A New Scotland
Image, Courtesy of Am Baile.
NSA, XII,(1845), Logie-Buchan, 816.
Historians have noted how the era of agricultural improvement was shaped by a change in how humans related to and experienced the landscape. This change in attitude went hand in hand with a complete transformation of rural Scotland through new practices of cultivation, enclosure, road buildings and spatial organisation. An Aberdeenshire minister in 1845 reflected on how “when I look around me I seem to live not only among a new race of men but in a new world. Cultivation, like the gradual spreading of a garment, has changed the external face of the earth…one and great and indispensable means of these changes has been the formation of turnpike roads.” Turnpikes were certainly an important part of these changes. Not only many miles of well-made road, accompanied by toll houses and toll men, but a degree of traffic previously unimaginable traversing the landscape. Not only were the toll roads part of these sweeping developments, but crucially they were the medium through which these changes were experienced as people travelled this new landscape along the new and improved toll roads.