Sections


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 - Thomas Pennant (1769)
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
Temperance
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

Ghoulie Tales

At the turn into the nineteenth century it was customary that when young couples got married the bride provided the bedding and cooking utensils, dishes, pots and pans and fire irons whereas the man was expected to provide the household furniture which was often rudimentary in nature. A dresser, a plate rack, six chairs (one with arms), a box bed, a table, stools, etc., as well as an axe, hammer and a saw. The furniture was in all likeliehood made by the local joiner or carpenter. Sometimes it was made of immature or green wood which creaked as it expanded and contracted. These furniture noises were most evident at night and to the ignorant and superstitious were a sure sign that ghosts were alive and well! To hush children who have particularly vivid imaginations, and were frightened by the groans and creaks, their parents would tell them that there were bogles about.

Balmuick in Glen Lednock was no exception and most folks tried to be home before dark. Balmuick consisted of two small clachans, Easter and Wester Balmuick, and all believed in fairies, ghosts and bogles. As Comrie was the nearest shopping centre,” folk from Balmuick” would leave early in the morning to catch the market. They would follow the route bordering the river Lednock passing somewhat hurriedly the Deil’s Cauldron (even in daylight), and on through the Laggan Wood coming out at Coneyhill, and returning by the same route, no doubt, moving somewhat faster at the Deil’s Cauldron as dusk approached.

Balmuick Farm on the Right


One of their number, Findlay McOwan by name, who had claimed to have had several encounters with bogles and was even nearly captured by the devil himself on one occasion delayed his departure from a public house in the village. Leaving the hostelry at night and in the dark he hurried on his way up the glen. It would be true to say that he had enjoyed a good night with his cronies and was perhaps a shade under the weather. Another chap called Duncan McOwan but no relation of the other had preceded Findlay by a few hundred yards and close to the Deil’s Cauldron looked behind him and saw Findlay wending his way manfully up the path. He decided to have some fun. At a point he hid himself in some bushes. As Findlay came on he was loudly shouting to the darkness around him challenging the powers of darkness to show themselves and to do their worst as he was not afraid of any or all of them. Duncan was delighted and as Findlay passed his hiding place sprang at him and pinned both his arms behind his back. Findlay, no doubt quite petrified, cried out, “Ghost or Devil, who are you?” The answer came in a low deep voice, “You are mine and you will come with me to my cauldron.” Findlay gurgled back, “You have no power over me, Mr. Devil. I am the Lord’s servant, sir, and you have no power over me.” The “Devil” insisted however that Findlay was his and that he must go to the cauldron and again Findlay insisted that he was a good servant of the Lord and that he had no right to detain him. By this time Findlay’s assailant was almost dying with laughter and at the first opportunity let him go and ran into the wood leaving Findlay gasping. Reaching for his stick Findlay started flailing about the bushes and undergrowth but to no avail, the De’il had vanished! On his return to Balmuick, Duncan said nothing but Findlay woke the whole community boasting about his attack by the De’il, and how he had prevailed, and continued bragging about his encounter for quite some time thereafter!

In those days all able-bodied in the community were well versed in handling a stick and a sword and Findlay carried excellent credentials in this area. He once visited Dundee which was a major event of his life. Walking down one of the narrow streets there he came across a man who was beating a drum slowly and making a proclamation. He was being followed by a large crowd of people and Findlay, naturally curious, asked a merchant standing in the street what all the commotion was about. He was then advised that the man with the drum was a bully who had taken up residence in the town. The bully had decided to live at the town’s expense until the local people could find a man who would fight him.

Findlay mulled this over and then said that if the bully came to Balmuick he could supply a plentiful supply of men who could fulfill this task. He then volunteered his own services to take on the bully if the town authorities would allow it. The merchant replied that they would be only too pleased to offer his services through the proper channels. This was accomplished and the bully was duly informed and accepted Findlay as the town representative. Preparations were immediately started and swords were chosen as the means of combat. A platform was erected and a great crowd assembled to witness the battle. When Findlay and the bully had taken their places in opposing corners the bully asked the crowd if they would like to see some practice with the sword or should he just cut the upstart down. The crowd replied that they would like to see some foreplay before the bloodletting really began. Swords clashed and the bully put on a good show with Findlay fighting very guardedly and parrying the strokes made by his opponent but at the same time awaiting his chance. When it occurred he moved with rapier speed and drove his sword through the bully’s chest thereby ending the fight. The crowd went wild with delight raising both a cheer and Findlay on to their shoulders and carried him to a nearby hotel where he was toasted by the grateful citizens. He was later publicly thanked by the city fathers for his work and thereafter returned to Glen Lednock where he recounted his tale to his kith and kin and anyone else that would listen!

On a later occasion he had an awful fight with a whin bush and when he returned home his hands and face were well scratched and his clothes ripped. The next day his skein dhu was found sticking in the bush!

At another time after a merry time in the village, he was following his path towards Coneyhill and was greeted by a stranger, a packman, who asked Findlay if he knew the village and its people well. Findlay replied that he knew them both well and offered to accompany the stranger into the village. The stranger thanked him and Findlay took him straight to Elder Ferguson’s hostelry where he arranged for the packman to have a room all to himself. He then summoned all the leading tailors in the village telling them that there was a cloth merchant in the hotel and that they would be able to buy a splendid assortment of cloth at bargain prices. Several local tailors took up the chance and the packman did a roaring trade and, as he had been so successful, invited the throng to join him in a libation. After several libations one of the tailors, John Gow, a bit of a wag himself, regaled the stranger with tales of Findlay and his prowess with a sword mentioning that it was indeed fortunate that he had met him. He suggested that if the stranger was agreeable he would ask Findlay to split an apple which would be placed on the stranger’s head with but one stroke of the blade and, “as the drink was in and the man oot,” the stranger agreed.

A search was made on the premises but neither sword nor apple could be found so instead it was suggested that they use a potato and a staff which, the packman was assured, would prove just as adequate. After a bit of fiddling around the potato was placed on the packman’s head and Findlay, no doubt, feeling little pain at this time, took hold of the staff and with one or two practice strokes to impress the crowd brought the staff mightily down on the apple, but at the same time concussing the packman. Gow immediately reached over to the gill stoup and poured the contents over the man’s head and when he had recovered explained that owing to the staff being round it had slipped off the tattie, but also added that if it had been the sword it would have gone right through the potato and his skull. Weakly the stranger agreed that it was bad enough as it was and, aye, yes, perhaps it was better to have been the staff rather than the sword!

The Glen Lednock Road