Jock o' the Whalps

by Roger Griffith
  • Jock o' the Whalps lane
  • The old Clevance Hills water tank
  • Langholm Farm and the site of the old Clevens Loch
  • a section of the old Clevance Farm lane

Behind Langholm Farm and above the site of the old Clevens Loch is the hill of Catcraigs and behind this eminence is the old abandoned lane to Clevance Farm, a section of which is known as Jock o' the Whalps.

John Vallance was a native of Stranraer and lived in Symington as a young boy; although at first quite well to do, he for reasons unknown took up an almost hermit-like existence in the 1840s, living with his wife in a hut built against the rock face of the Catcraigs. He kept a few chickens, a cow and a pig, but he also dangerously and unpleasantly supplemented his diet by exhuming recently buried diseased cattle and curing the meat!

Jock lived this way for many years and was the subject of much ridicule as well as having pranks played on him by the local children. As a much visited 'house'  the name for the site stuck and his story was well known in the district for many years after his death.

But why Jock o' the Whalps? It appears that John (Jock) made a reputation for himself by catching moles and then selling them in Ireland as puppies (whalps) belonging to a rare breed of dog. Moles are not found in Ireland and Jock o' the Whalps got away this deception for a number of years.

 


Tony Byrne says

There is also a limekiln on the Clevance Farm Lane, approximately 100yds before (east) of the farm (we used to call it Speirs' farm). A massive fireplace in the North wall is all that remains.

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