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Between the Ochils and the Forth
Chapter II. - From Tillicoultry to Dollar and Yetts of Muckhart


The Colville family as Lords of Tillicoultry—Harvieston and its associations with Burns—Town of Dollar—Castle Campbell and its surroundings—Road from Dollar to the Yetts of Muckhart.

The present house of Tillicoultry is a modern square mansion, situated on the slope of the Kirk-hill, about a quarter of a mile to the east of the town, and near it is the old churchyard, though the old church is almost obliterated. On a terrace at the north end of the Kirk-hill there remained till the end of the seventeenth century a venerable thorn, beneath which the Laird of Tillicoultry, the first Lord Colville of Culross, was wont to repose. He had served with great distinction in the wars of Henry of Navarre against the Catholic League, and continued a great favourite with that prince throughout the remainder of his life. He was sent afterwards on various missions to France front the English Court, and was always received there with the utmost honour and respect. During his latter days he resided almost constantly at his house of Tillicoultry. Standing on the terrace one day, and looking up to bis favourite thorn, whilst he was recounting his military adventures to some friends, his foot slipped, and the old man fell down the bank, never to rise again. His son, the Master of Colville, had predeceased him, and his grandson, Lord James Colville of Culross, sold the Tillicoultry estate, as already mentioned, to Sir William Alexander of Menstrie.

Going due south from the Kirk-hill, we arrive at its conmuation "the Cuninghar," at the extremity of which, where it abuts on the public road, may still be seen the fragment of a circular rampart. There were some standing-stones here at one time, and the locality was regarded as the site of a Druidical circle; but with the exception just mentioned, almost every vestige of antiquity has disappeared, in consequence of the excavations that have been made in the bank for the digging of sand. A number of bones have been found at this place.

The present church and manse of Tillicoultry is situated at the east end of the town, close to the road leading to Tullibod) and Alloa. Proceeding eastwards towards Dollar, and passing the new cemetery on the south side of the road opposite to the extremity of the Cuninghar, a long descent is made, at the foot of which, one mile from Tillicoultry and two from Dollar, is the west entrance to Harvieston, now the property of James Orr, Esq., who succeeded his brother Sir Andrew Orr in 1874. Sir Andrew purchased in 1859 the Harvieston estate, which for many years previous had been in the hands of the Globe Insurance Company. It used to belong to the family of the late Archbishop of Canterbury—Mr Tait, the Archbishop's father, having been the last proprietor of that name. It had come into their hands in the beginning of the last century, having previous to that time formed part, of the lordship of Campbell, which in its turn was, in the end of the last century, incorporated with and now forms part of Harvieston. The Archbishop was, with his brothers, brought up here, and his family still retain in their possession the mausoleum or walled enclosure known as "Tait's Tomb," on the banks of the Devon, between Tillicoultry and Dollar. His paternal grandmother, Mrs Tait of Harvieston, was sister of Mrs Hamilton, stepmother of Burns's great crony, Gavin Hamilton of Mauchline. On Mrs Tait's death, Mrs Hamilton came with her family to reside at Harvieston and keep house for her brother-in-law, Mr Tait. Burns, who visited Harvieston more than once, has celebrated the charms both of Charlotte Hamilton—Gavin's step-sister—and of the stream by whose banks she dwelt:—

"How pleasant the banks of the clear winding Devon,
With green spreading bushes, and flowers blooming fair!
But the bonniest flower on the banks of the Devon
Was once a sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr."

And it is not a little interesting to find that the poet's very last song, written at Brow on the Solway Firth, from which he only returned to Dumfries to die, has also reference to Charlotte Hamilton and the Devon :—

"Fairest maid on Devon banks,
Crystal Devon, winding Devon—
Wilt thou lay that frown aside,
And smile as thou wert wont to do?"

