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The area embraced by the present Report and Inventory comprises the
neighbouring counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan, which for convenience,
have been treated together.



These counties form a partially isolated geographical unit between the North Sea
on the east, the Firth of Tay on the north, the Firth of Forth on the south, and on
the west the Ochil Hills, which rise steeply above the gorge of Allan Water near its
junction with the River Forth and extend north-eastwards for a distance of 27 miles
to the Firth of Tay at Newburgh. The area thus defined is about 52 miles in extreme
length, roughly east and west, by 21 miles in the greatest breadth. Naturally, it has
always been most accessible from the sea, particularly as through the whole range
of the Ochil Hills on the landward side there are but three practicable passes, that
of Glendevon, which at one point rises to a height of 900 feet above sea-level, that
of Glenfarg nine miles farther to the north-east, and that of Lindores above the shore
of the Firth of Tay, the two latter being now followed by railways. The Ochils
are continued eastwards in a double line parallel to the Firth of Tay till they reach
the barren waste known as Tents Moor, while to the south another stretch of uplands
radiates eastwards from the Lomonds on the border of Kinross to widen out into the
high-lying moors of the East Neuk between St. Andrews Bay and Largo Bay. These
two lines of higher land enclose the flat Howe of Fife, which is the western part
of the strath of the River Eden. To the south-west is another hilly region, whose
highest points are the Saline Hills on the border of Clackmannan, and the Cleish
Hills on that of Kinross.
Much of the area under review was in ancient times covered with forest, which,
however, by the sixteenth century had been almost completely cut down. ¹ On the
level stretches, too, were many lakes ² which have since been drained away in the
course of agricultural improvement, leaving little or no trace of their former existence.
In the neighbourhood of these sheets of water and in many other parts were morasses
or peat-bogs, the former presence of which is still attested either by place-names
or by documents.

1Pitscottie, Bk. XX, Chap. xiii; Fynes Moryson in Early Travellers in Scotland, p. 85.
2 Cf. Boece, Descriptio Regni, f.5 (verso) in Scotorum Historiae (Edit. 1574). Maps of the province in
Blaeu's Novus Atlas, Part V, 1654.

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