The village of Avoch is surrounded by woodland. Within living memory, gathering firewood often led to confrontation with estate gamekeepers.
Men used a rope with a stone tied at one end (a “cleek”) to pull down dry branches while women carried “burdeens” of dry brushwood.
In 1656 there was a record of a summons to over one hundred people to appear at court in Fortrose charged with “woodcutting at Craigswood, Chanonry, at Avoch and Pittanochtie”. There is no record of their fate, but it is to be hoped they were let off more lightly than William MacPhail and Christian McRyne, who, for stealing grain in 1698, were sentenced at Fortrose to have their right ears nailed to the Mercat Cross “there to stand for one hours time, and thereafter to be banished this town and shire and never to return again”.