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Lairds and Lands of Loch Tayside

TO the west of the lands of Lawers is the district of Crannich, now in the parish of Kenmore, but formerly in a detached part of Weem. It comprises the possessions of Balnasuim, Balnahanaid, Cragganester, Craggantoll, and Easter and Wester Tombreck. The eastern boundary runs up the hillside in a north-westerly direction to the summit of Ben Lawers, the western boundary following the Tombreck burn for the greater part of the way. The boundaries gradually narrow towards the watershed, where the lands of Roro, also formerly in Weem (now in Fortingal Parish), and extending up the northern slope of Ben Lawers, march with those of Crannich.

Anciently a thanedom or thanage, Crannich was, along with the lands of Auchmore and Kenknock, granted to Robert de Meygnes, ancestor of the family of Menzies of Weem, by the Earl of Athole, whose title was forfeited in 1327. The “Tosach-doreship ” of the thanedom went along with the lands, and the Menzies family held both for nearly three centuries.

Sir Duncan Campbell, second laird of Glenorchy, obtained “takis of the tuelf-mark land of Cranduich.” Sir Colin, the sixth laird, gave to his second son, Colin, by his second wife, Katherine, daughter of William, Lord Ruthven, the tack of these lands, along with the eight-merk land of Kingarth, and the twelve -merk land of Ardbeich. In 1602, Crannich was purchased from the then laird of Weem, by Sir Duncan Campbell, the seventh laird, together with the lands of Morenish, Auchmore, and Kenknock, for which he paid down eight and twenty thousand merks. Sir Duncan also succeeded to the whole rights and privileges of the Tosachdoreship, an office he was well qualified to fill.

The meal mill of the property stood at Balnahanaid on the west side of Allt-a-Choire Chireinich. At the south-east corner of Balnasuim, close to the lochside, was Cladh Phobuil, the burying ground of the district, but neglected in the last century, almost every trace of the sacred spot has been obliterated. There was an older place of burial, in front of Balnahanaid farm-house. Stone coffins have been unearthed there. For a number of years there was a school in Crannich. It was one of three established in the end of last century by the Rev. Archibald Campbell, minister of Weem, in outlying portions of that parish, belonging to Lord Breadalbane, the others being at Roro in Glenlyon, and Duncrosk in Glenlochay. The teachers of these were granted an annuity of over ^5 each by Mr. Campbell, which lapsed when the schools were discontinued.

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