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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sight seeing with Jane

Some time ago I had an email from Jane in New Zealand who had traced her family history back to Katherine Inglis, who married  a John Black, way back in 1792!  This makes us distant relations as I am descended from a brother of Katherine’s father!  Complicated stuff!  Anyway I was able to tell Jane a bit more about Katherine’s ancestry, which interested her enough to want to visit Cupar in Fife where our Inglis family lived at that time.

Coming to Scotland was just part of a bigger trip Jane planned, and we arranged to meet at the Scotland’s People Centre, in Edinburgh one day, and next day to go over to Fife.  It meant that I left Colin up on Deeside with Janet, Mark and Ian, and drove down to Edinburgh to be able to meet Jane next day. 

Of course neither of us had a clue what the other looked like, but with the help of the supervisors at SPC, we finally got together.  I was allocated the desk next to Jane so was able to help her decipher names and occupations on the records she was looking up.

Next day I drove up to Cupar to meet Jane again in the afternoon.  I had told her the story of the Inglis family emerging out of the mists of time at Carslogie March, and owning land nearby, so we drove out of town a little to where, I discovered last time I was there, Carslogie March must have been.  carslogie march Today there are two 18th century cottages, one called the March Toll, but I am certain this was approximately where our ancestors of the 16th century family had lived.  We talked with the owner of the second cottage, who said there had been two older cottages in the area but they had been demolished years ago.  I’m not even sure they would have dated back far enough to have been the family’s home.  The Carslogie estate was vast, and encompassed several farms.  carslogie lands I expect all the land in this photo would have been the property of the family at Carslogie House at some time.bondfield, now gilliesfaulds house

Right across the road was the house I now know to have been Bondfield, the house that was built by Jane’s Katherine’s father, James Inglis, in 1815-17, on land that had belonged to the family for several generations.  Bondfield and Jane wth umbrella

Jane with her umbrella at the front door of Bondfield, which has since been renamed. 

I had forgotten it was raining when we were there!

By this stage Katherine would have been married to her John Black and living at the farm of Bankhead of Inchdairnie with their 11 children.  Note for Jane: John Black owned a silver or metal watch, which possibly set him amongst the “well-to-do”.  He was taxed on it in 1797’s clock and watch tax, the amount of one shilling and tenpence ha’penny – which sounds like a lot for those days.  Today it would equate to less than 9 pence , but of course the relative value would be much much more!

James’ two unmarried daughters, Katherine’s sisters, went to live with their father at Bondfield, and the house stayed in the family till Euphemia’s death in 1871.

 carslogie old house So, from the old Bondfield  we jumped back in the car and drove on up the road to see the 16th century tower house of Carslogie (ruined now) that most probably our ancesters saw being built.  Maybe they even had a hand in the building of it!  Who knows!jane at carslogie with wellies   Here’s Jane getting into some welly boots to walk through the field to the house.carslogie house and jane

This is the front of the house with Jane on her way across.  It seems to have fallen into further disrepair since I last saw it, and of course all the trees growing inside will be undermining the building even more with their ever growing roots.

Have a look at the drawing made in the 1800s of how the house looked then, taken from the front, and photos of the interior, as well as a floor plan.  The next photos were taken looking through what was most likely a doorway connecting the main tower with the extension of the drawing, and over the main door.carslogie old house spiral stair

  This has to be the central pivot stone of the spiral staircase, you can see  in the plan on the RCAHMS website, (right) carslogie old house inner doorway

while the next one was taken over the top of the front door, the arch leading to the cellars underground.  It’s such a shame the place is filled with all that fallen rubble and the trees, as the place has quite a history to it.  carslogie old house back and sw side carslogie house wall 16century


One of these days the crack in the side wall will just break the building apart and the back will fall down.

russell mill, springfield There was one more place we had to visit and that was Russell Mill where our Inglis ancestors lived and worked after being at Carslogie March.  They were most probably flour millers, though the mill went through at least two incarnations afterwards.  It became a linen mill, and more recently a precast concrete factory.  It’s empty now!

