Origin of Funny Neuk
A lane leading from The Brae on to Auchterhouse Hill. A Penny wedding was a wedding reception which locals paid 1d to attend, to cover the expenses. These could be lively affairs. One was held in a hut located on a prominent spur of Sidlaw, which made such an impression upon a local worthy that he was heard to say:
"Weel, weel if there's no been fun in the Neuk the nicht"
- and the place was afterwards well-known as Funny-Neuk.
Two upright standing stones formed a conspicuous feature on a small knoll known as Greenfield Knowe. They were what remained of a larger group of stones that the farmer of Greenfield farm had removed for building dykes. The dykers, however, absolutely refused to use them, alleging that they would bring misfortune on themselves and their families if they did so. The farmer is said to have had a vision of a ghastly figure who warned him against interfering with the stones saying "Gang ower the howe t'an other knowe."
There was a duty of 20s on a gallon of whisky in the eighteenth century - both rich and poor resented this and refused to pay it. This made law breaking popular with all classes. The Act was repealed in 1742 but raised again after Napoleonic wars in 1815.
The area north of Dundee was notorious for smuggling - many people were involved in it - smugglers were regarded as heroes. The best spot for a bothy was one where the smoke could not be seen. Provided there was plenty of water, inaccessibility was an advantage. The bothies were eight foot square, an abundance of peat, barley and water were necessary.
The Sidlaws were a smugglers' haunt and most of the people in the neighbourhood co-operated in the running of the whisky to Dundee. In March 1813 excise officers seized whisky in a field near the Sidlaws. Smugglers attacked the excisemen on their way back to Dundee and got back some of the whisky. Methods of concealment included milk pails with false bottoms and bladder skins from animals which women hid under their dresses.
In 1821 2m gallons of whisky were illegally distilled in Scotland. Smuggling declined again after this as the duty was reduced again.