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BIRKHILL
Birkhill. See Balmebino.
Birkhill, a mountain-pass on the mutual border of
Selkirk and Dumfries shires, 4J miles S"W of the head
uf St Mary's Loch, andllJNE of Moffat. A cottage inn
here, at 1100 feet above sea-level, serves as a place of
call and refreshment to persons visiting the wild scenery
around Loch Skeen and the Grey Mare's Tail. The sur-
rounding country is mountainous moorland, and was a
frequent retreat of the Covenanters. A hill opposite
the inn was a station for their watchmen on the look-out
for the approach of dragoons, and still bears the name
of Watch Hill. Four of the Covenanters, on one occa-
sion, were shot near the inn's door by order of Claver-
house.
Birkhill Feus, a village in LifF and Benvie parish,
Forfarshire, 4J miles NW of Dundee.
Birkhillside, an estate, with a mansion, in Legerwood
parish, SW Berwickshire, 3 miles N of Earlston.
Birkwood, a mansion in Lesmahagow parish, Lanark-
shire, h mile SSW of Abbeygreen. It is the seat of
Jn. Gregory M'Kirdy, Esq., owner of 1250 acres in the
shire, valued at £1170 per annum.
Birleyhill. See Dueisdeer.
Birnam, a suburban village in Little Dunkeld parish,
and a hill and a pass partly also in Auchtergaven parish,
Perthshire. The village stands on the Highland rail-
way, at Dunkeld station, adjacent to the right bank of
the river Tay, near Dunkeld Bridge, f mile SSE of
Dunkeld. Of recent erection, on feus from the late Sir
AVilliam Drummond Stewart, it contains a good many
handsome shops and dwelling-houses — the latter chiefly
let to summer visitors ; and presents an aspect of cleanli-
ness, comfort, and elegance, excelled by no other village
in Great Britain. At it are a post office under Dunkeld,
with money order and savings' bank departments ; a
railway telegraph office ; a spacious hotel ; and St Mary's
Episcopal church. The hotel is in the Saxon-Gothic
style, with towers and other features giving it an ecclesi-
astical and imposing appearance ; contains a public hall,
so large and ornate as to be one of the finest in Scotland ;
and has attached to it a billiard room, a bowling green,
and beautiful grounds. St Mary's (1856-57) is Early
Middle Pointed in style, with severe geometrical tracery,
and consists of tower, nave, and chancel. The railway
station is an ornamental structure. On a neighbouring
wooded eminence, Torr Hill, are a number of tasteful
villas, of which Erigmore was tenanted by Mr J. E.
Millais, R.A. , in 1880, as earlier likewise was St Mary's
Tower. Highland games are held on the last Thursday
of August. Pop. (1871) 530, (1881) 600.
Birnam Hill rises to the S of the village ; and, attain-
ing an altitude of 1324 feet above sea-level, commands
an extensive view of Strathmore, Stormont, Strathbraan,
and Athole. It once was covered by the royal forest
immortalised by Shakespeare in Macbeth; but its an-
cient woods have long ago been felled, and thriving
plantations of firs and birches now are taking their place.
' Dimcan's Camp,' where King Duncan held his court,
or vestiges of a round fort, occurs at an altitude of 658
feet on its SE acclivity ; and Birnam Pass goes between
Duncan's Camp and the Tay, being traversed by the
railway and the public road. The portal this through
which Highland caterans, Montrose's force, and Prince
Charles Edward's army poured from the Highlands on
the Lowland plain, it is sometimes called the ' Mouth
of the Highlands ;' it separates a Gaelic-speaking popu-
lation on the N from an English-speaking population
on the S ; and it presents a miniature of many of the
grandest of the Highland glens, with the addition of a
slow majestic river. A small mountain brook enters
the Tay a little above the Pass's upper end ; and is
spanned by a rustic seven-arched bridge called Birnam
Bridge, built at a cost of about £2500. — Orel. Sur., sh.
4S, 1868.
Birness, a post office hamlet in Ellon parish, E Aber-
deenshire, 4 miles NE of Ellon village.
Birnie (Brennack in 12th c. ), a parish of Elginshire,
containing the hamlet of Thomshill, 3J miles S of its
post-town and station, Elgin ; and bounded N and NE
158
BIRSAY AND HARRAY
by Elgin parish, SE by Rothes, W by Dallas and Elgin.
