Article X written by Alexander Gunn aka A Native of Badbea was printed in the Northern Ensign on 15 January 1880 – Part B
|Langwell Strath from Langwell to Ouagbeg. John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland, 1832|
|Langwell Water Valley. Google Earth|
Both straths were covered over with a thick copse of native birch, hazel rowan tree, sauch and alder, which imparted a very pleasing aspect to the landscape. But such a state of matters did not please the folk at Auchastle, and orders were issued to have the wood cut down, which of course was done, only a tree left here and there, giving the Straths a cold and barren appearance in comparison with what they previously had.”
|Ruined cottage at Brae-n-h-Eaglais||Braigh-na-h-Eaglaise|
|Langwell Water Valley||Langwell Water Valley|
|Ruins of settlement at Wag aka Ouagbeg||Autibea from the south west. An old deserted estate cottage.|
“At Berriedale there was a good fishing, the boats numbering thirteen. They landed and cured their fish for the most part at the pier at the back of the castle. But Mr James Horne took it in his head to have a salmon fishing there, and as a matter of course the herring fishing had to give way to the salmon fishing. Newport was next tried for the herring fishing, but the place was not suitable, and was discontinued, and this branch of industry, which afforded means of employment to a great many on the estate, and was the means of circulating a considerable amount of money yearly in the district, was abolished to gratify the whim of one individual.”
|Berrydale 1820 William Daniell showing herring fishing activities.||Berriedale old shore cottages before restoration|
|Old mill at Mill Road, Berriedale. This mill was originally built as a meal mill and converted to a saw mill at a later date ||Turnal Burn|
The Gaelic names of places have various spellings
- Brae-na-heglash, Brae na-h-Eaglais
- Aultnabea, Aultibea
- Uagbeg, Wag or Uag of Berriedale
- Borgue of Langwell
- Badaskerry I think is Cnoc Bad Asgaraidh
- A haugh is a riverside meadow.
Alexander Gunn’s father John Gunn was the miller at Ousdale which closed after Auchencraig was cleared. He next became miller at the Berriedale mill for a few years – the mill was originally built as a meal mill and was converted to a saw mill at a later date – before he was moved on.
I am particularly interested in Ouagbeg as my great, great grandfather John McLeod was shown on his 1822 marriage record as being a shepherd in Ouagbeg. He went on to Rumsdale to manage the large ‘sheep walk’ there for forty years.
The development of the salmon industry by Donald Horne has a modern twist. At some point in the 1840s, after clearing the herring business out and changing to salmon fishing, Horne built some fisherman’s cottages and an ice house at Berriedale. From here the salmon were packed in ice and shipped to London. The old shore cottages have recently been restored by the Landmark Trust and are available for hire.
|The Berriedale Shore Cottages restored by The Landmark Trust|
The photos I have gathered from that wonderful site Geograph show the present day remnants of tracks, stone walls, old houses - all now deserted landscapes. In this overcrowded world of ours now such landscapes may seem picturesque and desirable but the stories of how they got like that are anything but, and are worth remembering.