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Days at the Coast
Brodick and Lamlash


“Far lone among the Highland hills,
Midst Nature's wildest grandeur
By rocky dens and woody glens,
With weary steps I wander.”

Where the Frith of Clyde expands into a sea, and just as it is on the eye of mingling its waters with the limitless deep, the beautiful and most picturesque island of Arran starts proudly and precipitously from the bosom of the channel. It almost seems as if Nature, at her own sweet will and of set purpose, had here congregated a stately mountain band to overlook and to grace with their presence the august nuptials of ocean and stream. All that is lovely of earth, or sea, or sky, are indeed assembled here, in romantic communion with all that is grand, or impressive, or terrible. In a geological sense, Arran is said to be an epitome of the British isles, comprising, within its comparatively narrow boundaries, the heads and texts of nearly all the u sermons in stones ” which are to be gleaned from the Land’s End to John o’Groats. Whether this be true or not (and it must be admitted that we cannot see far enough into a millstone to speak with authority on the subject), one thing at least is certain, and that is, that it would be difficult to point out, within the girdle of the British seas, any style of landscape which has not its “counterfeit presentment” in Arran. Small as this island is, it has its own Highlands and its own Lowlands distinctly marked. Rugged mountain peaks and shadowy glens strike the pilgrim with profoundest awe in

one direction, while in another, sunny bays and gentle beaches, fertile slopes of green, and quiet, level moors, produce a pleasant and a soothing influence on the spirit. Within the compass of a few hours’ walk, the wanderer may see, in swift succession, the hoar and dizzy cliff, and the fiercely dashing cataract; the wave-lashed headland, and the far-sounding shore; the dark mountain tarn which ever seems to frown, and the merry winding streamlet that ceaseth not to play. Now the dark woodland shade invites us to solemn musing; anon the flower-fretted meadow, and the smiling corn-field, waving green and yellow, are wooing us with their sunniest smiles; and again the wide-stretching pasture-lands, with their countless groups of scattered sheep and kine, spread their sweet pastoral pictures before us, and win us to many an admiring pause. The very home of rich and varied beauty, indeed, is this said island of Arran, and dim, and dull, and dead, must be the soul which could gaze unmoved upon its ever-changing features.

So much for the poetical, and now for a brief prose description of Arran. The island, as we have said, is situated in the opening jaws of the Clyde. Its southern extremity is in latitude 55 deg. 29 min. 30 sec., and in longitude 4 deg. 17 min. In length it is variously stated to be from twenty-four to thirty miles, by ten or twelve in breadth. On the west, it is about six miles from the shores of Kintyre, the spacious sound of Kilbrannan intervening; and on the east it is separated from the Ayrshire coast by the Frith of Clyde proper, which is here of about an average breadth of thirteen miles. From the side of Bute on the north it is about five miles distant. In form the island is a kind of irregular ellipse, the general outline not being materially affected by the various bays and indentations by which the shores are so delightfully fretted. Lamlash and Brodick are the principal bays; Lochranza, at the northern extremity, or Cock of Arran, is a small inlet of about a mile in depth. Including the little islet of Pladda on the south, and the Holy Isle in the mouth of Lamlash Bay, the total area of Arran has been estimated at about 100,000 acres Scots, of which, it was calculated a few years ago, that 11,179 were arable, and 613 under plantation and natural coppice. Of late, however, considerable improvements have been effected on the more tractable portions of the surface, and it is therefore probable that a much larger proportion of the entire acreage is now either under crop or timber. Etymologists are of course divided in opinion with regard to the origin of the name Arran, as they are with regard to almost every other local name with which we are acquainted. Strange fellows these said etymologists must be, with their eternal “ riving of words to gar them clink; ” their fierce disputes about jaw-breaking terms, which generally signify nothing to the purpose, and their aptitude for turning obscurity into utter darkness. According to one of these worthies, the name of Arran is from two Gaelic words—and, high; and inch, an island; literally “high island.” This meaning is pretty near the descriptive truth; but mark how the sly rogue dips the alleged roots to give an air of probability to his theory; ard he docks unscrupulously of its final d, and inch is quietly compelled to render up its two final letters. Dr. M‘Leod of this city (an excellent Celtic scholar), on the other hand, will have it that the name is from u ar, a land or country; and rinn, sharp points;” a country, namely, of abrupt peaks and pinnacles, which Arran is in an emphatic degree. One writer ascribes the name to aran, a Gaelic word, signifying bread; another to arfhin, the land of Fingal; and a third to an ancient British phrase, signifying “a land of mountains.” Out of this etymological “confusion worse confounded,” we must leave our sagacious readers to select their own derivation. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and we shall find Arran to be equally lovely, whatever construction we choose to put upon its name.

