NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae

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

Cultivation traces at Red Brae
Cultivation traces at Red Brae
In this photograph, two furrowed areas, slightly greener than their surroundings, are visible in the middle distance, one to the left and one to the right of centre.

▪ The area on the left has furrows running W-E, and is centred on NS44418122. For a view from within that area, see NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae.

▪ The area on the right, furrowed WNW-ESE, is centred on NS44488108. For views from within it, see NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae and NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae. Within that area is another kind of agricultural relic, an NS4481 : Unfinished millstone at Red Brae.

▪ Immediately to the east of the first area is another, centred on NS44538120, with furrows running N-S rather than W-E; it cannot be seen in this photograph, but it is immediately behind the area on the left, and it is located at the top of the slope. For views from within it, see NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae, NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae, and NS4481 : Cultivation traces at Red Brae.

These patches are merely three particularly well-preserved sections of what must once have been a much more extensive area under cultivation; several less well-preserved patches, some of them quite large, can be found nearby: for example, (1) a fainter but more extensive area (furrowed E-W) just N and S of NS44338179; (2) a small patch (furrowed N-S) at NS44978106; and (3) a strip (furrowed SSW-NNE), between NS43938139 and NS44128138. Many other examples can be found; the three just cited were chosen simply to indicate the large area originally covered, since they are located (1) about 600 m to the N, (2) 500 m to the E, and (3) 500 m to the WNW, respectively, of the examples that are pictured in my photograph. Faint traces of a field boundary also survive nearby; see Link for several pictures of it.

These and other examples can be picked out on satellite imagery (particularly in historical imagery that was photographed when the land was illuminated by a very low sun).

Taken together with the nearby NS4481 : Remains of an enclosure, the furrows provide evidence that a farmstead was located here long ago. It appears to have considerably pre-dated even Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1740s-50s), which gives no indication of a farm here, either occupied or in ruins (what I have interpreted to be a former enclosure was evidently undivided, and was much too large for a farmhouse of that period). Although there is also the possibility that this was once an outlying part of NS4482 : Merkins Farm, the distance (about 1.7 km) makes this unlikely.

The site shown in the present photograph is not the only long-disappeared farmstead in the area; see NS4582 : Remains of Aridow: the main building, about 1.2 km to the NE.

- - - -

I have been unable to definitely locate the remains of any farmhouse at Red Brae.

(Features can certainly be found that resemble ruins: for example, one at c.NS 4422980910, on the west bank of the burn, bears some resemblance to the low ruins of parts of three sides of a small building. However, it might instead be a natural feature. Given enough bumpy moorland, there is bound to be something that looks vaguely like a ruin, so it is wise to be cautious.)

Some interesting remains, though not necessarily those of a building, turned up a little way to the south; these find some corroboration on satellite imagery; see NS4480 : Possible remains of a structure.

As some indication of the faint traces that might be left by a farmhouse of perhaps roughly the same age, compare the NS4277 : Remains of an ancient farmhouse, located a few kilometres away. The location in the present photograph consists of much rougher terrain; in addition, considerable disturbance was caused throughout this area at a later period (c.18th century) in connection with the limestone industry (see NS4380 : Traces of limestone quarrying, and other nearby photographs linked from there).
Cultivation traces at Red Brae

Furrows here, spaced about 5.5 metres apart, appear to be remnants of what was once a larger area under cultivation. The presence of such traces, and of the nearby remains of an enclosure Link suggest that there was, long ago, a farmstead at Red Brae.

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NS4481, 32 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 13 February, 2012   (more nearby)
Monday, 27 February, 2012
Geographical Context
Farm, Fishery, Market Gardening  Derelict, Disused 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4444 8114 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:59.8744N 4:29.7540W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4398 8123
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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Cultivation Marks 

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