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Days at the Coast
Dunoon


Other portions of the scenery on the shores of Clyde may possess more striking and picturesque features than the coast of Cowal, but there is none which presents a sweeter or more cheerful aspect from the breast of the Frith, or which affords a finer range of landscape to the rambler along its beach, or amongst the hills which shelter it from the stormy north. Dunoon, in one long line of beauty, extends for miles along that sunny shore, clustering in one picturesque mass behind the Castle Hill, and around the Church, the central features of the picture, and shooting out on either side its far-stretching arms by the Kira to the Holy Loch, and by West Bay towards Innellan. No other section of our coast, indeed, has been so densely peopled a6 that in the vicinity of Dunoon; and no other section presents, when summer days are fine, a more numerous, or apparently more joyous congregation of denizens. Yet, even so recently as 1822, that shore, which is now so thickly fringed with human habitations, was a mere waste—the solitary haunt of the curlew and the plover. Modern Dunoon has been called into existence by the genius of steam. It is solely to the invention of Henry Bell, and the successive improvements of his successors, that we have to ascribe the rapid rise and progress of this favourite and fashionable watering-place. In 1822 there were only some three or four slated houses in the village. All the others were cottages of the ordinary type which still prevails in the clachans of the Highlands. The glory, indeed, seemed to have departed from the locality. Its ancient castle was among the things that were, and the countenance of the family of Argyle had long been withdrawn. At the same time the traffic upon the ferry—at one time of considerable consequence—had materially decreased, and the inhabitants generally had great difficulty in ekeing out a miserable existence. Under these circumstances we find Dunoon characterized by a celebrated topographer of the period as “avillage falling into decay.” Better days, however, were in store for the locality. In 1822 the late James Ewing, Esq., of this city, erected what is called the Castle House in the immediate vicinity of the village. His example was speedily followed by others, and as the facilities of transit were from time to time increased, the village gradually increased and extended, until it has become the splendid assemblage of mingled mansions and cottages, villas and gardens, which, from the passing steamer, now gladdens the eye.

Landing at the wharf, which is situated immediately below the village of Dunoon proper, we at once proceeds to the Castle Hill, the most interesting, and at the same time the most commanding position in the neighbourhood. The Castle Hill is a huge green mound, which shoots up from the vicinity of the beach—-here somewhat rocky—and which at one period bore upon its summit a stately castellated edifice. From the apex of the hill, a magnificent prospect is obtained. Looking up the Frith, we have extending along the shore the snowy villas of East Bay and Kirn, with Strone, Ardmore, and the Port-Glasgow hills in the distance. Over the Frith extends the Renfrewshire and Ayrshire hills, with Greenock, Gourock, the Cloch, Inverkip, and the Bay of Largs at various points along the shore. Down the Frith stretches the sunny curve of West Bay, and, far beyond, the Isle of Bute, the two Cumbraes and Arran, with the dim rock of Ailsa looming faintly in the blue of distance. The circle of scenery commanded by the Castle Hill of Dunoon is indeed one of vast extent and extreme beauty.

After scanning the surrounding prospect of land and sea, we naturally turn our attention to the objects which lie in our immediate vicinity. The Castle of Dunoon is a complete wreck. Only a few grizzly vestiges remain to indicate its whereabouts. This extreme dilapidation is due not altogether to time and the elements, but partly to the neighbouring villagers, who were in the habit of carrying away large quantities of the stones for building purposes. From the existing fragments it would appear that the structure originally consisted of three massive towers, one looking up the Frith, another facing in the opposite direction, and a third guarding the approach from the land. The only one of these compartments which can be traced with anything like distinctness, is the first, which has been of a circular form. On the side parallel with the Frith the remains of a small entrance or sallyport continue to exist intact. With these few and fragmentary exceptions, the ancient Castle of Dunoon has passed for ever away. It is believed, however, that seyeral apartments exist entire under the external ruins. Might it not be worth the while of the local antiquaries to ascertain whether this is really the case or not ? The site of the castle includes altogether about an acre of ground; the breadth of the base of the hill being greater on the side next the Frith than in the rear.

