Through the period of the Union of 1707 until 1830, smuggling was rife throughout Scotland. Mainly focused around wine, gin and tobacco (although also around tea and coffee on which a heavy duty was paid), smuggling made a significant to the 'black economy'. It is said that so great was the resistance of the Scots against the newly introduced duty paid on imports, smuggling was scarcely concealed.

Folklore held smugglers as crafty, daring men who out-witted the Revenue with ingenious plots. In reality, however, the smuggling was often run by community leaders such as lairds (Scottish lords) and other landowners, who left all the 'dirty work' to lower members of the community, who faced public execution if caught.

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