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Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Chapter XXV - To Glen Etive


Cameron.—I think we might go to Tyndrum by train. It will be pleasantly strange to rush up such a waste as Glen Laogh in such a bird-like fashion. Once I went up by coach, but the horses grieved me, and I could not see the river as it rushed down its gorge. True, I saw the wilderness, and it pressed upon my mind. Surely the Sahara can scarcely be mire desert, but it is different; Sahara has not even the winds, or they are rare as well as dusty, and even the demons of the stones have deserted the place. Here they rage on the hills, and Cailleach Bheir moves from mountain to mountain.

Margaet.—How dreadful to skim over the precipitous banks of this stream. No human being could see it in its natural state before this railway began to play upon its precipices, and here we take the way of the crows. They used to tell me that it was a terrible pass, only few people could climb it in winter, and none of the farmers could go up and down in a day with their carts unless these were empty. But here we are flying up and we shall alight in half an hour. The fables of childhood become silly, and its wonders turn to nothing even to the young.

Loudoun—It is not quite so. The fables of childhood do not become silly ; they never have been so important as now; we neglected them, and now men of learning treasure them and learn philosophy and history from them. Let us learn the same from this road. In the memory of man it was a difficult passage for any one, and very hard for a horse with a burden. For a generation the road has been fair, but steep. I remember when it was a hard journey to Tyndrum, except for a good hill walker.

Cameron.-It is a strange valley this. You see it is a collection of heaps which exist in thousands, masses as if left by melting ice; but they might have been made by local shower-water. The old poem which was before quoted about the sons of Uisnach calls it the glen of straight ridges:-

Glen Urchain! O Glen Urchain! (or Glenorchy! O Glenorchy!)
It was the straight glen of smooth ridges
Not more joyful was a man of his age
Than Naoise in Glen Urchain. —Skenes translation.

This at the upper part is not properly Glenorchy, which is more strictly the branch to the north; but the stream from here runs into the Orchay or Urchaidh, and Glenorchy is the wider name that runs down along the side of Loch Awe. There is no manageable road up through the real Glenorchy.

This is one of the reasons why I brought you to Dalmally. You see one of the hunting places of the Uisnachs, and you learn that it is still as it was of old, leaving out the road and railway, if you can manage to think of it so.

We are at Tvndrum, Tigh'n druim, the house on the ridge. A dreary house it was once; now there is a fine hotel. Even manufactures have tried to settle here, and in that little hole up on the side of the hill it is said that the last :Marquis of Breadalbane spent sixty thousand pounds looking for lead, and perhaps he spent somewhat more, trying to make vitriol outside with the minerals got from within the hill. Our ride being short, we shall need no rest here, but we shall again take the private rather than public conveyance ; we must spend some time on the way.

We drive along first an unpromising wild road, and seem to be rushing among pathless hills, but soon we go down to the plain, and we need not fear, since everywhere the roads are good, and you see that our horses are strong. As we move down we come on an unexpectedly open space, and whilst the wild hills of the deer forest of the Black Mount are on the left, we come on the famous Ben Doran to the right.

Margaet.--It is big but not beautiful, sloping and not varied.

Cameron.—Yet it had power to produce a fine enthusiasm in Duncan MacIntyre, as you will see if you read Professor Blackie's translation of his poem. This to first appearance rather smooth and stony side is long, and if the other is equally so it is a large place not easily passed over by men, except the best of walkers. But listen to MacIntyre and you will hear that behind that too flat side, and perhaps upon it, there are numerous dens where deer can hide and men may be lost.

BEN DORAIN

HONOUR be to Ben Dorain
Above all Bens that be
Beneath the sun mine eyes beheld
No lovelier Ben than he;
With his long smooth stretch of moor,
And his nooks remote and sure
For the deer,
When he smiles in face of day,
And the breeze sweeps o'er the brae
Keen and clear;
With his greenly-waving woods,
And his glassy solitudes,
And the stately herd that fare,
Feeding there;
And the troop with white behind
When they scent the common foe,
Then wheel to sudden flight
In a row,
Proudly snuffing at the wind
As they go.

"`Tis a nimble little hind,
Giddy-headed like her kind,
That goes sniffing up the wind
In her scorning;
With her nostrils sharp and keen,
Somewhat petulant, I ween,
'Neath the crag's rim she is seen
In the morning.