Harvieston is most beautifully situated amidst the woods and declivities which here, as generally in the Dollar valley, constitute the great charm of the lower slopes of the Ochil range. Above rise the verdant hills, and seem to overhang the road, to the portion of which extending from Tillicoultry to Dollar must perhaps be assigned the palm, in point of picturesque attraction, in the whole route by the hillfoots. The present house of Harvieston is a large and imposing mansion in the Italian style, and the grounds attached to it form an important feature in the landscape. The estate includes Castle Campbell and its glen, with which we shall soon make acquaintance.

Continuing along a finely shaded road, we pass on our right the mausoleum of the Tait family, and at a little distance afterwards on our left the east entrance to Harvieston. Shortly after this we enter the town of Dollar (Hotel: Castle Campbell), which, originally a small village lying on the side of a mountain-gorge, has now spread out into a large town with handsome streets, villas, and all the appliances and luxuries of modern civilisation. Much of this development has doubtless been owing to the erection here of Dollar Academy, an extensive educational establishment, founded through the munificence of a Mr John M'Nab, a native of Dollar, who, leaving the place a poor boy, with barely enough in his pocket to defray his fare for crossing at Queensferry, found his way to Leith and thence to London. There he settled, and in the course of a long life, spent in seafaring and shipowning, he contrived to amass an immense fortune. This he left to the minister and kirk-session of Dollar, to be employed in the erection of an institution for the purposes of education, he himself having apparently experienced in his young days the desirability of such a provision being made for poor scholars. Through some ambiguity in the wording of his will, executed in England, it was questioned whether, in accordance with the testator's directions regarding the foundation of a "charity," its conditions might not be fulfilled by the establishment at Dollar of a large hospital or poorhouse. There was also a difficulty caused by the bequest to the minister and parish of Dollar, a circumstance which for a time left practically the application of the funds and management of the trust in the hands of one man—the clergyman. A keen and protracted contest ensued, in which were invoked the authority of the Court of Session, the English Court of Chancery, and the Imperial Parliament. Ultimately the matter was arranged by the creation of a body of trustees, by whom the affairs of the institution were managed for a number of years, and recently there has been a fresh organisation at the hands of the Educational Endowments Commission. The idea of a vast poorhouse or hospital had long been abandoned, and a large and handsome academy had been built at an expense of ^10,000. It was opened in 1820, and has enjoyed a great and ever extending reputation. All householders residing within the parish of Dollar have a right to partake of its benefits, and hence multitudes of families, chiefly of the middle classes, have been induced to settle in the place in consideration of the educational advantages which it affords. Dollar Academy provides higher or secondary education for both sexes, and the capital fund of its endowment amounts to about ^90,000.

The street leading up to the Academy is termed Cairnpark Street, and so named because it occupies the site of a field in which stood an immense cairn of stones, 30 feet in height, with a base of 30 feet square. It was removed in the beginning of this century, and the stones of which it was composed, to the amount of about a thousand cart-loads, were broken up and used as metal for forming the new road by the foot of the Ochils. At the bottom of the cairn a number of clay urns were found, and these, in a similar spirit to that which prompted the whole procedure, were allowed to go to destruction.

The original nucleus of Dollar consisted of what is now known as "Old Dollar," situated at the north-east extremity of the present town, on the rising ground at the entrance of the gorge of Castle Campbell. The Dollar burn, formed by the union of two streams from the hills, flows past it in a southerly direction to the Devon, and the modern town of Dollar spreads itself out on the acclivity on either side of the stream (though chiefly on the western bank) which ascends from the Devon to the Ochils. The main street crosses it from west to east, along the great road from Stirling to Kinross, from both of which places, as also from Dunfermline, Dollar is equally distant (12 miles).

