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Traprain Law

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Traprain Law, a conspicuous conical hill in Prestonkirk parish, Haddingtonshire, 4½ miles E by S of Haddington, and 1¾ mile SSW of East Linton. Rising 724 feet above sea-level, it forms a beautiful and farseen feature in the rich champaign landscape around it; and, from its summit, it brings under the eye of a spectator nearly the whole Firth of Forth, a wide expanse of the German Ocean, and part, it is said, of no fewer than thirteen counties. Its ancient name was Dunpender, from two Gaelic words which signify ` a steep hill; 'and this name is quite descriptive of its character. On the S side it rises almost sheer up from the plain in one grand perpendicular ascent; and on other sides, though admitting sheep, and affording them excellent pasturage, it is too steep to be a grazingground for black cattle. Its composition is a slaty clinkstone, so seamed as to be irregularly columnar, and occasionally merging from a clouded brown to a porphyritic appearance; and towards the summit the clinkstone passes into greenstone of a bluish-grey hue, and slightly granulated with hornblende.—Ord. Sur., sh. 33, 1863.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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