You will never with your ken
Mark her flitting paces when
With lightsome tread she trips
O'er the light unbroken tips
Of the grass;
Not in all the islands three.
Nor wide Europe, may it be
That it step so light and clean
Hath been seen,
When she sniffs the mountain breeze,
And goes wandering at her case,
Or sports as she may please
On the green;
Nor she will ever feel
Fret or evil humour when
She makes a sudden wheel,
And flies with rapid heel
O'er the Ben;
With her fine and frisking ways
She steals sorrow from her days,
Nor shall old age ever press
On her head with sore distress
In the glen.

III

My delight it was to rise
`With the early morning skies,
All aglow
And to brush the dewy height
Where the deer in airy state
Wont to go;
At least a hundred brace
Of the lofty-antlered race,
When they left their sleeping place
Light and gay;
When they stood in trim array,
And with low deep-breasted cry,
Flung their breath into the sky,
From the brae;
When the hind, the pretty fool,
Would be rolling in the pool
At her will:
Or the stag in gallant pride,
Would be strutting at the side
Of his haughty-headed bride,
On the hill.
And sweeter to my ear
Is the concert of the deer
In their roaring,
Than when Erin from her lyre
Warmest strains of Celtic fire
May be pouring;
And no organ sends a roll
So delightful to my soul,
As the branchy-crested race,
When they quicken their proud pace
And bellow in the face
Of Ben Dorain.

IV

For Ben Dorain lifts his head In the air,
That no Ben was ever seen
With his grassy mantle spread,
And rich swell of leafy green,
May compare;
And 'tis passing strange to me,
When his sloping side I see,
That so grand
And beautiful a Ben
Should not flourish among men,
In the scutcheon and the ken
Of the land."

Margaet.--That is certainly beautiful enthusiasm, expressive of poetic joy. Is it really a good translation, or is the poem of Professor Blackie's making altogether?

Loudoun.—I have been particular to ask, as I am not able to judge of the style, and every one says that it is well done, and not superior to the original.

Cameron.—I am a Highlander, and I prefer the original, still I think it well done and wonderfully exact. I have asked our minister also, who is a cultivated man, and can compare the two version, and he thinks it very well done, expressing the original very closely.

Willie.—I see no room for deer. Let us run up a bit and see.

Cameron.—Well, you may run up this lower part. There must be many smaller glens, ridges, precipices, brooks, and shelter for deer on the great mass of this hill ; we see only the face here. Behind is a great region—the glorious region to which only strong men can attain, and which made a poet of the gamekeeper, and which even we who cannot attain delight to revel in so far as he can enable us. Let us take some lunch until Willie returns.

O'Keefe.—I shall sleep among the heather or look up to the sky; I like to see the clouds, they are always changing, growing, and diminishing, and the edges are in everlasting motion, and those which go fast are the most changeable.

Willie.—Here I am after a good run; but I could, after all, find nothing without much more running. It would require a fox or a deer. There is a far beyond.

Cameron.-In old times there were plenty of foxes, and I daresay there are some here still. They have been killed to introduce sheep, and this habit annoyed MacIntyre exceedingly. Listen to his praise of foxes. (P. 184, Dr. Blackie.)

A SONG OF FOXES.

Ho! ho! ho! the foxes!
Would there were more of them,
I'd give heavy gold
For a hundred score of them
My blessing with the foxes dwell,
For that they hunt the sheep so well;
Ill fa' the sheep, a grey-faced nation
That swept our hills with desolation
Who made the bonnie green glens clear,
And acres scarce, and houses dear;
The grey-faced sheep, who worked our woe,
Where men no more may reap or sow,
And made us leave for their grey pens
Our bonnie braes and grassy glens."

MacIntyre lived when sheep-fanning on the hills was new, so late is the custom. In old times deer and foxes and free hunting made a happy ground for undisturbed men.

Now we are come among deer foresters and stalkers, men who make thousands of acres desert for the purpose of shooting. Much of this is wilderness. There is a house in that wood, and there is an inn at Inveroran, and you see some trees called a part of the Caledonian Forest, but, so far as I know, all interest here is in the wildness and the mountain and the deer.

