Thursday, 21 February 2013

Crieff Community Action Plan 2013 / 2018 - History Repeats Itself !


Delighted to receive the  well laid out pamphlet regarding  the Crieff Action Plan . The problems  related in it  with regard to traffic and our acceptability of the discomfort  to shoppers and pedestrians is  certainly not a  new phenomenon ! I reproduce  a report dated May 1958 ( a mere 55 years ago !! ) which  certainly rings a few bells !

Stevenson - grandfather of RLS - drew up a plan in 1808 for the Perth to St Fillans Canal His  route by passed Crieff to the south With little  alteration  for subsequent development - a relief  road  on this line   would  appear to be the only  real solution to alleviate  a growing problem that will not  go away ! Compare the two docs - deja vu ?

Crieff Community Action Plan

2013- 2018


The A85  trunk road is the main east- west  between  Perth and Oban This road passes  through  the heart of Crieff The result is that Crieff’ s High street is often dominated  by large lorries and heavy goods vehicles In addition , Because of Crieff’s position , surrounded by farm land and woodland , it also common for large agricultural and forestry vehicles  to use Crieff’s High Street . Very narrow , poorly maintained pavements , inadequate parking provision , a lack of enforcement of on street parking restrictions and a lack of provision of loading bays frequently create a situation of grid lock in the town centre .The result is an unpleasant and sometimes  dangerous experience  for residents and visitors alike .

A study carried out by Dundee University in 2012 confirmed residents’ long standing concerns that the centre of Crieff is dominated  by vehicles and that inadequate attention has been given to the  safe flow  of pedestrians along and across the main High Street .

Given the likely increase  in population  of Crieff over the next decade  this situation  needs  to be addressed urgently .


Glasgow Herald 20 May 1958

Crieff Traffic Fears

“ Chaos “ Predicted

Giving evidence yesterday at the resumed  public enquiry into objections against th new proposed relief road for Crieff, Inspector James Scobie , Crieff said that if traffic volume doubled in 20 years time , it would mean stand still conditions in the town’s main street . Traffic had increased in recent years including the entry into the Burgh of  large numbers of touring coaches . In addition Loch Earn was being developed  for water skiing and boating and that would  bring more traffic through Crieff.

Mr James S McGavin, the County Councils Planning Officer said that if the volume of traffic was doubled in twenty years’ time , the position in Crieff ‘s main street would become chaotic .

Consideration  has been given to widening the main street but the cost of acquiring property to achieve that would be prohibitive .Proper by pass roads  were proposed  but rejected . In his opinion the relief road was the correct solution to the problem .The planning authority recognised that Crieff was  a holiday  centre and therefore decided to keep the relief road as close as possible to the existing shopping centre .




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Comrie Floods of 1898 & 1928

3rd Nov 1898 Glasgow Herald

Extraordinary Floods in Central Perthshire


On Tuesday night and yesterday morning in the Central District of Perthshire , a heavy storm of rain was experienced  accompanied  by a powerful west wind and in the early morning unusually high floods were experienced on the rivers . The River Earn came down in tremendous spate and the water rising far above the banks flooded all the low lying parts and in many places the fields on both sides were covered for miles . In Crieff, Comrie and Monzievaird Districts the flooding was especially severe and from the public highway to Strowan which was covered  by three feet of water at parts , the water flowed right along the railway line to Comrie extending over the broad fields of the Carse of Strowan like vast lakes . Between Crieff and Comrie , by the south road  the traffic  was practically stopped and on the highway between Monzievaird and Strowan traffic aof any kind was simply impossible .The rural postman between Crieff and Comrie met with the greatest difficulty in going his rounds and while picking his way on a bicycle in some two feet of water on the public road near Lennoch , he was forced  to give in , and after wading knee deep in water for some time, he was forced to take the assistance of some press men who were ploughing their way in a cab through the water . The railway traffic on the Crieff and Comrie line was interrupted in the morning and the departure of the early morning train from Comrie being postponed til the flooding somewhat subsided . Some distance  from Comrie Station the line was completely covered  and the forenoon trains had to sweep through two feet of water . Though rain fell through the greater part of yesterday , the west wind had partly eased and the water had begun to fall . Many reports  are to hand regarding loss of farm stock .


