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Braemar Highlands
Their Tales, Traditions and History by Elizabeth Taylor (1869)

We thought we should highlight the below text image which clarifies that while the content is sound the author is not. As a result we now also bring you the book where the information was taken from and have added it to the foot of this page.


Doreen Wood welcomes you to our first edition of Braemar TV! We hope to bring you further editions at the end of each month. If you have any comments or suggestions - or ideas for future broadcasts - do get in touch with us on

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 course.

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 unacceptable.

The Royal Family Attend The Braemar Gathering 2012


Part the First
Description of the Braemar Highlands

Chapter I.
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 Gathering, etc.

Part the Second
Earliest Traditions of Braemar

Chapter I.
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 in 1715.

Part the Third
Rise of the Farquharsons

Chapter I.
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 Dalmore, etc.

Part the Fourth
Rebellions of '15 and '45

Chapter I.
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...

Download the book here (pdf)

Braemar, an Unconventional Guide Book and Literary Souvenir
By The Hon. Stuart Erskine (1898) (pdf)

The Natural History of Dee Side and Braemar
by William MacGillivray (1855) (pdf)

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