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Between the Ochils and the Forth
Chapter VI. - Other Excursions from Dunfermline


Road from Dunfermline to Rumbling Bridge—Village and parish of Saline—Road from Dunfermline to Queensferry —St Leonards Hospital—Pitreavie and the Wardlaw family—Broomhall and Pitliver.

The country between Dunfermline and Alloa has now been surveyed Ľn so far as it borders the principal lines of communication between these places. I shall here take occasion to describe several localities which could not conveniently have been introduced there, and require to be noticed in completing the picture of the district.

A favourite excursion for Dunfermline people is to the Rumbling Bridge—a distance of 10^ miles. Indeed it is the great excursion to which every " citizen " deems it incumbent on him to treat any friend who may be paying him a visit. In themselves, the place and its surroundings lie for the present beyond my scope, but will be detailed in a succeeding chapter, when I come to notice the vale of the Devon. The road leading to them, however, belongs, for the greater part, to the region of Dunfermline, and as such may be here detailed. The direct way is to the north of the town, by the Wellwood colliery, to Dunduff and Red Craigs, thence by the Outh, Hillside, and Meadowhead, to Powmill, and so to the Rumbling Bridge. Occasionally the jaunt will be continued along the highway to Crieff through the Yetts of Muckhart to Glen Devon, a farther journey of five miles.

The road from Dunferml'ne is almost throughout of a wild and mountain character, being all uphill, till it reaches a point behind the house of Hillside (Alexander Colville, Esq.), which is situated at an elevation of nearly 800 feet, and is almost the highest residence in Fife. About two miles from the town, at Colton (John Brown, Esq.), a road branches off to the left, leading by Craig-luscar and the back of Luscar House to Carnock and Saline; whilst a mile farther on, another to the right conducts by Balmule and Gask to Oakfield and the Great North Road. At Gask also, the old road to Kinross, already referred to, branches off to the north across the hill by Loch Glow. The mansion of Balmule (James Alexander, Esq.) deserves notice as the ancient residence of the Wardlaws, who seem to have retired here after disposing of Pitreavie to the first Earl of Rosebery. It was here that Lady Wardlaw (nee Miss Halkett of Pitfirrane) lived, and here probably she composed the famous ballad of "Hardyknute."

At Red Craigs the highway to the Rumbling Bridge and Craigs is crossed by the road leading from the border of Clackmannanshire through Saline to Oakfield. We here skirt the eastern shoulder of the Saline hills, and continuing to ascend by the Outh farm, reach our highest point behind Hillside, from which we descend by a long winding road to the valley, which extends along the north side of the Cleish hills for about six miles, from Blairadam to Powmill. The highway leading through it from the Great North Road joins the road from Dunfermline to the Rumbling Bridge at the farm of Mcadowhead, at a point where the county of Kinross meets that of Fife. It is the readiest way of reaching the town of Kinross from Carnock and Saline, passing the mans. 3ns of Morland and Hardiston, with their hazel copses on the hillsides behind, and then proceeding by Cleish Castle through the village of Cleish, a little beyond which a road turns off to the north to Kinross. On the north side of the valley are the heights of Aldie, extending eastwards to Powmill, which will be more properly treated of in connection with the Rumbling Bridge. Retrac ing our steps now up the hill, we shall turn off at the old toll-house at Hillend into the road, which will conduct us, after a journey of nearly three miles, to the village of Saline, crossing the Black Devon, and passing the mansions of Grey Craigs and Balgonar.

Saline (6 miles from Dunfermline, and from Oakley station on the Stirling and Dunfermline railway) is a very clean and prettily situated village lying in a hollow at the western extremity of the Saline hills. It has been termed "the Paradise of Fife" but though a very nice-looking place, it can scarcely be entitled to this epithet, seeing that it lies at a considerable height above sea-level, that during winter it is a cold and remote locality, and that the harvest here is generally a fortnight or three weeks behind that of the districts on the shores of the Forth. There are, however, many pleasant walks about it, and the views of the Ochils and the country extending westwards to Stirling and Ben Lomond are very fine. The land in the parish is subdivided among a number of proprietors, the chief of which in ancient times were the Earls of Mar, who had their seat at Alloa, and the Earls of Argyll, who had theirs at Castle Campbell. Neither of these own any property here at the present day.

