Below is a map of the area in Highland Perthshire where my Fisher ancestors lived. The rollover image shows a current road map and a map of the places they lived with dates of their moves.

Rollover old and modern map

Until 1795 our ancestors lived in an area of Highland Perthshire known as Discher and Toyer. Discher, derived from the Gaelic Diser, or Disearoch, applicable to areas with a southern exposure, was a name applied to the northern side of Loch Tay. Toyer or Twehener, also from the Gaelic, signifying the slope of the ground which looks north, was applied to the south side of Loch Tay. These areas are so labelled in 'An Exact Map of Breadalbane' engraved by Cameron in 1770.

Until my generation left to take up careers, the family moved about in an area approximately 20 miles east-west by 3 miles north-south. Most of the places they inhabited were small farms, some of which no longer exist.

Prior to the late 18th century, they would have lived in townships in houses with walls made of turf. Such dwellings have been reconstructed at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore (left).

Later these primitive dwellings were replaced be longhouses built of stone whose remains litter the Highland Perthshire landscape. A surviving example is the longhouse and peatshed at Camserney (below). longhouse

For further information about this longhouse see British listed buildings and Scotland's Places. Unfortunately the thatch put on when the building was restored to its original form between 1993-97 by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust in partnership with the owners deteriorated and collapsed. Unable to obtain funding the owners have reinstated a corrugated iron roof.

Thomas Pennant's tour of Scotland

Thomas Pennant in his Tour in Scotland 1769, when describing the south side of Loch Tay, stated 'the habitations of the Highlanders (occur), not singly, but in small groupes as if they loved society or clanship: they are very small, mean and without windows or chimnies and are the disgrace of North Britain as its lakes and rivers are its glory'........ 'As the farms are very small it is common for four people to keep a plough between them, each furnishes a horse, and this is called a horse-gang'. Dr MacKay in Aberfeldy Past and Present described how in those days and even as late as 1813 in some parts of the country, the old Scottish plough was in general use with four horses or more ponies, yoked abreast and led by a man walking backwards. By the 1838 the Statistical Account was reporting that the improvements had encouraged the adoption of the iron plough, the presumption being that before then ploughs were made of wood.

Pennant was describing the clachan or hamlet system and its communal character in the middle 1700's, but even then the change was beginning to show which was to have the result a century or so later of having in the country districts only considerable villages and isolated farms where hitherto almost every inhabited place was a cluster of dwellings inhabited by farmers and mechanics, together with cottars who maintained a precarious existence by working at what they could find to do.

Page last updated - 27/6/16