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Parish of Strachan

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.

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1791-99: Strachan
1834-45: Strachan

Strachan, a hamlet and a parish of NW Kincardineshire. The hamlet stands, 260 feet above sea-level, on the left bank of the Water of Feugh, 3½ miles SSW of Banchory and 21½ WSW of Aberdeen, under which it has a post office.

The parish, much the largest in the county, is bounded N and NE by Banchory-Ternan, E by Durris, SE by Glenbervie, Fordoun, and Fettercairn, SW by Edzell and Lochlee in Forfarshire, and NW by Birse in Aberdeenshire. Its utmost length, from NNE to SSW, is 13 miles ; its utmost breadth is 7¾ miles ; and its area is 653/7 square miles or 41, 8853/5 acres, of which 2134/5 are water. Issuing from tiny Loch Tennet (1650 feet above sea-level), on the NW slope of Mount Battock, the Water of Aan, A'en, or Avon runs 8½ miles north-east-ward along the Aberdeenshire border, till it falls into the Water of Feugh, which winds 6 miles east-north-eastward-for 3 and 42/3 furlongs along the Birse and Banchory boundaries, but elsewhere across the interior -and which passes off into Banchory at a point 7½ furlongs above- its influx to the river Dee. The Water of Dye, rising at an altitude of 2000 feet on the SE slope of Mount Battock, winds 14¾ miles eastward and north-by-eastward to the Feugh ; and the Dee curves 31/8 miles eastward along all the northern boundary. The surface declines beside the Dee to 195 feet above sea-level, and rises thence to 1104 feet at the Hill of Goauch, 1747 at Kerloch, 1944 at Clachnaben or Klochnaben, 1488 at Cairniemount, and 2555 at Mount Battock, near the meeting-point of Kincardine, Forfar, and Aberdeen shires. ` The main portion of Strachan consists of high hills and moors, ' writes Mr James Macdonald in Trans Highl. and Ag. Soc. (1881). ` The arable area is very small, and is made up largely by a narrow irregular fringe along both sides of the Feugh and its affluent, the Water of Dye. Near Strachan hamlet on the Feugh, there is a considerable stretch of really good arable land, mostly black free fertile loam. The principal estates in this parish are those of Glendye, Strachan, and Blackhall. On the former, now owned by Sir Thomas Gladstone, Bart., of Fasque, there is a small strip of arable land along the course of the Dye, mostly between Binglyburn and Glendye Lodge, a short distance above the bridge of Dye. On the Strachan estate there are a few good arable farms, the largest, Bowbutts, extending to 180 acres. The soil is light black loam, on gravel or rock. . . . Very little wheat is grown in this district, but oats and barley of heavy weights and very fine quality are raised. Harvesting begins, as a rule, early in September. A good many cattle, mostly crosses between the polled and shorthorn breeds, are reared in the parish. Most of the land has been drained since 1850 by Government, the proprietors, or the tenants ; while, besides great improvement in the way of building and fencing, a large extent of new land has been reclaimed, chiefly from moor and moss. Rent varies from 20s. to 28s. per acre. On the Blackhall estate there are also some very good arable farms, managed in a manner similar to the system prevailing on the Strachan property. One of the largest and best managed holdings is the combined farms of Letterbeg and Bucharn. The extent is 245 acres arable and 60 of natural pasture, the rental being £240, 11s. The soil is mostly black friable loam. A portion of the farm is put under sheep, and is broken up occasionally. The other portion is worked in five shifts. ' The predominant rock is granite. Barely one-twenty-fifth of the entire area is in tillage ; nearly as much is under wood, plantations mostly of larch and Scotch firs in the northern district ; and all the remainder is either pastoral or waste. On 21 Sept. 1861, the Queen, after leaving Fettercairn, ` came to a very long hill, called the Cairniemount, whence there is a very fine view ; but which was entirely obscured by a heavy driving mist. We walked up part of it, and then for a little while Alice and I sat alone in the carriage. We next came to the Spittal Bridge, a curious high bridge, with the Dye Water to the- left, and the Spittal Burn to the right. Sir T. Gladstone's shooting-place is close to the Bridge of Dye-where we changed carriages again, re-entering the double dogcart -Albert and I inside, and Louise sitting behind. We went up a hill again and saw Mount Battock. You then come to an open country, with an extensive view towards Aberdeen, and to a very deep, rough ford, where you pass the Feugh at a place called White Stones. It is very pretty, and a fine glen with wood.' Dr Thomas Reid (1710-96), the distinguished moral philosopher, was the son of a minister of Strachan ; and the great Covenanter, Andrew Cant (circa 1590-1664), was one of the Cants of Glendye. The modern name, Strachan, is simply a corruption of Stratha'en (` Valley of the A'en '), and is popularly pronounced Straan. This parish is in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil and the synod of Aberdeen ; the living is worth £202. The parish church, at the hamlet, was built in 1867, and contains 340 sittings. There is also a Free church ; and two public schools, Glendye and Strachan, with respective accommodation for 55 and 120 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 16 and 64, and grants of £27 and £62, 8s. Valuation (1856) £3637, (1885) £5782. Pop. (1801) 730, (1831) 1039, (1861) 870, (l871) 795, (1881) 694.—Ord. Sur., sh. 66, 1871.

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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