Glasgow Herald 28 January 1928

Comrie Church Flooded

Widespread Havoc in Perthshire

Fourteen Hours of Rain

As was to be expected Central and East Perthshire were more widely affected than the Aberdeenshire areas .Following almost 14 hours of incessant rainfall Large tracts of farmland became submerged . In the Comrie district rods were rendered impassable for long stretches . The Comrie – Crieff road , about six miles long , being almost entirely covered while a considerable area of the surrounding country was similarly affected . The River Lednock which joins the River Earn near Comrie rose rapidly by about ten feet , and , bursting its banks , isolated several houses for a time as well as sweeping from its foundations a substantially erected wall which had been built for the special purpose of protecting from the encroachments of the river a Catholic church and a house . Perthshire by reason of its extensive valleys lying between high mountains , is a district that frequently suffers from flooding on account of melting snow , but Saturday’s spates were more directly attributable to the abnormal rainfall, which, commencing about two o’clock in the morning continued without break until 4 o’clock in the afternoon . As a result the valley of the Earn was for a distance of nearly 12 miles converted into a collection of lakes .


The most seriously affected part of Comrie was the eastern end of the village where the rise in the level of the water is stated to have been the greatest in many years .It lapped the lines on a railway bridge which spans the river, and entered the grounds and garden of the Episcopal Rectory in Drummond Street . An Episcopal church and a Roman Catholic church which are separated from the river by only a few yards were also surrounded . It was at the Catholic Church that the river , tumbling in unrestricted fury from the upper heights, battered against a concrete wall , extending for about 20 yards , which had been built in order to protect the little church and an enjoining house .Substantial though it was , the bulwark was not strong enough to withstand the full force of the water , and crumpled before it . Unchecked the rising torrent poured into the church and covered the floor to a depth of three inches . Thanks to the promptitude of neighbouring residents , most of the important furnishings were safely removed..


Mr Donaldson the occupant of the adjoining house left with his wife for a brief holiday on Saturday morning , and later in the day was informed of the danger which the river threatened to his home . Hurriedly returning to Comrie he reached the village late in the afternoon just as the river was falling and on entering the house saw in an instant the full extent of the wreckage . The floor was covered by a thick layer of slimy sand and articles of furniture bore a “ high water “ mark . It was impossible to hold the usual service in the Catholic church yesterday for although the water had subsided , it had left behind it a thick deposit of mud and sand on the floor . rrngements were made however by the Rev Charles DR Williamson of Tomperran for worship to be held in his private chapel .


Among other places in the eastern end of the village which were affected were the Episcopal Church rectory where the inmates of the house were practically cut off from outside communication while the river was at its greatest height . The garden and grounds were completely inundated and the flood escaped by means of a narrow aperture beneath a gate to Drummond Street about 50 yards of which was covered .


An ambitious endeavour to stem the flow of the water was made by several people who had gathered to watch the rising river . They placed a number of sand bags at the gate with the object of preventing the water from reaching the street , but although the expediency arrested the progress for a short time , it was soon apparent that it was unsuccessful . The Melville Hotel which is directly opposite the rectory and two adjacent houses were left practically isolated by the flood , but by the use of planks , exit and entry was readily made possible . Considerable discomfort was caused at Comrie House from which the private electricity supply was cut off as a result of a dam being swept away .


At the gas works which are near the junction of the River Earn and River Lednock, flooding was also extensive .In the course of an interview with a“ Glasgow Herald “representative , Mr Keillor, the manager of the gas works described the damage done to his home and to the work’s buildings . “ The Lednock was as high as ever it has been in living memory “, said Mr Keillor , “ and the floor of the house was covered to a depth of six inches . We were practically imprisoned in the house although by the use of waders I was able to make my way to the gas works . We had had similar experiences in the past and fortunately as we saw the river was rising to a greater height than usual we were able to remove most of our furniture to safety. But the water had left its traces and we are now busy trying to clear away the mud and slime that was left .” The gas works premises were also seriously affected . With the exception of the retort houses which escaped a similar fate by only a few inches , all the buildings were several inches under water .The violence of the river’s approach may be gauged by the fact that the railway sleepers composing the floor were wrenched from their setting and were strewn about as the flood receded .


