Saturday, May 9, 2015

Beautiful Berriedale, Article VIII – Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Badbea and Neighbourhood – Part B

Article VIII written by Alexander Gunn aka A Native of Badbea was printed in the Northern Ensign on 4 December 1879 – Part B
Beautiful Scenery – Primitive Ploughs

Berriedale Bridge Berriedale Walk
Berriedale Bridge, Highland The view from the approach on the A9 from the north Berriedale walk
Wooded walk from the old bridge and war memorial at the confluence of the Berriedale and Langwell Waters, to Langwell House at the top of the hill. To the left of the picture is a steep drop to Langwell Water.
“Now, this is a great mistake." [This comment connects with the previous blog where Gunn refers to new security measures, and gamekeepers on Langwell keeping people out]

"Berriedale possesses scenery unrivalled in any district in the north of Scotland. I have come in contact with persons who have seen all that is worth seeing in the three kingdoms, and who declare that they saw nothing to exceed Berriedale. Approach it from either side, and the scene is beautiful – the old inn on the level down, near the junction of the two rivers: the high wooded grounds at the back, and the river winding behind and whirling into the deep pool above the bridge; then take your stand on the west bridge and look up the narrow gorge, where the trees meet over the river, and you hear the water as it rushes, in boiling foam, from shelf to shelf and from rock to rock, till it loses itself in the deep pool below the bridge. Or let the traveller take the road to Langwell – either of the roads, the high or the low road, as pleasant and picturesque, as he could find in broad Scotland. When he reached Langwell, let him take the path down to the riverside to the east side of the garden, and he will see trees there of very large dimensions, although not equal to some of the largest in our Scottish forests.”
Bridge over Langwell Water copy Langwell Water from the old bridge
Bridge over the Langwell Water Langwell Water from the old bridge
“But it is vain for me to attempt to describe the beauty of the scenery of Berriedale. It far surpasses any description I can give of it.”
Berriedale water from the fisherman's track just above the village Berriedale Water Looking upsteam from the village
Berriedale Water from the fisherman's track just above the village Berriedale Water Looking upstream from the village
"There is very fertile land on the Straths of both rivers. I will first take the east river, or the Berriedale, as it is sometimes called, beginning with “ault-mheore,” then the Cairn, Rinsary, Knockfin, Millary, Glut of Berriedale, Borgue, Ray, and Upper Borgue, and two or three other places the names of which have escaped my memory. All of these had large tracks of arable land attached to them, as well as large tracts of hill pasture."
The Valley of Berriedale Badger sett in Berriedale
The valley of Berriedale showing land Alexander Gunn thought should be farmed by needy families A Badger sett in Berriedale also showing unproductive valley and hills.
“The quantity of arable land could be very easily increased in some instances tenfold, at very little trouble and expense. All that would be necessary would be a good plough, such as is now in use – not the sort of plough once common in these straths, and which, with the exception of the coulter, was constructed entirely of native timber. It was a common thing for a man to set out with his axe, saw, and augur, cut down what suited him, apply his tools, and return in the course of a few hours with a new-made plough – primitive enough, but it did its turn, and he knew no better.”
Cas Chrom am baile Crofter & wife plant potatoes
Turning ground with a foot plough or Cas Chrom as it was called. Source: Am Baile Facebook A crofter and his wife planting potatoes at Sconser, Skye in the late 1880s. On steep rocky land this foot plough was the most efficient way to dig the ground.  Source: Am Baile Facebook
4 12 1879 NE (Article VIII) part b copy extract 4 12 1879 NE (Article VIII) part c copy

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