Glen Loy, Lochaber in 1998
Glen Loy was one of the lands disputed between the Macintoshes and the Camerons for over three hundred years… The area was occupied by the Erracht branch of the Cameron Clan throughout this time… The white house is Erracht House, the ancestral site of that family…John Cameron was born in 1698 in Kilmonivaig parish, which is a very large parish stretching from just behind the camera and over Rannoch Moor to Rannoch Station
Below is a closer photograph of the present-day Erracht House… Sir Allan Cameron of Erracht was born here in 1750… He founded the Cameron Highlanders and led them during the Napoleonic wars.
Lochan a’ chlaidheimh
Scene of one of the legends of the Camerons, this small loch can be seen to the left from the West Highland Railway, shortly after leaving Rannoch Station for Fort William… [see 'Ancients'/'The Legends'/'Loch of the Sword' for the story]
Proclamation of Marriage
Extract from the Old Parish Register of Fortingall… The entry reads “Donald Cameron in Aldhonigan and Katrin McGrigor in Ardlarich both in this Parish were Lawfully Booked”… The date is 3rd April 1752.
Viewed from the site of the hamlet of Finart, where Donald and Katrin brought up their four children, including Duncan…..Donald was born in 1730 in this small hamlet on the south-western shore of the loch, and married Katrin McGrigor in 1752… The McGrigors lived on the northern shore.
Proclamation of Marriage
Extract from the Fortingall parish register… It reads: “Duncan Cameron Kilmanivaig Parish and Girsel Kennedy in Finart in this Parish entered their names for Proclamation”… The date is 27th May 1792.
A farm is now the only habitation where the hamlet of Finart once stood… Crumbling stones are all that is left of the life that was there two hundred and fifty years ago… But a mile from Finart is this charming wee loch… It has a partner close by, Loch Monaghan, and is hidden away among the hills…It is tempting to imagine Duncan and his Grizel going a-courting there after church on a Sunday morning.
This ‘Munro’ is 1083 metres (3547 feet) in height… At a distance of ten miles from Finart, its shapely western outline will have been well-known to the inhabitants of the small hamlet… The name Schiehallion is derived from the Gaelic Sidh Chailleann, meaning ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’ (according to Wikipedia).
A Scientific Experiment
The plaque below is at the car park at the eastern side of Schiehallion.
In 1772 Rev. Nevil Maskelyne proposed to the Royal Society what was to become known as the Schiehallion experiment (named after the mountain on which it was performed), for the determination of the Earth’s density using a plumb line… He was not the first to suggest this, Pierre Bouguer and Charles-Marie de la Condamine having attempted the same experiment in 1738.
Maskelyne performed his experiment in 1774 on Schiehallion in Perthshire, Scotland, the mountain being chosen due to its regular conical shape which permitted a reasonably accurate determination of its volume.
The apparent difference of latitude between two stations on opposite sides of the mountain were compared with the real difference of latitude obtained by triangulation… From Maskelyne’s observations Charles Hutton deduced a density for the earth 4.5 times that of water (the modern value is 5.515).
In 1758 Maskelyne was admitted to the Royal Society, which in 1761 despatched him to the island of St. Helena to observe the transit of Venus… This was an important observation since accurate measurements would allow the accurate calculation of Earth’s distance from the Sun, which would in turn allow the scale of the solar system to be calculated.
Bad weather prevented any useful observations, however Maskelyne used his journey to develop a method of determining longitude using the position of the moon, which became known as the lunar distance method… He returned to England, resuming his position as curate at Chipping Barnet in 1761, and began work on a book, publishing the lunar distance method of longitude calculation in 1763 in The British Mariner’s Guide, which included the suggestion that to facilitate the finding of longitude at sea, lunar distances should be calculated beforehand for each year and published in a form accessible to navigators… This proposal, the germ of the Nautical Almanac, was approved by the government, and under the care of Maskelyne the Nautical Almanac for 1767 was published in 1766… He further induced the government to print his observations annually.
Despite a possible conflict of interests, Maskelyne being an advocate of the lunar distance method of determining longitude, the Board of Longitude sent him to Barbados in 1763 to calculate the longitude of the capital, Bridgetown by observation of Jupiter’s satellites, and also to test his lunar distance method and compare its accuracy to John Harrison’s chronometer, the No. 4 timekeeper… Even after a successful trial in Barbados in 1764 observed by Maskelyne, Harrison was required to produce detailed drawings and build two more chronometers, one of which was eventually tested by King George III himself.
