AT HOME: Route 3

From the Cross, along High Street and Dunreggan, returning by Chapel Street

From the Cross along High Street

In earlier times this was known as the Causey or Causeway after the “causies” or cobbles which paved the road. These were removed in the 1890s when new drainage was put in place. Since at least the 1841 Census it has been known as The High Street. It is said that during the twice yearly fairs the street was full of booths and stalls.There were certainly more shops.

For the first part of route 3 along the High Street we are not going to look at all the buildings, but instead, standing on the narrow pathways imagine how our senses would be engaged if we could bring the past sights sounds and smells of this curved gem of a street to life.

We immediately bump into Mr Colville the surgeon looking anxious rushing to catch the post to Edinburgh. It is November 12th 1783.  He needs advice from his old Professor about a patient, Abigail Grier. Avoiding him we almost knock over James Fisher, the blind poet and author of ‘The Spring Day’.

In the 19th century we meet William Smith, veteran of Waterloo.

At the beginning of the 20th century the sound of Miss Muriel Monteith practising her banjo from the Village Hall (now the Masonic Hall), for there is to be a fundraising concert for the Boer War. In 1902 The George is decorated for the Coronation of King Edward VII. In 1914 once again there is the sound of war as a piper leads the young men of the village over the bridge.

In 1931, we try to ignore the sounds of a pig being killed in Will Fergusson’s slaughter-house. We can hear Mrs McCheyne through an open window of the post office busy at her telephone exchange “putting you through now sir”. Waiting anxiously for her is Miss Taylor a new teacher who has just arrived on the train and wants to send a telegram to her parents saying she is safe and sound. From James Callander’s grocery shop we can hear the bacon slicer and smell the freshly ground coffee. At the bridge over the Dalwhat River young boys in clogs are leaning over, looking for salmon. They “know the very stones”.

Coming back to the present now, continue walking 

Bridge – Linking Moniaive to Dunreggan, there seems to have been a bridge here since the middle of the 17th century. The Fergussons of Craigdarroch paid for it originally and obtained an Act of Parliament to raise “pontage dues”- a toll for maintenance. The Toll house is directly on the left.  Just across the road at the bottom of the Brae was a weigh bridge.

Dunreggan Brae – Once a major route in and out of the village, it is worth going to the top of the Brae for the views and to find the stone trough that pack horses would once have drunk from.

Follow the road round to the right

Dunreggan – Once called the Cowgate, this seems to have been the poorer part of the village in the 19th century, with several widows claiming poor relief, or being dragged before the Kirk Session to explain illegitimate children. Most cottages here (in their original state) conform to the local pattern of a central doorway and a single room to the left and right.

Waterside Smithy – On the right, has been many things. Dating from c1800, it was originally a weaver’s cottage. In the 1860s it was a Gas Works, supplying the village with gas street lighting using coal brought from Sanquhar. Within living memory, it has been a blacksmith. It was converted into a house in the 1970s with improvements in 2008.

Mrs Monteith’s Cottages 1906 – Diagonally opposite Waterside is a two-storey terrace in the Arts and Crafts style. These were built by Mrs Ellen Maria Monteith of Glenluiart House, widow of the Rev. Monteith. They were designed by her brother William West Neve for “managers” and to provide an income for each of her children as they were rented out. You can see the date stone and her initials at the top.

A Working Village – As you continue along Dunreggan, many of the cottages and houses you see once contained businesses and trades. There were joinery shops, game dealers, and Miss McQueen and Miss Conchie, the dressmakers.

Bowling Club – In 1910 John Corrie the Postmaster said that “the inhabitants were well provided with the means of amusement.” He gave the Bowling Club as an example.  Opened in 1871 it quickly produced “some excellent players”. Elsewhere in the village one might have played carpet bowling, football and quoits. From 1905 to the 1940s there was a 9-hole golf course opposite Crichen.

The Free Church 1843 – Walking past the Park, the ruined church on the right is not as old as it looks. This was the Free Church and manse built a great speed after “The Disruption” of 1843. The first minister was the Rev. Patrick Borrowman who was commemorated in bronze by James Paterson.

Turning back, walk into the Park on your right

The Public Park was a gift in 1894 from Sir George Gustavus Walker of Crawfordton. Follow the path through the John Corrie Garden. This is a fitting tribute to a man who took such an interest in our heritage.  His The Annals of Glencairn (1910) is available to read online. Walking over the bridge go through the gate and turn right walking past the sewage works and the rear of Dunreggan.

Flat Land and Fund Raising – Through the last gate and into the fields is a reminder of how rare flat pasture is in the parish. Looking to the right are fields which in recent years have housed festival campers. During the First World War the field behind The George was the venue for a fundraising event for The Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurses (VADs) who played such a crucial role in caring for the wounded.

Pass the Railway Station and return along Chapel Street to the Cross