Loudoun.—And why not? Did we leave home to see more chimneys or houses? You may travel in England through many counties and scarcely see variety of scenery perhaps some difference, not much, in building houses or working farms: here you have land, crops, and animals all different from those where we started, and it is a new world. I think it worth while to lose the sheep for the variety of the sight, even if we are not the favoured ones who possess it. Even the owner may see it little. Look at the Moor of Rannoch, a desert with danger from water, a place without a track, which a man cannot well cross in a day if he does not know the road. There is no sitting down on warm sand when you are tired, confident in the permanence of the heavens above you. You rather feel sure of a constant perfidy. You need shelter, but there is none until you come to King's house, which stands at the top of Glen Etive and Glencoe looking down each of them.

Cameron.—Nowadays we have some chance of being fed and lodged; that is, one may rely on the people if the house is not too full.

I took care, by writing; otherwise we might have been obliged to drive down to Glencoe and so lose our object. Still we shall go down, a little after dinner and some rest.

O'Keefe.—What a wild run to the top of Glencoe ; at this precipice we may stand and look down. It is a beautiful defence against outside men. These walls are magnificent, and were it not for this road I could hold it with one to a hundred. Down there men might live in peace so long as there were sheep to eat.

Sheena.—I shudder at that awful hill ; black caves on the front looking over precipices, and wild clouds covering summits making the passes above as dark as night. What is the name of it?

O'Keefe.-The forester here told me it was Aonach Dubh. Aonach, I suppose, is lonely, lonely, and is a name given to a hill, a wild poetic name suiting the solitary spots and the wonders on it. Many people at one time never can be on these hills. Dubh is black. "Black and lonely" is a fine name for it, and behind where you saw an opening there is a pass from Loch Etive to Glencoe, which is called Larig Oillt, the Pass of Terror. It expresses exactly the feeling you seem to have had when looking up to the black clouds moving among the broken rocks and darkening the way.

Loudoun.—I once asked the forester here about this pass of Terror, and he, you know, looks after the deer, and knows the rocks as well as they do; but he told me that the name was Larig Eild, the pass of the hinds, and that it related to the habits of these animals.

Margaet.—I prefer Mr. Clerk's view; besides he has studied Gaelic. The result is more poetical, and I feel that we have hit on a wonderful spot ; besides the word is used elsewhere. This at least is a view of Glencoe new to me, and as we look down on that awful gulf in the darkening night, I wonder that our fellows live there and not a colony of mysterious forms. But there is mystery enough, and a deed of moral blackness has made the whole more famous than even nature has done with time and violence.

Cameron.—Let us return. The hotel stands more in the mouth of Glen Etive than Glencoe, and Glen Etive means the wild or terrible glen. But we must not leave Glencoe without looking at the Cona, the favourite of Ossian, whose harp is called the voice of Cona, on the banks of which he was born. You know I believe in the Ossian published by Macpherson as the real ancient Ossian, and often he must have hunted here and ranged among these hills.

Loudoun.—We shall not dispute here; but we can all admire this wonderful hill—this conical mass between the two glens—this Shepherd of Etive as it is poetically called, looking for ever down to the loch beside his companion opposite. They both look also over the moor of Rannoch. Wilson has made a beautiful photograph of one. When I was proposing to go down Glen Etive, the landlord of the hotel doubted the propriety of allowing inc a horse, because the streams came down with such violence on rainy days, and the day was threatening. However we ran down and up, the foaming torrents from the hills softened into wide streams flowing over the roads, which had no bridges and were liable to be swept away. The two hills are very steep, and look as remarkable here as they do at a distance; whilst this one, connects the two glens, it also unites Gaelic, Greek, and Latin, the name of shepherd being nearly the same in both. The Greeks had their boukolos, and Virgil wrote his Bucolics, and here we have our buacleaill—all one word we may say. But more exactly the word does not mean shepherd either in Greek or Gaelic, but cowherd, and bucolics "relates to cow herding," and in Gaelic the word is used for general herding.

Cameron:—Now that we have come out of the dark glen and the clouds have cleared away, it is not quite dark, and I care not to go into the house; I will go up to my friend the forester, about a mile or more on the Inveroran road, and see a true Highland house, built with comfort. Who will come? The ladies may stay, and we shall expect some tea when we return.

This road is farther than I expected, and it is already darkening. There is only one house, and it is on the right, and we cannot miss it. There is a light, and the dog barks, and we must find our way among stones and holes to the door. I doubt not that we shall find a welcome.