What we should have done was to drive to where Katherine was born in 1766.  The old farmhouse seems to have disappeared though I have suspicions that a nearby farm might actually have been the Inglis home.   I apologise to Jane for not thinking of visiting this area.  The farm cottages that now own the name are actually much more modern….. and as for the farm where Katherine spent her married life, I think I have found it just to the east of Kinglassie.   I must go and take photos next time I am over in that direction.  I thought it might have been swallowed up by Kinglassie or Glenrothes by now.  Not far off it though!  It would have been a bit of a drive from Cupar though.

Next time Jane?

Talk again soon.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Loch Kinord

I think the day at Dinnet was the one I enjoyed most, but was also the day I suffered most!  I got bitten not only by midges but by clegs as well.  (You maybe know clegs better as horseflies.) Beasties of this sort seem to love my blood, and as I have said before, I come up in large red itchy hot lumps especially when clegs have had their fill!

Remember I paddled in the burn last time, with trouser legs turned up…..?  Well, I should have turned them back down again – AND I should have put more anti midge cream on my arms, before we headed off on the other path.  However, hindsight is wonderful!celtic stone path2

We set off down the path, through the same kind of growth as before – Colin always far further on down the track of course - celtic stone path3heather and bracken, grasses and wild flowers always the ground cover beside the path.celtic stone path6  

celtic signpost


We were following the Celtic trail which would pass by old kinordOld Kinord where there are remains of ancient stone huts, and on to Loch Kinord.  We actually made a detour and missed out the Old Kinord part - though I took a photo in that direction (left) – instead carrying straight on to the loch.loch kinord2   The loch finally comes into view , but before we reach its edge, a fenced off piece of ground contains a piece of granite with carved Celtic cross on one side.  kinord celtic cross Apparently it was dug up around the same spot in the 1880s and removed to a village further along the road.  It was not returned here till the 1950s.  It is about 1200 years old, and is thought to have come from perhaps an ancient chapel or even a monastery that might have stood nearby.  By its shape I’d say it looks more like the top of a stone coffin – but I’m no expert! 

The loch is only a few yards away, and from its banks you can see a couple of islands.  Around 1000 years ago there was a tower standing on the one straight in front of us.  Malcolm Canmore, King of Scots, had a wooden “castle” built here so he could spend time hunting in the old forest.  In time a stone tower replaced the wooden one and access to the island was by a causeway.  Now both are gone, and only wildlife inhabits Castle Island.loch kinord crannog       

Away to our left, was a much smaller island known as Crannog Island.  A crannog was a dwelling built on stilts out in a loch or maybe on an island in ancient times.  Click here to find out a bit about them.  We stayed here for a little while, me looking for artistic looking views for photos, of course!edge of loch kinord

I think this was one of my favourites!

glider This one too!  However if you click it to enlarge it you may see up in the blue sky a glider being towed by a small plane.  The plane is actually very well disguised in the photo as a  bit of branch just to the right of the bottom of the blue bit of sky! 

celtic cross stone


loch kinord2 

Eventually we retraced our steps to the cross and on to the tree behind it where there was a bench to sit on and admire the view.   However, we had to walk back the rest of the way back to the car, and my hip and knee were beginning to bother me.  But I made it!  Colin said I must have walked about three miles that day!  I can live with that!!!

Talk again soon.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Native forest and some geology at Burn o’ Vat

We had driven up past Ballater on the recommendation of the others who had been there a few days before we arrived on Deeside, to Dinnet, where we could do some walks in amongst birch and pine forest, and see a few interesting bits of history into the bargain!  burn o vat bridge Our first  walk was a short one, along a path edged with grasses, bracken and wild flowers, through the birches and pines, following a small burn upstream, crossing it occasionally,burn o vat falls   




and  soon we reached a little waterfall seeming to spring from the rocks.  burn o vat way in2 Just a little further on we found the burn again flowing through a narrow gorge that because of a fallen rock looked like a doorway. Luckily the burn was low and the stones that acted as stepping stones were clear of the water.  Actually it didn’t matter as far as I was concerned as I was wearing my Crocs and could paddle through the water, when my balance wasn’t good enough to cross the stones!doorway to vat1  Have to say the water was pretty cold! 