The Saline hills extend from west to east, as a short detached range, fronting and parallel with the Oehils. They attain their highest point in Knockhill (1189) at their eastern extremity, whilst Saline Hill has an elevation of 1176. The latter commands a beautiful and extensive view of the valley of the Forth from Ben Lomond to the German Ocean, and on a clear day the summit of Goatfell, in Arran, can be discerned across the isthmus that separates the estuaries of the Forth and Clyde. The hills are covered to their summit with verdant turf, and are separated from the parallel Cleish range to the north by a valley through which flows the Black or South Devon. This has its source here, and maintains an east-south-east course through the parish of Saline, then enters Clackmannanshire, passes the hamlet of Forest Mill, and then flowing through a romantic dell, enters the domain of Alloa Park at Mary Bridge, near the town of Clackmannan, and falls into the Forth a little below Alloa.

As regards antiquities, Saline has not much to present. Into the march fence which crests the ridge of the hill behind Bandrum House, there are built two standing-stones, but nothing whatever can be averred regarding their history. On the eminence above the picturesque gorge of Saline Dean, at the south-west extremity of Saline Hid, are the ruins of Killernie Castle, which belongs, with the neighbouring property, to Mr Aytoun of Inchdarnie. In former days, it seems to have been possessed by the Scotts of Balwearre, one of whom was Sir Michael Scott, the renowned knight and wizard. Indeed Killernie Castle used to be known also as the Castle of Balwcarie. The ruins now consist only of the fragments of two towers, of which the southern is said to be the more recent, and to have borne the date of 1592. There used to be connected with it a large vaulted apartment, which has now disappeared. A strange legend is recorded of this part of the building regarding Lady Scott having commissioned a mason to erect it for her as a summer-house. She refused to pay the stipulated cost, and the disappointed artist revenged himself by murdering her and her child. He was punished for the crime by being shut up in the tower, where he starved to death, having previously been reduced to feed on his own flesh, like another Count Ugolino and his sons. This is one of the many places where the famous ballad of "Lamikin," which treats of this episode, has been localised, and aversion of it used to be current in the parish.

The first minister appointed to Saline after the Reformation seems to have been Peter Blackwood, inducted in 1567. He had also under his charge the parishes of Auchtertool, Dalgety, and Aberdour. A James Blackwood, " Reader in Saline," is also mentioned as incurring the censure and prosecution of the ecclesiastical authorises for celebrating the marriage of the commen-dator of Dunfermline, residing outside of the parish, without requiring a certificate from the minister of the place to which he belonged.

Saline is miles from Oakfield on the Great North Road, and about from the old Redcraigs Toll on the road from Dunfermline to the Rumbling Bridge. The highway from Oakfield, which crosses the latter road at Redcraigs, is the great artery of communication of this part of the country from east to west, and after passing through Saline and approaching the Black Devon, it takes a bend to the north-west, and joins at the old Ramshorn Inn the road which leads from Powmill to Alloa through the village of Blairingone. Another continuation of the west road from Saline, though hardly passable in the latter part of its course for carriages, leads to the hamlet of Forest Mill on the Black Devon, through which the main highway passes from Kincardine to Dollar. With the south, Saline communicates by two roads, one passing Upper Kinnedder, at the east extremity of the village, and going over Ban-drum Hill towards Carnock and Dunfermline — the other branching off at the west end, near the church, and joining at Comrie village the north road from Dunfermline to Alloa.

A walk or drive of manageable compass from Dunfermline is to go south as far as the old toll-house at St Margaret's Hope, on the Queensferry road, then turning westwards along the shore and leaving Rosyth Castle on the left, to proceed to the entrance-lodge to Broomhall, and taking the road there on the right, to return to town by Leckerston, Ladysmill, and Broad Street, Netherton. In taking this way the traveller will cross, at the lower extremity of the town, the Spital or Lyne burn, which forms its southern boundary. It derives the former appellation for this part of its course from the fact of an hospital having formerly existed in this neighbourhood, dedicated to St Leonard, and which still exists as a charity, though the building connected with it has long since disappeared. The name of the original founder is not known but the account-books date from. 1594. The revenues are derived from sixty-four acres of land, lying in the immediate vicinity, and they are employed in the maintenance of eight widows, the selection of whom rests with the Marquis of Tweed-dale, who still retains certain privileges connected with Dunfermline, in virtue of his representing the ancient lords of the regality. According to the original terms of the foundation, each widow was to have a chamber in the hospital, with a small garden ; four bolls of meal, four bolls of malt, eight loads of coal, fourteen loads of turf, eight lippies of fine wheat, and eight lippies of groats yearly, whilst some were to receive in addition two shillings annually for pin-money.