O'Keefe.—It will be dark before you reach the house. Forester.—I am glad to see you. I wish I could show you into my dwelling on the hills among the deer; that would be something to look at.

Willie.—This is novel enough. I thought you would live here in misery, with all these dubs about and the road to the house made only by tramping feet, and the house too looking very dark. But here you have a blazing fire and a good lamp, and shooting and fishing tackle round the wall, and plenty in the pots.

Loudoun.—Yes, and happy faces about: why! here too is my friend from Barcaldine come to chat with you.

Willie.-I like to look up to the mysterious rafters. One wonders what may be there.

Cameron.—Yes, you sometimes see the fowls roosted up there; but it is not so in this house. It is a very bright and busy house to me coming from the outside darkness.

Loudoun.—It is certainly very different from the houses of the town workmen and far superior, whilst the freedom of the occupation during the day makes the life brilliant. It is living in the world instead of in a prison. What say you, forester?

Forester—I say that the work is hard, but grand. I am not a machine ; I must use nay judgment daily, and that on no small scale, over many hills and over many cattle. I am healthy, I am comfortable, and happy as most men. Indeed I have my days of glorious feeling, and I seem to rise with the mountains, although I sometimes may sink in bogs like those on the moor; but these changes are like the face of nature.

Loudoun.—We must go. Good night. I am proud of your acquaintance, and may we all see you again.

Margaet.—You must have had a (lark walk home. Why did you stay so late?

Loudoun.—There is something very fascinating about the darkening in the Highlands. I cannot explain it. I had some of tile feeling too in Switzerland. It is caused partly by the hills looking upon you, but partly by the peculiar shades. In a level country the land does not look at you; you are alone; here you are stared upon by all around. It is a rare sensation to us, and a luxury. To-morrow we have another new series of sensations.

GLEN ETIVE.

Cameron.—And now we roll down Glen Etive, with a Buachaill on our right and on our left, although the latter mountain receives also a very prosaic name. I am afraid of telling it. They call it Sron a creis (creesh), and say it means the (promontory or) nose of grease or fat, because it fattens animals so well. But this must be a very modern name—a farmer's name. I prefer the I3uachaill (south).

The river rushes down that deep ravine, which it has evidently made for itself, and we pass along this precipitous bank, our lives depending on good driving. Let its stand awhile and look at the deer on the opposite side; they are quite undisturbed; no wanderers come here, except by ones or twos, and a whistle will startle them. See!

Loudoun.—They move off as soon as they hear. One might almost measure the speed of sound by observing their movements; it is only a few seconds, and certainly corresponds closely so far as I can judge of the distance from us. They leap the brooks and sometimes seem to dance. One must quote MacIntyre here, i.e. Donncha Ban, to describe the light springing race. Such a solitude—not a farm-house, not a man, not a sheep—and all this in Scotland. Each valley is a new country, and there are thousands, or hundreds at least.

Margaet.---I would look and rejoice if I could walk instead of staring, continually down that terrible steep; when it ends I shall think on the scenery.

Cameron.—We now move rapidly down the hill and come into the depth of the valley, where violent storms often meet, since here is a rapid turn to the right, and numerous passages for air are made by the irregular peaks. And see that one standing up like a piece of black iron before us, the end of some Titanic spear. That is a memorial of Deirdre, and I should not have asked you to cone had there not been here something to remind you of the sons of Uisnach. It has two names—Ben Cetlin or Kettelin and Grianan Dartheil, the Boudoir of Darthula, a fantastic appellation, just as they call the rugged hills of Loch Long the Bowling Green of the Duke of Argyle. But as the latter indicates the nearness of the Duke, so the former does the power of Deirdre. We must look on her and the whole tribe as spending much time here and living on the deer. Kettel is a Norse name, but this need not have a Norse origin; in Gaelic the meaning might he quite different.

Loudoun.—We are here in a basin, and it is hard to imagine these great hollows filled with grinding ice. However, they are still subject to attacks of water which washes down what little soil it may meet, and makes way for the rolling of numberless pebbles and blocks. Much of the valley below seems at times to be covered, judging from the breadth of the gravel beds of the river.

O'Keefe.—Here is another memorial of Deirdre—that field is called after her. And so we hunt up our heroes in all the surroundings of Loch Etive.

