Glenbuchat Heritage

101 Glenbuchat Heritage Association
The Glenbuchat Image Library
101 Glenbuchat Heritage Association

The Glenbuchat heritage Association was formed in 2009 by a group of Glenbuchat residents in order to promote the history and culture of the Glen.

The pictures above show:
1. The Association letterhead
2. Map of the main area of interest
3. Photo of ‘In the Buchat’ Exhibition which started it all
4. Glen Storyboard
5. Sample text from oral history used in a display
6. Heritage Walk 2010

History of the Association
Glenbuchat is a picturesque Glen in Strathdon Aberdeenshire measuring about 4 miles by 8 miles. It is a Glen of fascinating history, natural beauty and wildlife. It had suffered a dramatic population fall until recently, with a drop in the population from 500 to 50 souls. Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of people living in the Glen, both young and mature, all delighting in the beauty and natural resources of the glen.

It is a glen rich in history and culture and has a number of interesting archaeological features. Due to changes in the life style, the loss of a significant resident population and subsequent neglect of structures, there is a danger that the past will get forgotten.

In 2008 a photographic exhibition was staged at the Glenbuchat Hall which resulted in the collection and display of many old photographs and texts. It was the wish to preserve these photographs and record their history that became the trigger for the setting up of the Association in 2009

The Association has an interesting portfolio of past activities and also possible activities for future work and welcomes residents and visitors to join us.

Aims of the Association :
The aim of the Glenbuchat Association is to explore, record and catalogue the history, culture and archaeology of the Glen and present the information in a suitable form for the benefit of residents, visitors and interested parties near and far and wide. Recording the present was felt as important as recording the past.

The main representation of the Residents in the Glen is the ‘Residents and Hall Committee ‘which is registered as a Charity. As the population of the Glen is so small, many of the active members in the Heritage Group are also involved in the Hall and Residents group.

The Heritage Group is formally a subcommittee of Hall and Residents group but is an open and flexible group that involves anyone with an interest in the Glen’s Heritage. There is no formal membership and anyone with an interest in the Glens’ Heritage is welcome to join us.

The work of the Association has been supported by the Cairngorms National Park, Historic Scotland, and Scotland’s Rural Past.

Activities of the Heritage Group

Area: (Map above)
The Group has agreed to concentrate its area of interest in a triangle from the Bridge of Buchat, up Glen Buchat to the Upper Lodge and then down Nochty side to Bellabeg and from there along the River Don back to the Bridge of Buchat. Each side of the triangle is about 8- 10 miles long.

Any significant relevant Heritage information relating to the surrounding area is also considered.

Web site:
It was quickly agreed that the most effective means of sharing our knowledge was via the Internet and a web site was set up.

The web site is the one you are viewing: Glenbuchat Heritage.Com

The web site now contains over 1000 pictures and texts about the glen and is increasing weekly. The site initially started with just the pictures collected at the ‘In the Buchat’ Exhibition in 2008 organised by Isobel Gilchrist. Gradually more text based information was added when it was realised there was no practical limit on the amount of text that could be added. Then it was realised that HTML links could be added thus enabling linking between various parts of the site and other external web sites. Finally it was realised that multiple images could be added as a single photo with no apparent limit on size. It is hoped eventually to return to the original entries and update them.

The site records Images of the past but also has collected the Glen as it is now and has related the modern images wherever possible to old images and family histories of the past. It is aimed to photograph and if possible get the family histories of every house in the Glen.

The site has also recorded texts and poems relating to the Glen as well as one or two books produced by Glen Residents.


The original ‘Book of Glenbuchat’ was published in 1942 by Dr Douglas Simpson and published by the Spalding Club. Although not connected with the association it was an inspiration for the presentation of the Glen history.

Ken Cruickshank who previously owned a cottage in the Glen produced with John Nisbet, who also had a cottage in the Glen and Mora Greig a book ‘The Limekilns of Upper Donside – A Forgotten Heritage

Glenbuchat Yesterdays Vol 1& Vol 2.
Ken Cruickshank also produced in the 1980’s two small booklets of old photographs taken in the Glen about 1900. They were taken by John Stewart who lived at the Mill of Glenbuchat. They have been reproduced in the web site. They have been reproduced in the web site.
Volume 1: Volume 2:

The history of Glenbuchat’s Community Hall
A complete history of the Glenbuchat Hall was published by Dr Jennifer Carter and Ken Cruickshank in 2007. After the book was written, surviving minute books and accounts were deposited in Grampian Archives for their better preservation and public use.

Oral History
Isobel Gilchrist has collected about 40 recordings of local people recalling memories of the Gen in the past.

Glen Buchat Old Kirk Grave Yard Project
The old Kirk of Glenbuchat is looked after by The Friends of the Old Kirk of Glenbuchat and two members of the Heritage Association have joined the committee. The ‘Friends’ committee has recently extended their remit to include the grave stones in the grave yard. A joint project was started to put upright fallen stones, photograph the grave stones and record the family histories.

The stones have been raised, all have been photographed and put on the web site and the first 40 have had family trees explored.

A number of artistic activities have taken place in the Glen which also have had a heritage connection. The main initiators of these events have been Isobel Gilchrist who lives in the Glen and Gill Russell who lives nearby in Towie. Gill in fact became the Glens ‘Artist in Resident’ for three months two years ago.

