The people of Bennachie were locally known as squatters because they did not pay rent. Yet one nearby resident, James Allan, tells us that locals saw them as respectable people who worked hard.

The Esson family is one of the many families that we know lived at Bennachie. William Esson was among the earliest settlers to the colony. In 1829 he built the farmstead known as Boghead of Tullos with his wife, Jean Petrie, and son, John. This house was the last to be abandoned when his grandson, George, died in 1939.

George Esson, like many of his family, was a stone mason and noted dry stone dyker. He was educated and had lived a short time in America. He returned to Scotland, however, and farmed his father's croft with his wife Mary Ann Knight. You can search for the remains of their home, still visible, at the eastern end of the colony.

Their house is not on our trail but many of the remains of other squatters' houses are. We know that the Findlater family lived in a cottage called Burnside. Their cottage may have been one close to the stream. See if you can spot the last remains of their squatter home as you walk along.

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