The ascent from the bridge on the farther side of the Spital burn is called Hospital or St Leonard's Hill. On the left hand, after crossing it, are the St Leonard's Works (Ersbinc Beveridge & Co.), for the manufacture of damask and table-linen, and the largest factory of the kind in Dunfermline. On the summit of the rising ground are, on the right, the house and grounds of St Leonard's Hill (Erskine Beveridge, Esq.), both commanding a wide and extensive view, and forming a conspicuous object from all parts of the neighbourhood.

About miles from Dunfermline, a short distance after passing St Margaret's Stone, already referred to, is on the left-hand side of the road the lodge of the avenue leading to the house of Pitreavie, the residence of Henry Beveridge, Esq., who has recently become the proprietor of the ancient domain of the Wardlaws. As stated previously, this family owned at one time nearly the whole country between Dunfermline and Torryburn. In the 14th century Pitreavie appears to have belonged to Lady Christian Bruce, sister of King Robert, and it also seems at one time to have been incorporated with the barony of Rosyth. It also became attached to a chaplainry in the church of St Giles of Edinburgh, the incumbent of which, with the consent of the magistrates, made it over to a relation. The first Wardlaw mentioned in connection with it is a Sir Cuthbert Wardlaw, knight, who was the second son of Sir Andrew Wardlaw of Torrie, and besides Pitreavie was proprietor of Balmule, to the north of Dunfermline. His eldest son Henry, who inherited both of these properties, became in the reign of James VI. chamberlain to his queen, Anne of Denmark, and was made a knight by her husband. His eldest son Henry inherited Pitreavie, and had conferred on him by Charles I. the dignity of baronet in 1631, whilst his second son William succeeded to Balmule. Sir Henry, the first baronet, died in 1653—according to Lamont's account, "suddenlie, and, as it was said by some, the last word he spake was ane oath." It was popularly said of him that he had brought down a judgment on his family by authorising a truculent act against the Highlanders who fought for the royal cause at the battle of Inverkeithing. The engagement took place in the valley fronting Pitreavie House, and was at its hottest almost below the walls of the mansion. The Highlanders ensconced themselves there, but received no support from the inmates, who destroyed many of them by hurling down great stones from the battlements. It was remarked that after this the Wardlaw family declined and disappeared "like snaw aff a dyke."

Notwithstanding this ill-omened procedure, the Ward-laws still held Pitreavie for two generations, a second Sir Henry succeeded his father in 1653, and he again was followed by a third Sir Henry Wardlaw, Baronet, of Pitreavie, who married in 1696 Elizabeth, second daughter of Sir Charles Halkett, first baronet of Pitfirrane. As already mentioned, she was the discoverer or author (for the matter has never been very satisfactorily cleared up) of the ballad of "Hardyknute," and as she is generally spoken of as Lady Wardlaw of Balmule, it would seem that she and her husband had retired thither shortly after their marriage. Sir Henry had inherited Balmule along with Pitreavie, but the latter was sold by him in the beginning of the last century to the first Earl of Rosebery, who retained it only for a short time, and then disposed of it to Sir Peter Blackwood, Lord Provost of Edinburgh. In the hands of the Blackwood family it remained for upwards of 150 years, till it was recently purchased by Mr Beveridge from Miss Madox Blackwood.

The old house of Pitreavie seems to have been built in the early part of the seventeenth century, but had been subjected at different times to various alterations. There now only remain of it the north and west walls, which have been retained in the new mansion erected on the site of the old one. The ancient style, however, has been preserved throughout, and the additions made harmonise very satisfactorily with the reminiscences of the older building. The latter was honoured by the attendance of a ghost, whose special habitat was a small weird-looking chamber in the uppermost storey on the north side of the house. I never could learn what appearance the spirit was supposed to assume; but so fixed and persistent was the belief in it, that not many years ago, when the house was empty, and a number of harvest labourers were bivouacked there, nothing could induce them to do otherwise than congregate together in one large room. A similar visitant was believed formerly to haunt Otterston, but in this case it took the form of a lady with a child in her arms—the victim of misplaced affection.

On the high ground to the east of Pitreavie, and included in the estate, is the village of Masterton, which is said to have been so called originally from the circumstance of an ancient proprietor of the lands here having been the master-architect of Dunfermline Abbey. In the year 1675, Sir Henry Wardlaw, the second baronet, founded an hospital here of a similar character to that of St Leonard's, near Dunfermline, but making provision only for four widows. The charity still subsists, and the patronage, which was originally vested in the proprietor of the Pitreavie estate, was retained by Miss Blackwood when she sold the property to Mr Beveridge.

