Strachan

   STRACHAN, a parish, in the county of Kincardine, 15 miles (N. W.) from Stonehaven; containing 944 inhabitants. This parish derives its name, properly Strath-Aen, from the river Aen, which flows through a valley in its western portion into the river Feugh. It is about twenty miles in length, extending from the confines of the parish of Durris, on the east, to Mount Battock, on the west; and is twelve miles in breadth, from Cairn-o'-Mount, in the south, to the river Dee, which constitutes its northern boundary, and separates it from the parish of Banchory-Ternan. The surface is mountainous, forming a portion of the Grampian range, and containing numerous hills of various elevation: of the mountains within the parish the highest are, Mount Battock, 3465 feet above the level of the sea, Clochnabane 2370, and Kerlock 1890 in height. From the summits of these mountains there are most extensive prospects of the eastern coast from Peterhead to Montrose, and the coasts of Haddington and Fifeshire; to the south embracing also a fine view of Edinburgh and the Pentland hills. On the top of Clochnabane is a huge mass of granite rock called the Stone of Clochnabane, about 100 feet in perpendicular height, and which, on ascending the mountain, has an imposing aspect, resembling a towering fortress; it is seen from a great distance, and serves as a land-mark to mariners entering the port of Aberdeen. Scoltie, one of the smaller hills, is about 800 feet in height, and commands a view of the course of the Dee, with the beautiful scenery on the banks of that river, terminating with the bay of Aberdeen and part of the city. The river Dye, which has its source on the south side of Mount Battock, after traversing the lower grounds falls into the Feugh near the manse; and the Aen, which rises on the north side of that mountain, after a course of nearly ten miles, runs into the same river near Whitestone. The valley of Strachan appears to have been formerly a lake: the vale of Glen-Dye, through which flows the river of that name, abounds with picturesque scenery. The rivers Feugh and Dye, after heavy rains, are subject to rapid rises, and used frequently to inundate the lower lands, to prevent which they have been embanked at a considerable expense; they abound with excellent trout, and with sea-trout and grilse from July till September.
   The entire number of acres is 56,362, of which 2236 are arable, 2200 woodland and plantations, 6000 undivided common, and the remainder moorland pasture and waste. The soil is various; in the vale of Strachan, of richer quality on the upper lands than on the lower; in some parts of the parish a deep black loam, and in others of very inferior quality, principally hill pasture. The lands in cultivation are under good management, and have been drained, and inclosed with fences of stone; the crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips. The sheep are of the common black-faced kind; the cattle chiefly of the small Aberdeenshire breed. The farm-buildings are mostly substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in implements of husbandry have been adopted. The moors afford game of every variety: red, black, and white grouse are found in abundance on Mount Battock; partridges and woodcocks are numerous in the woods of Blackhall; and the dotterel, the gray and white plover, and other species of birds also frequent the moors. The woods and plantations are extensive; the former contain much valuable timber of ancient growth, and the latter are principally larch and Scotch fir. The rocks are chiefly of granite; stone for fencing and other inferior purposes is quarried, but though limestone is abundant in the contiguous parishes, no quarries have yet been opened in this parish. Very fine specimens of the Cairngorum are found in the beds of the mountain streams. Blackhall, the seat of Colonel Campbell, is a spacious mansion beautifully situated on the bank of the Dee, and surrounded with a richly-wooded demesne: Invery, the seat of Henry Lumsden, Esq., is a handsome building pleasantly seated on the river Feugh. Sir James Carnegie, Bart., has a commodious lodge at Glen-Dye, which he occupies during the shooting-season. The population is chiefly agricultural or pastoral: a few persons are employed in trades requisite for the accommodation of the inhabitants; about forty females are engaged in the knitting of stockings, and there is a small mill for spinning woollen yarn. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in repair by statute labour, and there are good bridges over the rivers. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2906.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 5., of which £64. 10. are received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £7. 10. per annum: patron, Sir James Carnegie. The church, erected in the year 1791, and enlarged in 1837, is a neat structure containing 500 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £34. 4. 4., and the school fees average about £20 per annum; the schoolroom was enlarged in 1841, at an expense of £80, and the master's house is ample and commodious. There is also a school at Glen-Dye, for which Sir James Carnegie lately erected an appropriate building, with a house for the master, at the cost of £200; and there is a good parochial library consisting of more than 400 volumes, with a juvenile library of 100 volumes for the use of the weekday and Sunday schools. Of three circular mounds in the parish, two are now covered with wood of ancient growth, and, from the name of a farm-house near them, called Bow-Butts, are supposed to have been raised for the practice of archery; the third is named Castle Hill, but there are no records of the existence of any castle or fort in the parish. On the farms of Letterbeg and Ardlair are two circular cairns, about 300 feet in diameter and thirty feet high; they are formed of round stones. In the various adjoining parishes are others of a similar description, supposed to have constituted in ancient times, with these, a line of communication by beacon fires.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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