- CABRACH, a parish, partly in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, but chiefly in the county of Banff, 12 miles (W.) from Clatt; containing 827 inhabitants. This parish, which is about twelve miles in length, from north to south, and four in breadth, from east to west, is covered to a considerable extent with moss and fir, and derives its name from certain Gaelic terms signifying "the timber moss." The portion in the county of Aberdeen consists of a deep excavation in the form of a basin, surrounded by hills; and that in Banffshire of winding valleys, skirted on each side by lofty eminences, and stretching along the course of the Blackwater and Doveran streams. The surface is exceedingly rugged, and the entire district bleak, wild, and mountainous, spread over, to a great extent, with tracts of peat-moss, affording an inexhaustible supply of fuel; large moors abounding with grouse, partridges, hares, and almost every kind of game; and waste land incapable of cultivation; the parts under tillage bearing a very small proportion to the aggregate number of acres. Green crops, and grass for hay, thrive better than grain; oats and bear, which are chiefly sown, seldom coming to maturity in the higher district except in fine seasons. The inhabitants, however, engage in agricultural pursuits with great spirit, having introduced most of the improvements of the southern parts; the cattle are the black native breed, large numbers of which are reared, with many sheep, and some of the former are sent to the markets in the south, in a lean condition, for sale, as well as to the surrounding districts. A considerable extent of waste has been brought under tillage within the present century, and inclosures of various kinds are in progress; but the bad state of the roads, and the want of sufficient capital for their repair or enlargement, render agricultural improvement difficult. The rateable annual value of the parish is £1632 for the Banffshire portion, and £830 for the Aberdeenshire portion. The district abounds with limestone; and a small grey slate is occasionally dug up, and used chiefly for building, within the locality. The mountain streams supply abundance of trout; the Doveran, which rises here in several heads, contains excellent salmon, and in addition to the game upon the moors, the forests of Glen-fiddich and Blackwater are well stocked with fine deer. There were till lately two establishments for the distillation of malt spirits, producing annually 10,000 gallons. An annual market is held on the Thursday after the third Tuesday in July (O. S.), and another on the Monday before the second Tuesday in October (O. S.), chiefly for the sale of blackcattle bred here. The parish is in the presbytery of Alford and synod of Aberdeen, and in the patronage of the Duke of Richmond; the stipend is £158. 6. 7., of which nearly half is received from the exchequer; there is a manse, built in 1802, with about 28 acres of glebe, valued at £10 per annum. The church is a plain edifice, erected about 1786. The parochial schoolmaster receives a salary of £32. 2., with a few pounds derived from fees; and another school has a small endowment from the Duke of Richmond. On the farm of Shenwell, at a place called "King's haugh," is an ancient ruin, traditionally reported to have been the residence of Malcolm Canmore; and near Lesmurdie, on the north bank of the Doveran, are the remains of a chapel and burial-ground.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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