And now, gentle reader (for, of course, all our readers are gentle in walk, speech, and behaviour), vouchsafe us thy presence in spirit upon the deck of our steamer as she pushes gallantly out from the harbour of Ardrossan into the swelling breast of the Frith. The day has been gloomy, and somewhat addicted to tears. Had we trusted the weatherglass we should have stayed supinely at home, for it continued doggedly to point to rain. Fernandez Pinto was but a type of that false instrument, however, and we have long ceased to have any faith in the mercurial prophet. So here we are; and see how the opening heavens are giving the lie to the presumptous weather-glass, in glorious bursts of sunshine. It is true, there is still a wavering conflict between the lights and the shadows, but is not nature all the more beautiful for the struggle? To our right are the two Cumbrae8, and their fair sister Bute, outstretched upon the waters. The smaller islet of the three is under a cloud, and frowning darkly as Erebus, or as one of those grim landscapes which Thompson of Duddingstone loved so well to paint. How vivid are small silver breaks which the snowy sea-bird makes as it dashes athwart the gloom! The larger islands, all befreckled with radiance and shadow, form a pleasing contrast to their gruff little neighbour. Adown the channel, and blue with the haze of distance, is the conical Craig of Ailsa, that “lonely watcher of the deep,” which tongues profane have christened u Paddy’s Milestone,” and which forms so welcome a landmark to the homeward-bound mariner—so sad a memorial to those who are leaving for ever behind them the home and the friends of their youth. Even now there are vessels passing to and fro by the Craig, and who can tell what various emotions its presence may be at this very moment exciting in those who come and go upon the watery waste? What heeds the stern old Craig? Men come and go by its gaunt sides “like shadows, and even so depart,” while the old brown peak remains to do battle with the storms of ages. But Arran, the grandest feature by far and away in the scene, and the bourne for which we are now rapidly steering, lies right before us, and claims our undivided attention. We are bearing right down upon Brodick, which is situated somewhere about midway between the extremes of the island. Eight and left the land stretches away, with its glorious garniture of bays and headlands, rude swelling heights, and wide yawning glens. To the south is the Holy Isle, with Lamlash hiding in its rear; to the north the Corrie and the towering walls of Glen Sannox. Goatfell, the giant of the isle, however, has wrapped his head and shoulders in a snowy cloud, and seems to be shorn of half his fair proportions. A stranger would never have fancied, indeed, that such a tall and grizzly monster was shrouded in that wreath of glittering vapour, which, like a glory, has dropped from the summer sky, and hangs upon the higher ranges of the mountain. What a fine play of light and shadow there is also around his huge sides, and about his feet, down even to the margin of the water, which appears to be quivering in a luminous ecstacy  In one vast glen there is an atmosphere of bronze; another sleeps in a quiet and sober gloaming, while a third seems actually to have anticipated night, and invested itself with kindred glooms. Talk of unbroken sunshine as you may, but give us the wild communion of the elements—give us the light and shadow in beauteous chase over land and sea—give us the tears and the smiles together in the sky, and the rainbow blending them into one sweet form of beauty; give us the sun-bursts breaking in slants from the blue above, and binding unto each other as with golden cords the heaven which is over all, and the earth which is beneath, and the waters which are under the earth.

Our steamer now makes her way into the quiet and calm bay of Brodick, and after a gentle sweep athwart its bosom, comes to a pause in the vicinity of the wharf, which is situated on its northern shoulder, immediately adjacent to the castle, which is seen peeping from a gentle elevation over its stately girdle of trees. Making our way on shore, by the aid of a small boat, we find ourselves as we land among a group of weather-beaten natives, interspersed with a pretty numerous sprinkling of those fair salt water residents who annually spend the sunny season at this favourite watering-place. Among our fellow-passengers are fathers, and brothers, and sweethearts, doubtless, of these watchers by the shore, and it is really interesting to watch the varied modes of welcome, and the various manifestations of affection which occur on such occasions, and to speculate upon the characters, relationships, and motives of the several actors. A pretty little drama, indeed, is generally enacted at the salt water wharf upon the arrival or departure of the steamer. A few minutes brings about the exeunt omnes, and “nae weel-kent face” among the throng having cheered our gaze, we are left at leisure to scan the general features of the bay.

Brodick Bay, then, is a deep and regular curve, of about two miles in length. It is flanked on the north by Merkland Point, and on the south by a kindred projection called Corriegill Point, both of which, about the water margin, are principally composed of the old red sandstone. Round the centre of the bay is a fine smooth beach of sand and shingle, which is admirably adapted for bathing purposes. Exterior to the sands, which are of considerable breadth, is an extensive level plain, stretching away into a splendid sloping amphitheatre, opening at various points of its circumference into the spacious valleys of Glen Rosa, Glen-sheraig, and Glencloy. This beautiful area is deliciously interspersed with little hamlets, rows of cottages, and ornamented villas, surrounded by gardens and fertile fields. There are, also, every here and there over its surface, a comfortable looking farmstead, each with its girdle of time-honoured trees, and its little cloud of blue curling reek rising peacefully through the air. Large belts and clumps of planting straggle, at the same time, irregularly over the adjacent braes and down into the hollows, where the streamlets of Glen Rosa and Glencloy, after their hurried descent from the hills, are peacefully meandering towards the sea.

On the south side of the bay, and on a gentle elevation, a modest little church raises its tiny belfry to the view, and still farther round is a spacious Inn, with a number of neat cottages in its vicinity. It is with the northern side of the bay, however, that we have mainly now to grapple. It is at this point, as we have previously mentioned, that the stately turrets of the ducal castle rise in pride among their beautiful woods, and gardens, and lawns; and it is at this point, as we have not yet hinted, that the neat, little, old-fashioned, weather-stained, and leaf-enveloped Inn of Brodick lies snugly nestled in a sweet shady nook of its own. Shenstone it is, we think, who says, in bitterest satire, that the traveller’s warmest welcome is ever at the Inn; and in confident expectation of a warm reception, we seek the ever open door of our ancient hostess, Mrs. Jamieson. But alas! and alas!—

“The best laid schemes of mice and men Gang aft agley.
And leave us nocht but grief and pain For promised joy.”

The house is crammed from top to bottom, and we cannot find a place, however humble, within the walls, wherein to lay our devoted head. Not a bed, not a shake-down, not a vacant sofa even is to be had for love or money. With the gaberlunzie of old we might say—

“Oh we can lie into the barn,
Or yet into the byre,
Or in ahlnt the ha* door,
Or doon before the fire;”

