A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875
Tarland, according to some, means "the flat or level ground," according to others it means "the flat land at the head of the loch." Either meaning suits the situation well enough. The village is situated at the head of an extensive flat, and until within 30 years ago, a marsh extended from near the church of Coull to near the church of Tarland. Of the meaning of Migvie nobody can form any plausible conjecture.
The parish of Tarland proper is bounded by Leochel-Cushnie on the north; by Coull on the east and south; and by Logie-Coldstone on the west. The detached portion of the parish, which is situated in Strathdon, is surrounded by that parish on the east, south and west, with Banffshire on the north. The principal portion of Migvie is surrounded by the parish of Logie-Coldstone, with Towie on the north; and the portion of the part of Migvie which lies on the right bank of the Don, and on the Deskry, below the confluence of the two streams, has Glenbucket on the north, Towie on the east, Logie-Coldstone on the south, and Strathdon on the west.
The parish consists of the four portions above mentioned, which are all detached from each other. The first, the parish of Tarland proper, in which is the village and the parish church, extends about 3½ miles from north to south, and about 3¼ from north-east to south-west, and comprehends an area of 4,719¼ acres. The second, or Migvie portion, is detached, and lies about a mile west of Tarland proper. This division is about three miles in length from south-east to north-west, and will average about a mile in breadth, and is computed to contain 1,969¾ acres. The Deskry side portion lies about two miles north-west of Migvie proper, and is about three miles in length from north to south, and two from east to west, and contains 2,398¾ acres. The fourth, or Strathdon portion of Tarland, situated on the north side of the Don, is about two miles higher up the river than the influx of the Deskry. This division of the parish extends along the Don from nearly opposite to the church of Strathdon to Tornahaish, a distance, in a direct line, of about 4½ miles, and extending northward from the river to the Banffshire boundary about 6½ miles. The area of this division is computed to be 8,293¾ acres. The whole four divisions comprehending an area of 17,381¼ acres.
The village of Tarland is about 440 feet above sea level; the new church is 510 feet; and the highest point on the Aberdeen turnpike, near Cauldhame, betwixt the parishes of Tarland and Coull, is 529 feet. The highest land on this division of the parish is the point on the Cushnie Hills, where the parish joins Logie-Coldstone and Leochel-Cushnie, and is 2,014 feet above sea level. The house of Tillypronie, in the Migvie division, is about 1,120 feet. The houses of Rippachy, on the Deskry side division, are 966 feet, and the lowest point on the Don on the Towie boundary is about 780 feet above sea level. The lowest point on the Strathdon division of Tarland parish, at the influx of the Nochty, is about 915 feet, and the confluence of the Ernan with the Don, is nearly 1,000 feet above sea level. The houses of Braeashiel, in Glenernan, 1,379 feet. Here the arable land reaches to 1,500 feet; and the highest mountains on the Banffshire boundary are about 2,680 feet above sea level.
Tarland proper, and the principal part of Migvie, are situated in the district of Cromar, which was so named from Martach, one of Fergus I. captains, who got it from his master in reward of his services. Of this district Cromar seems to have been the most valuable portion, Cromar signifying "the heart of Mar." The Deskry side portion of Migvie, and the Strathdon portion of Tarland, are supposed to have been shieling or grazing places of the proprietors of Migvie and Tarland, who, as they began to be cultivated, sold them as valuable property.
[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]