John Duff, a local Braemar resident, supplies the following information relating to the photograph below, of the Dubh Ghleann bothy:
There used to be “Watchers’ Bothies” on Mar Estate, and probably on Invercauld also (although I have no information on this), where a man (possibly a keeper, but more likely a seasonal employee such as a retired crofter or ghillie, with a knowledge of the habits of deer), would be stationed during the summer months to keep an eye on things generally, especially the deer, so that he would know where the herds were to be found, to deter poachers, and to warn off any intruders, including hillwalkers! For obvious reasons they were vacated in winter!
Corrour was one of them – probably the best known – a Charlie Robertson from Inverey used to be the watcher there, and the Dubh Ghleann bothy was another. I think there was one in Glen Geldie also, but I’m not sure. I don’t think this custom survived after WWI.
The Dubh Ghleann bothy was at MR 074953, SW of Beinn a’ Bhuird and only about 1 mile from Bruach Mhor (see Talks/Presentations - Bruach Mhor aircraft crash) where the plane crash was. I have never been able to find any trace of it – which of course proves nothing!
24 January 2011
nb: John does not know the names of the two gentlemen seen in the picture - can anybody out there please help (any information to the BLHG Archivist)?
Dubh Ghleann bothy, (circa probably pre WW1). Courtesy of john Duff