Over two hundred and fifty years ago, Torrvald farmstead stood in open farmland within the River Tay valley. Above the farm rose the rugged and treeless mountain peak called Craigvinean Hill. Today, Craigvinean Forest has enveloped the mountain; you can find the remains of the farmstead hidden within the trees at the foot of its slope.
Historical records first mention Torrvald in the mid 16th century. In 1684 it was bought by John, Marquis of Atholl and became part of the Atholl estates.
The 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (1867) does not show Torrvald; the wood has overgrown the area.
Torrvald was rented to several farmers over the following years, including James Borries in 1751. His rental agreement, however, carried a condition. It stated that if the Duke of Atholl should wish to "take the town into his own hands" he could at anytime. A sign, perhaps, that the Duke had different plans for the land.
In many areas of Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries, landlords stopped renting their land to small tenant farmers and began to use the land for farming sheep. At Craigvinean, the Duke saw wood as the future for making money on the Atholl estate.
The 2nd Duke of Atholl started the planting of larch trees on a small scale in 1759. Later in the early 19th century, his grandson, known as Planter John, covered the mountain and farmland in trees. It was around this time that Torrvald farmstead was abandoned.
Jess Smith shares two local legends.
- The Bishop and the Hermit (mp3)
- The Bishop and the Hermit transcript (pdf 343k)
- The Hooded Man (mp3)
- The Hooded Man transcript (pdf 340k)
The exact location of Torrvald is grid reference is NO 005 422.
For infomation about access to the forest see the Craigvinean page.
The easy-graded Creagan Loisgte walk takes you past the site. Watch out for a wee surprise towards the end of the circular walk – hear Torrvald's story for yourself. The site is slightly off the trail and difficult to find, so we advise using map/GPS to locate it.
All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.
Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.