A fine view of Dollar is obtained from the train as it passes from Alloa to Kinross, along the elevated bank or terrace on the south side of the Devon. A road from Alloa leads along the crest of this to the Rumbling Bridge and Kinross, through Blainngone, parallel with that which we have just been traversing by the foot of the Ochils, and commands throughout a complete prospect of the Dollar valley. At a point where the roads from Forest Mill and Saline converge, a steep and winding descent leads down to the Devon, which is now crossed here by a wooden bridge, though till within the last forty years there was only a ford, which frequently was impassable when the water was high. It was not an uncommon practice in those days for the Devon to be forded on stilts. The only access to the northern bank which could then be obtained in all weathers was by the Vicar's Bridge, three quarters of a mile farther up, and approached on the south side by a steep descent leading down from the village of Blairingone.

Unlike the other "hillfoots," Dollar has no factories or large works, with the exception of the bleachworks near the wooden bridge, established by Mr Hay of Dollarfield about a hundred years ago. In some respects the place may be regarded as a miniature of Edinburgh, its mainstay being its educational advantages, and the attractions presented by the mountain scenery and salubrious climate. In the latter respect Dollar has always enjoyed a pre-eminence. The minister of the parish, speaking of it in the end of the last century, says that in the course of a parochial visitation in the month of December he did not find a single sick person. The only disease which used to be considered as peculiar to the locality was what is known as bronchocele or a glandular swelling of the neck, attributable, it is said, to the drinking of the water of Dollar burn, which is mingled during a large portion of the year with the melted snow coming down from the Ochils. A similar cause has been assigned for the prevalence of goitre in the Swiss valleys. A new water-supply, however, and altered conditions of life, have rendered this characteristic one of the reminiscences of the past.

A great deal of fanciful absurdity has been expended in connection with the origin of the names of Dollar and the surrounding localities, which are all supposed to have had their source in some depressing or melancholy characteristic. Thus the parish itself is said to be that of "Doulour" or "Grief"; Castle Campbell, which overshadows it, was formerly called the Castle of Gloom, and the two streams which surround it and unite in the gorge at the southern extremity of the castle hill, had the appellations respectively of the Waters of Sorrow and Care. The idea was not an unattractive one, and received some support from the fact that Castle Campbell was really in ancient times known as the Castle of Gloom, and had this designation changed to its present one by the authority of an Act of the Scottish Parliament, passed in 1489. Put Dollar is merely the Gaelic doi/leir, or the dark place, an epithet very applicable to the situation of the castle in the centre of a wooded gorge, and the position of Old Dollar at the entrance of the ravine. The Castle of Gloom and the Gloom Hill, immediately adjoining, on the east, are a natural Saxon rendering of the Gaelic term, and appear still more applicable when, as not unfrequently happens, the locality is shrouded in a dense mist. As for the Waters of Sorrow and Care, their peculiar appellations must be dismissed as the emanations of a poetic fancy, and they are now in great measure discarded for the more prosaic epithets of the Bank and Turnpike burns.

Little can be stated regarding the early history of Dollar but an engagement is said to have taken place here in 877 between the Danes and the Scots, in which the latter were worsted, and pursued with great slaughter to the north-cast extremity of Fife. The occasion for the battle arose in consequence of the expulsion from Ireland of the Danes by the Norwegians, a kindred nation of Scandinavian settlers. The former then passed over to Scotland, and crossing the isthmus between the Firths of Clyde and Forth, made their way into Stirling and Clackmannanshire. A legend, too, is recorded in the Scottish Chronicles of a company of English pirates landing in Fife, and plundering the whole country as far as the Ochils, without encountering any resistance. They arrived at Dollar, and carried off from the church the recently fitted and beautifully carved woodwork of its choir. This they transported to their ships, and sailed off in great glee, till they approached Inchcolm, when the vessel containing the sacred timber disappeared suddenly beneath the water. The rest of the expedition, warned by the punishment which had thus followed their sacrilegious act, desisted from prosecuting further their hostile intentions against the monastery on the island.

