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Peace - Industry, Roads, Robert Burns

After the Jacobite wars, Commissioners who were in charge continued to develop Crieff as an industrial centre based on tanning and bleaching. In 1748 there were no less than 5 breweries and a paper making factory was opened in 1763. In 1775 Glenturret Distillery, just outside Crieff, opened.

Although cattle markets continued in Crieff, the huge sale held each October, the Tryst, moved to falkirk in 1770. This must have been a set back for the town.

The cotton industry of Scotland, related to N American trade, had it's effect on Strathearn. Yarn was bought in Glasgow, garments woven locally and returned for sale. In 1770 the hand-loom weavers organised themselves into a Society and in 1786 a Weaver's Hall was erected in Commissioner Street, Crieff.

Communication continued to improve after 'The 45'. The military roads of General Wade had connected Crieff with the north around 1730 and in 1741/2 with Stirling. A poor attempt was made to bridge the River Earn in 1728 at Comrie and it was not until the 1760's that a substantial stone bridge spanned the river. The Ross Bridge at Comrie was built in 1792. From 1799 a bridge over the Lednock to the east of Comrie made it possible to travel down Strathearn via Auchtertyre to Crieff with dry feet. By 1820's acceptable roads spanned Strathearn.

Bridge of Ross, over R Earn, 1792.

Robert Burns

In 1787 on a visit to Crieff, the poet Robert Burns wrote of Euphemia Murray of Auchtertyre (sometimes Ochtertyre, 3km west of Crieff) .....

By Oughtertyre grows the aik,
 On Yarrow banks the birken shaw;
But Phemie was a bonier lass
 Than the braes o' Yarrow ever saw.
Chorus . . . .
  Blythe, blythe and merry was she,
    Blythe was she but and ben;
  Blythe by the banks of Earn,
    And blythe in Glenturit glen.
Her looks were like a flow'r in May,
 Her smile was like a simmer morn;
She tripped by the banks o' Earn,
 As light's a bird upon a thorn.
     Blythe, blythe . . .
Her bonie face it was as meek
 As ony lamb upon a lea;
The evening sun was ne'er sae sweet,
 As was the blink o' Phenie e'e.
     Blythe, blythe . . .
The Highland hills I've wander'd wide,
 And o'er the lawlands I hae been;
But Phemie was the blythest lass
 That ever trod the dewy green.
     Blythe, blythe . . .

.... and while on a trip high into the hills above Auchtertyre, by Loch Turret ....

Why, ye tenants of the lake,
For me your wat'ry haunt forsake ? 
Tell me, fellow-creatures, why
At my presence thus you fly ? 
Why disturb your social joys, 
Parent, filial, kindred ties ?
Common friend to you and me, 
Nature's gifta to all are free :
Peaceful keep your dimpling wave, 
Busy feed, or wanton lave ;
Or, beneath the sheltering rock, 
Bide the surging billow's shock.
   Conscious, blushing for our race, 
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace. 
Man, your proud usurping foe, 
Would be lord of all below : 
Plumes himself in freedom's pride,
Tyrant stern to all beside.
  The eagle, from the cliffy brow, 
Marking you his prey below,
In his breast no pity dwells, 
Strong necessity compels :
But Man, to whom alone is giv'n 
A ray direct from pitying Heav'n,
Glories in his heart humane
And creatures for his pleasure slain ! 
   In these savage, liquid plains, 
Only known to wand'ring swains,
Where the mossy riv'let strays,
Far from human haunts and ways ;
All on Nature you depend,
And life's poor season peaceful spend. 
   Or, if man's superior might
Dare invade your native right, 
On the lofty ether borne,
Man with all his pow'rs you scorn ; 
Swiftly seek, on clanging wings, 
Other lakes and other springs ;
And the foe you cannot brave, 
Scorn at least to be his slave.

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