Margaet.—I wish some one would invent a way of describing a scene. I see and feel, but cannot express.

Loudoun.—You said this before; but there are many ways invented. The geologist will describe this clearly, and have the surveyor to assist him; the photographer will give you details the artist will come from it with a memory on canvass of beautiful effects; but the poet, and he only, can describe the feelings, and even he cannot exhaust them.

Margaet.—I am not satisfied with any poet's description, it is generally a collection of similes, or a number of unrealities which are raised into being in his mind. Still I am not insensible to their beauty, and I confess that Black has had great success in describing scenes in this west in his Highland novels.

Cameron.—We have passed only one house, it was at the bend of the glen, and was a forester's. Now we come to Dalness or Dal an Las, the field of the waterfall, and our poet Duncan Ban lived close to it for a while, in a cottage of which a few stones are left. I cannot worthily translate his verses, but we can look at the fine broad waterfall.

Here we may have Wilson's poem, part of which I can give. He early found the beauty of this valley. Let us imagine Professor Wilson addressing the deer as he did here at Dalness. His own reading of it to his class was a feast which seems to have fed his students with some of his enthusiasm for the remainder of their lives. To be able to do this is to live not in vain, and I am glad to say this for those who may dwell too much on the author not being in the front rank of poets.

"Up, up, to yon cliff like a king to his throne,
O'er the black silent forest piled lofty and lone
A throne which the eagle is glad to resign
Unto footsteps so fleet and so fearless as thine.

There your branches now toss in the storm of delight,
Like the arms of the pine on yon shelterless height,
One moment, thou bright apparition, delay
Then melt o'er the crags like the sun from the day.

Down the pass of Glen Etive the tempest is borne,
And the hillside is swinging, and roars with a sound,
In the heart of the forest embosomed profound.
Till all in a moment the moult is o'er,
And the mountain of thunder is still as the shore
When the sea is at ebb, not a leaf, not a breath
To disturb the wild solitude, steadfast as death."

Loudoun.—That is fine, and if we do not see the same sight as he describes, he having been himself a hunter on the hills, we are saved the labour We like to see the wild passes that show themselves up these pathless hills, and it is not strange that men from London seek the life of the wild man here, as far as they can endure the imitation. One ought to tame the deer and ride with them over the racks. We can only follow them with the imagination, but slightly with the eye; and we have the same want of satisfaction looking at, but unable to follow, the salmon. It is a poor enjoyment eating him, as if we ate his life and his poetic wanderings. Sport is partly a wish to imitate, and eating the game is like a New Zealander eating in fancy the strength and mind of his victim. It is a life of hope only, but that is all our life; and he is not a sound lover of nature that has no sympathy in sport.

The verses you recited give a description of the forests which we may suppose Deirdre alluded to in her song. There are few pines now at Glen Etive, although nominally a forest for deer. The real meaning of forest is not well known; if it comes from foris, without, out of doors or outside the walls, then it is easily understood, and its present use by deer-stalkers is more correct than the use by tree-planters.

Cameron.—Another rough road over streams, and in that terrible blast that comes down—unavoidable! We must bow our heads and look up as we dare; now we are at the height and can see the loch. We are at Druimachothais (perhaps Druimachois, the ridge at the foot), and we shall dash down to the small portion of plain to look for our boat.

Londoun.—Before we leave this wondrous glen let us think of it so as to remember. It is certainly one of the largest of the narrow glens of -Scotland. It may be said to be 30 miles long, as the glen includes the lake. It is certainly one of the deepest, and it has points as terrible as those of Glencoe, in certain kinds of weather. It is larger, more varied, and I imagine in storms almost as terrible. One wonders if the ancient Celts really went up these hills; they speak of them and of the clouds, but I do not know how high they wandered up the peaks.

O'Keefe.—I think they went up, but like the Greeks they do not leave us much description of nature. I can give you a hunting scene from the Dean of Lismore's book, which Dr. M'Lauchlin has translated. It is said to be Ossian's, but the hunt is in Ireland on Sliabh nam ban fionn, the hill of the fair ladies. Finn had a hunting dog called Bran, a great favourite.

