The History of the Howe - Glensaugh and Drumtochty

Glensaugh, named as the Glen of the Willows - a sauch or saugh being a willow tree - is now the site of the Glensaugh Research Station. It is thanks to this establishment that now we see some rather different livestock from the cattle, deer and sheep roaming the braes of the glen. Now there are Jacob's sheep, goats and llamas grazing on the slopes!

Loch Saugh, originally a man-made stretch of water which now looks perfectly at home in its Glen setting, is a favourite spot with fishermen and is the home for one particular family of swans and many other species of water birds.

Progressing into the Glen of Drumtochty, one cannot help but be struck by the variety of trees which crowd the hillsides. These are a legacy left by the Gemmel family, one-time owners of Drumtochty Castle, and of course, the Forestry Commission. In recent years the Commission have made part of the Glen, near the Castle, int what has proved to be an extremely popular forest walk, complete with picnic area.

Immediately across the road from this area is what is believed to be one of the larges Sitka Spruce trees in Britain, a statement which is written on its accompanying plaque and which few who have witnessed its enormous girth would doubt.

In the past Drumtochty castle has had many uses.....a private residence, a refuge for Belgian and Norwegian victims of the First and Second World War, a private school for boys and an up-market restaurant. It is reputed to be haunted by a Green Lady, who is supposed to have been seen quite recently.

Perhaps the most notable and striking sight in the Glen is that of the Church of St. Palladius. This beautiful Episcopal chapel was built in the 1880s and dedicated to the saint who now surveys the scene from his plinth high on the church wall.

Drumtochty is said to mean "choked ridge", 'drum' being the ridge and 'tochty' signifying choked. There is in fact a part of the Glen where the Luther River is narrowed, or choked. In 1767 the Glen's name was changed to Woodstock, but 39 years later in 1806 it reverted to being Drumtochty.

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