With the banking of the river, great improvements were to come as more land became available for crops and grazing. Nearing the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, all over the country, big changes were taking place. The Industrial Revolution had begun and, in the towns and cities there was demand for country produce.

In the country, fields were being enclosed with the new dry-stane dykes. There was more dairying, cheesemaking, cattle and sheep rearing and growing of more crops of potatoes, oats, barley and turnips. Milk from the farms around Colmonell was taken by horse and cart to the station at Pinwherry, bound for Glasgow.

The last 20 years have seen major changes in the farms – many dairy farms now also have sheep and beef cattle and those that remain purely dairy have increased their numbers with modern labour-saving milking parlours. Mechanisation, especially the advent of the combine-harvester, which can cut the standing crop, separate the grain and straw ready to sell or store for winter feeding has greatly reduced harvest work.

Oats used to be cut with a binder and laboriously stooked to dry and, often in a wet season, the sheaves were "rickled" ie built into small stacks before "leading in" to be built in sheds or rows of stacks. A farm could be judged by the number and quality of neat carefully thatched stacks – pride and joy of many a farmer!

Hay making is easier too, with balers which compact and tie the hay in easy packages for handling and storage and feeding. Now we also have large round bales which can be stored outside. In spite of all this modernisation, farmers are still dependant on good weather for hay and harvest as was found to their cost in the wet summer of 1985. Silage or conservation of green grass is now more popular that ever, as it is not so dependant on good weather and cattle seem to be very fond of it.

Turnips were another crop which, being very labour intensive, are not so popular in this district – no doubt many villagers do miss a handy turnip field.

Farm life has changed too – more tourism and fishing has led to increasing numbers of farmhouse ‘bed and breakfast’ and many farmers wives now work as teachers, etc. Across the river below Craigneil Castle there was Craigneil Mill, with its mill dam, mill-race and mill-house, that used to grind the corn. Near the mill, on Craigneil ground there is a circle of trees known as “The Seven Sisters” which was planted by the farmer for each of his seven daughters.

For centuries roads had only been mere tracks and bridle paths but, to enable carts and carriages to pass and produce to get to the markets, new roads had to be made. The Turnpike Act of 1751 made landowners responsible and permitted them to charge tolls and, for this purpose, tollhouses were built at Craigneil and Garnieburn. By 1878 tolls were abolished, but many tollhouses survive to this day.

Toll charge per score of sheep, lambs, goats – 5d

Toll charge per score of unshod horses, fillies – 1/8d

As in many parts of the country, Colmonell suffered badly from the “Year of the Short Corn” in 1826 – little or no rain fell from the time the seed was sown until harvest. Although the effects of this passed, it was followed, in 1843 by potato disease. To try and combat this, the farmers established ‘lazybeds’ and the remains of these can still be seen in our area.

In 1853 a holidaymaker from Dundee was so impressed with the view from Balhamie that he rode out each day from the village to carve a large stone into the shape of a seat – signing his work, when finished C Aird 1853. There is also a wooden seat along the road gifted by the WRI but the "Grey Seat" is much more sheltered and sunny on a winter's day.