In shape resembling a rude triangle, with eastward
vertex at Netherglen, it has an extreme length from
N to S of 6J miles, an extreme width from E to W of
3 miles, and a land area of 6777 acres. Lennoc Burn
winds 4 miles along all the Dallas border to the Lossie,
which here has a northerly course of 3J miles, chiefly
upon the western boundary with Elgin, and which here
too is joined by Geddoch Burn from the SE. The sur-
face has a general southward rise, from 100 feet or so above
sea-level in the furthest north to 323 feet near Claypot,
614 near Hangingfolds, 630 near Glenlatterach, 907 on
Mill Our, 902 on Hart Hill, 1164 on Pikey Hill, and
1095 on Red Taingy, these three last summits culminat-
ing on the south-eastern border. The rocks are gneissose
in the S, Old Red sandstone in the N ; and gravelly or
sandy soils predominate, but rich alluvial loam and deep
and retentive clay also occupy considerable tracts. About
two-fifths of the whole area are under the plough, besides
some 500 acres of plantations, the rest being mostly moss
or heathery hill. Birnie is in the presbytery of Elgin
and synod of Moray ; the minister's income is £193. Its
church, St Brandon's, stands near the Lossie, 1J mile
NNW of Thomshill, and is one of the oldest in Scotland.
A good example of Romanesque, though sadly modern-
ised, it consists of chancel "and nave, the former wanting
an E window, the latter shortened to the \V in 1794 ;
while special features are the enriched chancel arch and
jamb-shafts, a characteristic Norman font, and the ancient
' Coronach ' or ' Ronnel ' bell, made, it is said, of silver
and copper at Rome, and blessed by the Pope himself.
Here in 1184 was buried Simon de Tonci, fourth Bishop
of Moray, Birnie, during the 12th century having been
one of the seats of that bishopric, Spynie and Kenedor
being the others. A public school, with accommodation
for 144 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 83,
and a grant of £S6, 18s. Pop. (1801) 366, (1851) 427,
(1871) 375, (1881) 367.— Orel. Sur., sh. 85, 1876.
Birns, a rivulet of Haddingtonshire, rising on the W
side of Lammer Law (1733 feet), near the Berwickshire
boundary, and running some 7 miles north-westward
along the boundary between Humbie and Pencaitland
parishes on the left, and Yester, Bolton, and Salton
parishes on the right, to a confluence with the Tyne, 1
mile E of Wester Pencaitland village. Its volume here
is rather larger than that of the Tyne.
Birrens, a place, with a Roman camp, in Middlebie
parish, Dumfriesshire, a little SSE of Middlebie church,
1 J mile ENE of Ecclefechan, and 3 miles SE of the sum-
mit of Beunswaek. The Roman camp here is one of the
best preserved in Great Britain, retaining its fossae,
aggeres, and prsetorium in a state of perfect distinctness.
Another Roman camp adjoined this, but was destroyed
by the proprietor of the ground about 1S20, when it
yielded many splendid Roman relics, particularly large,
well-cut, ornamental, inscribed stones.
Birrenswark. See Brunswark.
Birsay and Harray, a united parish in the NW of the
mainland of Orkney. It has two post offices, Birsay
under Kirkwall and Harray under Stromness, the former
20 miles NW of Kirkwall, the latter 12 miles WNW.
It is bounded W, NW, N, and NE by the Atlantic
Ocean, E by Evie, Rendall, and Firth, S by Stenness,
and SW by Sandwick. Its greatest length, from NNW
to SSE, is 11 miles, and its greatest breadth is 6i miles.
Harray projects southward from the SE of Birsay, is
wholly inland, and measures about 5J miles in length
from N to S and about 2-J miles in extreme breadth. Of
three headlands on the coast of Birsay — Marwick Head
in the W, Brough Head in the NW, and Costa Head in
the N — the first does not materially diversify the coast-
line, the second wavers between the character of an islet
and that of a small peninsula, and the third presents to
the sea a face of high precipitous rock. The entire sea
coast is about 10 miles long, and has mostly a rocky
shore. The surface of Birsay is hilly, but not mountain-
ous ; that of Harray is flat and rather swampy. Six
considerable lakes, and some small ones are in Birsay,
and abound with wild duck, swans, and other aquatic

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