—but all this would be of no avail, and we are just on the eve of making up our mind to pass the night after the fashion of our old friends the birds of the air, when the cloud turns up its silver lining, and an opening for us is found in a neat little cottage about a quarter of a mile off. There it is settled we are to sleep, while our creature comforts are to be provided in the populous mansion of Mrs. Jamieson. And now that our mind is at rest on this all-important score, “ come into the garden, Maud,” and take an outside glance of our most venerable hostelry. Is it not a pleasant looking old edifice this same Inn of Brodick, with its craw-stepped gables, and the rich yellow lichens crawling in picturesque patches over its roof? Up its snowy front, to the very eaves where the swallows hang their “procreant cradles,” climbs a fine healthy fig-tree, with its broad glossy leaves intermingled with the fresher foliage of a lusty vine. At one side there is a huge rose-tree sprawling up and around the gable with its blushing and odorous bunches, while the other rejoices in a fuschia, resplendent with drooping blossoms of crimson and purple. A stately ash tree throws its vast leafy arms aloft at one end, as if to shield the house from harm, and a girdle of foliage runs round the little garden to screen it from intrusive winds, and to afford a safe leafy shelter to the chaffinches, the wagtails, the redbreasts, and the other warblers which cluster around the spot in greater numbers than we remember to have seen elsewhere. A quaint old sundial lends a suggestive feature to the flower* brightened and well-fruited enclosure; and in one corner there is a chained eagle, which startles you with a bark, almost like that of a dog, as you unconsciously approach his prison-house. This descendant of the ancient cloud-cleavers of the isle has been a captive, we are informed, for about twenty-nine years, yet still he is lusty and well feathered, and retains a large portion of his native ferocity and courage. His principal food seems to be fish, but this we suppose is more from necessity than choice, as he lately made short work with a poor chicken which incautiously ventured within the scope of his tether. Poor fellow, he is probably the “Last of the Mohicans,” the sole remnant of his dan, as the Duke a few years ago issued an order for the extermination of the tribe, and since then the eagle has ceased to be "lord above” in his ancient home of Arran.

Upon a beautiful green terrace, on the northern shoulder of the bay, stands Brodick Castle, the insular residence of the Duke of Hamilton, the sole proprietor (bating a few detatched farms) of the island of Arran. The structure, which is principally of modem erection, is in the old baronial style of architecture, with battlemented roofs, and in front is surmounted by a lofty tower, flanked with small turrets, and capt with abrupt and crawstepped gables. Rising considerably above the level of the surrounding woods, this portion of the Castle forms a fine feature in the landscape of the bay, and from the interior must command a prospect of great extent and beauty. From an almost prehistoric period, this spot has been the site of a castellated building. It is believed, indeed, that there was a fort here during the period when the island was under the Norwegian sway; and, subsequently, it is known that the Macdonalds of the Isles held the Castle of Brodick as one of their princely residences. During the wars of Bruce and Baliol, when the ambitious Edward of England laid a lawless hand upon the sceptre of Caledonia, the island of Arran fell into the possession of the southern invaders, who, in 1306, held the Castle of Brodick under the governorship of Sir J. Hastings. Their tenantcy, however, seems to have been of short duration. James Lord Douglas, who had accompanied the Bruce into exile at Rachrin, on the coast of Ireland, soon got tired of the kind of life which his royal master was living there, and returned with Sir Robert Boyd and a few friends privately to Arran. Taking up his residence in a spacious cave, which is still to be seen on the sequestered shore at Drumidoon, he remained for several months in concealment, watching an opportunity of pouncing upon the unsuspicious Englishers. At one time they succeeded in intercepting a supply of arms and provisions for the garrison, and by a stratagem nearly effected an entrance into the Castle itself. Wearied of his obscure existence at Rachrin, Bruce also joined the party a few months afterwards. His visit was not anticipated, and the outlaws were alarmed for their safety when they saw him approach with his followers. A few notes from the king’s horn set their minds at rest, however, as we learn from the poem of old Barbour, who has so lustily sung the praises of his royal master. "We borrow the passage:—

“The king then blew his horn inbye,
And gart his men that were him by
Hold them still in privitie;
And syne again his horn blew he.

James of Douglas heard him blow,
And well the blast soon can he know;
And said, 'Surely yon is the king,
I ken him well by his blowing.’

Third time therewith also he blew,
And then Sir Robert Boyd him knew.
And said, "Yon is the king bot dreed;
Come, we will forth to him, good speed.’”

For months the Bruce remained a denizen at the u King’s Cave,” which is the name the place has borne ever since. Our own leisure will not permit us, in the meantime, to visit this hallowed spot, but our readers will be obliged to us, we have no doubt, for the following description of it, from the pen of the late Dr. Landsborough, minister of the parish of Stevenston, in Ayrshire, a gentleman who was familiar with every mountain, glen, and bay in Arran, and who in his day did more to elucidate its natural phenomena, animate and inanimate, than any other writer. The good old clergyman, in his Excursions to Arran, says, u The King Cove was not only the refuge and residence of Robert the Bruce when a price was set upon his head by the ambitious King of England, but tradition tells, with what truth I wot not, that it was often the*residence of Fingal, with his heroic followers, when they resorted to the island of Arran, their favourite hunting-ground. The cave is scooped out of fine-grained white sandstone. It is 114 feet long, 44 broad, and nearly 50 in height. The strata dipping down on each side, give the roof the appearance of a gothic arch. They who are very clear-sighted, tell us of broadswords and hunting scenes engraven on the walls by the arrow or spear-point, it may be, of a Fingalian or Brucian lithographer; but as it required more imagination than I possessed to decipher these antique engravings, I shall not attempt to describe them. Trap-dikes pierce the sandstone cliffs around the cave, and they are also intermingled with masses of daystone porphyry, and of green-coloured pitchstone. Besides this one, there are several adjoining caves, about as large, but of less interest, as they are only the king’s kitchen, the king’s cellar, and the king’s stable. Everything is interesting in the history of a patriotic king, whether in prosperity or adversity; and it was not without some emotion that I entered the cave that had often been trodden by Robert the Bruce.” “On the cliffs of the cave may be found, as a very appropriate adornment of a royal residence, osmunda regalis, the royal fern; and in some places of Arran it may well be called a royal plant, for it has been found eleven and a-half feet in length.”

