The Rogart Park is a perfect example of agriculture pre 1800. The rigs and enclosures are still very prominent as can be seen from this image which can be viewed on Canmore, the national archive.
The park (91 acres) was part of the small estate of Rogart. In the 1700s the estate was that of the Munro sister, related to the Munros of Achany one of whom married Gray the drover who experienced the 1745 when he was imprisoned while in Perth, being freed by the Master of Lovat. About this time people were sent to Achinduich to collect oak trees. (from article by Malcolm Bangor Jones.) Some of the oaks still survive.
When Sutherland Estate surveyed Rogart, in 1811, plans were made to reorganise Little Rogart. The meadow drained and the Burn altered course to enable a park to be formed to summer cattle for the home farm of Dunrobin. A wall would appear to have been built to enclose it and a small croft with house for the Park Keeper. Oral history says the first Park Keeper was Finlay Macdonald. The Murray family, related to the Murrays of Blairmore, were also park keepers. The last resident in the house was Miss Kirstie Mackay who died c 1950. She was a half-sister of the last Murray who had gone to live in India. But by this time, the park keeper’s role had been taken over by whoever rented the park from the estate.
In 1834 the crofters of Little Rogart petitioned the estate for extra grazing as their crofts were too small (5 acres.) They and neighbouring crofters were given the concession to graze the park with horses and cattle. This arrangement continued until 2008 when new estate owners contested the legality of the arrangement. This concession has never been contested in law as Rogart Park had never come under the crofting laws.
When the park was created and Garvault Burn altered to drain the small loch below Reidchalmine. This cut the old roadway which wound down from the manse and past the mill garden at Milton, crossed into the Park at the existing ford to exit the park somewhere near to the dam built in Reidchalmine. From Reidichalmine there are the remains of an old road which crossed Pittentrail hill to the Fleet valley. This was still used by scholars in the 1940s. Another road went parallel to the existing road towards Milnafua (parts still exist in the Birchwood.) The road continues along to Reidlin where it crossed into Lower Rhemusaig at a ford below the mill. All traces have now gone since the burn was deepened in the 1960s to ease flooding. But the road way can still be traced from the ford through the croft of Robert Mackay. It then split with one track going to East Kinauld and another passing the (now) Curling Pond to drop down to West Kinauld where the cell of St Callan first stood. This road was replaced by the present roadway built in 1811. Before this the Eas Ruadh would have been a formidable barrier.
The park is unique and is valued by the archaeologists on account of its remains of former habitation and cultivation, complete with the remains of kilns and burnt mounds. Also valued must be its grass swathe, a survivor from the original grassland. It was only in the 1940s that sheep first grazed it. This shows up in core samples taken when pollen from certain species of plant disappear from this time. The core samples hold evidence that this land was under cultivation for a very long time. The swathe is now so dense that any intrusive seed finds it hard to establish and the Park is remarkably free of ragwort, thistle, whin and bracken.
This blog is written off the top of my head but our archives do contain evidence to support it. If anyone wishes to discuss or add information, that will be welcome. Johnmcdonald640@aol.com.