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Muckle Spate (1829)

The Muckle Spate (1829) was a significant flood in north-eastern Scotland between the 2nd and 4th of August 1829.  It caused significant damage in the counties of Moray and Aberdeenshire destroying houses, bridges, and farmland.

In Wyness (1968) the author describes the 1st day of the Muckle Spate - writing :

In Braemar, the 2nd August was a remarkably find day but towards evening rain began to fall. This continued until the following day when a sudden and unusually severe thunder storm burst over the Cairngorms

- Wyness (1968) (p269-p270)

The catchment area of the Dé is large, the boundary of western Aberdeenshire runs along the watershed. All of the rain that fell on western Aberdeenshire flowed into the Dé which rose quickly and broke its banks.

In Strath Dee significant damage was done.  At Inverey and Mar Lodge the river covered the haughs on both sides of the river - at Mar Lodge the water was about 5-feet deep. Some damage was done to the lodge and more than 3-feet of debris was deposited in the dining room.  The bridges over the Dé at Mar Lodge, the Dé at Eas Dé, and Quoich Water at Allanquoich were all swept away - as were other bridges downstream.

Upstream, the lower lying farms and keeper's houses were flooded out, including : Hugh MacDougall the keeper living on the 'peninsula' between the Dé and Uisge Gheallaidh, and Charles McHardy the farmer at Dail a’ Mhorair. The Muckle Spate reduced the rental value of that farm so much that it probably had something to do with the fact that Charles McHardy gave up, or was removed from, the farm about 1830.  In Gleann Doire the flood is implicated in the destruction of Derry Dam (historic).

Surprisingly, the power of the flood is still evident : in the gravel bank on Laoigh Beag at Preas nam Meàrlach ; and in the boggy land west of Quoich Water. The flood changed the course of Quoich Water, diverting it westward and creating a lochan that survived long enough to attract the name Lochan a' Chreagain, meaning lochan of the little rock, and to be shown on the old 6-inch map (1869).