It is in the middle of the fifteenth century that the Campbell family first appear on the scene, the lands of Dollar having become vested in coheiresses, one of whom married the first Earl of Argyll. The date of 1465 is commonly assigned for this event; and subsequently to this period we find them, as evinced by numerous royal charters, confirmatory and otherwise, proprietors of large tracts of territory, not only in the neighbourhood of Dollar, but through the whole adjacent country, ranging from Menstrie on the west, to the Yetts of Muckhart on the east, and extending as far south as the parish of Saline in Fife. They were, in fact, the governing family in the district—one specially important office that they held being the hereditary bailiary of Culross Abbey, which they exercised till 1569, when the jurisdiction was made over to Robert Colville of Cleish, ancestor of the Lords Colville of Ochiltree.

Dollar belonged to the diocese of Dunkeld, and in the earlier half of the sixteenth century it had the fortune to be under the spiritual oversight of Thomas Forrest, or Forret, who has come down to posterity as the " Good Vicar of Dollar," and one of the early martyrs in the cause of the Reformation. He is said to have belonged to the family of Forret, landed proprietors in Fife, and his father is styled by Calderwood " master stabler to James IV." He himself was a canon of the monastery of Inchcolm, and was early noted both as a pious youth and earnest student. After his appointment to Dollar, he soon became renowned through the whole country for the zeal and activity of his ministrations, which were principally directed to the exposition of the Holy Scriptures. Nor in the inculcation of good works did he omit to practise what he preached. He was both extremely charitable to the poor, and refrained from oppressing them by those exactions which had become so intolerable on the part of the clergy. In particular, he never availed himself of the ecclesiastical privilege which claimed as a perquisite on the occasion of the death of the head of a family, the best cow and the coverlet or uppermost cloth of the best bed. He is also traditionally said to have erected for the public convenience the bridge across the Devon, known as the Vicar's Bridge, which has thus served to perpetuate his name.

All this zeal and unselfishness, however, proved eminently distasteful to his ecclesiastical superiors, who perceived in the former a tendency towards justification by faith and cognate Protestant doctrines, whilst in the latter they foresaw an encouragement to the laity to resist the temporal claims put forward by the Church. Forrest was cited before the Bishop of Dunkeld, and examined as to the practices alleged against him : his answers proved, as might have been expected, unsatisfactory and he was sent for trial to Edinburgh, where he was convicted of heresy, and, with four other fellow-sufferers, burned to death at the stake on the Castle Hill in 1538.

The Pearls of Argyll, who seem then to have occupied Castle Campbell as their chief residence, adopted zealously the cause of the Reformation during the last years of the regency of Mary of Guise; and we find the "old Phrle of Argyle," as John Knox terms him, extending his hospitality and protection to the Reformer, who spent some days at Castle Campbell previous to his departure for Geneva in 1556. Here he "taught certane dayes and the place is yet pointed out 011 the castle eminence where he is traditionally said to have preached. A few years afterwards Castle Campbell was honoured by a visit from Queen Mary, who travelled thither from Edinburgh in January 1563, to be present at the marriage of Sir James Stewart of Doune (afterwards Lord Doune) with Lady Margaret Campbell, daughter of Archibald, fourth Earl of Argyll. They were the parents of the "bonnie Earl of Moray," whose tragic fate has already been recorded.

In 1605 the greater part of the possessions of the Argyll family in the parish of Dollar were feued out by Archibald, Earl of Argyll, the father of the celebrated Covenanting leader, with the reservation only of Castle Campbell and two farms in the neighbourhood. The rights of lordship or superiority, however, were retained both here and over the adjoining district of Muckhart. During the great civil war, the Marquis of Argyll, in command of an expedition against the Ogilvies in the Braes of Angus, had burned in 1640 their mansion of the "bonnie house o' Airlie," an act for which summary vengeance was taken by Montrose's army in 1644 on their march through the Dollar valley to the field of Kilsyth. Not only was Castle Campbell burned and wrecked, but almost every house in the parishes of Dollar and Muckhart was committed to the flames. The case of the unfortunate inhabitants of this district was brought subsequently before the Covenanting Government, and active measures taken for relieving the sufferers, on whose behalf several Royalists were severely mulcted in the way of compensation. The castle never recovered from the onslaught to which it had been subjected, but in Cromwell's time it was garrisoned by a detachment of his troops, who sent out in 1652 a requisition to the town of Culross for a supply of bedding—a demand the enforcement of which occasioned a vast amount of trouble and annoyance to that little burgh.

