Friday, 19 November 2021

The Highland Sportsman

I am deeply indebted to "friend of Balintore" Kevin for tracking down an entry on the Balintore Estate in "The Highland Sportsman" published in 1882.

The Highland Sportsman - frontispiece

The castle is described as "handsome and modern", and I daresay in 1882 it was indeed a relatively modern building. The Balintore Estate is 4,400 acres, including 600 of farmland and 100 of forestry. 

entry for Balintore Castle

The book is organised county-by-county and is a fairly dry detailing of estates, land-owners, mountains, lochs, rivers and telegraph offices in each county. This is all grist to the historian's mill of course, and in pre-Internet days this information had to be detailed somewhere so hunters could plan their shooting holidays.

The Highlands are presented as a sportman's paradise for the bagging. Though some nowadays find this politically contentious, I merely see it as a marketing opportunity to sell holidays and the book contains much advertising for travel and accommodation.

In the list of chief landowners of Forfarshire (now Angus), Thomas Chirnside of Balintore Castle does not even make it into the top 20, coming in at number 23 with 3,800 acres. This does not tally with the previous figure, unless Thomas Chirnside did not own the smaller agricultural section of the estate. Thomas Chirnside bought Balintore in 1877, and the date of 1882 tallies with his known ownership timeline.

chief landowners in Angus

There are not many pictures in the book, but the charming frontispiece illustration is of Duncraig Castle which by coincidence was an alternative purchase I considered, when Balintore was proving problematic to say the least.

Duncraig Castle

Duncraig as pictured above is considerably more attractive than the present day structure which is missing the three turrets and conservatory that are shown.

To finish off with, I could not resist the entry for Killiechassie, now J.K.Rowling's highland retreat, which in 1882 was also prime shooting territory.

entry for Killiechassie House

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