The osmunda regalis may be a very fine study for the modern botanist, and the trap-dikes, &c., for an enthusiastic student of stratification, but we have no doubt that Bruce and his mates in misfortune found very little consolation in scanning the scientific features of their dreary subterranean abode. The good old king, however, may be considered an entomologist in a certain sense. It was about this time, we are told, that he watched with eager interest the motions of a spider, and learned, from its success, a lesson of hope and perseverance. Trying to fix its tiny rope-ladder upon a beam, the little insect attracted the attention of the king, who was, at the moment, in a state of despondency. Many times he had failed in his endeavours, and at last he began to think that all was lost. The spider, as he observed its proceedings, tried again and again to achieve its object, and again and again its efforts were in vain. Still it persevered, and at length its industry was crowned with sucesss. The moral touched “the conscience of the king.” To his mind the success of the pertinacious spider seemed an omen of his own ultimate success, and, with renewed energy and vigour, he resolved to grapple once more with what seemed an adverse destiny. His first known achievement afterwards was the taking of Brodick Castle. In what manner this was accomplished we can neither learn from history nor tradition; but that he actually became possessed of Brodick is a well-known fact. It was here that he definitely formed the design of making another attempt to regain his crown, and to re-establish the independence of his country. Rumours of popular discontent under the sway of the ambitious Edward and his myrmidons came to his ear from time to time, and ultimately he resolved to send a trusty messenger across the Frith to learn how the tide of feeling went. If there was any hope, a beacon was to be lighted on the Carrick shore; if Scotland had really succumbed to foreign sway, then all was to reman in darkness. Let us follow the messenger of Bruce in a ballad that has just fallen into our hands, and which, we believe, has hitherto escaped the notice of those who have gleaned the fields of ancient minstrelsy. It is, we understand, "entitled and called ”

THE SIGNAL OF THE BRUCE.

“What news, what news, thou Carrick carle,
Sae lyart, leal, and true?
For weel I like thy hameart fkce,
Thy kindly e'e o' blue.

“A wand’rer lang frae freens and hame,
I seek my faither’s ha’,
And fain wad ken gin weel or wae,
Has been auld Scotia’s fa’.”

“There’s dool and wae o’er Scotland wide ’*
(The carle said, sighing sair);
“Brave men in sorrow hang their heads,
And maidens smile nae mair.

“The vera bairns upon the green
Hae tint their daffin’ glee,
And mithers look on sweet wee babes*
Wi* dim and drumly e'e.

“For the wecht o’ Southern tyranny
Lies heavy on the land;
While Freedom's Are has paled its llcht,
And Hope’s red cheek has wann’d.

M Oh that the Bruce once mair wad rise,
Our ain true hearted king!
Aye foremost in the face o’ death,
Aye last to leave the ring.

“We a’ hae dree’d the tyrant’s weird,
We a' hae pree’d its ga’;
And yearn to steep onr wrangs in bluid,
Or for the richt to fa*.

“Ae glance but of his eagle e’e,
Ae flash but of his sword,
And babes unborn wad leap for Joy
O’er liberty restored.

“Yestreen I dreamed a blessed dream—
I thought the Bruce was here,
Wi* twice ten thousand gallant blades,
Stern glittering round his spear.

“I thought the soul o' Wallace wight
Burned in ten thousand eyes,
While quivering banners heaved and fell
In a storm of battle cries.

“I thought I saw the bristling front
Of hostile armies met,
The clash of conflict wild and keen,
The greensward reeking wet.

“The bluidy gaps of death I saw,
The pallid rush of fear,
And Scotland, Scotland, has the day!
*Rang in my wak’ning ear.”

“Thanks for thy dream, thou leal auld man,
God’s help, it shall be true;
Lend me thy honest hand while!
My message tell to you.

“This morn at dawn, the Bruce I left
On Arran's stormy shore,
A lion fretting in the toils,
And all athirst for gore.

“Go forth, my trusty Boyd, he said,
Try thou thy country’s heart;
If true its beat, my rusted blade
Soon from its sheath shall start

“And if; as by the rood I hope,
Thou leamest aught of cheer,
One blazing faggot on the cliff
Shall send thy message here.”

When day gaed doon ower Goatfell grim,
And darkness mantled a’,
A kingly form strode to and fro,
On Brodick’s Castle wa‘,

And aye he gazed ayont the Frith,
Where blasts were roarin’ snell,
And aft he leaned upon his sword,
Sad, muttering to himsel’.

“In vain, in vain,’- at length he cried,
And hung his head In woe—
When, streaming far through storm and gloom,
He saw the beacon glow.

O'er many a wave the red light glanced,
O’er many a crest of foam,—
The sea-bird’s wing seem’d stained wi’ bluid
Above its ocean home.

With faulded hands the monarch knelt
Unto a mightier King
One moment, and the next his horn
Gart a’ the echoes ring.

Swift, at the call, a gallant band
Of Scotland’s exiled brave
Came rushing, eager, to the tryst
Beside the lashing wave.

“For weal or woe,” outspoke the Bruce,
“ I sail for Scotia’s shore;
With God’s good aid, and yours, brave hearts,
To win my crown once more.

“Here, in the face of Heaven, I draw
The sword that knows no sheath
Till Scotland stands erect and free,
Or I’m laid low in death.”

Oh! weel micht England rue that nicht,
Sair cause had she to mourn,
For the licht that gleamed o’er the Frith sae red
Was the dawn of Bannockburn.

During the subsequent war of Scottish independence, Bruce was assisted in his endeavours by many of the Arran people; and when he ultimately regained the crown, he bestowed in gratitude considerable grants of land and other privileges upon those who had thus served him, or who had previously helped him in his adversity. Most of the little heritages thus obtained have passed in the lapse of time from the descendants of those upon whom they were conferred; but in one instance, at least, the reverse is the case. Mr. Fullarton of Kilmichael (a beautiful little estate in Glencloy), is the lineal descendant of Fergus MacLouis, or Fullarton, who originally received the lands of Kilmichael for services rendered to Bruce when he was concealed in the island. The original charter, which is still extant, is of date, Amele, Nov. 26th, 1307. For upwards of five hundred years the reward of Bruce has thus remained in the possession of the Fullartons.

