Chapter

The Navy, Holyrood and Strathcarron in the seventeenth century

T. C. Smout, Alan R. MacDonald and Fiona Watson

in A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland, 1500-1920

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780748612413
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653331 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612413.003.0012
The Navy, Holyrood and Strathcarron in the seventeenth century

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This chapter examines how woodland management decisions worked out on the ground with a case study of the ancient pinewoods at Rhidorroch, on a catchment flowing westwards into Loch Broom, and near Strathcarron. The exploitation of Strathcarron is age-old. The Vikings were drawn south into the area by their need to secure timber for boat-building, and Norse elements in the place-names of Strathcarron, especially Amat, Alladale and Diebidale, are powerful evidence of their interest in natural resources sometimes many miles from the sea but central to their control of it. After 1603, the English began to take an interest in the potential of Scottish timber. The first indication of this in Strathcarron was in 1612, when Alexander Ross of Invercarron and his heir entered an agreement to allow the lessees to fell and extract all the trees above one foot in diameter from the ‘great fir and aiken wood of the north syd of Glencalvie’, with liberty to build one or more sawmills. In the 1650s the English navy focused their interest in the possibility of finding a source of pine for masts in Scotland.

Keywords: ancient woods; Ross; Scottish pinewoods; English navy; woodland management; case study

Chapter.  9711 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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