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Ruighe na Cùlath

Photographs of Ruighe na Cùlath Show on Bing Maps 

Ruighe na CùlathRuighe na Cùlath - 14th July 2009

Ruighe na Cùlath is the (ruined) 18th century shooting lodge in Gleann Dhé a short distance upstream from Ciste Dhé.  The old 6-inch map (1869) shows 2 buildings, on the east bank of Allt Coire na Cùlath straddling the track in an L-shaped plan. 

As a place name Ruighe na Cùlath – means shiel of the back place

The use of 'Ruighe' in the place name is a reference to the earlier use of the surrounding area as a traditional shieling, and a survey by RCAHMS discovered at least 11 shieling-huts in the area.

There is a persistent rumour associating Ruighe na Cùlath with the Earls of Mar - repeated in McConnochie (1898) where the author writes :

About a mile and a half short of White Bridge a larach in Coire na Cula will be observed ; it is said to mark the site of the uppermost hunting seat of the Earls of Mar

- McConnochie (1898) (p12)

I've not seen the rumor represented in stronger terms than "it is said", and am unconvinced.  I don't think the area would be suitable for anything like the entourage described in Taylor (1618), and I've not seen any other evidence these buildings were associated with the Earls of Mar.

However - in spite of those rumours - there is evidence these buildings were associated with the Earls Fife.  During the earlship of James, 2nd Earl Fife the forest in Gleann Dhé began above Ciste Dhé.  Below Ciste Dhé the glen was farmed on both sides of the river until well after his death.

Running water is essential for any habitation and the first significant burn running off Féith nan Sgòr above Ciste Dhé is Allt Coire na Cùlath.  It was here that James, 2nd Earl Fife built his "Sheal" about 1779.  In Tayler & Tayler (1925) the authors quote a letter of the 17th of August 1779 written at Mar Lodge, where James, 2nd Earl Fife writes :

I left this [place] at three o'clock yesterday morning. Breakfast in my new sheal about two miles above Macurdy's on Dee side ...

- James, 2nd Earl Fife

In Keith (1811) the author refers to Charles McHardy renting the farm at "Delavorar" - from that I infer that "Delavorar" is the "Macurdy's" to which the Earl refers, and the ruin of Dail a’ Mhorair Mhòr is certainly more than 2 miles from Ruighe na Cùlath.  I also believe Ruighe na Cùlath is the building referred to in MS 3175/1315/1 - an entry accounting for the £1 received by Don McHardy for 9 days work "thatching the Sheil in Glendee" in October 1822.