The building itself was allowed to go to ruin, and the Argyll family living at a great distance at their seat at Inverary Castle, seem to have gradually lost .interest in Castle Campbell and its territory. Their connection with it finally ceased in 1805, when they disposed of it to Mr Tait. It is now the property of Mr Orr of Harvieston.

Castle Campbell is, of course, the principal object of interest connected with Dollar; and from the elevated knoll on which it stands, in the midst of a densely wooded gorge, it looms forth like the presiding genius of the place. Always attractive with its surroundings, its appearance is perhaps most striking in winter or early spring, when the trees are bare of foliage, and clouds of mist are partially shrouding its grey walls and battlements. Before the use of cannon in sieges, it must have been a very strong fortress indeed, seeing that before the present walk up the glen was constructed along the precipitous banks where scarcely any natural footing exists, the only approach was from the north side by the narrow road which leads up from Old Dollar on the western flank of the Gloom Hill. The castle knoll is a wedge-shaped eminence, washed on the east side by the Turnpike burn or Water of Care, and on the west by the Bank burn or Water of Sorrow, which unite at the point of the wedge near that singular rift or cleft .n the rock known as "Kemp's Score."

The opening up of the pathway through the glen has been an immense boon both to the inhabitants of Dollar and the general public, who have thus been spared the fatigues of a circuitous route, and been enabled to contemplate in comfort and safety a scene of mingled grandeur and beauty that resembles a miniature Switzerland, and may call up to the traveller reminiscences of that country. The work was accomplished mainly through the exertions of the late Dr Strachan of Dollar and Mr Peter Stalker, who, having obtained the permission of Sir Andrew Orr, the then proprietor, managed to collect a sum of ^300, which was expended in the formation of the roadway. This was no easy undertaking, as the rock required in many places to be blasted, and bridges had to be constructed at the junction of the streams. To maintain the road in good order a toll of sixpence is charged at the entrance of the glen, and as this procures also admission to the castle, the impost must in the circumstances be regarded as a very reasonable one.

Dollar or Castle Campbell Glen, is certainly on the whole the finest in the Ochils; though doubtless the natives of Menstrie, Alva, and Tillicoultry will each claim the superiority for his own valley. It is flanked on the west side by Dollar Hill, which rises to the height of 1129 feet; and on the east by Gloom Hill, which is lower, and has only an elevation of 728. Above Dollar Hill rises the pyramidal King Seat (2no feet), which commands a magnificent view of the Dollar valley; whilst to the north of the castle is the Saddle Hill (1633 feet), behind which is the White Wisp or Craiginnan Hill (2111 feet), one of the highest in the Ochils. All these hills look down on the castle, which is seen to special advantage from a point at the crest of the ravine, where the slope of Dollar Hill abuts on the latter. The grey tower there stands forth on its green knoll amid the border of bright foliage which clothes the sides of the 'gorge, the depths of which the eye strives to penetrate, whilst the ear meets the sound of the clear rushing waters as they descend in cascades or ripple gently over the smooth shining pebbles.

Castle Campbell bears no date, but seems to have been built at three different periods. There is the keep or tower at the north extremity, constructed much after the orthodox model of such buildings—that is to say, of a basement storey for stores, or possibly occasionally cattle; a kitchen above, with a vaulted roof; then a great hall, with a modern roof of wood, the old one having been destroyed ; then a grand vaulted apartment at the very top, and above that the battlements or flat roof, now surrounded by a low parapet, though it used to be merely an expanse of green turf without any protection. Yet here parties used to picnic, and even have dances!