But the occurrence had its consolations .The Lednock’s strong current carried before it a considerable quantity of shrubs and sand and as a result the river has slightly altered its course as it meets the Earn. The two rivers now join more smoothly than hitherto , and this , it is expected , will obviate to some extent a recurrence of flooding at this particular point .


The progress of traffic along the various roads in the neighbourhood of Comrie was impeded by the rising waters an in several cases was completely stopped .The six miles of road from Comrie to Crieff were under water nearly all day and in the Lochearnhead road traffic was practically impossible until late in the evening. The Aberuchill road was also submerged , the water covering it to depth of four feet .In places where the road dips only the tops of the hedges could be seen above the water . A similar state of affairs was experienced on the St Fillans to Lochearnhead road.. There many motorists found themselves in difficulties when they tried to force away through the flooded area and assistances had to be obtained .


At Crieff the Earn rose very rapidly and in the lower parts of the town at South Bridgend extensive flooding took place .At Dallerie , the laundry of the Strathearn Hydropathic Company was isolated and at least in one employee’s house , water lay to a depth of 18” on the ground floor rooms .Earnvale Wool Mills were also surrounded by water , while on the Braidhaugh the large expanse of land of about 60 acres lay deep in flood water . The waters of the Earn here , too, encroaching on the public road and lay several inches deep . Higher up the river , between Crieff and Comrie , the low lying lands at Strowan were all under water and at places the normal river bed was converted into a vast lake .

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Thanks for looking !

Loch Turret above Crieff 11 February 2013 
Thanks to everyone who has over our first year logged into the Crieff and Strathearn Local History Blog . I have been surprised and delightede  to find the interest in the Strath has  extended all over the World or , as we say in Scotland , " to aw the airts and pairts ! " The local paper - the Strathearn Herald ran this story last week so as not all of you can buy it in your local store , I have included it here.

Strath man's blog surprise internet hit

A blog about Strathearn’s local heritage has become a surprise internet hit drawing interest from all over the world.

Well-known Crieff historian Colin Mayall started writing the blog about 11 months ago and has already attracted more than 10,000 hits.

And his readers come from countries as diverse as the USA, Russia, Canada, France, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Mayall said: “You can analyse data from Google which tells you who is looking at your blog and what’s really quite incredible is the diversity of the people who have shown an interest in it.

“The emphasis of the blog is on Crieff and Strathearn so it’s great – if a bit surprising – to have such a wide audience from so many different countries.”

Mr Mayall, who has written four books on Strathearn local history, decided to start a blog in an attempt to share a lot of the local information and stories he has acquired over the years and because he thought it would be good publicity for the area.

He says: “Some of the blogs are quite light-hearted while others are more serious – I write about various subjects which I have information and knowledge about and I also include some photographs.

“Sometimes readers comment about what they’ve been looking at and that’s been very interesting and it’s great that people are engaging with the blog.

“There are a lot of people out there who are interested in local history and I did the blog purely because I believe I should put something back into the community and share the detailed knowledge I have.

“I’m really enjoying doing it and it’s great to stimulate interest in our area.”

So far, Mr Mayall has blogged on around 50 diverse subjects including Romans, the area’s Neolithic heritage (3500 BC), Witchcraft, The Tryst and famous and infamous sons of the Strath.

Other posts have included a feature on the `Last Thatched House in Crieff’; tales about famous Crieff movie star Ewan McGregor and his actor uncle Denis Lawson who appeared in the first Star Wars film and an article about the history of St Fillans.

Of the more than 10,000 hits Mr Mayall’s popular site has received, a total of 56% have come from the UK and 25% from USA.

The country with the next highest number of viewings is Russia followed by Australia, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

The blog has also received regular viewings from people in China, Japan and the Scandinavian countries.

Interested Herald readers can check out Mr Mayall’s blog by visiting