This is a series dedicated to our love of history and the wonderful hobby of geocaching; once we saw that other cachers were enjoying our history-oriented caches, this series was the logical next step! Each cache in this series will tell you about a piece of Lanark Highlands history, including stories of the people and events which shaped this region. Once you have read about the history of the location, you will be able to feel the past around you as you explore the site and search for the cahce itself.
The caches range in difficulty and terrain, but they should all be quick finds. They are all in quite rural/treed locations where GPS accuracy is often questionable, but none are difficult hides and we have provided helpful hints it you need them. They are all traditional caches, except where ideal locations are inappropriate for a cache, in which case simple redirects are used. For each cache page, though we have written the story, much of the information and many of the photos are courtesy of the Lanark and District Museum; please do not reproduce the story or photos without consent from the author (Matt Stafford) or the Museum. We hope you have fun learning something new and interesting about each location you visit in the Lanark Highlands; happy caching!
The Fiddler's Cache
A cache in honour of the first settlers of the Lanark Highlands, especially Alexander Watt, the fiddling namesake of Fiddler's Hill. This cache is not winter friendly, and requires that you bring your own pen. Please replace exactly as you found it to maintain the chalenge for the next cacher! To see the very special TB that originated here, search TB5HYHW.
Congratulations to relly76 for being the first to find!
Welcome to Fiddler's Hill! Before locating this cache, please enjoy the story of this local landmark;
Alexander Watt was one of 300 settlers, from 33 families, who came to settle this area (Dalhousie) in 1820 as part of a group of settlers known as the Lesmahagow Society, named after their native home near Lanark, Scotland. In July 1820, Alexander and his fellow travelers left Scotland aboard a ship named The Prompt, which arrived in Quebec two months later. They traveled on by boat to Brockville, Ontario, and then on foot to Perth where they awaited the arrival of other settlers before setting out on the journey to their new homes.
From Perth, the settlers traveled in wagons as far as the present site of Lanark Village (Lanark, Ontario, that is), where they were surprised and disheartened to find nothing but bush and only a small wagon trail for the rest of their journey. Nailed to a tree overlooking the Clyde River, at this point to which they had traveled for so long, was nailed a simple sign reading “This is Lanark.” From here the group had to hire a guide for the rest of their journey to Dalhousie.
All the land was rough, with dense forest and massive rock outcroppings. With much difficulty, they eventually made their way, either in wagons or by foot, as far as the top of this hill where they decided to stop for the night. Over the course of their trip the spirits of the settlers had been high; the men had spent long hours planning and reading all of the information on the colony while the women prepared clothes for the coming winter. But at this point, having made their way so laboriously this far only to find a land scarcely usable for agriculture, and seeing the vast expanse of untamed wilderness ahead of them from the top of the hill, they became discouraged.
To keep the wolves at bay a fire was lit, and to tend the fire through the night young Alexander had to keep himself awake. Lonesome for his wife and children who were to join him later, and trying to keep himself awake, he thought to pick up his fiddle and play a medley of Scottish tunes. Some locals say other settlers joined him and they played away to lift their spirits as they looked at the land stretching out before them, their new home. So encouraged were the fatigued travelers by this simple act, they were determined to press on and face whatever hardships lay ahead. They did press on, and came to another hill the following night where some settled and founded the community of Watson's Corners, visible in the distance from this hill.
The name of the young fiddler, in his twenties at the time, became a byword and inspiration among the area's settlers, and the hill which had been such a trial to their physical and emotional strength was given the musical name of “Fiddler's Hill,” the name by which it is still known today.
As you search for this cache, having easily driven to its location along roads that we often take for granted, think about the settlers who reached this point and look out over the vast expanse of land that lay before them; perhaps you'll even hear Alex playing his tunes if you listen hard enough!
This cache contains the usual log book, but also a prize for the first to find (a small book produced by the Lanark and District Museum from the diaries of one of Dalhousie's earliest settlers recounting the difficult journey from Scotland to New Lanark), tradable items that will interest geocachers young and old (feel free to take whatever you like, as long as you leave something in return), a very special TB, and a photo of Alexander Watt, the Fiddler of Fiddler's Hill.
Check out the other caches in this series!