In the Buchat Exhibition 2008: this was the initial photographic exhibition put together by Isobel Gilchrist which started the heritage ball rolling.

Gill Russel who lives at nearby Towie has over the years undertaken a number of artistic activities in the Glen. They can be seen in detail in her web site. ‘Cosmic Sky’

They have included:

Long Shadows Fall Sept Oct 2011
Audio installation inspired by people’s stories of their lives in the Glen collected by resident Isobel Gilchrist. Extracts of voice recordings interspersed with the natural sounds of the Glen and forest creating a soundscape with other imagined sounds. The site is in the heart of Glenbuchat in a circle of hardwood trees with a clearing in the centre near the hall.

The Land Marks Project was based in Glenbuchat, Strathdon and funded by Aberdeenshire Council’s Be Part of the Picture programme.

The project ran over a period of three months from mid-August to Mid November 2013 and focused on creating artworks and events that celebrated the cultural heritage of Glenbuchat and explored connections between land and people, past and present.

Local installation artist Gill Russell led the project as artist in residence for the community.

‘Pulpit’ is based on the wooden ‘Preaching Tents’ that were used as temporary pulpits for open-air services. In the period before the 19th century such tents were common, not least after the Disruption of 1843 when many Congregations broke away from the Established Church to form the Free Church of Scotland.

Talla an t-Sìthein (Hall of the Fairy Mound)
Talla an t-Sìthein is a night time sound and light installation inspired by the Gaelic Otherworld. It was originally installed July 2013 as part of the Belladrum Music Festival.

Equinox On The Ben
A celebration of the equinox led by Gill Russell and involving residents and friends of Glenbuchat to highlight the importance of the changing seasons to earlier generations.

Shieling: Community Artwork
Based on the idea that some populations of people, who used temporary dwellings Shielings, would leave a memory stone there until they returned.

Visitors were invited to paint a stone reflecting a message they wished to leave at a Sheiling and which were place in a symbolic ‘Sheiling; at Glenbuchat Hall

The workshops were a great success with many amazing creations produced -now safely stored in our Shieling. As well as many local people and visitors Towie, Strathdon and Lumsden schools took part -over 100 children during the week !

Public Involvement:
The Association has at all stages involved the Glen residents and the Public at large it its activities.

The ‘In the Buchat Exhibition’ of photographs contained photos contributed buy a large number of people and the exhibition was visited by a significant number of visitors.

The Web site is available to people all over the world and the comments section has shown that there has been inters-action between people as far afield as Australia, and Canada. Some correspondents have eventually come to visit the glen and have contributed histories of Glen Residents after they left the Glen.

The publications produced by Glen Residents are being made available on the Web Site

The Artistic Programme had involved significant number of Glen Residents and also many school children and other visitors.

Heritage Walks
Picture Above
On a few occasions a year or so ago a number of walks were arranged to take a group of interested people to see a number of the sites in the Glen which had a significant story to tell.

Heritage Story Board
In conjunction with Historic Scotland a Glen Story board was produced. It is situated at the head of the Gen in the car park for Glenbuchat castle. It gives a flavour of the History and Geography of the Glen.

Heritage Slide Show
At the annual Glenbuchat Spring fair there has for the past few years been a regular slice show of heritage photos and which has been visited by many visitors some of whom are old residents of the Glen. From this contact other photos have been contributed

Oral History
Isobel Gilchrist has recorded the voices and stories from about 40 present and past Glen Residents. We are still deciding how best we can present this material.

Future Plans
Planning for the future is dependent on continued support from the Residents and other interested parties. Some projects have been suggested and are in varying degrees of development.

There have been discussions with the Cairngorms National Park about the provision of managed pathways around the Glen perhaps with a Heritage input.

Lime Kilns
There are a number of lime kilnsin the glen in various states of disrepair. It is felt that one should be presented along with information indicating there use.

Alex Walker Festival
Alexander Walker was a gardener at a nearby large mansion. He wrote over 100 fiddle tunes and was a member of the Balmoral Band. His anniversary is due soon and it is hoped to mark it in the glen.

Mill of Glenbuchat
The Old Glenbuchat Mill is a grade B listed building but is in poor repair. The Association is seeking advice on how it might be preserved.

Picture added on 11 May 2015 at 22:41
Hi, my great gran was called Christina Farquharson from somewhere in the Strathdon area mid 1950's ?. Her father in law called Reid was a vet in that area ( pre 1850 ) Her brother lived in a place I cannot make out - Folduquhill??, Strathdon in the 1890's. Have you any knowledge of a place with that name? I hope you don't mind me using this forum to make contact. If you have an email and would prefer I start again using that I will do that. I live in Stirling. ian

Editors response

Farm is Tolquadil in Glen Nochty.
Search this site to see a picture of Tolquadil
Ian informed by email

Added by Ian Mcneish on 28 June 2017
Could the folk at Toldaquhill Farm be Farquharsons as the photo is c 1890s ?
Anonymous comment added on 02 July 2017
Visited Glenbuchat today. Happy to see Baltimore being renovated. My granfather, Gavin Ogg was born there.
Added by Caroline Blades on 09 August 2017
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