There is abundant historical evidence that there was a dun, or castle, at this spot, as early as the twelfth century, and there is a strong probability that even at an earlier period than that it must have been a place of strength. The Rev. Dr. M‘Kay, late minister of this parish, thinks it probable, indeed, that the original fortalice must have been founded in the sixth century, when the Dalriadic colony first settled in Cowal. The lordship of the district was then, and for several centuries afterwards, in the hands of the family of Lamont. It is probable that Dunoon was first erected into a place of strength under their sway: the fragments of the castle which still remain, however, do not indicate an earlier date than the thirteenth or fourteenth century. In 1333 Dunoon Castle was besieged and taken by John Baliol. The despicable conduct of this personage in surrendering the kingdom to Edward of England so disgusted and enraged the people of Scotland that they rose in insurrection against him, and ultimately drove him from the country. “Robert the Steward,*’ afterwards King of Scotland, arrived at that period in Cowal, and aided by Colm Campbell of Lochawe, ancestor of the Argyle family, retook the Castle of Dunoon, and put the garrison to the sword. In consideration of the services then rendered by him, Campbell of Lochawe was made hereditary keeper of the castle, and certain lands were assigned to him for the support of his dignity. This was the first footing of the Campbell race in Cowal—the first step towards the degradation and ruin of the Lamonts, hitherto undisputed lords of the soil. From that period the two clans were constantly at feud with each other, until at length the Lamonts were driven from their lands and nearly extirpated. We shall have a dark story to tell of this feud by and by. In 1544 Dunoon Castle was again besieged by the Earl of Lennox, who then aspired to the Regency. By the aid of eighteen vessels and eight hundred soldiers, which he had obtained from Henry VIII. of England, Lennox succeeded in taking the castles of Rothesay and Dunoon. The Earl of Argyle was driven out with considerable loss. In 1563 Dunoon was honoured by a royal visit. Mary Queen of Scots at that period came to the west on a visit to her favourite sister, the Countess of Argyle. On that occasion Mary stayed for some days at Dunoon in the enjoyment of deer-hunting. She also granted charters to some of her vassals in the neighbourhood. How long after that Dunoon Castle continued to be a residence of the Argyle family is not exactly known, but there is reason to believe that it was deserted about the year 1644, when it was the scene of one of the most diabolical tragedies ever enacted in Scotland. So horrible, indeed, were the atrocities then perpetrated that it was popularly supposed they were immediately followed by a judgment from Heaven.

We have alluded to the lengthened feud which existed between the rival clans of Campbell and Lament. Their mutual hatred seems to have reached its culminating point m 1646. On that occasion, as we learn from the law records of the day, the Campbells commenced to wage a war of extermination against the Lamont clan. The particulars are set forth in the form of an indictment against the Marquis of Argyle. That nobleman pleaded not guilty, but there can be very little doubt that he# was perfectly cognizant of the dreadful occurrence. From the document alluded to it appears that on the -day of June, 1646, a large party of Campbells, commanded by the leading men of the clan, laid siege to the castles of "Towart” and “Escog” (in Bute), then the property of Sir James Lamont. The defenders of both places were forced into a capitulation—the Lamonts agreeing to yield up their places of strength, on the condition, solemnly entered into and ratified, that they should be permitted to depart unscathed. In violation of this engagement, however, the Campbells, to quote the indictment, “did most treacherously, perfidiously, and traitorously fetter and bind the hands of nearly 200 persons of the said Sir James's friends and followers who were comprehended within the said capitulation, detaining them prisoners with a guard, their hands being tied behind their back like thieves, within the said Sir James’s house and yards of Towart for the space of several days, in great torment and misery; and in pursuance of their further villany, after robbing and plundering all that was in and around the said house, they most barbarously, cruelly, and inhumanly murdered several persons, young and old; yea, suckling children, some of them not one month old.” The indictment then goes on to state that the said persons, defendants, or one or other of them, did, on the day specified, contrary to said capitulation, our laws, and Acts of Parliament, mott traitorously and perfidiously carry the whole of the people who were in the said houses of Towart and Esoog in boats to the village of Dunoon, and there most cruelly, traitorously, perfidiously cause to be hanged upon one tree near the number of thirty-six persons, most of them being special gentlemen of the name of Lamont, and vassals to the said Sir James.” The indictment then proceeds to enumerate the parties thus murdered, and goes on to mention others who were likewise 44 barbarously, inhumanly, and unchristianly murdered with dirks, and cut down with swords and pistols.” Among these was John Jamieson, then Provost of Rothesay, who being shot thrice through the body, yet having still some life left in him, they did thrust several durks and skenes in him, and at last did cut his throat with a long durk. And to manifest still further cruelty, the assassins did cast some of the aforesaid persons into holes made for them while they were still in life, and spurning and wrestling with their destroyers, until they were suffocated; and having denied to their victims any time to recommend themselves to God, although said murdered persons had earnestly desired and begged for the same. Such are, in brief, the details of this horrible tragedy as they are emphatically recorded in the annals of Scottish crime. The massacre of Glencoe itself scarcely exceeds the massacre of Dunoon in cold-blooded cruelty. But we must give the moral of the story, as it affords us a curious glimpse into the superstitious feelings which then pervaded society, and from which not even the courts of law were free. The indictment, after setting forth the details of this wholesale butchery, goes on to state that the cruelty manifested was such, “that the Lord from Heaven did declare His wrath against the same by striking the tree whereon the said Lamonts were hanged in the month of June—it being a lively, fresh-growing ash tree at the kirk* yard of Dunoon among many other fresh trees with leaves. The Lord struck the tree immediately thereafter, so that the whole leaves fell from it, and the tree withered, never bearing leaves thereafter, and remaining so for the space of two years. When being cut down there sprang out of the very heart .of the root thereof a spring like unto blood, poppling up, running in, several streams over the root; and that for several years, thereafter till the said murderers, or their favqurers, perceiving that it was remarked by persons of all ranks (resorting there to see the miracle), they did cause howk put the root, covering the whole with earth, which was full of the said matter like blood. After the period of this diabolical transaction the family of Argyle seems to have avoided the Castle of Dunoon. There is no record of their ever again residing here. Probably its associations were anything but agreeable to the descendants of the murderers. There was blood upon the soil, and painful memories were associated with the ancient walls.

