Davidson, a poacher, was found dead of natural causes. Davidson's Cairn is a small cairn of white quartz boulders, within which has been set a granite boulder bearing the inscription 'A DAVIDSON 1792 - 1843'.

Upperton:(See Detailed map 35)
See entry 2 Upperton Clachan
The Peatfold track joins two other tracks climbing to Creag an Sgor from Netherton to Upperton. The clachan at Upperton seems to have been superior to most of the other townships. In October 1868, it was visited by a writer from the Banffshire Journal who described it as ‘altogether a treat in the way of old cottages’. Some of the buildings were 300 years old. ‘The corners are all round outside and inside the houses’, ‘the Journal noted, ‘Many fine convenient wall presses (press - a tall piece of furniture that provides storage space for clothes; has a door and rails or hooks for hanging clothes) and even concealments in the walls appear in these curious buildings’.

Today, these ‘curious buildings’ appeal in a different way, for treading your way among the ruins, you can still be touched by a sense of what Upperton was like more than a century ago, sprawling along the brae, green fields curving down to the road to Badenyon and, to the north, ancient tracks scrambling up to the flinty head of Creag an Sgor (Craig of the Sharp Rock). The old farmhouse at Upperton is a shell, but below it a small, red roofed cottar house is still in use – the last survivor of ‘ then treat of old cottages’ in Glenbuchat.

In April 1902, some 30 years after the Banffshire journal’s visit to Upperton, the Aberdeen Free Press reported that four or five of the Glenbuchat clachans were still in existence – and still occupied. There were generally seven to ten houses in a clachan, holding ‘to the old system when the houses of inhabitants were huddled together for protection.’ The Free Press said it was of ‘great interest’ that they still remained I Glenbuchat, ‘the only instance of the kind known to the writer’.
James Barclay, who purchased Glenbuchat in 1901, was to rid the Glen of these primitive dwellings. When he called at Tullochcarrach he found water running out by the front door and was astonished to discover that this seemed normal. At nearby Tarantoul, the roof had fallen in and the tenant was living with relatives on a neighbouring farm. There were according to Barclay as many as ten to twenty five ‘fire houses’ in a clachan built of stone lime and clay and with thatched roofs. Peat burned in open fires with large hearths and chimneys sometimes 10 feet wide. The floors were of earth or clay, beaten hard but full of moisture, and the sloping roof gave the impression of the inside of an inverted ship.

1696 Poll Book uppertoune
It., John Moir, tennent, & his wife, G: pole 0 pounds 12 0
It., John provest, tennent, & his wife, G: pole. 0 pounds 12 0
It., Alaster callan, & his wife, G: p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Alexr michy & his wife, G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm Moir, tennent, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., John Hay, tennent, & his wife, thr G: p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm Hay, his sone, & his wife, G:p : 0 pounds 6 0


Badenyon (See Detailed map 36)
North to Badenyon, which was one of the original clachans in the Glen. In one of Ken Cruickshank’s books there is a photograph (see page 56 of his book2) of the site taken in the late 19th century, showing a farm and two crofts. In front of the farmhouse is a shop, but in later photographs it has vanished. Today the faded ‘Badenyon’ sign at the roadside covers two buildings, - one a deserted farmhouse and its outbuildings, the other an occupied house. Between them a track runs into the moors and at the side of it stones from a lost clachan can be seen.

1696 Poll Book badenyon
It., William dunbar, tennent, & his wife, G :p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Adam moir, tennent thr, 62 his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., John Roy, tennent thr, & his wife 0 pounds 12 0
It., wm beitty, tennent thr, & his wife, G:p : 0 pounds 12 0
It., John Moir, tennent thr, & his wife, G:p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Duncan Roy, tennent thr, & his wife, G:p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., Wm robson, tennent thr, & his wife, G: p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., alaster gillenders, tennent thr, & his wife, G : p: 0 pounds 12 0
It., elspet couper, a widow thr, G : p: 0 pounds 6 0

Deochry (See detailed map)
If you take the road from Belnacraig in the middle of Glenbuchat and go up the steep hill across the shoulder of Ben Newe, you will come to the most exposed area of Glenbuchat, The Deochry. Previously a clachan of a number of houses, now they are all derelict except for a modern timber built chalet at Easterton.
Named after the Deochrie Burn the area is also named Tom Breac, after the shoulder of Ben Newe.

The name has been spelt in different ways over the years.
Deochrie, Deochry, Dhuchrie (for Dubh Choire). Black corrie.
Dubh, black; choire, coire; corrie.

Note on the above 1850 map the crofts of Easterton, Westerton, Midtown, and Braeside.


Ryntaing (See page 6)
Between Dulax and Badenyon a track branches off and goes north into the hills by Ballochduie and Newseat. From Newseat a minorc track cuts away to the Roch Ford (rough-ford) and the Cabrach, passing a ruined farm called the Sluggie. If you stick to the Newseat track you come to another ruined fermtoun, (In Old English and Early and Middle Scots, the word ton, toun, etc. could refer to kinds of settlements as diverse as agricultural estates and holdings, partly picking up the Norse sense (as in the Scots word fermtoun) of Ryntaing, whose solid stones suggest a fermtoun of some size. And importance. There was a water mill there with a sizeable dam above the farmhouse. The name means ‘the point of the tongue’, a sharp point of land between the junction of two burns. The burns here are the Leandensider and the Clashwalloch. Clashwalloch means ‘the hollow of the pass’. (clash n large hollow or cavity on hillside ) ( note the refrence to St Walloch on page 8 ) But Leandensider is more mysterious – it comes form Leathad ant-saighder, ‘the hill slope of the soldier’.

On the bank of the Leandensider Burn is a huge lime kiln (See page 30), about 16 feet high and 20 feet broad. You can take a guess at how old it is by looking at the two rowan trees that have grown out of the kilns empty hole. There were a number of kilns in the Glen. When I met




Picture added on 21 February 2010 at 21:19
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History Texts

126 Cattle Rustling in the Glen88 1696 Poll Book Belnacraig87 Original 1696 Poll Book91 Wandering in the Highlands 188185 Sketch of 'Old Glenbucket' about 174575 Peatfold70 New Statistical Account of Strathdon 184571 Descendants of the Great Glenbucket69 My First Detachment -The Glenbucket Inn4 St Margarets Chronicle Free afternoon Glenbuchat