Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Observations
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

A Tour of Scotland - Observations

Dorothy Wordsworth

In 1803 Dorothy Wordsworth, who had a very strange relationship with her brother, William, the poet, toured Strathearn noting the following:

Saturday, September 10th, 1803

We were to pass through one of the most celebrated vales of Scotland, Strath Erne. We found it a wide, long, and irregular vale, with many gentlemen’s seats under the hills, woods, copses, frequent cottages, plantations, and much cultivation, yet with an intermixture of barren ground. There is a struggle to overcome the natural barrenness, and the end not attained, an appearance of something doing or imperfectly done, a passing with labour from one state of society to another. When you look from an eminence on the fields of Grasmere Vale, the heart is satisfied with a simple undisturbed pleasure, and no less, on one of the green or heathy dells of Scotland, where there is no appearance of change to be, or having been, but such as the seasons make. Strath Erne is so extensive a vale that had it been in England, there must have been some inequality, as in Wensley Dale; but at Wensley there is a unity, a softness, a melting together, which in the large vales of Scotland I never perceived. The difference at Strath Erne may come partly from the irregularity, the undefined outline of the hills which enclose it; but it is caused still more by the broken surface, I mean broken as to colour and produce, the want of hedgerows, and also the great number of new fir plantations. After some miles it became much narrower as we approached the mountains at the foot of the lake of the same name, Loch Erne.

Breakfasted at a small public-house, a wretchedly dirty cottage, but the people were civil, and though we had nothing but barley cakes we had a good breakfast, for there were plenty of eggs. We walked up a high hill to view the seat of Mr. Dundas, now Lord Melville - a spot where, if he had gathered much wisdom from his late disgrace or his long intercourse with the world, he may spend his days as quietly as he need desire. It is a secluded valley, not rich, but with plenty of wood; and there are many pretty paths through the woods, and moss huts in different parts. After leaving the cottage where we breakfasted the country was very pleasing, yet still with a want of richness; but this was less perceived, being huddled up in charcoal woods and the vale narrow.

Dined at the head of the lake. The inn is in a small village--a decent house.


Loch Earn in the Parish of Comrie, whose banks are so closely clad with copse of oak, that the profit arising from the sale of bark and timber is nearly equal to the rents of arable ground and pasture.

Ochtertyre. Marle

The marle found in the bottom of the lake being judiciously applied, has enriched the Knight’s and his neighbour’s property.

Duneira is a singular place. The scenery from Crieff to Lochearn, 10 or 11 miles, is in the highest degree romantic and delightful. It is called by travellers the Montpelier of Scotland. Duneira is the most diversified place of the whole. Ochtertyre and Lawers are discovered with ease. They present themselves to the eye. The valley before them is wide and the mountains more distant: but the situation of Duneira shows it to be a retreat from public business and the bustle of the world. There the valley begins to narrow, as you look west; and you approach the foot of the rugged Grampians: the mountains before you seem to be closing from both sides, and to stretch up their towering heads to the clouds. The magnificence of these mountains, and the richness of the scenery of Duneira are obvious to all passengers, but there is one feature of it, very uncommon in a mountainous country, which does not immediately attract the attention of every passenger; I allude to the extent of the low ground of Duneira and Tullybannocher, which unite and form a horizontal plain of 629 acres. This plain is partly surrounded and partly sprinkled with conical insulated hills, which are detached from the general range of mountains behind. The hills are of different altitudes, and are covered with oak copse to their summits, rising abruptly from the green flat around them; and thereby forming a beautiful contrast. In different points of view, many of these wooded hills may be in sight at once, arranged in various attitudes, but mostly in circuitous direction, forming the skirts of the plane, while the river winds its meandering course through them at various distances, sometimes close by the public road; at other times forming a bold circuit, encompassing a well-dressed lawn, which consists of one hundred acres. A Chinese bridge unites the two sides of the Earn, and a terrace walk leads to the most favourite prospects from the tops of the larger eminences and round their base. The extent of the pleasure ground may be inferred from the circumstance, that these walks are 32 miles in length, including all the windings, besides 592 roods of private carriage road made in the lower ground. The skirts of the mountains are covered with oaks and a mixture of other wood, except where the naked pinnacle of rock, shooting its head like a magnificent ruin through the trees, forms a contrast to the verdure of the foliage and fields; which, with the sublimity of the surrounding mountains, gives an air of romantic grandeur, which few places enjoy.