“A cursed spot ’twas called in days of yore;
But nothing ails it now—the place is merry.”

Time has laid his healing finger over the scene, and few of those who linger on that fresh green mound, or muse among its memorial stones, ever dream that such a red reeking sacrifice was there offered on the altar of feudal revenge.

It has been said that there was at one time a nunnery on the site of the Dunoon parish church, a short distance to the north-east of the Castle Hill. In fact, the name of the locality has been derived by some writers from the alleged establishment. The most learned of local etymologists, however, among whom Dr. M‘Kay ranks high, deny the validity of this derivation, and ascribe the name to other roots. The rev. doctor alluded to, an excellent Gaelie scholar, derives it from Duw, a fort, and Aoidh, a stranger or guest,—literally the fort or strength of the strangers. Others derive the name from an ancient Norse warrior, who bore the designation of Owen—Dunowen, the fort or castle of Owen, being, according to this theory, the origin of the term- The conventual root is now generally discarded, and it is, moreover, denied that there is any vestige of proof that such a community ever existed at the spot. In support of the hypothesis that there was a nunnery here, it has been common to refer to a fine old Gothic window which was discovered in clearing away the ruins of the ancient chapel, part of which composed the church. This, however, proves nothing with regard to a nunnery, as the window alluded to more probably belonged to the place of worship which was attended by the lords and ladies of high degree, who from time to time inhabited the neighbouring castle. In the vicinity of this structure there are several spots which are associated with the fierce days of old. One of these was the Tom-a-mhoid, or “the hill of the court of justice,” where the feudal superior of the district held his court in the open air, and in his own rude fashion administered justice. Another is the gallowhill, where in those happy times people were occasionally justified to please the laird* An adjacent field still retains the name of the cuspars, or butts, where the bowmen of Argyle were wont to exercise themselves in archery.