The principal portion of Arran for many years remained in the possession of the crown. In 1455, when Donald Balloch brought an expedition of Highlanders to assist the rebellious Earl of Douglas against his sovereign, the island of Arran, as a royal property, was attacked and plundered by the freebooters. After storming the Castle of Brodick, and levelling its walls with the ground, they went away with a vast quantity of plunder. During the minority of James the Third a certain Lord Boyd was the ruling favourite at jourt. Taking advantage of his influence with the boy king, his lordship succeeded in wheedling him into a scheme of marriage between the Princess Margaret and Sir Thomas Boyd. The said Sir Thomas was a son of his lordship, and the wedding brought a splendid dowry into the family, in the shape of an earldom and the entire royal possessions in Arran. Court favour has been the making of many a family, but court favour is, after all, a precarious thing. He that depends upon the smile of a monarch builds his house upon the sand. Lord Boyd, after a time, fell into disgrace with the King, and Lord Boyd’s son does not seem ever to have secured the affections of his royal spouse. The consequence was that Sir Thomas was divorced at one fell swoop from his august lady, from his earldom, and, what was probably of more consequence, from his Arran territories. With such a “tocher” in her possession, it is not very likely that the lovely Margaret was permitted to languish for lack of suitors. From among the number, whatever it was, her royal brother selected the Lord Hamilton, ancestor of the present Duke, who thus became possessed of his broad lands in Arran. Not by the sword or the spear, the bow or the battle-axe, but simply by the favour of a foolish king, and the instrumentality of Hymen, did the Hamilton family achieve the conquest of this little insular kingdom, which they have ever since most religiously preserved. The Castle, or at least a portion of it, must have been erected at this time. It recently bore marks, however, of successive addings and ekeings. These have been now nearly obliterated by the recent improvements, which have entirely altered the appearance of the edifice. One portion of the old Castle was said to have been erected by Cromwell, who visited the island during his Scottish campaign, and who placed here a garrison of some eighty men. The fate of these puritan soldiers, if we may believe tradition, was somewhat tragical. Notwithstanding their assumed sanctity, the roundheads of the Commonwealth, it is well known, could take their liquor like unto the unregenerate, and when in their cups were occasionally guilty of taking undue freedoms with the girls. This seems to have been the case at all events with the Cromwellian garrison of Brodick. They swaggered about as conquerors, and, like the jolly old monks of Melrose—

“They wanted neither beef nor ale
While other people’s lasted.”

But, worse than all, they would insist upon laying hands on the wives and daughters of the natives. This at once roused the blood of the Gael, and brought down vengeance upon the intruders. The garrison was surprised, and not a soul within it escaped alive. Root and branch they were cut down. One poor wretch succeeded in getting away for a time, but ultimately he was discovered lurking under a huge stone near the mouth of Glen Sannox, and being dragged out, was at once put to the sword. This was the last time that Arran suffered invasion. Since then its history has been one of unbroken peace. That portion of Brodick Castle which was erected by Cromwell is still preserved, and now forms almost the sole memorial of his presence in the island.

But the shades of evening are gathering over mountain and glen, over lake and over sea—the stars are out, and the bat is on the wing. To-morrow we ascend the mighty Goatfell, and will have to traverse moors and mosses many; so at an early hour we say, with Lady Macbeth, “To bed, to bed, to bed!”

Goatfell, the giant peak of Arran, has been ascertained by the trigonometrical survey, to be 2,877 feet in altitude. As it rises almost directly, however, from the water level, it presents a more imposing and picturesque appearance than mountains which might be named of considerably greater elevation. In Gaelic the name of Goatfell signifies the “mountain of the winds ”—“the abiding place of tempest and of storm.*’ Every one who is familiar with the character of Goatfell will at once recognize the appropriateness of the appellation. Even in sunshine it has a grim, haggard, and tempestuous aspect; but when it becomes invested with darkness and cloud, its scowl is positively awful. On such occasions it requires no great stretch of the imagination to figure unto the mind’s eye the spirits of air congregated in terrible conclave upon the grizzly scalp of the mountain, and “ nursing their wrath to keep it warm.” On our first visit to the summit of Goatfell, a few years ago, we were suddenly surprised at noonday by a whirl of wind, and rain, and thick darkness. One moment we had the bay of Brodick sleeping far down in sunshine and calm; and the next we were enveloped in a deep, deep gloaming, while the winds blew and the rains fell with the bitterest violence of a hurricane. Strange voices were heard hissing and moaning among the rifled rocks, while misty forms assumed a definiteness of outline in the gloom which was perfectly startling. Even the old familiar faces of our companions seemed weird and unearthly, and we were fain to close our eyes upon them. For a brief space it continued thus, and then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the tempest passed away, and we were once more in a summer atmosphere. The strange effect of the rapid transition from light to darkness, and from storm to calm, we can never forget, and it has ever since continued to impress us deeply with a sense of the descriptive propriety of the Celtic name of Goatfell—“ the mountain of the winds.”

Our place of rest for the night is a pleasantly situated little white cottage among the woods of Brodick, which is known as the Cnocan among the people of the locality. The bedroom is elegantly furnished, and has a fine, cosie aspect within, while the look-out from the little window is peculiarly rich and refreshing, with its glimpses of green lawn and woodland glade, and its sounds of rustling leaves and gushing waters. Soon as Dan Phoebus

