Sunday, June 14, 2009

Devil's Beef Tub buyout proceeds


Devil's Beef Tub buyout proceeds

The forest trust has raised the funds necessary to complete the purchase of the Devil's Beef Tub - a site once used to conceal stolen cattle


A forest trust in the south of Scotland has raised £700,000 to buy a stretch of land once used to hide stolen cattle.

The deal allows 1,580 acres of land at the Devil's Beef Tub, near Moffat, to be dedicated to woodland, low intensity farming and conservation projects.

The Borders Forest Trust (BFT) has been fundraising for about 18 months in order to secure the site.

Director Willie McGhee said the trust was looking forward to the "exciting challenge" of managing the land.

The trust secured a legal option to buy the land at Corehead Farm in December 2007.

It now hopes to secure entry to the site on 9 July.

The group intends to create a "mosaic of habitats" across the hills it has purchased.

Mr McGhee said: "Our vision of restoring the Ettrick Forest across the Southern Uplands is now a step closer and our grateful thanks go to everyone who has contributed to the appeal.

"BFT looks forward to the exciting challenge of managing this very special part of Scotland."

The trust hopes to return traditional farming to the site with a reduction in sheep levels.

English attacked

It also aims to restore a wide range of habitats and plant community orchards.

It is hoped this will encourage the return of plants, birds and animals such as golden eagle, black grouse, otter, mountain hare, emperor moth, juniper, aspen and globeflower to the area.

The area itself is a historically important one.

The Border Reivers used to hide stolen cattle in the deep valley of Devil's Beef Tub.

William Wallace is also associated with the site.

His sister married the Laird of Corehead Tower and Wallace gathered men from the Ettrick Forest and the Border clans at Corehead to lead his first attack against the English in 1297.

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The Devil's Beef Tub is a deep, dramatic hollow in the hills north of the Scottish town of Moffat. The 500-foot (150 m) deep hollow is formed by four hills, Great Hill (1527 ft, 465 m), Peat Knowe, Annanhead Hill, and Ericstane Hill. It is one of the two main sources of the River Annan; the other is from the neighbouring Hart Fell to the east. Its unusual name derives from its use by the Border Reivers to hide stolen cattle; it is also called Marquis of Annandale's Beef-stand after the Lord of Annandale, chief of the raiding "loons" (here meaning "lads", rather than "lunatics").

On August 12, 1685 fleeing covenanter John Hunter attempted to escape pursuing dragoons by running up the steep side of the Beef Tub. He failed, was shot dead on the spot, and is buried in Tweedsmuir kirkyard (churchyard). A monument to Hunter stands on the southwest rim of the Beef Tub

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