We have glanced at one of the darker associations of Dunoon, and in so doing have conveyed, we dare say, but an indifferent opinion of the manners and customs of the 44 auld warld ” inhabitants of Cowal. The tale we have told —and it is indeed an ower true tale—discloses only one phase, however, of the Highland character. In the pursuit of a family revenge the Highlander was relentless and unswerving as the blood-hound. But at the same time, he was hospitable, brave, and steadfast in the observance of those laws of honour which were dictated by the spirit of clanship. In illustration of this, and in some degree as an antidote to the dreadful tragedy of Dunoon, we shall briefly relate another legend of Cowal. The tourist who visits the headland of Toward, a few miles further down the Frith than Dunoon, but in. the same parish, may observe upon the breast of an adjacent hill the ruins of an ancient tower. It is a solitary, weather-beaten structure of no great extent, but from the thickness of the walls and the position which it commands, it mnst at one time have been reckoned a place of considerable importance. This is the Castle of Toward; for many generations, as we have previously said, the residence of the Lamonts, lords of Cowal. The family has long since passed away, but their memory still clings like the ivy to the time-honoured walls, and the old people of the district Still love to recount around the winter evening fire the daring deeds and the virtuous actions of the departed. One of their legends is to the following effect:—On one occasion the young laird of Cowal went on a visit of friendship to Macgregor of Glenstrae, near Glenorchy. Glenstrae had an only son, nearly of the same age as young Lamont, and the two lads became at once warmly attached to each other. l>ay after day they engaged in fresh sports and pastimes, until the time of Lamont’s return to Toward at length drew near. As a final treat to his friend, the young Macgregor proposed a few days1 hunting in the forest This was rapturously agreed to, and with a numerous party of retainers they went forth to chase the deer. At the end of the first day they found themselves at a considerable distance from Glenstrae, and it was resolved to pass the night in one of the mountain caves. A fire was accordingly lighted, a supper of venison prepared, and that having been disposed of, the party began to discuss the flasks of mountain dew with which they were abundantly provided. A brisk flow of conversation was the natural consequence. Old clan legends were related, old dan grievances were alluded to, and olden feuds were sternly remembered. At length a difference occurred between young Lamont and his friend Macgregor. Words rose high; and the lie having been given in anger, blows succeeded. Young Macgregor fell mortally wounded, under the sword or the dirk of the indignant Lamont. The latter for safety at once betook himself to flight, to escape the vengeance of the enraged Macgregors.

In an unknown country, and without the aid of daylight, he knew not where to go. Hurrying along, he espied a light, and making for it, he did not discover where he was until he found himself in the very house and presence of the man whom he had that night rendered childless. The agitation of the youth, and the blood-stained arms which he bore, but too clearly revealed to the old man what had occurred. To his honour, be it said, he constrained his feelings of anguish, and assured his trembling and excited guest that in that house he was safe for the night. As a guest, his person was sacred. On the arrival of the infuriated retainers of Macgregor, they would have tom young Lamont to pieces. He was protected from their fury, however, by the noble but heart-stricken old man. At the dead hour of night the Laird of Toward heard a gentle knock at his chamber door. On opening it he was accosted by Glenstrae himself, who told him, as he valued his life, to follow him in quietness. Stealing out unobserved, Macgregor conducted the unhappy young man over moor and mountain, from Glenstrae to the castle of Dun-da-Ramh, on Lochfyne. A boat was at once found, and having been launched and made ready for sailing, the old chief, addressing his late guest—the stabber of his only son—said: u Go, young man; go, as if the avenger of blood was at your back; when you are in your own country and among your own people — beware of the Macgregor revenge!” The boat put off, and soon reached the opposite shore, from whence it was no difficult matter for Lamont to find his way home. Years passed away, and still the price of blood was unclaimed. The Macgregors came not to Toward to avenge their murdered kinsman. The truth was, that poor Glenstrae had more than enough to do in his own country. Powerful and rapacious neighbours had resolved to effect his ruin. By these he was ultimately not only bereft of all his lands and possessions, but, under the pretext of his having offended justice, he was compelled to flee for his life. Alone, unfriended, and in danger of perish-mg, he "bethought himself of Lamont of Cowal, and resolved to seek his protection. Arriving at Toward, and telling his sad tale, he was most heartily welcomed. Old Macgregor never afterwards left the shelter of that hospitable roof until he was carried thence to the neighbouring burying-ground. For years he lived the guest of Lamont, forgiving the injury he had received at his hands, while the repentant host not only rejoiced in the absolution thus received, but in the power which he possessed of in some degree repaying the kindness and protection he had formerly experienced at the hands of his venerable guest. On the lands of Toward—now in other hands than those of the Lamonts—there are still to be seen a few faint vestiges of an ancient chapel, which in its day was dedicated to the service of the Yirgin Mary. The edifice was originally surrounded by a tiny field of graves. All traces of this have nearly passed away. It is a quiet, a lovely, and a secluded spot; just the very kind of spot, indeed, where, "after life’s fitful fever,” one could wish to sleep. In this green nook are laid the bones of old Glenstrae, and until lately—we know not how it is now—the old people of the district could point out the very grave.