“Speels the Olympian brae,
Wi' a cart lade o’ bleezin’ day,

we are out scanning the countenance of Goatfell, preparatory to attempting to place our foot upon his grizzly forehead. The clouds of last night have passed entirely away, and the brown, ragged outline of the mountain is clearly and sharply defined against the deep blue of the morning sky. We accordingly prepare for the ascent. Breakfast having been duly discussed, and a slight modicum of the “creature ” having been safely deposited in a corner of a quiet pocket, for the sole purpose of killing the animal-cuIeb of the mountain springs, we set off staff in hand, from Brodick. The distance from the Inn to the top is set down by certain authorities as being six miles, and it is reckoned pretty clever “speeling” when the summit is reached in two hours after the start. We could accomplish the feat in considerably less time than this, but we don’t intend to do anything so foolish. We shall take it leisurely; now paddling in some moorland rill, anon dipping our cup into some lonely well, and again enjoying ourselves in a glorious tumble among the heather. Around the base of the mountain is a pretty extensive belt of wood, and our way at first meanders in streamlike fashion through its recesses. Flashing among the lights and shadows, see how the red cock pheasant starts from our path, and with a wild cry vanishes from our sight; adown the distant lanes of green the wild rabbit also pricks up its ears with a sweet surprise as we pass, and bolts away with break-neck fury to hide among the sheltering brackens. The woodland choir, with the departure of summer, is now in a great measure stilled, but the yorlin, which sings into the very heart of autumn, may be heard piping its brief but pathetic strain in the hush of noon; while the cushat, from the bosom of the evergreen pine, tells a soft tale to his brooding mate. In sweet sheltered nooks, also, the wild strawberry, the rasp or hindberry, and the beautiful little blaeberry, may be gleaned in handfuls by the omnivorous wanderer.

Getting out of the wood, however, we begin to experience the difficulties of the ascent. The gradients become more abrupt, and the path more rough and uneven. The character of the vegetation also undergoes a marked change. We have now a profusion of heaths, with the little tormentil pervading the crimson clumps with its frequent starlets of gold. The juniper also clings in dense tufts to the mountain’s breast, and every here and there the eye is attracted by plants of a distinctly Alpine character. Grim and more grim as we ascend becomes the aspect of Goatfell. Now we are panting slowly and silently up a wild rocky steep, anon we are leaping from one firm spot in a marsh to another, and again, we are toiling cautiously along the margin of a deep ravine, wherein a foaming streamlet is seen far below dashing fiercely amongst the boulders and immense rocky fragments of the resounding channel. At length, with hearts fluttering like as many grasshoppers, we attain a kind of level plateau, which was once partly used as a mill-dam, and from which, in the shape of a vast hoary cone, the summit of Goatfell rises proudly up. From this point the appearance of the mountain is strikingly bleak and grim. It seems so abrupt and precipitous at the same time, that one almost fancies it must be inaccessible. The difficulties vanish in a great measure, however, when they are fairly grappled with, and the ascent, although sufficiently laborious, is by no means very ill to accomplish. The usual way taken from the mill-dam to the summit is by the right shoulder, which extends gradually upwards in a moderate and lengthened curve. We decide on taking the monster in front, which is a more precipitous and rugged route than the usual course, but one which presents a more commanding prospect of the surrounding peaks and glens, and is, perhaps, on the whole, not more laborious than the other. Scrambling with considerable effort upon a kind of elevated central ridge, running parallel with Glen Rosa, and scaling certain gigantic natural walls, which almost seem as if they had been the work of human hands, we slowly approach the summit. Our thirst is excessive, and water is not to be had. "Oh for a waught o’ something cool!” is the exclamation on our parched lips, when fortunately our eye is attracted by a small springlet oozing slowly from the base of a cliff. To scoop out a basin in the gravel, and to edge it round with a circlet of stones, is the work but of a few moments, and there we have formed a precious little well in the desert. After a few minutes’ waiting at the brink of our spring we have a cup of most delicious cold water, as every other pilgrim on that dreary pathway may now have for the stooping. Rather pleased with the good work which we have thus done, we christen our tiny font by the appellation of “Sanct Patrick’s Well,” in honour of our companion’s patron saint, and resume our upward progress, which reminds us particularly of Christian’s ascent of the Hill of Difficulty in Bunyan’s famous allegory. A brief but toilsome interval after leaving the well suffices to place us on the crown of Goatfell, and brings before us such a wild storm of mountains and glens, that we are almost tempted to re-echo the Paisley weaver’s exclamation on Benlomond, “Man, Jock, are the works o’ God no devilish!” In the immediate vicinity of Goatfell there is indeed'a terrible congregation of jagged mountain ridges and fantastic peaks, with tremendous yawning glens and shadowy corries, the vast sides of which are streaked in the strangest manner with a confusion of watercourses and gullies, Everything is bleak, bare, and barren in the extreme. On the arid rocks and precipices vegetation has taken but a comparatively slight hold, so that one could almost imagine that the volcano and the earthquake had been here at their awful work at a comparatively recent period. The distant points of the prospect obtained from Goatfell are at the same time exceedingly beautiful, and on a clear day are said to include not only the Frith of Clyde and its beautiful shores and islands, but the western isles of Argyleafeire, the rock of Ailsa, and even the shores of Ireland. Owing to the prevalence of a blue summer haze, our view is dot quite so comprehensive, but the atmospherical effects are certainly very fine, and compensate for the limited range Of vision by a suggestive indistinctness which would have pleased the eye of a Turner. So delicately blent are sea and sky, that the eye actually fails to discover where they ktes^each other.