burn o vat vat Once through the “doorway” and the little gorge, we found ourselves in a huge almost circular hollow about 80 feet in diameter, with a very pretty waterfall at the far end. burn o vat waterfall  

Last time I tried to explain the rock erosion that took place centuries ago at the Linn of Dee.  Well, this was probably formed in the same way – I reckon towards the end of the ice age.  Water and stone debris would have been washed downstream, and the way out being so narrow, it probably whirled round and round gradually over millennia eroding the surrounding rock to form this large vat for which it is named!   I found the place quite magical.  Someone told me that there was also a cave behind one of the cataracts, but I wasn’t confident about scrambling about on the rocks to investigate further!  I felt quite pleased that I had actually reached the Vat itself!  burn o vat me

Of course I had to prove I’d been there –  friends often ask why I am not in any of my photos (because it’s MY camera and I take the photos)!  However I allowed Colin to take a few photos for the record.evee at burn o vat

coming through burn o vat

On the way out, through the gorge, I paddled when I couldn’t manage the gaps between stones. 

path to vat3

We walked back down the path again, back to the carpark where  we  were going to set off in another directionpath to vat, but I’ll write about that next time.

 burn o'vat downstream

path to vat2

   Talk again soon.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Linn of Dee

forest of Mar Driving through Braemar village and beyond, takes you through some bonny scenery, as we followed the river Dee

river dee.lui water


and encountered a “meeting of the waters” where a tributary or two joins the river.  On the right is the Lui Water joining the Dee.

snow stillLooking up into the hills, it was amazing to see what looks like a small patch of snow on the highest hill in the photo.  Snow it most definitely was but it would be a fair sized patch if you were standing beside it!  You can see here that there’s not a big amount of water in the river.

river dee near the linn2Soon we crossed the bridge over the river and parked in a woodland car park, before walking back through the woodland towards the bridge and the Linn of Dee.river dee near the linn 


river dee colin Just had to include this one of Colin standing on the trunk of a tree fallen over the river!  I wouldn’t be able to balance on it!

linn of dee

Here the river has over many centuries channelled its way through the granite barrier, resulting in a wide river being forced through a narrow gorge and down over the rocky falls.   Imagine the river in spate, careering down over the rocks, bringing debris with it.  Perhaps a large boulder was once washed down a raging river and got stuck in a narrow section of the gorge,  Water would carve out a way round the boulder, wearing away both boulder and the edges of the gorge. Eventually in another few 100 years or so, the boulder was dislodged again by high waters and te same thing happened further down the gorge.  You can see in the photo above how the rock has been eroded.river dee above the linn

  Here’s the river above the bridge, just arriving at the point when it begins to flow through the gorge.  Incidentally, some of these trees are remnants of an ancient forest that covered much of Scotland several thousands of years ago.bridge at linn of deeabove the linn 






The left hand photo is above the bridge and the beginning of the gorge, while the right hand photo is of the river tumbling down under the bridge and away, down to the wide slow river it was (see again the photos near the beginning).  I think we were lucky to see it with so little water in it, as we could see how nature had worked on the rock, but I bet it would be some sight if the river was high!

I let Colin go for a short walk up the Glen Lui path – remember I’m “looking after” him?  He could still walk faster and further than me, so I waited for him in the car.  I had my new Kindle with me – yes, I’ve given in and bought one – but that’s another story! – so I passed a pleasant hour reading till he returned quite pleased with what he had achieved.  Walking is one thing, but I have great difficulty in persuading him he shouldn’t be doing other movements that involve stretching the sternum!  He’s got an excuse and an answer for everything!!!

river dee verge Anyway finally we turned the car and came back to Braemar, me stopping to take photos of the plants along the grass verges – these were pink and white foxgloves along side a piece of deer fence, river dee verge2 and some yellow buttercup-like  flowers and more foxgloves  The foxgloves are beautiful just now.

path to the hills

And this is one last look to the hills on the way back, probably the path that Colin would like to be on.

Talk again soon!