But to return. The modem village of Dunoon—for scarcely a vestige of the old one remains—is situated immediately behind the Castle Hill; which is separated from it, however, by the garden and lawns of the Castle House. The most prominent feature in the village is the parish church—a very handsome edifice in the modern Gothic style, which was erected in 1816 in the place of an older and less convenient structure. It occupies the highest site in the village, and, as the tower is one of somewhat stately proportions, it produces a most imposing effect, whether seen from the water or from any of the commanding points in the vicinity. The village itself, apart from the scenery around, presents but few claims to particular notice. Architecturally, it is of no great mark or likelihood, while the various streets and thoroughfares are apparently laid off without any regular plan or arrangement. Still it contains many snug houses, and many comfortable inns and places of refreshment, and many shops which would even do credit to our metropolitan city. All the comforts and conveniences of the “Sautmarket,” indeed, are congregated at this favourite and fashionable watering-place. Then there is a perfect abundance of churches. All the leading sects of the country, from ultra-Presbyterianism to Puseyism, have their places of worship here. On a Sabbath day, when the kirk bells are ringing, the streets and thoroughfares indeed are quite as throng as the main channels of our own church going city.

The most beautiful portion of Dunoon, to our taste, is that which fringes the West Bay. East Bay and Kim, which extend from the pier towards the Holy Loch, have doubtless their own particular advantages and charms. Many of the houses are beautiful exceedingly—beautiful ip their architectural features—beautiful in their environment of garden and lawn—and beautiful, above all, in their far-extended command of land and sea. Still our memory looks ever back with most pleasure to that sunniest, most sheltered, and sweetest snatch of the coast line, which stretches westward from the pier, and which in the Admiralty charts is set down as Balgay Bay. Passing westwards after leaving the u heart of the town,” we find ourselves skirting a long strip of gently curved beach—mingled gravel and sand—* extending from the rocky projection at the base of the Castle Hill to a range of wooded heights, about half-a-mile to the west. This is Balgay Bay, or West Bay, as it is locally called, and a more cheerful picture than it now presents we could not desire to look upon. The bay is all alive with yachts and fishing-boats passing too and fro, and dancing merrily on the brine. Along the foaming margin of the Frith, merry groups of children are scattered, gathering shells, or playing with the advancing waves; while the promenade is thronged with people, in the sunshine and in the freshness of the salt sea breeze. How gay the combination of colours in that stream of rustling and fluttering female attire! and how gorgeous the general effect of those mingled greens and reds and blues and purples, as their fair wearers are loitering lazily, but gracefully, along! Verily, it is a scene to dream of. And then the charming cottages and villas and mansions which overlook that beautiful West Bay. Peeping through the foliage and the flowers, by which each separate and individual residence is begirt, how delicious are the glimpses of social enjoyment which we obtain! At one door-step we can see a happy mother—rich above measure in her children •—enjoying herself? as she imagines, unseen among her little ones. Through another loophole pater-familias is discovered playing the boy once more with a boy of lesser growth, whom it is his pride to call his own. In one place we can see age looking complacently on the recreations of youth; in another the arm of manhood lending aid to the broken reed. The loud laugh of animal enjoyment greets us at one turn, and the soft murmur of saddest affection at another. One lattice reveals a fair face embowered in bloom—another pours forth a gush of music, which makes richer even the rich breath of the summer noon; and a third exhibits an old maid—we are quite sure she is an old maid—fondling a parrot of gaudiest red and green, while a favourite cat of brightest tortoiseshell looks quietly but enviously on. Flora seems to love the West Bay, and has poured her choicest favours upon it. The lilac has lost its purple blossoms in the burning sun of July, and the fine gold of the laburnum has waxed dim; but on every lawn the fuschia is one mass of mingled red and purple and green, while the cottages are all wreathed in roses, and the garden borders axe all redolent of richest odour and bloom. The very houses here have floral designations. As we pass along, we observe duly engraved on the respective gateways and portals such sentimental titles as "Gowanbank,” "Gowanbrae,” “Rosebank,” “Lilyknowe" and counties, other designations of sweet-smelling suggestiveness.