After spending about halfcrn-hour on the summit, we deseend upon the shoulder of Glen Rosa, and pass along its side to the head of Glen Sannox. These two magnificent glens run almost at right angles from each other, their respective heads coating quite close to each other at the foot of the Cir Vohr, or large comb, a mountain of peculiarly graesome aspect, which forms a striking feature in the landscape of both. From the serrated appearance presented by the orert of this mountain, being supposed to resemble the comb of a cock, it has received its Celtic name. The Cir Vohr n undoubtedly the best point of view for obtaining an adequate idea of cither Glen Rosa or Glen Sannox. We aooordingiy resolve to scale its rifted peak. The task is one of great difficulty, but the ascent well repays the labour. Anything more intensely wild, dreary, and desolate we have neve* seen than several passages of tins mountain. Something akin to absolute terror takes possession of our mind as we pass up its abrupt watercourses and crooked sheep tracks, where one false step would be instant destruction. A strange sort of propensity to the discovery of horrid animate forms in die dead rocks and stones develops itself at the same time m our imagination. Saurians, lizards, adders, and other wild fantasies, are seen embodied in the rude rocky masses by winch we are environed, and seem to be crawling out upon us from their adamantine prisons. One long white stone, beside a lizard of frightful size and aspect, suggests with a hateful degree of vividness the figure of a woman in her shroud. Turn where we will we find our eyes still turning back to the form which in that lonely place is sleeping in its shroud of stone. Still we persevere, and, after a tough struggle, at length reach the crest of the cock. A terrific peak it is, and surrounded by the most sublime of mountain scenery. On every side it is girt with the most fantastic mountain masses, heaved into every conceivable form of irregularity and eccentricity of outline. Then Glen Sannox, that most spacious and beautiful valley, extends at one glance before the eye, from its head high pillowed among the crags to its very junction with the sea. Every turn and winding of its stream, indeed, is indicated as in a map. Glen Rosa, also, is seen throughout the greater portion of its length, with all its corries and dells, and watercourses; while in another direction we have a bleak expanse of moorland, dotted with sheep and kine, and containing in its bosom a dark mountain tarn of the most melancholy aspect imaginable. It would take us too long, however, even to enumerate the landscape features overlooked by the mighty Cir Vohr. Any one who wishes to form a proper conception of savage Highland scenery, in its rudest and most picturesque aspects, could not do better, however, than to follow in our track, and place his foot upon the comb of the giant cock which keeps watch and ward over the two great glens of Arran. Leaving behind us the cloud-kissing summit of Cir Vohr, with the rude

“Record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield/'

we descend into the shadowy bosom of Glen Rosa. It is here that the huge and rugged mountain chasm impresses the mind with a full sense of its grandeur and magnificence. On either side the lofty boundaries tower upward in their brown and sterile majesty, and terminate against the sky in awihily fretted outline. Huge corries and dells sweep away' at irregular distances in the mountain walls, and pour down in foaming din a countless succession of raging torrents to swell the central streamlet of the glen. How paltry and little seems the creature man, with all his hopes and fears, iii the presence of these overwhelming mountain masses, and these fearfully yawning ravines! Gazing upon them, we can say with Byron,—

"Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt
In solitude when we are least alone;
A truth which through our being then doth melt,
And purifies from self; it is a tone,

The soul and source of music, which makes known
Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm.
Like to the fabled Cytherea’s zone,
Binding all things with beauty.”

All is bleak and barren near the well-heads of the Rosa. Not a shrub or a tree is to be seen, nor is the voice of any bird heard in the oppressive solitude, save, perchance, the hoarse croak of the raven as he rests on some inaccessible cliff, or the eerie scream of the curlew, as it circles over the brown and barren heath. As we proceed downwards, however, the glen gradually relaxes. Here and there a siller saugh crops out from the banks, or a solitary birch droops over a fairy linn, or a group of mountain ashes crown some rocky scar with their scarlet bunches of rowans reflected in the neighbouring pool. The channel of the Rosa is itself a sfcridy of great interest, both to the geologist and the mere lover of landscape beauty. It is fretted throughout the greater portion of its course by a kind of creamy-coloured granite in the form of boulders and gravel. Seen through the clear water the enamelled bed of the stream has a peculiar and highly pleasing effect, which reminds us vividly of the “yellow sands” of poetry. Old Dr. M‘Culloch, in his generally accurate account of the Western Isles, says, that “near the entrance of glen Rossie many wild and romantic scenes occur, as well as on the acclivities of the hills in various directions, and, indeed, from almost every point about or in this bay. But beyond the entrance of Glen Rossie all beauty ceases, being replaced by wildness without magnificence.” This deliverance, however, only proves that the worthy Doctor was never in the deeper recesses of the glen, nor had gazed upon its huge length, as we have done, from the grizzly Cir Vohr. Had he been so privileged; 'be would assuredly have had a very different tale to tell of tk$ ever stately and ever romantic Glen Rosa. It is true, however, that a softer beauty prevails at the entrance of the valley. The hills on either shoulder are there clad in wood, over a great extent of surface, while there is a fresher green diffused over the lower slopes and reaches of the stream.

Issuing with a feeling of regret from this wild and most picturesque mountain gorge, we find ourselves, somewhat tired and jaded, once more at Brodick. A brief visit to the inn, and a few cups of excellent tea, with the least possible infusion of something else, restores us to our wonted vigour, and without unnecessary delay we betake ourselves to the Lamlash road. The distance is between five and six mile*. Passing Inverdoy, with its handsome new inn, we turn inland, and proceed for several miles by a wild moorland track, which is sufficiently pleasant to traverse, but which presents few objects of especial interest to the wanderer. A couple of hours leisurely walking brings us to Lamlash.

The Bay of Lamlash is of considerable extent and beauty. It extends in a fine crescent from Clachland Point on the north to King’s Cross Point on the south, a distance of three miles in a right line. Its grandest and most peculiar feature, however, is the Holy Isle, which stretches directly across the mouth of the bay, leaving only a comparatively narrow inlet at either end for the admission of shipping. The Isle alluded to is about two miles distant from the shore curve, around which the village of Lamlash extends. It is nearly 1,000 feet in height, and forms a perfect natural screen for the protection of the vessels which may be anchored within its embrace. Full many a time and oft has the storm-tossed mariner had reason to bless the gigantic breakwater of Lamlash bay.

