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Caithness Field Club

Caithness Historical Notes 1750 - 1900
D Omand - Moravian Field Club

During his tour in the 1760s Pennant comments that there was "no cart . . . . . . nor a mile of road in the whole county." By the end of the century rough tracks existed and roads in some parishes were lined out. Possibly as the work was done by statute labour it was performed with reluctance with the result that goods went on horseback rather than cart. We had to await the genius of Telford before a network of good roads criss-crossed the county. As communications improved carts were brought in, reputedly from Moray. These small carts had 3ft diameter wheels which were not initially shod with iron. Many crofts at this time had no plough. Pennant notes that in Stroma 30 families were digging the land by hand as there was no plough on the island. Some Caithness crofts had the heavy cumbersome thrapple plough which towards the end of the 18th century was replaced by the more manoeuvrable two-horse Scots' plough.

Published October 1974