In the olden days, even before General Wade's system of Military
Roads were made, there existed a well established system of drove
roads from the Highlands, first converging on Crieff, then going
on to Stirling, Falkirk and Peebles, then over the border to England.
New roads might have encouraged the catttle trade, but they were
avoided by the cattle drovers who walked their beasts to the autumn
trysts at Falkirk. The tolls on the new roads were high - sometimes
as much as 2p per cow - and hard road surfaces hurt the cows hooves.
Instead the drovers followed the old drove roads - ancient tracks
across the hills. The cattle walked twelve to fifteen miles a day.
Some headed for the ferry crossing over the Forth at Kincardine,
but most crossed the old bridge at Stirling. The cattle were walked
fom Skye, Mull, the Western Isles, Inverness, Moray, Banff, Buchan
and all over..
Crieff was once the main cattle dealing centre, but by the 1770s
the trysts at Falkirk were the main markets. Markets at Falkirk
were on the second Tuesdays of August, September and October. As
many as 60,000 cattle were sold at Falkirk each year.
Drove roads fell into disuse in the 1800s due to the advent of the