Showing posts from 2014

The Earn- the heron and a precious stone

One of the benefits and joys  of living in Strathearn is its wonderful choice of  walks . Walks to suit  all participants . Hill walkers can  access the peaks  above Loch Turret with ease  whilst  those older  members  of the community   can choose from a superb  variety of pleasant  but  non demanding rambles in some of  Scotland’s  most beautiful countryside . Recognised paths are clearly sign posted and rights of way are protected under the auspices of the local Council . The last few  decades have seen a network of long distance  walks and paths established  across Scotland – the best known in all probability  being the West Highland Way stretching from Milngavie ( pronounced Mul – guy !! ) just north of Glasgow  , all the way to Fort William at the fooft of Ben Nevis , our highest peak .Local writer , publisher and  out door  enthusiast Felicity Martin wrote recently in Facebook : 
“ Super walk today from St Fillans on Loch Earn in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park to…

The Coal Mines that would have changed the Strath – a fortunate escape !

The 19th century in Strathearn was one in which industry grew and expanded . Auchterarder  was a thriving power and hand loom weaving centre for  cotton fabric . Crieff housed a multiplicity of new and expanding enterprises  including brewing , distilling ,paper making ,tanning , rope making, oil mills weaving and dying ! What is oft forgotten is that in the early 19th century , in common  with so many  other areas not that far distant , there were incredible efforts by entrepreneurs , individuals and corporate bodies  , to explore , discover and develop the vast  coal resources  that lay under Scottish soil . Here in Strathearn , we were  no different  from  our neighbouring contemporaries in Stirlingshire ,Clackmannan and Fife .

The story of the  efforts made locally are  well documented  by Porteous in his “ The History of Crieff “ and I replicate a few  of these tales of yesteryear . It  was in 1819 , just after the Napoleonic Wars  that things began in earnest. Trial sinkings  we…

Lady Mary’s Walk

Lady Mary’s Walk

A Crieff Beauty Spot

Lady Mary’s Walk is  one of Crieff and Strathearn’s  most popular and enjoyable of walks . It was formed in 1815 by Sir Patrick  Murray of Ochtertyre  and being a favourite walk of his daughter Lady Mary Murray , became  known  by her name . Lady Mary’s runs  for about a mile along the banks of the Earn from  what is known as Ling- a –wing . Miss Margaret Wright  in her journal mentions that on 12th May 1815 she “ went a little on the new walk  by the water side  , made by Sir Patrick . It must be delightful “ .  Miss Wright in these last words expresses feelings confirmed  by every native and visitor to Crieff in the last 200 years . In the account of Lady Mary’s walk in Porteous “ The History of Crieff “ , it states ( and this was  written in the first decade of the  20th Century ) that : “ It is , however  to be regretted , that the peaceful amenity  of the walk  has been somewhat spoilt by the close proximity of the  Comrie Railway  which runs …

Hogmanay and Handsel Monday Two Time Honoured Crieff Festivals

Alexander Porteous  wrote the “ The History of Crieff “ which was published in 1912 and to this  day is  recognised  as the definitive  account  of the towns illustrious and historic  past . The following  account reflects clearly  how traditions  can quite  easily  be  forgotten as the  social pattern change  with the passing years  . We look at two  festivals  which occurred  close  to one another at  the start of the new year . Handsel Monday , alas  is  gone but the other Hogmanay has  gone  from strength to strength both locally  here in the Strath , in Scotland and indeed the World !

“Two time honoured  institutions – or perhaps  they may more suitably  be  called festivals  - for long celebrated in Crieff , as  elsewhere , were “ Hogmanay “ the last evening of the year , and “ Handsel Monday “ , the first Monday of the New Year ( old style ) . The  celebration of these still lingers , more from a legendary point of view , amongst the youngsters of Crieff ; but well on into the s…

Crieff’s “ Dad’s Army “ – the Home Guard of World War 2

Crieff Home Guard

After the onset of WW 2 , the safety of small towns  such as Crieff was in the hands of  what was termed  the LDVF – the Local Defence Force Volunteer This somewhat cumbersome title  was  changed  on the 9th of August 1940 to the Home Guard . The BBC series  Dad’s Army ran from 1968 to 1977 with a number of well known “ vintage “ actors of the time including  Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring ( pronounced Manner - ing ! )  , John Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson, Clive Dunn as Corporal Jones  and a host of others . This  sit com was based very much on the belief  that the Home Guard  was  made  of bumbling  incompetents  who were either  retired  or were in reserved  occupations .My own father  who was employed in the general office of  a large steel manufacturing company in the West of Scotland fell into  the latter category and I know how  seriously they took their task in their contribution to the Nations defence .

I have in my possession a document entitled  “Diary o…

Castle Cluggy and Loch Monzievaird , Ochtertyre

Castle Cluggy and Loch Monzievaird, Ochtertyre

Loch Monzievaird ( above ) 

Sir Patrick Keith Murray with the castle in the trees 
behind the crannog 

Castle Cluggy

We have discussed at some  length in these “ blogs “ the presence of  crannogs  or artificial islands  in Strathearn and north in Loch Tay in ancient Breadalbane in April 2013 ( These are an incredible reminder to us  how and where our ancient forbearers dwelt and existed at  time  when native  soil was inhabited by wild animals as well as aggressive natives ! Loch Monzievaird  has  excellent examples of these crannogs  but in addition  on the north shore  lies one of Strathearn’s ancient dwellings , namely Castle Cuggy . Located and accessed from the west at Loch Mozvievaird Chalets , the Castle is very old , being described in 1467 as being “antiquum fortalicium” – an ancient castle ! Tradition has it that it was the home of the Red Comyn the pr…
Perthshire Crieff Strathearn Local History Blogs

A Current Index

The Blog has been running since February 2012 and has  published well over 100 stories of the Strath . This Index  will allow  you  to see clearly  what is  available . To look at the   chosen subject look at the "Archive " heading  on the right hand of the opening page an  click on the  year The Blogs are in chronological order so scroll down  till the  chosen one  is accessed . 
1.26 February 2012 : Welcome  ! 2.26 February 2012 : Colin's Books on Perthshire 3.27 February 2012 : The Lost Castle of Fowlis ! 4.27 February 2012 : Gone ! Gone ! Gone! 5.27 February 2012 : Ferntower House 6.28 February 2012 : Our Shame Over Inchaffray Abbey 7.1 March 2012 : Some Strathearn Names and their Origins  8.5 March 2012 : The Crieff Coat of Arms 9.11 March 2012 : Crieff some 6 000 years ago ! 10.18 March 2012 :The Cursus of Crieff 11.20 March 2012 : The Oldest Roman Frontier 12.22 March 2012 : The Crieff Tryst
13   29 March 2012 : St…