The scenery around Lamlash, although of a decidedly tamer character than that of Brodick, is still eminently pleasant. Along the curvature of the shore the houses of the village are scattered principally in one lengthened row of .somewhat irregular aspect as regards size and architecture, but nearly all of which are scrupulously whitewashed and cleanly. Seen from the water, indeed, Lamlash has a very sweet appearance, with its background of gardens and fields and green slopes, rising gradually up into the old brown hills. The village has no architectural features of the least mark or likelihood. At one end is the parish kirk, which is just about as plain-looking an old structure as the most rigid Cameronian could wish to tee; then there is the inn, a neat modem erection; a commodious wharf, which is also of recent construction; and really we do not know of anything else requiring note, unless it be the quaint old kirk of Kilbride, which is situated about half a mile to the northward of the village, in a quiet and sequestered kirk-yard of its own. We shall devote a brief space to the inspection of this most interesting relic of other days. The date of the structure we cannot precisely learn, but there can be no doubt that it is of considerable antiquity. In the brief acoount of Arran written by Donald Monro, Dean of the Isles, in 1594, the writer mentions that at that time there were in the island “two paroch kirks, the one callit Kilbride, the other callit Kylmuro.” That the structure alluded to is the former of these, is in the highest degree probable. Be that as it may, however, the edifice before us is unquestionably of a date long prior to the Reformation. The style of its architecture is of an earlier day, and its holy water fonts, which are still intact, indicate with sufficient clearness the form of Christianity to which the building was originally devoted. It is now a shattered rum. The roof has fallen in many years ago, and the long grass and the nettles grow rank within its crumbling walls. A stately ash tree also rises to a considerable altitude from the interior, while a rowan tree has impudently taken up a position on the summit of one of the sides, and the ivy climbs luxuriantly round the mouldering gable. Altogether, it is a lovely little kirk, even in its decay, and we certainly feel some little astonishment that efficient means are not at once taken to preserve it from further and unnecessary dilapidation. The sacrilegious cowan tree alluded to should, for instance, be removed immediately from its unholy elevation on the wall, as its sturdy roots, in their passage to the earth, are actually tearing the mason-work asunder. Rowan trees, for all so pretty and lady-like as they look, with their rich red beads, are great destructives of stone walls, when the roots are once introduced into the interstices. We have known a set of these mischievous mountain ashes positively knocking down a dike; we have seen a single specimen rending an ancient turret in twain; and those who would learn the mode in which the mischief is done, have only to visit the old kirk of Kilbride at present, and see how effectively the customer who has taken up his seat there is doing his work. Let the right tree by all means be put in its right place. A considerable portion of the interior of the church, we may also mention, is railed offi and enclosed as private burying-places, a practice which we are afraid must tend to hasten materially the destruction of this venerable place of worship. The auld kirkyard is also an exceedingly pretty one. It is studded with memorial stones, and girt all round with stately and luxuriant trees, which lend an air of quietness and seclusion to the spot, which must harmonize with the feelings of those who love to meditate among the tombs.

Returning to Lamlash, we had intended to pay a visit per boat to the Holy Isle. But the hour of our steamer's departure is now, we find, so dose at hand that we must, in the meantime, forego the pleasure. Before leaving the locality, however, we shall again borrow from the good old naturalist of Stevenston. Many a happy day Dr. Landsborough seems to have spent in dredging the bay of Lamlash for its shells and other natural treasures, and numerous are the lists of rare and curious specimens which he has left behind. It is not our intention in the meantime) however, to meddle with the worthy doctor’s zoophytes, star-fishes, or algae. What we want is his brief description of the curious little isle which we are compelled in the meantime to leave unvisited. Slightly abridged, the passage is as follows:—

"Having reached Lamlash Bay, we landed on the Holy Isle. Mr. Smith, junior, and Mr. Story, ascended the hill, which is about 1,000 feet in height. As I had been repeatedly on the top of it, Mr. Smith, senior, and I went to examine a post-tertiary deposit, corresponding with one on the opposite shore, to the south of the village of Lamlash, where a bed of shells is found about thirty feet above the present sea level. Being afterwards joined by our friends from the top of the hill, we proceeded to St. Molios' Cave, which I had not seen for twenty years; so that I had forgotten its appearance. Though, about twenty-five feet above the level of the sea, it is evidently a water-worn recess under the sandstone rock, which has all the appearance of having been formed by the beating of the waves, when the sea was at a higher level. We looked for the Runic inscription which I had heard was engraven on the rock, and as I had been rather incredulous on that point, I was a good deal gratified by finding an inscription which had a very antique appearance, and which not one of us could decipher. But though we could not read the writing, we could drink of the crystal well, and judge of its excellence; and we are safe in concluding, from what we saw and tasted, that the streams of living water which the fountain sends forth are as sweet and exuberant as when they yielded duly refreshment to the venerable saint, and the crowds who came to listen to his instructions. This island took its name at an early period from this holy man. We are told in the Norwegian account of Haco’s expedition, that after the battle of Largs, (the king sailed past Cumbra to Melansey, where he lay some nights.9 In the original it is Melanzeyiar, or in the Flateyan MS.,(Melansey,’—evidently the island of Melos or Molos, ey or eyiar in the Islandic meaning ‘ island.' Pennant tells us that4Buchanan gives this island the Latin nalhe Molas and Molassa, from its having been the retreat of St. Maol-jos.’ 4 St. Maol-jos’s Cave, the residence of that holy man;—his well of most salubrious water; a place for bathing; his chair; and the ruins of his chapel, are shown to strangers; but the walk is far from agreeable, as the island is greatly infested with vipers. To us the walk was very delightful. The evening was one of the finest of the season; the vipers, though not quite extirpated, had gone to rest; some birds among the rocks and brakes were raising their evening song; and it was scarcely possible not to look back to the time when the departed saint had, from his rocky cave, raised his song of praise as incense, and when the lifting up of his hands, and heart, and voice, in prayer, had been as the evening sacrifice.

“We were also much pleased with the geological features of the island. The columnar cliffs, though far inferior in grandeur to those of Staffa, are nevertheless strikingly picturesque. If they have not the regularity of more celebrated geological colonnades, they are at least free from stiffness, as they consist of various stages or terraces of columns, intermingled with amorphous masses of other rocks, and a sprinkling here and there of herbaceous plants "stinted shrubs, and dwarfish trees, springing from the interstices of the cliffs.”

Such is the account of Dr. Landsborough, and with it we, in the meantime, bid Arran and our Arran companions a kind "good-bye.” In truth, it is the very home of stem and romantic beauty this island in which we have been making our sojourn of a day; and it would require weeks and months of loving study to render us familiar with even a tithe of its treasures. Time and opportunity have only permitted us to glance at a few stray gems.


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