Invercarron Cottage – The Old Toll House
by Dawn Black and Richard Barnes
The old Toll House of Invercarron Cottage is found at the bottom of Bervie Braes and was originally owned as part of the Dunnottar Castle estate. The existing house was built in the early 19th century.
One Toll-keeper in the early 1800s was Alexander Reith, who, it is believed, was the father of George Reith of Glasgow (instrumental in the dredging of the Clyde and creation of Glasgow as one of the principle ports and ship building centres of the 19th Century) and the great-grandfather of Lord John Charles Walsham Reith, the first Director General of the BBC.
The Toll houses on turnpike roads were owned by a Turnpike Trust that let them by the year to the toll keeper. The Public Roup of Tolls for the Kincardineshire Bars were advertised yearly in the press.
Under the Roads and Bridges (Scotland Act) 1878, the cottage was brought into the ownership of the County Road Trustees of the County of Kincardine. The trustees sold the cottage in December 1879 to then Toll-keeper, William Nathaniel Fraser for the sum of £111. This sale included the land on which the cottage sits and the land immediately around it.
Invercarron Cottage has changed hands many times since that time, the most notable of which were the Tough family in the 1970s and 80s who also owned the Invercarron Garage that used to be on the site where the Invercarron Resource Centre now stands.
The cottage has been notorious more recently for nearly being destroyed by a landslide in 2011, but luckily after 2 1/2 years of stress and hard work the present owners, Richard Barnes and his family were able to return to the home that they love.