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Coire Bhrochain

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Coire BhrochainCoire Bhrochain - 15th July 2009

Coire Bhrochainis a corrie of Am Bràigh Riabhach and overlooks the head of Gleann Dhé and the confluence of Allt na Làirige Dhrù with Allt a' Garbh-choire.

As a place name Coire Bhrochain is a little obscure, but it probably means something like - corrie of porridge.

In Gordon (1925) the author gives two potential derivations of the name - writing :

There is a tradition amongst some of the older stalkers of the Forest of Mar that once, long ago, a herd of cattle, crossing the Lairig Ghru - that ancient track between Dee and Spey - eluded the drovers and in some way scaled the heights of Brae Riach.  In the thick mist they lost their heads, and fell from the hill-top over the dizzy height, so that when found they were crushed to a pulp of the consistency of brochan or porridge.  But another origin of the name had frequently occurred to me as from the Lairig I looked across from the young Dee to Coire Bhrochain.  When the other corries were clear a mist has often floated on the Corrie of the Porridge, with the summit of Brae Riach distinct above the cloud

- Gordon (1925) (p106)

I like both of these derivations for different reasons - the first because the porridge is ironic, the second because the porridge is metaphorical.

In the early books by Seton Gordon he gives few details about the things I most want to know about.  I may be overly fixating on these details, but in relation to the 'cattle' derivation, I'd really like to know ; who told ; when did they tell.  However, these details only begin trickling out in his later books - in Gordon (1948) we learn that he learned the 'cattle' derivation from Donald Fraser more than 40-years earlier. 

In the same book he also tells us about a visit to the corrie in 1927 where he, and a friend, found ''the ancient skeleton remains of two deer'' - his friend apparently sent one of the jaw bones to somewhere in Edinburgh to be identified, and as it turned out ''it was pronounced to be the jaw-bone of an ox''.  He gives no more detail, so I assume he only means a male cow rather than some truly ancient bovine species.  He also makes the point that they found the bones ''on ground so rough that no cattle could have walked to the spot where they were found'' (Gordon 1948, p315).