Alltchaorunn is in Glen Etive above Dalness.

Alternative names

  • Alltchaoran
  • Aultachorin
  • Altchorain
  • Altnachorine

Gaelic name : Allt nan Gaoirean—-burn of the murmuring noise or of the goats.

1871 MAP
OS Scotlandsplaces entry

The land belonged to Earl of Breadalbane and the two storey building was reputedly a favourite shooting lodge of his, being at the edge of the famed Black Mount deer hunting grounds.


In the mid 1800's a family called Duff lived in the small white cottage.
Donald Duff was a forester, and at that time much of the area was being re-forested.
He was responsible for the trees, and for wildlife.
(Duff is the anglicized version of the gaelic for dark.. Dhuibh)

This thesis researching the Black Mount estate is a wonderful resource for learning more about the whole area, and includes references to Donald Duff and his role, wages, and even character (he did not get on with the forester whose area of responsibility march with his !) A social and economic history of the Blackmount Deer Forest, ArgyIIshire, 1815-1900

1827 (quote from above thesis)

Campbell remained at Kingshouse, and was reimbursed £6 10s, in 1827, for providing six months lodgings there to Donald Duff, a forester. (121 )
(NAS, GD 112/16/6/13/9: Forest receipt to Donald Campbell, Kingshouse, (12th October, 1827).

in the same year Donald was ordered (by the landowner Lord Glenorchy) to not have more than one mare in his ownership, and warned that if he got married he would lose his job. Alltchaorunn is a remote location and a "single active" man would have fewer distractions. (fortunately he was not sacked when he married a few years later, and by 1844 when the current Lord Glenorchy had succeeded to the title of the Earl of Breadalbane there was a different perspective, even contributing a gift of £2 to help Donald educate his children)

1831 there was a more substantial dwelling house built at Alltchaorunn, some of the materials costing over £53. Its function was to provide a dwelling for the forester and in turn more protection for this area of the Black Mount forest from poachers and drivers of deer from the Campbell of Monzie estates on the other side of Glen Etive.

By 1845 their lives were a real struggle
GD112 - Papers of the Campbell Family, Earls of Breadalbane (Breadalbane Mumiments),
GD112/74 'Additional papers from the Taymouth Estate Office' Date 1428-1921
Letters from J F Wyllie to Breadalbane and Barcaldine
Dates Mar 1845-1846
Access status Open
Location On site
Description With enclosures.
Note: many of these letters are quite badly damaged by having the stamps torn out.
1. 1845 November 21. Aultachorin : Donald Duff to Wyllie.
Complains of poverty and want attending his place of residence;
asks for an additional allowance of meal, as he cannot grow potatoes, ‘as the potatoes never grow in this place with any attention I have in my power to give them’; would prefer to be moved to any place where potatoes could be reared.

The family lasted another few years before emigrating to Tasmania in 1855. As the family history relates that there was some sort of sponsorship it is likely that they were part of The Highlands and Islands Emigration Society scheme which was set up to oversee the process of resettlement. Under the scheme a landlord could secure a passage to Australia for a nominee at the cost of £1. Between 1846 and 1857, around 16,500 people of the Highlands and Islands were assisted to emigrate, the scheme ended when landowners started to get concerned that they were losing TOO many good fit men.
Some of the family stayed in Tasmania and others went on to settle in Inverell, in the northern stretches of the Australian State of New South Wales.

Donald Duff married Catherine Fletcher of Glen Orchy on 3rd November 1929
The following children migrated with Donald and Catherine to Australia in 1855;
James (b. 1830)
Mary (b. 1832)
John (b. 1834)
Duncan (b. 1836)
Margaret (b. 1838)
Colin (b. 1846)
We are very fortunate to be in touch with several of their descendants.

in the latter part of the 1880's the deer gave way to sheep

(in the Napier report 1883 it is clear that the "sport" of deer stalking was not as valued by those who wanted all land to go for sheep. Here is a quote : -
In order to arrive at some idea of the national resources altogether wasted for the grovelling excitement of deer slaughtering, reference may be made to the Black Mount forest belonging to Lord Breadalbane, which covers over 80,000 acres. A census was taken some years ago of deer roaming over it, and there were found to be 18,000 in all. Allowing six sheep for a deer, this would show grazing for 108,000 sheep. In former times the sheep from this now unproductive region " topped " the market at Falkirk Tryst..

In the 1900's the cottage was lived in by the stalkers for the estate; it would be really great to hear more of the families who lived here.
1930 - Cameron
1950-60's - McMaster

These days both buildings of Alltchaorunn Cottage and Breadalbane's bothy are part of the Dalness Estate .. recently up for sale

Alltchaorunn Cottage and Breadalbane's Bothy
Situated in an attractive position beside the Allt a Chaorunn burn, this is a pair of buildings comprising one habitable and one uninhabitable cottage with access via a track which crosses the River Etive and leads for several hundred metres to terminate at these two buildings.
With a northerly aspect looking across Glen Etive towards Buchaille Etive Mor (The Big Shepherd), Alltchaorunn Cottage is a stone-built single storey cottage. Although the cottage has been vacant for more than a year, it is in habitable repair, albeit in need of some modernisation.
With mains electricity, private water and drainage, and oil-fired central heating and Rayburn, the accommodation is as follows:
Porch, kitchen, sitting room, rear porch, utility room, pantry, 2 bedrooms, and bathroom with shower.
The cottage is enclosed by a parking area and potential garden.
Currently serving as outbuildings for Alltchaorunn Cottage, Breadalbane's Bothy is a tall and distinguished looking building of dressed stone construction under a pitched slate roof with overhanging eaves. It is adjoined by a single storey elevation on the northern side.
So called on account of the alleged fact that the Earl of Breadalbane used to stay here while stalking at Dalness (which was part of his vast estate at the time) in the late 19th century, the building is now in substantial disrepair, albeit with the masonry and roofs largely intact.
With three rooms in the single storey section and three spacious floors in the main part of the building, this has potential for modernisation. Whilst the vendor has commissioned architect's plans for the development of this building in the past, no planning application has been submitted nor work commenced.

here is the cottage and house in 2013

Sadly in July 2015 the two storey building was destroyed by fire.
image from

11411936_1033512993356151_1533465597788640152_o.jpgRiver Etive near Alltchaorunn

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