The results of the voyage were made public at a meeting of the Board of Longitude in early 1765, where it was disclosed that Harrison’s chronometer had produced Bridgetown’s longitude with an error of less than ten miles after a sea voyage of more than 5,000 miles. Maskelyne’s method on the other hand showed an error of 30 miles… However, four of the naval officers present stated that their calculations had been performed to Maskelyne’s instructions and were therefore subject to their inexperience… Also, since the lunar distance method relied on tables that only Maskelyne was capable of calculating, the method was not yet in a position to take the prize.
However, two Astronomers Royal had recently died in quick succession and Maskelyne was appointed to the position soon after his return to England… The position automatically made him an ex-officio member of the Board of Longitude and it was not long before a negative report was made on Harrison’s chronometer, Maskelyne refusing to allow for the known rate at which Harrison’s chronometer gained or lost time and thus dismissing it as inaccurate… He was not alone in his position on lunar distances; other members of the Board of Longitude and the Royal Society were also strongly biased toward lunars, as they saw the scientific solution being conceptually and intellectually superior to the mechanic’s solution… When eventually Harrison was paid the money owing to him, it was by a special Act of Parliament rather than the Board of Longitude.
Nonetheless, while chronometers were indeed more accurate, the lunar distance method was cheaper and was the predominant method used well into the 19th century.
Since Maskelyne’s observations and calculations were made at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Greenwich meridian eventually became a common base for longitude worldwide and in 1884 was adopted internationally as the Prime Meridian. (per Wikipedia)
Baptism – John Cameron 1795
Extract from the Old Parish Records of the parish of Port of Menteith in Perthshire, recording the baptism of John Cameron. The record reads : “John lawful son to Duncan Cameron & Grizal Kenedy in Drunkie” (the last word is difficult to read, but there is a small loch to the north-west of Port of Menteith called Loch Drunkie. This must be where they lived).
Lake of Menteith
Straight ahead is Inchmahome Island…Situated on an island in the middle of Lake Menteith, the only ‘Lake’ in Scotland… Inchmahome Priory is a ruined Augustine priory (The Black Cannons), founded in 1238 by Walter Comyn, who was the Earl of Menteith…The priory has had many distinguished royal visitors; Robert the Bruce came here three times in 1306, 1308 and 1310, probably for political motives, as the first abbot had sworn allegiance to Edward the I, the English King… The priory was also a refuge for Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed here in 1547… She was only four years old at the time, and stayed for three weeks, mainly for her own safety after the disastrous battle of Pinkie in September of that year.
Our Duncan’s son John was born near here in 1795, probably at Loch Drunkie.
Weavers’ Cottage, Kilbarchan
This pair of weavers’ cottages in Kilbarchan is owned by the Scottish National Trust. The site is located in Shuttle Street, where John and Janet brought up their family at number 12. There were nine of them living and working in a cottage similar to these. John’s loom was in the basement, where the children, as soon as they were old enough, would set up the loom for their father to work on.
A view of the small terrace in Kilbarchan called Cartside. It is possible that it is the location where John and Janet moved some time after 1861(see a discussion under ‘Family Trail). Wherever the true location was, their 26-year-old son Duncan died there in 1868, and both John and Janet spent their last years there. John died there aged 82 in 1877.
Two of my great-grandmothers.
On the left is Elizabeth Cameron (née Murphy) b.1829 -m.John Cameron 1852 -d.1916. (pictured around 1900)
On the right is Ann Hartley (née Crowther) b.1843 -married David Hartley 1864 -d.1920
…..Ain’t they gorgeous!
Margaret McCrone Cameron (née Ferguson) (Tiny person – with cousin Polly from Canada)
- and her daughter Janet (“Nettie”) Hartley (née Cameron) with husband Maurice in 1930
John Duncan Hartley in 1945 – Valetta, Malta – and – in 1951
1951 – Margaret Mary Leak, who married Duncan Hartley in 1952 – and (much later) Duncan nearing the summit of Schiehallion in the year 2000 [Loch Rannoch below]