Reply To: Meikle Ross & Balmangan Map

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John Shields

From Archie ? – 14 May 2020

Good afternoon Rachel

Please note that I am not a professional, Graham is I think a bit of one but mainly an archivist but now retired.  Chris of course looks at maps all day and everyday.  My background is in sawmilling!

Anyway I was having a quick squint at the videos  (…which are all excellent and great scenery!) and was minded of a map.  It belongs to Dumfries Museum and is a bit modern for us…but they wanted it copied.  Not sure that there are any names that you will not have but it should be fun if you are down that way.  I think they were done for an archeological dig of some sort. Please use for study only and not for reproduction.

On your questions…

Yes we also had a look at Port Cheek.  I started off by thinking that it was a Port Check or a place where the customs boys could have stood to tax any incoming material landed on the peninsula.  Graham pointed out my mistake but actually this could have been what it actually was.  “Cheek” in this instance is the “cheek” of a dyke…the bit of walling that abuts the gatepost…so we think that this was indeed a barrier/gate of some sort which would have been manned to cut down the smuggling.  By the time the road was changed (to the darker red one) smuggling was not so prevalent(???) and the gate no longer required at that point.  The new road would have been post 1786 when Gillone would have been hired by Lord Daer who was organising the roads in the area at the time.  This leads me to believe the map was slightly earlier than this…but Graham thinks it later…and the new road added as and when.

I have also had a go at reading the ?abies…and also failed! …but is there only one letter?

I presume that a watch was kept on Watch Hill…but it does not perhaps need a tower.  A stand for a beacon or bonfire would have sufficed…but not sure what a watch was kept for… smugglers, shipwrecks, Norse invaders…who knows?

All best