Attached to the keep on the south side is a species of supplementary tower with mullioned windows, and a porch with a flat stone roof resting on two handsomely carved pillars. To the south of this had been a group of apartments ranged in storeys, part of which are still inhabited by the custodian of the castle. The lower rooms are vaulted, but the upper ones have been repaired and modernised. What seems to have been a long corridor or gallery extends south of the porch from east to west, with towers at each end; and south again of this are the remains of a large hall, which forms the south front of the castle, and commands a grand prospect of the gorge down to the Dollar valley. The courtyard of the castle is entered from the north beside the keep by an arched gateway and porch, and there are still some fine old trees on the grassy slope beyond towards the stream. A small piece of garden-ground extends before the south front of the castle, and beyond this are the remains of some kind of outwork ;n the form of an archway. Going through this, we reach a small expanse or grassy projection, which forms the southern extremity of the castle knoll. It is almost precipitous on three sides, but at the very extremity a rude footpath, still passable for a short distance, seems to have wound along the face of the feliff down to the stream. On this grassy plot John Knox is said to have preached; but if so, it could not have been to a very large audience, seeing that the space is not merely small, but bordered by precipices. Just before passing through the archway the traveller will observe a narrow chasm or cleft in the rock leading away down to the water's-edge. This rift is called " Kemp's Score," and a story is told of a gigantic robber of former days named Kemp who made himself notorious by his depredations, and at last was so daring as to enter the king's palace at Dunfermline and carry off the royal dinner. He was pursued by a young nobleman who had got into disgrace at Court, and determined if possible now to regain favour. Overtaking Kemp after a long chase, he attacked him, cut off his head, and hastening back with it to Dunfermline, received pardon and reinstatement at Court. The body was thrown by him into the Devon at a place which subsequently bore in remembrance of him the appellation of " Willie's Pool." Such is the history of Kemp, who is said to have scooped out the great cleft at Castle Campbell, which was called after him Kemp's "score" or "cut." But it is scarcely necessary to observe that all this is mere fable. The real explanation of the term is the Gaelic Ceum scoir, the step or staircase in the rock. The cleft is probably natural; but there can be little doubt of a sort of rude staircase or series of steps having been made here to enable the garrison in the castle, when besieged, to have access to the stream either for water or as a means of egress. A similar purpose had doubtless been served by the narrow path leading down from the grass plot already mentioned. It only remains to be stated that Kemp's Score, though an ugly, awkward-looking place, has been not unfrequently both ascended and descended in modern times. There is indeed no extraordinary difficulty in doing so in dry weather, if a reasonable amount of care and precaution be taken; but after rain, the earth which lias accumulated in the bottom and sides of the chasm becomes very unctuous and slippery, so that it is extremely difficult for the climber to stead)' himself or keep a firm grip.

Like Alva, Dollar has also had her mines. Both lead and copper were wrought for several years in the Oehils a little above the town, and silver, it is also said, was discovered in considerable quantities beside the Burn of Care, in Dollar Glen. But in none of these cases did the yield compensate for the expense of working. Valuable pebbles have been found on the summit of the White Wisp Hill. How far it may be worth the traveller's while to climb the hill for this purpose I cannot take on me to say, but there can be little doubt that he will receive ample compensation for his trouble in the splendid prospect which he will obtain from this point if the day be fine. The hill is directly north from the castle, and the proper line of ascent is by the old ruined steading of Craiginnan, which stands out prominently on the green slope. The valley between the Gloom Hill and the White Wisp or Craiginnan Hill is called Glen Quey, and by continuing in an easterly direction along the cart-track which leads up from Old Dollar to Castle Campbell, the traveller will, after a walk of three or four miles, emerge on Glen Devon.

