The main purpose of the site is to involve the reader in an absorbing story about Upper or Highland Strathearn in Perthshire, Scotland; about its yesterdays, which may help us cope with our todays, and who knows maybe, even our tomorrows.
It takes into account some of the tales of yesterday passed down by word of mouth, by letter, in private diary, in commentary, in newspapers and in documents and the notes kept by the odd historian and local people. Like all, there is a paucity of materials but enough, just enough, for folk with an interest in heritage and preservation, social history and family roots, to reach out and touch the fingertips of our folk of yesterday, and days of auld lang syne.
I have tried to include, in appropriate places, comments, observations and descriptions written about the area by various people of their period which are of historical interest. This is equally true where clans, and in particular, men of note, have crossed our canvas. Hopefully this provides a broader sweep of the pen for those who share a love of accurate historical research as well as others who enjoy stories of yesteryear told in anecdotal fashion.
The work is designed to provide an overview of the evolution of this place. It is nowhere near complete. Let us say it is a book for all readers, regardless of their age and backgrounds, who wish to learn a few things about the area, and the old days. I am pleased to hear from people who wish to make corrections, or add to the saga.
The Gaelic name for the County of Perth is Siorrachd Pheairt, and within its boundaries, is the area known as Highland Strathearn, often referred to as Upper or Western Strathearn. To a large degree this two hundred or so square mile area remains unknown, and undiscovered. It is the subject of our tale and for many it is considered to be the “key” to the treasure trove called the Highlands of Scotland. As a land mass it straddles both Highland and Lowland Scotland and, as such, is unique. It enjoys a long history, full of interest. This book records, as a legacy, some of its evolution and a paucity of its stories, tales and legends.
It is true to say that both oral and written histories are integral parts of the fabric of any community. Seen in the modern, rather cold, light of day and interpreted by the “sophisticated eye of hindsight” there is evidence of poignancy, relevance, and no small humour. It may come as a surprise that some future writer may look with some astonishment at our own activities in the twenty-first century and conclude that at best, we were weak vessels, trying to scratch a living, and also where expediency, rather than valour and truth, was at the cutting edge of survival!
There are enormous chasms in history which can only be bridged with some tertiary knowledge coupled to guesstimate and much speculation. As a result any recording of local history is often based on supposition rather than proof. Allowances have to be made, mulled over, and possibly accepted. Much half-truth and even outright lie(s) may have to be tolerated until some person refutes the event with the provision of proof positive. As will be seen this is probably not possible when looking back through the telescope of time, especially when one’s eye is pressed to the “other end” of the telescope!
Prior to the emergence of writing as a means of communication and subsequent recording of events, large and small, most communication was carried by word of mouth. Often general stories (apocryphal or otherwise) were passed from father to son, mother to daughter, from neighbours, friends, travellers, and even between enemies. These stories, with various emphases, embellishment, word selection, delivery, bias, intonation, nuance and social conditioning being applied, created, over time, the phenomena we refer to as the “stuff of legends.”
As such, distortion (sometimes introduced knowingly and deliberately, and with malice) is bound to occur. Interpretation is, and was, muddled and muddied, and perhaps the truth shielded from the light of day. But yet today we are all still fascinated by the events of yesteryear. We, no doubt, in our moments of idle time, consider, as examples, the romantic relationships known throughout the spread of time. The eternal triangle of Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, (she may have been born in, or near, Stirling), and of who was doing what to whom, and when and where. Although never proven that Arthur ever existed like Robin Hood, Maid Marion and the Merry Men, Guinevere was, and remained until her death in a convent, Arthur’s wife. One reading of Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur” must make one become instantly aware that it is not “genteel,” but is one of the most murderous books ever written. Furthermore none of the principal characters in it ever took a bath! Cleanliness was not yet linked with “Godliness!”