Duthil

   DUTHIL, a parish, chiefly in the county of Elgin, but partly in that of Inverness, 2 miles (N. E. by E.) from Carr-Bridge, including the late quoad sacra district of Rothiemurchus, and containing 1769 inhabitants. This place, which was anciently called Gleannchearnach, or "the heroes' glen," derived its present name from the Gaelic word Tuathil, signifying "north," on the removal of its church from a spot in the south, called Deishal. Rothiemurchus, united to Duthil in 1630, was disjoined in 1824, and formed into a separate ecclesiastical district, which is described under its own head. Exclusively of this portion, which is in Inverness-shire, the parish is wholly situated in the southern part of the county of Elgin, on the north-eastern bank of the Spey, and in a mountainous and thickly-wooded tract, in ancient times an almost impenetrable forest; it was the scene of many deadly feuds between rival chieftains in past ages, and the residence of the powerful Cumyns. This family possessed the principal part of the estates, and for many generations maintained hostilities with the Grants; but the enmity between the clans was ended by the marriage of the heiress of one of the Cumyns to Sir John Grant of Freuchy, the great rival, thereby fixing the property in the family of Grant, with whom it has remained to the present time. Duthil measures in length about sixteen miles, and thirteen in breadth, and comprises a large proportion of uncultivated ground, and of natural wood, consisting chiefly of fir, the part under tillage being of small extent.
   The surface presents a hilly, bleak, and dreary aspect, the scenery taking its principal character from extensive moors and mountains, the latter covered with heather, and the whole only occasionally interspersed with patches of grass or corn land. A lofty range traverses the whole northern side, and terminates in the Monadhlia, an imposing chain of mountains common to the districts of Badenoch, Strathdearn, and Stratherrick; and parallel with this, but not of equal height, a ridge passes along the southern portion, bleak and barren like the other. These two ranges skirt the intermediate valley of the Dulnan stream, which takes its rise in the Badenoch hills, and, flowing through the vale from west to east, loses itself in the Spey at Belentomb of Inverallan, and which, though generally small, overflows its banks when swollen after rain or snow, and carries desolation among the neighbouring lands. The forest of Duthil or Dulnanside was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the last century, an event which was the occasion of the final extirpation of the wolves, so long before the terror of the neighbourhood; but there is still a large forest of natural Scotch fir in the northern district, where two saw-mills, of two saws each, erected for the cutting the timber felled in the locality, are turned by the waters of the Dulnan. The lochs are of small extent, but some of them contain fine trout, especially Loch Bhruach, situated on the northern hills; in others are pike; and salmon and trout are taken in the rivers.
   The soil near the Dulnan and Spey is chiefly alluvial, upon a deep clayey subsoil, producing in favourable seasons heavy crops of oats; and some of the higher grounds, also, where the soil is thin and gravelly, and intermixed with stones, yield notwithstanding, by the recent improvements in cultivation, and when aided by genial seasons, an ample return in oats, bear, barley, turnips, and potatoes. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved within the last twenty years, and the five-shift course is usually followed; much waste ground has been reclaimed, and the former huts of the farmers, raised with turf, have been succeeded by well-built stone dwellings, neatly thatched with straw. Birch, alder, and fir thrive well in this part, and the first, which grows naturally to a considerable extent, greatly relieves the generally uninteresting scenery: an extensive tract of barren moor was planted by the late Sir James Grant along the northern bank of the Spey, upwards of fifty years since, and the trees are now in a flourishing condition. The rateable annual value of Duthil is £2674. The Highland road between Perth and Inverness passes through the parish; and from the hamlet of Carr-bridge, where a post-office was established in 1836, a road branches off to Grantown: besides the bridge at the hamlet, there is one at Sluggan, built shortly after the year 1745, on the line of road formed under the direction of General Wade, but it has been almost impassable since the flood of 1829. The cattle of the district are sold at neighbouring markets to the south country dealers: the timber cut in the forest is sent mostly to Inverness. The parish is in the presbytery of Abernethy and synod of Moray, and in the patronage of the Earl of Seafield; the minister's stipend is £200, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £5 per annum. The church is a commodious edifice, built in 1826, and accommodating between 800 and 900 persons with sittings, all free: a handsome mausoleum of grey granite has lately been erected over the burialground of the Grant family. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13., with about £12 or £15 fees, and £32 from the Dick bequest: there is also a school endowed by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and another is supported by the education scheme of the General Assembly.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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