Nor are Flora's favours to Dunoon confined to the gardens and lawns of either East or West Bay. The treasures which she vouchsafes to these sunny and sheltered nooks are treasures vouchsafed to art and industry, but over all these hills, and in the recesses of these woods* and along the projections and indentations of these shores, full many a wild uncultured gem is scattered. The botanist, indeed, has fine scope for the exercise of his vocation in the vicinity of Dunoon. He may not find much that is peculiarly rare, but if he treads in the footsteps of Hooker, who scanned these districts with a careful and an observant eye, he will not fail in obtaining his reward. Sir William Jackson Hooker lived, when professor in Glasgow, for several summers at Sandbank on the Holy Loch. During this time he seems to have devoted special attention to the vegetation of the neighbourhood. The result of his inquiries were communicated to the Rev. Dr. M'Kay of Dunoon and Kilmun, who published them in his statistical account of the united parishes. As being much more complete than anything that we could ourselves furnish, we shall here extract the document, omitting the majority of the jaw-breaking Latin names.

“The geological structure, which is known so well to exert a considerable influence on vegetation, being but little varied throughout the parish as a whole, its botany may be supposed to have no very great diversity. The hills, though rising to a height approaching to 3,000 feet above the level of the sea, are not sufficiently lofty to produce the rarer species of Scotch alpine plants, yet several plants do occur which are highly interesting to the botanist.

The sea-shore afiords two plants that cannot fail to strike th& attention of one who walks upon the sandy or shingly portion of the beach between Dunoon and Toward. The first is the yellow-homed poppy, with its large yellow blossoms and singular seed-vessels; the other, a plant indeed peculiar to northern coasts, is the sea-side Gromwell. It sends forth from a perennial central root a number of procumbent stems clothed with bright, purplish, blue flowers, and fleshy leaves of a sea-green colour, observed to possess a flavour, when eaten fresh, exactly similar to that of oysters. The scurvy*grass, and the grass wrack, so much employed in the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Iceland, for stuffing birds, are also common oh the beach. Moist and marshy grounds present us with the pale butterwort, a species first found in Portugal, whence its specific name, and which has once been weel named to be a native of the western side of England, Wales, and Scotland; while, strange to say, it grows nowhere in the interior of our island, nor can it be discovered on the eastern coast. It yields ip beauty to the common batter wort, but its rarity recommends it to the plant collector. In the same kind of localities is found the gipsyworfr; the black bog rush; the curious and minute thyme-leaved flax-seed, which latter grows at Toward Point; Myosotis pahistris, with its turquoise-coloured blossoms, which is the true ‘forget me not;’ brook-weed; marsh-violet; the grass of pamassus, affording a beautiful example of nectaries, or honey-bearing glands in a flower; the long-leaved sun-dew; the great bilberry, or bog whortleberry, of which the fruit is large and esoulent, and the foliage used by the Icelanders, mixed with the alpine club moss, to produce a yellow dye for woollen stuffs; the yellow mountain saxifrage; the large-flowered bitter cress, in the glen near Mr. Malcolm's beautiful villa in the vicinity of Dunoon; the marsh dandelion. Also, among orchideous plants, the early purple orchis; marsh orchis; and spotted orchis; and butterfly habenaria, with its deliciously-scented flowers, which, with many other cream-coloured, or pale greenish-white blossoms, become more fragrant on the approach of evening; and lastly, as preeminently indicating a moist and boggy soil, may be mentioned the sweet gale, or Dutch myrtle, the badge of the clan Campbell, a shrub remarkable for the aromatic fragranoe of its foliage, which, together with the elasticity of its young twigs, recommended it for beds among the people of the Highlands,—

*Gitto from the bog shall weft Arabian balm.’

Fresh water pools and minor lakes in the parish yield the marsh and water speedwells. There, too, is the water-lily, and nowhere, perhaps, in greater profusion and loveliness than in the loch of Dunloskin, on the Halton estate, near Dunoon. Its roots are used in different parts of Scotland for producing a black, or deep purple dye; the bladderwort, its leaves furnished with little vesicles or bladders. These, by a beautiful provision of nature, are filled with air during the summer season, when the plant rises to the surface of the water, and expands its flowers in the free atmosphere. Afterwards the air escapes from these vesicles, and the plant by its own specific gravity, then sinks to the bottom of the water, there to ripen its seeds. This interesting and beautiful production is found in pools near the Bull-wood, westward of the village of Dunoon. The water lobelia abounds in Locheck. Its leaves are constantly submerged. If these leaves are cut through transversely, they will be seen to be each of them composed of two parallel tubes, like a double-barrelled gun—a structure not known to exist in any other plant. In the same lake, and always near the shore, may be seen in profusion the plantain shore-weed, matting the edge of the water with its velvety green tufts.

