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Caithness Field Club Bulletin|
Vol. 1 No. 5 April 1975
The Antiquities of Caithness
Teaching Dig at Clow Chapel Watten
Unavoidably postponed from last year, an archaeological investigation will be carried out on this site under the auspices of the University of Aberdeen in association with Caithness Education Committee. This "teaching dig", led by Mr. E. Talbot of Glasgow University, will comprise a small group of people, and will enable personal training to be given in excavating techniques and surveying methods.
The fee for the course is £9.50 and it will be held 2nd - 8th August 1975, Further details may be obtained from Mr. D. Omand, Braal, Halkirk, or the Field Club secretary.
The Geological Evolution of the Moray Firth Area
The programme will consist of lectures, discussion periods and field excursions. Transport will be by private car and motor coach. The fee of £30 will include residential accommodation for a single room, or £25.50 for a shared room. For people not wishing accommodation the fees will be 50p per lecture, £1.80 per field excursion, or £9.50 for the full programme. Further details may be obtained from Mr. G. Gill, Department of Adult Education and Extra-Mural Studies, University of Aberdeen, 23A High Street, Inverness. Tel. 30492.
". . . After the battle (Culloden) a party of soldiers was sent to apprehend Sinclair of Scotscalder, who had rendered himself particularly obnoxious to the Government. Having got notice of their approach, he withdrew, and hid himself in the hills of Dorrery. When the party made their appearance at his house, his lady courteously invited them in, and regaled them with plenty of meat and drink. They seemed much pleased with their reception and after a brief search they departed. The visit, happily for the laird, was not renewed; and his "meditation" among the hills is said to have cured him of his Jacobitism."
In the appendix to his book, page 333, Calder gives a further reference to the hiding place:-
"Wm. Gordon Forbes, schoolmaster of Reay, afterwards in America, says in his report, in the "New Statistical Account", that in a cave 25 feet by 16p in Ben Frectan, or Hill of the Watch, Shurrery, two families disaffected to the Hanoverian Government, took asylum in 1745. They were Sinclair of Scotscalder and Sinclair of Assery, the latter family having changed politics since 166o....."
A third reference is made in a letter to the Northern Ensign, written by Alexander Gunn of Braehour, and believed to be dated 15th October 1895. In this letter he states:-
"...... on Scotscalder's escape through the Sutherland and Caithness hills and on his arrival at the southmost bounds of his own estate in the Highlands of Caithness accompanied by Benjamin Sinclair of Barrock and a few more, they built a hut or bothy in a secluded place, the work of which is still to be seen. In this turf bothy they remained in concealment for a period of at least six or seven months.
...... He (Captain Munro) also made a pretended search about the premises of the laird, but John (Sinclair) was then in his hiding place, eight miles away in the hills. Captain Munro accepted Lady Sinclair's hospitality and commenced their march homewards ..... "
This last reference links John the Rebel with Benjamin Sinclair of Barrock, rather than with Sinclair of Assery.
The clue about the bothy being eight miles away in the hills could easily have been twisted in the course of time. Still, if it is true, then it does not fit the cave on Ben Freiceadain and the bothy site remains to be located.
Mr. Fereday would be pleased to receive any comments on the above, together with any further information which members may be able to offer
Changes of Address
Vice-Chairman - Mr. D. Oliver, Westerdale, Hood Street, Wick.
Secretary and Bulletin Editor - Mr. L. Myatt, 5 Trostan Road, Thurso.
The Hub of The Highlands
With twenty-four pages of illustrations, we look forward to seeing this new book priced at £4.50.
Copies may be ordered from the Secretary, Inverness Field Club, Seafield House, by Inverness.
A firecrest was seen in Wick in December.
Several sightings of waxwings were made during the late autumn, indicating that there had been a dispersal from their normal home in the woods of north Europe.
The heavy rainfall of late autumn caused some crops to be left lying in the fields. Perhaps this accounts for the more frequent sightings of geese this winter - especially Greylags, but several other species too. Large flocks of Snow Buntings are to be seen too. The flock at Glengolly was estimated to be about 1000 birds, and another at Murkle about half the size.
Alexander Bain Centenary
Where outings are by private car lifts are usually available for members not having their own transport. All outings will be fully advertised in the usual places.