We drove to the Spittal at Glen Muick from Banchory and Aboyne, a total of 11 of us, having dropped a car of at the Linn of Muick. The weather had been cold and frosty all week but a warm wind had blown in overnight with the temperature on higher ground up to 9 deg C.
The plan was to walk down the glen looking at some of the remains of settlement as we went. Robert described the survey work which had been undertaken and the research on historic documents which his wife Linda had undertaken.
At the Spittal we talked about droving and saw where the drove road crossed the burn. A good stop for a coffee break in the warm sunshine. We looked at the different sized buildings and located a couple of shielings in the heather.
Next stop was Titaboutie with a discussion about tacks (leases) and the sort of obligations put onto the tacksmen by the landlord in the 18th century. After a look at the kilnbarn in the wood...
.....we followed the head dyke over to Foresterhaugh for a discussion about deer forests.
Over the burn is Bealachodhar with it’s enclosure and very well preserved kilnbarn.
The kilns were used to dry grain for storage but also for stopping the malting process when converting barley to malt. Robert described how the tax on whiskey had been introduced in the late 1600’s, then steadily increased until small stills were made illegal in 1788. Illicit distillation was very profitable until the duty was reduced in 1823.
We then headed over the hill to find the still house on both the Allt an Uisge and Allt an t-Sneachda burns on the way disturbing some black grouse.
At this point those that needed to get back early to Banchory headed of with Tim so he could take them back to their cars whilst the rest of us walked over to Clashmuick and Auchnacraig to look at the Fermtouns, rig and furrow fields and clearance cairns. On the way we saw a golden eagle (thanks Paddy) fly over and a huge herd of red deer.
Although it was only a stroll in the Glen with fine weather all day we didn’t get back to the cars until dusk.