"Dry and open banks and fields are adorned with the poor man’s weather-glass (Anagallis arvensui); the common centaury (Erythree Centaurium), and field gentian (Gentiana campestris), both of which are remarkable for their powerfully bitter principle, and may be safely used as stomachics ; the bistort or snakeweed (Polygonum bistorta), and viviparous alpine bistort (P. viviparum), in more mountainous situations; the awl-shaped spurrey (Spergula snbulaia); the smooth field pepper-weed (Lepidium Smithil) the trailing and upright St. John’s wort; the charming sweet-scented a gymnadenia; the green and the white habenaria; and, finally, the common and the heart-leaved twayblade.

“Stone walls afford sufficient nourishment for the pellitory of the wall, especially at Achenwillin, and at the old Castle of Toward. The stamens of this plant are of a most curious structure, jointed arid elastic, so that in fine warm weather they may be Seen, as the buds expand, to unroll themselves with a jftrk, and scatter little clouds of pollen or fertilizing dust to a considerable distance. The wall pennywort is nourished in the same situations.

“Woods and coppices, especially if moist, produce the common and alpine enchanter’s nightshade; the daffodil is seen on banks near Dunoon, apparently wild; and the lesser winter green and the tutsan grow at Kilmun and Ardentinny.

“In rocky places are observed the northern bedstraw, and, among the hills, the mountain sorrel, whose leaves have an agreeable acid taste; also the stone bramble. The higher mountains of the parish, such as Benmore, not being of sufficient elevation to hold out the prt>spect of a rich harvest of alpine plants to the botanist, have not been examined with the attention which they perhaps deserve. But the following alpine productions may be mentioned: the dwarf cornel; procumbent Sibbaldia, which is named in honour of Robert Sibbald, who wrote a natural history of Scotland so early as the closing part of the seventeenth Century, and who then published a figure of this plant; spiked mountain woodrush; the purple mountain saxifrage, a lovely flower, well adapted for adorning artificial rook-work ; the alpine rasp or cloudberry, which bears a beautiful and finely-flavoured large orange berry; the alpine meadow-rue; the rose-root; and lastly, the least alpine willow, a genus of which many of the kinds possess an arborescent character, while the present miniature species, of which little forests, if they may be so called, are seen clothing considerable patches of the otherwise bare grounds on the highest summit of Benmore, only attains the height of one or two inches, yet bears its leaves, its calkins, and its flowers, as perfect as those of its brethren in the willow tribe, which, on our plains and valleys, constitute red trees,.

"The nature of the soil, the moist rocks, and shady glens of the parish are highly favourable to the growth of crypto-gamic plants, particularly of ferns, which, in the form, and Structure, and colour of the foliage, far exceed the flowering plants.”

After a brief period of refreshment and repose in the house of a most hospitable and genial friend at West Bay, we proceed, well on in the afternoon, to scale the heights adjacent to the locality. Skirting the bay to its western extremity, where it receives the waters of a small rivulet called the Balgay or Baggy Bum, we cross at a bridge, and turn inland. The bum, near its embouchure, and for a considerable distance upwards, is somewhat romantic in its features, passing through a deep rocky channel, over craggy shelves and large boulders with considerable force and velocity. An artistic eye might even pick up an effective sketch or two along this portion of the bum.

Passing some old Highland cottages of the most primitive stamp, we begin to ascend the hill, making our way slowly and deviously through a dense mass of whins or furze, by which, at this point, the slope is encumbered. A couple of girls whom we meet coming down, are fairly brought to a pause by the jaggy barrier, and compelled to execute a flank movement of considerable extent to insure the salvation of their muslins. Such a rencounter with the lasses, and the locality where it occurs, by a natural association of ideas, brings us Sn mind of our good friend, Mr. William Cross, one of the best-hearted and most gentle men living, and a poet of no every-day character. But why should a rencounter with a lassie, or a couple of lasses, bring Mr. Cross into our heads? Because Mr. Cross, as we learn from a very pretty song which he wrote some years ago, seems also to have foregathered1 with a bonnie lass amang the braes aboon Dunoon; and, unlike ourselves—the most blate of men- to have made his way at once into her best graces. But we must let the poet tell his own tale, or rather we shall sing it for him.

