HIGHMOUNT AND LOWMOUNT PLANTATIONS

Place-name:Highmount Plantation
Lowmount Plantation
Suggested Meaning:‘a low tree-covered hill’
First elementhigh ‘on higher land
low ‘on lower land’
Second elementScots munt, m’unt ‘a low tree-covered hill’
Third elementScots plantation ‘group of trees’
Blaeu Coila (1654):N/A
OS Name Books (1855-57):Highmount Plantation
Lowmount Plantation
Location:Ordnance Survey (1888-1913)

Highmount Plantation and Lowmount Plantation

The Highmount and Lowmount Plantations are situated on the lands of Lowesmuir [1].

Map 1: Ordnance Survey (1856) | Highmount and Lowmount Plantations

Place Name Elements : High & Low

The place-name elements high and low are used to differentiate between the two plantatations, which sit on the upper slopes of Cairnscadden Hill [2], with Highmount higher up the hill and Lowmount about 300 yards lower down the hill.

Highmount and Lowmount Plantations (Robert Guthrie 2022)

Scots munt ‘a low tree-covered hill’

The local pronunciation of mount is munt [3] and the entry for munt in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language reads [4] –

MUNT, n.2 Sc. form and usages of Eng. mount.

1. A low tree-covered hill (Fif., Ayr. 1963).

It is interesting to note the following two Ayrshire examples quoted in the Dictionary entry, the first of which gives munt in the form m’unt [5] –

Streekit on my grufe below some rowan tree by the side of a fine auld m’unt of firs.

John Service (Editor), The Life and Recollections of Dr. Duguid of Kilwinning ‘

The other entry is from the chapter on the parish of Dunlop in The Third Statistical Account of Ayrshire [6] –

The surface consists of large undulating stretches with here and there low tree-covered hills that are locally described as “munts ”.

The Third Statistical Account of Ayrshire, p. 474 (1951)

There is a multitude of mounts throughout Ayrshire, many of which are circular plantations of trees. The other example in the parish of New Cumnock is Dalleagles Mount [7] while just over the boundary in the parish of Ochiltree there is the neighbouring pair High Mount and Laigh Mount. In the neighbouring parish of Old Cumnock are Dettingen Mount, Stair Mount, Bland’s Mount , Cistern Mount and Crosshill Mount – all of which are circular while the square shaped Skares Mount breaks the mould. In the parish of Auchinleck there is a Treeshill Mount which is circular in shape and a Treeshill Plantation which is a belt of trees.

Scots plantation ‘a group of trees’

Although the term plantation is used to describe ‘a group of trees‘ [8] it is unusual to find it suffixed to a named mount, since this name also refers to a ‘group of trees’. Nearby is West Lowes Plantation and East Lowes Plantation which are both rectangular woodlands [9].

Highmount Plantation

Highmount Plantation (Robert Guthrie 2022)

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Highmount Plantation reads –

A Circular Plantation of mixed wood, near Lowesmuir Mount

Although only a few deciduous trees now make upthe Highmount Plantation is still an impressive site with the remains of the circular drystane dyke mapping out the extent of the plantation.

In 2012 the Highmount Plantation was surveyed as part of Cultural Heritage assessment for the proposed ‘High Cumnock wind farm’ development. Sadly, there were no findings of any great note and only the dimensions of the wall remains were recorded and reported in CANMORE [10] –

A circular woodland plantation is shown on the Ordnance Survey 1st Edition map (1860) and is annotated ‘Highmount Plantation’. The plantation is also depicted on subsequent Ordnance Survey Editions. Field survey identified a circular enclosure defined by a ruinous drystone wall measuring 0.8m high by 0.6m wide and containing a number of mature deciduous trees. Information from Oasis (cfaarcha1-263834) 13 June 2018.

CANMORE , National Record of the Historic Environment |Canmore ID 358319

There is a grass embankment between the ruins of Lowesmuir Mount and the south west of the plantation. Part of this may include the ground shown in Map 1 above, to the right of the name Lowesmuir Mount). There is also an embankment/ditch running south east from the plantation wall.

Lowmount Plantation

The Ordnance Survey Name Book entry for Lomount Plantation reads –

A Circular Plantation about 8 Chains south of Lowesmuir Mount.

The plantation comprises a fair number and variety of coniferous trees along with some deciduous trees. Large portions of the circular stanedyke wall are still in place.

Lowesmuir Mount

The cottage was home to those that worked for the farmer at Lowesmuir about half-mile to west,

Ruins of Lowesmuir Mount cottage with Highmount Plantation in the distance (Robert Guthrie 2022)

The cottage takes its name from the lands of Lowesmuir [1] and probably from the solitary mount that existed when the cottage was built. A single mount is shown in Map 2 below.

Map 2: W. Johnson (1828) | depiction of mount

References
[1] New Cumnock Place-Names | Lowesmuir (in progress)
[2] New Cumnock Place-Names | Cairnscadden Hill (in progress)
[3] Local pronounciation of mount thanks to Ian Young, former farmer of Mid Lowes
[4] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. |munt
[5] John Service (Editor) ,The Life and Recollections of Dr. Duguid of Kilwinning (1887), p.244
[6] John Strawhorn and William Boyd , The Third Statistical Account of Ayrshire (1951), p. 474
[7] New Cumnock Place-Names | Dalleagles Mount (in progress)
[8] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. | plantation
[9] New Cumnock Place-Names | Lowes (in progress)
[10] CANMORE , National Record of the Historic Environment Highmount Plantation
Maps
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
https://maps.nls.uk/
Images used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.
Map 1: Ordnance Survey Maps – 25 inch 1st edition, Scotland, 1855-1882 (Survey 1856) |Highmount and Lowmount Plantations
Map 2: William Johnson, Northern (Southern) part of Ayrshire (Engraved by T. Clerk), 1828 | depiction of mount
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
scotlandsplaces.gov.uk
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 |Highmount Plantation
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 |Lowmount Plantation