Continuing along the Queensferry road for about a mile, we reach the very steep ascent of Castlelandhill, at the summit of which a road branches off to Inverkeithing. The descent on the other side is almost equally steep, and after crossing the level ground at the bottom, we reach the old Ferry toll, where a highway branches off to the west and traverses the district lying on the sea-coast between North Queensferry and lorry-burn. It is the same point at which, in coming from the former place, we turned round towards Inverkeithing and had the distant view of Rosyth Castle. Proceeding now in an opposite direction, we pass on the slope of the hill to our right the house of Castlelandhill occupied by Mr Sheriff Gillespie; and then, skirting the seashore and ascending a hill, the farm of Orchardhead and the road leading down to Rosyth Castle are reached. There is now a fertile but very open and treeless country to be crossed before reaching the well-wooded park of Broom-hall, the residence of the Earl of Elgin, beneath which, on the seashore, are the villages of Limekilns and Charlestown, both of them built on his lordship's estate. The former, as its name imports, has long been noted in connection with the limeworks in the vicinity, but the latter dates only from the middle of the last century, when new lime-quarries were opened on the estate of Broomhall, and an immense industry developed under the auspices of Charles, Earl of Elgin, father of the celebrated ambassador to Turkey, and grandfather of the late Governor-General of India. The village, situated on a sort of plateau above the harbour, is a model for neatness and general amenity, and the port of Charlestown is both a large emporium of merchandise, and supports an extensive export traffic of coal, lime, and ironstone. Formerly, when the Stirling steamers touched at the pier, there used to be a tramway for passengers to Dunfermline, but this has long been converted into a mineral railway. No fewer than three coaches, however, run every week-day between Limekilns and Dunfermline.

The present house of Broomhall is a comparatively modern mansion, of the early part of the present century. The estate originally belonged to the great Sir George Bruce of Carnock, and was bequeathed by him to his second son Robert, who became afterwards one of the judges of the Court of Session, under the title of Lord Broomhall. He was succeeded by his son Alexander, who was first made a knight, and afterwards successfully contested with his kinswoman, Lady Mary Cochrane, the claim to the Kincardine peerage. His grandson Charles, the originator of the village of Charlestown and its limeworks, succeeded, in addition, in 1747, to the title of Earl of Elgin on the death of his kinsman, the great-grandson of the first Earl, who was the younger son of the first Lord Kinloss, elder brother of Sir George Bruce.

Nearly opposite to Broomhall Lodge, a road leads northward to Dunfermline, by Leckerston farm and Ladysmill. Near the latter place, just before turning round into the Netherton, there stands on the right-hand side of the road a singular-looking detached mound on which one or two Scotch firs are growing. The legend regarding this is, that it is composed of sand brought from the seashore in former days by individuals who had this fatigue imposed on them by their confessors as a penance. Hence it goes by the name of "Perdieu," or "Penance Mount."

Continuing westwards along the Queensferry road from Broomhall, the traveller will pass on his right first a road leading to the village of Crossford (through which he has already journeyed on his way from Dunfermline to Torryburn), and afterwards another which conducts by Mid-Mill up the Lyne burn to the mansion of Pit-liver, a fine specimen of an old Scottish manor-house. In former days it belonged successively to the families of the Dempsters and the Lindsays, and in the last century was acquired by the Wellwoods of Garvock, a family that had long been settled in the neighbourhood of Dunfermline. It has been asserted that they are descended from a Danish gentleman named Velvod, who came over to Scotland in the train of Queen Anne, wife of James VI. But no evidence can be produced in support of this averment, and there can be no doubt whatever that the lands of Touch, near Dunfermline, belonged to the Wellwoods at a period anterior to the arrival of Anne of Denmark, whilst various other instances of the name as a local one might be adduced. Among others, the burgh records show that in 1499 there was a certain John de Walwode, who held the office of sergeant of the regality of Dunfermline. The estate of Pitliver is now possessed by Mr Maconochie Wellwood, a grandson of the second Lord Meadowbank, whose mother was a Miss Wellwood of Garvock.

A little beyond the entrance of the road leading up to Fitliver. the ancient hamlet of Fiddy's or Feddy's Mill is reached, and the parish of Torryburn entered. From this*point it is about four miles to the village, which may be reached either by way of Gillanderston Toll, or by the road which branches off near Crombie farm, and leads down to the seashore by the old church and churchyard of Crombie,


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