The ascent of the grassy slope above the ru;ned steading is tolerably steep, but the top of the White Wisp is very level, resembling a wild upland moor, and the cairn or highest point is very far back. With regard to the prospect, it may be generally described as closely re-semb ing that obtained from the summit of Ben Cleuch, which will be seen away to the north-west, and may be reached in this way without much difficulty. Almost directly west from the White Wisp across the ridge is Tormengie (2091 feet), from which the traveller will look down on Glen Sherup with its reservoir, from which recently not only the town of Dunfermline, but a great part of the country lying between the Devon and the Firth of Forth, have derived their water-supply. If he descend from this point into the valley to the south-west, he may climb the King Seat, and then descend to Dollar by Dollar Hill and the Castle Glen.

One of the derivations assigned for the old name of the castle is that one of the Scottish princesses, having misconducted herself, was shut up there as a prisoner, and said very naturally that it was a "gloomy" place. At the foot of the Gloom Hill, to the east, an unfortunate individual was burnt as a wizard in the end of the seventeenth century; and a more cheerful reminiscence is called up by a locality at the east end of Old Dollar, which bears the appellation of Fiddlefield. The popular account of this etymology is tolerably authentic. Dollar used to be rather famous for its fiddlers, and in the last century there lived here a noted performer of the name of Johnnie Cook. Johnnie had repaired to Edinburgh to take part in a fiddling competition got up by the Duke of Argyll at his town mansion of Argyll House. He won the prize, and a considerable sum of money besides, which was subscribed for him as the successful competitor. With this he returned to his native place, and bought the field to which Scottish sarcasm affixed the title just mentioned.

From Dollar to the so-called Yetts of Muckhart, on the great north road from Dunfermline and the Rumbling Bridge to Crieff, through Glen Devon and Glen Eagles, il a distance of four miles. The hamlets of Pitgober, Bauldie's Burn, and the Pool of Muckhart, are passed, as is also the domain of Castleton or Cowden (J. Christie, Esq.), noteworthy as in former times the property of the Archbishops of St Andrews, who made it over to the Argyll family in the end of the fifteenth century. Some remains, including an ancient doorway and tower, are still to be seen of a castle said to have been built in the thirteenth century by Bishop Lamberton. The gardens and grounds of Cowden are very agreeable and Interesting. At Bauldie's Burn, towering upwards on the left, is Sea Mab, rising to the height of 1441 feet, the highest of the Oehils in this neighbourhood, and presenting the appearance of a lofty cone of beautiful greensward. The term "Pool" of Muckhart seems a singular designation, and possibly the correct rendering may be the "Peel" or Castle of Muckhart. The Yetts of Muckhart receives its designation from being situated on the great highway leading from Strathearn to the south through Glen Eagles and Glen Devon. The place where the road through the latter entered Muckhart parish used to be called the "Mantrose (Montrose) Yetts," in reference to the frequent descents this way of the Grahams, whose chieftains, the Earls of Montrose, had their stronghold at Kincardine Castle, on the north side of the Oehils, near the northern outlet of Glen Eagles. This is only twelve miles from Castle Campbell, and they were therefore in close proximity to the lands of the Argyll family, who suffered dreadfully in 1644 from the ravages of Montrose and his had made his fortune by retailing at fairs a particular kind of it known by this epithet.clan, when Castle Campbell was burned, and the parishes of Dollar and Muckhart laid waste.

The Yetts of Muckhart may be regarded as a sort of centre from which numerous distances in all quarters of the compass are measured. It is eighteen miles from Crieff, eighteen from North Queensferry, nine from Kinross, eight from Milnathort, four from Dollar, three and a half from Glen Devon, and one and a half from Rumbling Bridge. In itself it is only an insignificant hamlet, but there used to be a large and important inn here which did an extensive business before the days of railways. An immense number of carts, especially, used to pass this way going to Strathearn with coal and lime from Blairingone and Fife.


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