Lord Melville has lately built a temporary steading on that part of his farm called Tullybannocher, which consists of 132 feet of open shades for outlyers; 70 feet for a feeding byre; 32 feet for a hen-house; in which is included a house for the keeper; an appartment for single servants, a house for one married ditto, of 26 feet; a stable for six horses, 26 feet; an open cart-shade, 32 feet: all the above 15 feet wide within walls, except the shade for the outlyers, which is 12 feet wide; a small shade for calves, 24 feet by 9; a barn 70 feet by 15.

Lord Melville’s farm steading at Duneira includes an overseer’s house, 70 feet by 161/2 feet between walls, consisting of two flats; a stable for 8 horses; a byre for 12 cows; a poultry shed; two pig houses; 90 feet of feeding shades; a straw barn, 30 feet; a cart shade, 32 feet; a joiner’s shop, 14 feet; a threshing mill which goes by water; a barn for ditto; a granary, 80 feet; and five houses for farm servants. All these buildings at Duneira are 18 feet wide within walls, covered with blue slate, and substantially built with stone and lime.

The most industrious farmers have their corn stacks built upon stathels laid on pillars of wood or stone, to keep the under-sheaves dry, and save them from vermin. The offices also are improved, both in respect of execution and situation, forming generally a square behind the dwelling-house, with a dunghill or straw yard in the centre, and a footpath around it. Yet I must add, with regret, that in some places the houses of the ordinary tenantry are still mean; the farmer and his cattle lodge under the same roof, with separate entries and only a partition between them. The dung is laid before the door. If the straw be scarce, all his houses are thatched with fern and broom, which increases the meanness of their appearance; but this is only the case where the proprietor is indigent or without taste, and the tenants necessitous or oppressed. In some places, especially towards the Highlands, heath is used for thatch, which however gloomy its appearance, is a far more durable covering than broom or fern, and in this respect not inferior to any straw.

At Duneira there is a singular fence. Lord Melville having turned the course of a large brook, which injured his ground, into a new direction, built a stone-wall in the middle of the old or dry channel, which is of such a depth as to conceal the wall. By this ingenious contrivance, the continuity of that beautiful and extensive lawn adjoining the house of Duneira is preserved, and the eye is not interrupted in viewing the natural beauties of this singular place. In this and other situations Lord Melville has built 616 foods of fences, within these few years, besides five bridges with stone arches, and 6 more are in contemplation.

His Lordship’s farm consists of 477 acres arable, of which 365 are situated at Duneira, contiguous to the house; 173 at Tullybannocher, adjacent to the farmer, but more remote from the house; and 39 at Dalchonzie on the opposite bank of the Earn. On the last of these which is regularly divided into six enclosures with hedges and hedge rows, a constant change of crop is annually observed, for the accomodation of the family according to the shifts introduced into the rotation; but on the two former the principal object being grass, these are only to be opened occasionally to renew the pasture, which will very seldom be necessary.

Lord Melville has planted much, as may be learned from the following circumstance. The stool of oak coppice at Duneira was lately valued by a gentleman versant in these matters at £4000, and the planted trees at nearly the same value.

On the farm at Duneira, 100 acres of land, partly a morass and partly flooded in rainy weather, has been completely reclaimed. In order to carry these improvements into effect, the Boldachan (Boltachan Burn), the chief source of the water, which ran along the swampy ground for nearly two miles, has been diverted from its former channel, by a cut of about 392 yards, from Duneira house to the Earn. The main drain through the morass is 4774 yards, 15 feet wide and from 5 to 6 feet deep, suited to the inequalities of the surface. The drains, which receive smaller rills form the hills, are 12 feet wide at the surface and 3 at the bottom, and nearly of the same depth as the main drain. The length of all these smaller drains is 464 roods of 6 yards each. In consequence of this improvement the whole morass is in a progressive state of cultivation; and some of the land lets at present at £3 an acre, which formerly was not worth 15 shillings. In the spring and summer of 1808, 500 roods of draining were in a progressive state at Tullybannocher.

Viscount Melville