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Ruighe nan Clach

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Ruighe nan ClachRuighe nan Clach - 9th September 2008

Ruighe nan Clach is the second (ruined) 19th century keeper's cottage in Gleann Gheallaidh on the left-bank of the river.  Ruighe nan Clach stands well-back from the estate road and a mile upstream from White Bridge.

As a place name Ruighe nan Clach means - shiel of the stones.

In 1860 Queen Victoria passed this way on her ‘first great expedition’ to Strath Spey through Gleann Dhé, Gleann Gheallaidh, and Gleann Feithisidh without referring to it, and another contemporary description of the glen gives the clear impression that Ruighe Ealasaid was the only building in the whole glen at the time.  In Crombie (1861) - the author writes :

Glen Geaully ... With the single exception of a shepherd's shieling in this portion, it bears no traces of having ever been inhabited

- Crombie (1861) (p22)

In 1866 the area was surveyed by the Ordnance Survey, and Ruighe nan Clach had almost certainly been built by then - it is shown on the old 6-inch map (1869) as a labeled group of three buildings.

The census returns are ambiguous - I've not seen Ruighe nan Clach specifically named in any of them.  Oddly - the earliest accounts of the glen either do not refer to it by name, or if they do - it's only in a passing reference.  In McConnochie (1898) - the author writes :

Standing on the river bank here [Cist Dhé], the only houses to be seen are two foresters' cottages in Glen Geldie and the tree-sheltered Bynack Shieling

- McConnochie (1898) (p13)

In  Anderson (1911) - the author writes :

A road alongside the Geldie Burn leads to Geldie Lodge, a shooting lodge tenanted for many years by Lord Farquhar

- Anderson (1911) (p16)

In  Alexander (1928) - the author writes :

... lying back from the road, is another cottage, which looks peculiarly desolate in the wide, bare moorland.  (The name of this cottage, Ruigh nan Clach, is interesting as preserving the word ruigh (pron. rui), the term used in the Gaelic of the eastern Highlands for a summer sheiling

- Alexander (1928) (p57)

It seems odd that Ruighe nan Clach is not mentioned more often by earlier writers - I've not yet seen it mentioned in the Journals of either the Cairngorm Club, or the Scottish Mountaineering Club where the other lodges, and cottages are frequently mentioned.