Article VI written by Alexander Gunn aka A Native of Badbea was printed in the Northern Ensign on 16 Oct 1879. Part C
“Ousedale comes next in the way of recollections. It is situated about two miles to the west of Badbea and to the north of Auchencraig. At one time there was a flourishing tenantry in Ousedale. There was also the Borgue of Ousedale and the Struee, about half a mile to the west of Ousedale, on the western edge of the burn of that name, opposite Auchencraig – the burn running between them. There was fine fertile soil at both places, and abundance of hill-pasture for cattle grazing. It was much more suitable for farming than either Badbea or Auchencraig, as it was fine level ground, and easily cultivated. It is a pity to see such a fine tract of country lying waste, so to speak – only a few parks under cultivation, but yielding crops second to none in the country. There were about 50 acres brought under cultivation to the west of Ousedale, and this ground is yielding splendid cops. It was just brown heather in my young days.
|Ousdale in 2011 showing the cultivated land|
|Looking toward the Borgue of Ousdale|
The Ousdale burn showing the remains
of stone works on the banks.
Looking toward Auchencraig.
There was a corn-mill at Ousedale, where all the victual in the district was converted into meal. It was kept going till Auchencraig was turned out, after which it was discontinued. John Gunn, Badbea, was the miller, and just a few months before the mill was stopped he brought home a new millstone at considerable labour and expense; but there was no allowance made to him for it.
I really have no idea what the Ousdale Mill looked like but it
may have been something like this old mill at West Murkle.
Photo: Bill Fernie Caithness.org
Ousedale, too, could boast of its soldiers. Donald Sutherland, a brother of “John Badbea,” both born in Ousedale, was a soldier, and fell in Spain in one of those desperate battles which cost this country so much blood and treasure.”
As with other old place names there are variations of the spelling of Ousdale, Ousedale, Ausdale – all the same place.
The comment about Donald Sutherland is interesting as there is plenty of other evidence that he died at Waterloo - see my blog 14 September 2014. My hunch is that Alexander Gunn made a slip-up here using 'Spain' but it is worth taking note of his comment.