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TITLE
Strathpeffer looking to Knockfarrel
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CARD_1270
PLACENAME
Strathpeffer
DISTRICT
Dingwall
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Fodderty
PERIOD
1910s
CREATOR
J Valentine & Co.
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
33196
KEYWORDS
postcards
Ross-shire
Ross and Cromarty
mineral waters
spring waters
spas
spa resorts
alternative medicine
complementary medicine
tourism
villages
hills
hill forts
Strathpeffer looking to Knockfarrel

This postcard shows Strathpeffer looking towards the hill called Knockfarrel. Strathpeffer lies 4 miles (6 km) west of Dingwall in the strath of the River Peffery. The valley is sheltered on the north side by Ben Wyvis (3431 feet, 1046 metres), and to the west by the mountains of Ross-shire. The narrow ridge of the Cat's Back (Druim Chat) marks its southern boundary. The River Peffery flows eastward into the Cromarty Firth. Strathpeffer owes its growth and popularity to the discovery of sulphurous springs there in the 1770s. With the strong support of the then Countess of Cromartie, the village developed as a Victorian spa resort.

Knockfarrel is a small conical hill, 579 feet (190 metres) high, two miles east of Strathpeffer. Almost perpendicular on its north and south sides, the conglomerate rock stands at the end of the ridge called the Cat's Back and is topped by the remains of a vitrified Iron Age hill-fort. A level oval space, with outworks at each end, is surrounded by huge masses of vitrified stone, once a line of ramparts. Within that area are traces of further vitrified structures and the remains of an old well. It has been suggested that Knockfarrel might be the remains of one of Fingal's chief habitations, as celebrated by Ossian.

Several theories attempt to explain the vitrification process. One is that the vitrification resulted from the burning of timbered buildings, perhaps by a neighbouring clan. Another is that the fort was originally constructed of loose stones as a place of defence, while its commanding position made it also a suitable beacon station. Beacon fires may at some point have acted by chance on a combination of stones with flux, thus revealing the secret of vitrification.

Knockfarrel is typical of hills on which vitrified forts occur, being conspicuous and commanding an extensive view. Further examples occur at Ord Hill, North Kessock, and at Craig Phadrig, near Inverness. From the top of Knockfarrel can be seen, to the east, the Cromarty Firth and Sutors of Cromarty; to the south, Loch Ussie, in which lies the stone by which the Brahan Seer foretold the future; to the west, the hills of Wester Ross; and to the north, Ben Wyvis, with the valley of Strathpeffer in the foreground.

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Strathpeffer looking to Knockfarrel

ROSS: Fodderty

1910s

postcards; Ross-shire; Ross and Cromarty; mineral waters; spring waters; spas; spa resorts; alternative medicine; complementary medicine; tourism; villages; hills; hill forts

Highland Libraries

Highland Libraries' Postcard Collection

This postcard shows Strathpeffer looking towards the hill called Knockfarrel. Strathpeffer lies 4 miles (6 km) west of Dingwall in the strath of the River Peffery. The valley is sheltered on the north side by Ben Wyvis (3431 feet, 1046 metres), and to the west by the mountains of Ross-shire. The narrow ridge of the Cat's Back (Druim Chat) marks its southern boundary. The River Peffery flows eastward into the Cromarty Firth. Strathpeffer owes its growth and popularity to the discovery of sulphurous springs there in the 1770s. With the strong support of the then Countess of Cromartie, the village developed as a Victorian spa resort.<br /> <br /> Knockfarrel is a small conical hill, 579 feet (190 metres) high, two miles east of Strathpeffer. Almost perpendicular on its north and south sides, the conglomerate rock stands at the end of the ridge called the Cat's Back and is topped by the remains of a vitrified Iron Age hill-fort. A level oval space, with outworks at each end, is surrounded by huge masses of vitrified stone, once a line of ramparts. Within that area are traces of further vitrified structures and the remains of an old well. It has been suggested that Knockfarrel might be the remains of one of Fingal's chief habitations, as celebrated by Ossian.<br /> <br /> Several theories attempt to explain the vitrification process. One is that the vitrification resulted from the burning of timbered buildings, perhaps by a neighbouring clan. Another is that the fort was originally constructed of loose stones as a place of defence, while its commanding position made it also a suitable beacon station. Beacon fires may at some point have acted by chance on a combination of stones with flux, thus revealing the secret of vitrification. <br /> <br /> Knockfarrel is typical of hills on which vitrified forts occur, being conspicuous and commanding an extensive view. Further examples occur at Ord Hill, North Kessock, and at Craig Phadrig, near Inverness. From the top of Knockfarrel can be seen, to the east, the Cromarty Firth and Sutors of Cromarty; to the south, Loch Ussie, in which lies the stone by which the Brahan Seer foretold the future; to the west, the hills of Wester Ross; and to the north, Ben Wyvis, with the valley of Strathpeffer in the foreground.