A social and economic history of the Blackmount Deer Forest, Argyllshire, 1815-1900
Scottish deer forests are mainly a Highland phenomenon. Many were formed during the nineteenth century when proprietors benefited from their economic marketability as 'sporting estates'. The Blackmount area was a forest, under the ownership of the Campbells of Glenorchy, since the fifteenth century. Situated in one of the most mountainous ranges of the west Highlands, its function was to serve as a hunting reserve for both that family and their aristocratic peers, whilst being protected by foresters from poachers and trespassers. The earlier Forest of Corrie Ba ceased to exist during the later eighteenth century when sheep farming became the predominant land use there. Blackmount Forest was re-formed anew in 1820 due to an economic recession after the Napoleonic Wars terminated. This thesis identifies the social, political, economic, geographical and environmental reasons for Blackmount Forest's creation, growth and continued existence. It questions if this was for leisure alone or for a commercial ethos adopted by landlords of other forests. The Forest expanded during the nineteenth century, gaining national recognition, especially in the 1840s-1850s and thereafter. However, the Campbells of Breadalbane faced internal and external challenges and criticisms, several of a legal nature. The family were long established, in the Scottish aristocracy, with extensive estates in the west-central Highlands. The retained Blackmount for themselves, excepting the period 1863-1885 when it was let out wholesale. The thesis also identifies its social impact upon the locality, and the extent to which this forest may have influenced others coming into existence later that century.