A little Gothic church in miniature, on the green terrace above the Balgay Burn, to the far away villas of Kirn, and Hafton. The Frith also is spread out before us, with all its glorioles landscape boundaries; all its towns, aad villages, and cattles, and mansions scattered “hereabouts, or far awa.” AŽ we sit, the evening sun goes gradually down in the west. He is hidden from our ken by the intervening bills* To us he is set. But down the huge gap of a mountain glen, he still pours his golden favours on Dunoon and across the Frith upon the snowy turret of the Cloch. From beyond Toward, another stream of radiance goes slanting to the Ayrshire and Renfrewshire hills, tinging the mountain mists and the overhanging clouds with gold, so that the eye cannot distinguish the boundary line between the heaven which is above and the eartli which is beneath. Down, slowly down, the orb continues to sink. We can see the glory departing from Dunoon—the smile of day growing more faint upon the hills of Largs. At length the town is in shade, and we can trace the slow and silent progress of the gloaming up the spire of the church, up the old Castle Hill, and up the far away hills. At length all is over—the last faint farewell beam has vanished,—

“So fades, be languishes, grows dim, and dies,
All that this world is proud"

As we slowly wend our downward way, the gray of evening begins to gather thick, and ere we find the friendly portal of our kindly host, the one sweet star of eve has begun to brighten in the blue,—

"Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wond’rous tale—"

awl West Bay shall ever be dear to our memory for the gorgeous lunar spectacle which she brings to our ken. We have many a time and oft seen the pale face of Luna reflected in river and lake and sea; we have many a time and oft, at midnight’s silent hour, paused to gaze upon the ripple of quivering gold which seemed to flow from that moon silver lumirtary upon the brow of night} but on no previous occasion hav6 we been privileged to witness so striking a Jttnar spectacle as that Which greets our eye from the wmdoW df our friend’s cottage. From the Cowal shore an immense column of tremulous light stretches skinkling away in a Wanting direction athwart the Frith, to the distant shore of Oiirribrae, where it swells out into what seems a proportionate Capital. As we gaze enraptured upon it, it gradually assumes new forms and dimensions; now it is like a vast trumpet of gold—again it is a candlestick of living silver ; anon it is richly fretted with projecting circlets, and again assumes the form of a huge and well-proportioned pillar. For hours We sit and gaze upon it, and mark the strange Weird effect which k produced as the dark hulls of passing boats and vessels glide athwart that glorious bridge of light. Sleep, hdwever, creeps upon us as we gaze, and we go to bed to dream of Jacob’s ladder and other celestial phenomenal We awake next morning with a vivid remembrance of the scene, and a firm persuasion that we shall not soon be privileged to look upon its like again.

The walk along the shore from Dunoon to Innellan—a distance of about four miles—is one of great beauty. On the landward side the view is .somewhat circumscribed by the hills, which approach closely to the shore, and which are generally fringed along the base by a thriving stripe of copsewood. Seaward the prospect is magnificent and constantly changing — Bute, the Cumbraes, and Arran, swimming successively into view, and enriching the bosom of the expanding Frith. Innellan is one of the most modern of our watering-places, and one of the most attractive. It may be said, indeed, to be an offshoot of Dunoon; and if building goes on as rapidly for the next, as it has done for the last few years, we may yet expect to see them united into one lengthened community. Already there are intervening links springing up along the shore, in the shape of datached cottages and villas. Of coarse, as a thing of yesterday, Innellan baa no tale to tell. It is, however, a charming locality. The hills rise more abruptly from the beach, however, than at Dunoon, and the neighbourhood consequently presents fewer facilities for inland rambling. It is also more exposed to the sharp winds of spring and winter, and to the fierce heats of summer and autumn, than Dunoon. Innellan possesses a commodious pier, and includes among its numerous handsome edifices a spacious hotel in the castellated style of architecture, which presents quite an imposing appearance when viewed from the water. There are some splendid walks and drives in the vicinity of Innellan, every turn and winding of which brings some new beauty—some fresh combination of the loveliness of land and sea—into the ,ken of the delighted spectator. Possessing so many advantages and privileges, so many conveniences and so many comforts, there is every probability that Innellan will continue, as it has hitherto done, to flourish and extend with all due rapidity.


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