Braemar Highlands Their Tales, Traditions and History by
Elizabeth Taylor (1869)
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LITTLE apology will be needed for laying
this volume before the public, as the locality of which it treats
has excited no small degree of attention, since the publication of
the ‘Queen’s Book’ has opened up to us her quiet, simple life at
But, apart from the interest which
royalty has thrown around Braemar, it possesses much to attract,
—bracing air, magnificent scenery, and last, not least, some few
historical associations, which, with a multitude of quaint old
legends, form a medium through which we can obtain amusing, if not
very correct, glimpses into the distant past.
The object of this volume has been to
gather up these legends, reduce each to its own specific period, and
so make them illustrate, in some measure, its obsolete practices and
exploded beliefs. All traditions, it has been justly remarked, form
themselves into three classes: the first, those which are strictly
local and true; the second being manifest inventions; the third, a
mixture of truth and fiction.
Besides these general divisions, which
appear pretty clearly in the legends of Braemar, they still further
divide themselves, by cleaving, each one, to a distinct period. The
periods or centres round which they culminate are three. The first
includes all the early traditions of Braemar, and has Malcolm
Canmore for its central figure. The second includes all those
respecting the rise of the Farquharson race, with Finla, the founder
of the clan, for its centre. The third and last period includes the
legends respecting the Rebellions of '15 and ’45 with not
one-individual, but the House of Stuart, for its centre.
To form a sort of framework on which to
hang these legends, I have given some description of the physical
features of Braemar: this almost necessarily, as not a mountain,
hill, or stream, craggin or corry, but bristles with some
association or tradition striking deeply into the dimness of
antiquity. By means of the figures attached to the places described,
the reader will be enabled to turn to the corresponding legend, as
the pages on which they occur will be given in a fly-leaf at the end
of the volume.
Then, as to the sources whence I derived
my information: almost solely, I may state, from parties now or
formerly resident in the district; and, in particular, to a few aged
people, descended from the families whose history has been given, I
am indebted for the bulk of the traditions and other interesting
data found in this volume.
It was not until my collection, such as
it is, was almost complete, that I became aware of the existence of
a small volume, called Legends of the Braes of Mar. And since it
came into my hands, occasionally, in reference to a date, etc., and
frequently in regard to the correct orthography of several Gaelic
phrases, I have availed myself of the help it afforded. This from
necessity; as, though most of the people speak Gaelic with all the
fluency of their mother tongue, very few can
either read or write it. But in every other respect, during the
preparation of this volume, I have pursued a thoroughly independent
In conclusion, while I wish to state
that all pretence, even, to research or critical investigation, as
to what is truth or otherwise in the traditions, is entirely
disclaimed, yet, whenever a coincidence, or seeming coincidence,
between them and any historical fact occurred to me, I have
generally noted it; and when any phrase now obsolete, such as 'crop
the causey,’ etc., was used, if I could not get a satisfactory
explanation from the narrator, I sought it from other sources, and
put it in a footnote, or in the volume, as convenient. What I had in
view—viz. the gathering up and putting in a readable form what I
found ready to my hand in the minds of the people—is now
accomplished; and hope that this attempt to keep in remembrance the
'things that were’ in an interesting locality, will be not wholly
The Royal Family Attend The Braemar Gathering 2012
Part the First
Description of the Braemar Highlands
General Appearance of Braemar—Its Mountains, Rivers, and Forests. Chapter II.
Ben-Macdhui—Linn of Dee—Glen Lui—Glen Ey—Colonel’s Cave — Inverey
Castle—Falls of Corrymulzie — Linn of Quoich—Braemar Castle. Chapter III.
Glen Callater—Loch Candor—Lochnagar—Priest’s Well—Fairy Hillock,
etc. Chapter IV.
Glen Cluny—Castleton of Braemar—Auchendryne—Morrone—Kenneth’s
Craig—Croy, etc. Chapter V.
Glen Candlic—Invercauld House—Lion’s Face—Craig Cluny— Big Stone of
Cluny—Falls of Garrawalt—Aberairdar—
Cairn-a-Quheen—Monaltrie—Balmoral. Chapter VI.
Abergeldie Castle — Craig-na-ban — Druidic Remains — Glen
Muick—Glengairn—Pass of Ballater—Kirk of Tullich, and Legend—Loch
Kinoird—Hill of Mulloch, etc. Chapter VII.
Braemar via Perth—Glenshee—Pass of the Cairnwell—Castleton —The
Part the Second
Earliest Traditions of Braemar
Visits of the Romans—Introduction of Christianity—Giants. Chapter II.
Kenneth the Hardy—Malcolm Canmore—Origin of the Gatherings, etc. Chapter III.
Origin of Braemar Surnames. Durward—Lumsden—Mulloch—
Coutts—M‘Hardy—Stewart. Chapter IV.
Origins continued. M‘Gregor—M‘Donald—M‘Intosh—Cum-ming,
etc.—Destruction of Kindroket Castle. Chapter V.
The Earls of Mar, from their creation in 1057, until their attainder
Part the Third
Rise of the Farquharsons
Fearchar Shaw—Finla Mor, Founder of the Clan Farquharson. Chapter II.
Donald Farquharson of Castleton—Robert Farquharson, Founder of the
Fenzean Farquharsons—Alexander Farquharson, first Laird of
Allen-quoich—The Baron of Braichley—Tragedy of Strathgimock—James
Farquharson, the first Laird of Inverey. Chapter III.
Donald Oig—Italian Champion, etc. Chapter IV.
The Cam-ruadh—‘Cleansers’—Battle of the Caimwell, etc. Chapter V.
The Inverey Farquharsons—William the first Chief— John Farquharson,
or the Black Colonel—Baron of Braichley. Chapter VI.
Black Colonel continued—Miss Grant of Tullochgorum—The M‘Kenzies of
Part the Fourth
Rebellions of '15 and '45
Great Hunt of 1715—Gathering of the Clans—Results of the Rising,
etc. Chapter II.
Gillespie Urrasach and his brother Donald. Chapter III.
Changes in Braemar—Earl of Mar’s Estates sold—The Ephiteach. Chapter IV.
Rising of ’45—Battle of Falkirk—Second Gathering at
Castleton—Culloden and its Results. Chapter V.
Disarming of the People—Contests with the Soldiers—The last Rebel in
Scotland, etc. Chapter VI.
Priest Farquharson—Last Chief of the Invereys. Chapter VII.
Social Usages of the Braemarians—Dress, Food, etc.—Last Case of
Witchcraft—Cheese-peel. Chapter VIII.
Braemar becomes a Royal Residence—Highlanders’ Love to the
Queen—Prince Consort, etc.
To give you some idea of the scenery of
the area here is another video...
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