NS3779 : Ruins of Carman Cottage

taken 9 years ago, near to Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 5 images, with title Ruins of Carman Cottage in this square
Ruins of Carman Cottage
Ruins of Carman Cottage
Click on the end-note title for other views of the ruin.

For an indication of the date of construction of the building, see an entry at WoSAS: LinkExternal link

This rectangular ruin is made up of large blocks of red and grey sandstone. By pacing out the walls; I found that the ruin measures about 9.3 m by 5.1 m; see also NS3779 : Ruins of Carman Cottage, which shows one of the shorter walls of the same ruin.

The 1:2500 OS map of c.1936 names the building "Carman Cottage", as do the 1:10560 OS maps of c.1923 and 1958.

By coincidence, a few weeks after taking this photo, I was watching one of Colin Liddell's videos, "The Lovely Valley Memories of the Old Vale Part 3", which contains local footage filmed from the 1950s to the 1970s; it concludes with a walk uphill, past the nearby stile LinkExternal link which was described as being "at the shepherd's cottage".

I am very grateful to Catherine Cameron for providing many additional details about the cottage, which had been the home of her grandparents, and for letting me see some older photographs of the ruins, as well as a painting, made around 1936, of the cottage as it appeared when it was still occupied. First of all, Catherine confirmed that the OS map is correct in calling the building "Carman Cottage"; her grandfather, a shepherd and croft-worker, lived there at around the end of the nineteenth century, and the family's birth certificates give the building's name. There was a garden associated with the cottage; vegetables were grown there, and there were also some fruit bushes, a chicken run, and pens for animals. In the winter, these animals were brought under shelter, in a lean-to attached to the cottage. Catherine's grandmother had to draw water daily, and relied on the farm animals, not just for their milk, which she also used to make butter and cheese, but also for meat. The painting that was made c.1936, and which shows trees and higher hills behind the cottage, confirmed my uncertain impression that the main entrance of the cottage had been in the middle of its eastern side; the doorway would therefore have provided a view downhill, over the fields, looking towards the River Leven and the Vale. The painting also depicts a lean-to at the southern end of the cottage, and a smaller one at the northern end. I am indebted to Catherine for this information, which helps to bring the past to life.

On the other side of the fence that can be seen behind the ruin is Poachy Glen, marked out by the trees and bushes that grow in abundance along the course of the Poachy Burn. There is another ruined structure in this area, but it is much less visible: NS3779 : Remains of a structure near Poachy Glen. It is apparently just the remains of an enclosure. Incidentally, the name Poachy Glen has nothing to do with poaching. In the book "Changing Identities, Ancient Roots The History of West Dunbartonshire from Earliest Times", Simon Taylor cites a fourteenth-century land-grant that mentions "Poachy Burn (Pocheburne, probably containing Scots poch 'poach', a kind of fish)".

About 900 metres to the SSW of Carman Cottage there used to be a house on Carman Muir; that house is simply labelled "Carman" on old OS maps, and the OS Object Name Book describes it as "a farm house and offices"; see NS3778 : The site of Carman farmstead for further details. In addition, there is present-day Carman Cottage nearby; it is not connected with the one shown in my photograph, but is located about 700 metres to the SSW of it.
Carman Cottage
Possibly an eighteenth-century building. It was inhabited into the twentieth century, but is now a ruin.
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Grid Square
NS3779, 89 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 25 March, 2009   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 25 March, 2009
Geographical Context
Derelict, Disused 
Place (from Tags)
Millburn Muir 
Ruin (from Tags)
Near (from Tags)
Carman Hill 
Ruins > Ruins   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3779 7934 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.7728N 4:36.0794W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3778 7934
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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