"Then Finn and Bran did sit alone
A little while upon the mountain side,
Each of then panting for the chase,
Their fierceness and their wrath aroused.
Then did we unloose three thousand hounds
Of matchless vigour and unequalled strength
Each of the hounds brought down the deer,
Down in the vale that lies beneath the hill
There never fell so many deer and roe
In any hunt that ere till this took place.
But sad was the-chase doss-n to the east,
Thou cleric of the church and bells,
Ten hundred of our hounds with golden chains
Fell wounded by ten hundred boars;
Then by our hands there fell the boars,
Which wrought the ill upon the plain.
And were it not for blades and vigorous arms,
That chase had been a slaughter."

Book of the Dean of Lismore, from the 3rd Poem.

The writer evidently wishes to astonish the cleric by the amount of slaughter, and expects the perhaps tame-like preacher to despise his own vocation, before the glory of killing a thousand wild boars; but there is no sentence regarding nature. The name of the hill may relate to nuns with white dresses.

The Greeks were awed by their great mountains, and stood in humility below. Did any one of them ever climb Olympus or Ida? There is no wonder that men cower before nature. They fear the darkness in the Highlands even now, in the valleys, and much more a dark passage on the top of a black clouded mountain.

Cameron.—I f they did go up they did not live there much; that is, the people who wrote did not ; but there is a class living even now on Mount Olympus who rarely come down, and are almost entirely separate from all others. Probably the same class lived with the same habits in old times, unknown to the town-loving Greek, who knew little of topography, and filled the wilds with mythic creatures. When we look at that terrible pass on the western side of the Buachaill, the pass of terror, at the time when the peaks are covered with black clouds, and only a dark cave shows itself below, we have room for the wild beings that were supposed to haunt this valley. You will see a drawing of one of them in J. F. Campbell's Tales of the West Highlands: there is a sketch of the wild creature of GIen Eiti (Direach Glenn Eitidh, Mac Callain), he was also a Mac, the son of Colin. The drawing, like the story describing him, gives " one hand out of his chest, one leg out of his haunch, and one eye out of the front of his face."

Margaet.—Is it not said that even the Greeks worshipped mountains?

Loudoun.—I don't know of any actual worship of mountains, but there is an abundant appearance in the Greek mind of awe and feeling of mystery relating to them.

Willie.—Now this is a fine opportunity to tell a story as we stand under the shed waiting for the boat.

O'Keefe.—As you are near Cruachan, I will tell you a little tale from the Irish Cruachan which is very different from yours. Near it was the palace of the old Kings of Connaught, and it was not far from Carrick-on-Shannon. The king and queen, Aillil and Meave, people of whom I told you, who lived about nineteen hundred years ago, were amusing themselves one winter evening with their followers, and they were, I dare say, all bragging of their courage, when the king said he would give his sword, a gold-hilted one, to the man who would go out in the dark and bring a twig that was round the leg of one of two men who had been hanged, and were still hanging. Nera was a spirited youth and went, but on coming back he saw as it were the palace on fire, and a host pf men met him who seemed to have plundered it. They passed but did not take notice of him, and he followed. They went to a well-known cave on the hill of Cruachan, whilst Nera followed. But lie was seized and taken before the king of the Tuatha De Danann. Now this cave was not visible to ordinary human eyes, but Nera's had been enlightened and he could even show the place to others. The king said little to him, but ordered him to bring a bundle of fire-wood to th;; kitchen every day. On one of these days he saw a blind man carrying a lame man and depositing him near a fountain, and they had a dispute about the right spot. He asked a woman, from whom the king had told him to take instructions, who these people were, and she said they were guardians of the Barr or Mind, a crown of gold which the king wears, and these people were trusted by the king. The fountain was in the cave, and the Barr in the fountain. Nera told this at Cruachan, and King Aillil obtained the assistance of Fergus MacRoigh and the Ulster champions who had left home because of the murder of the Sons of Uisnach, and plundered the cave and obtained the golden diadem. Fergus, you know, is one of our heroes. This was a mystery of the Irish Cruachan. The story is from the book of Leinster, but taken from O'Curry and Sullivan's 29th Lecture on Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish.

Margaet.—I am unwilling to pass out of the glen proper on to the loch until I have a good description of Glen Etive. It seems deep, lonely, secluded, more than most, with curves that seem like passages to hide the way into the great centre, where I can imagine a tribe living unknown for generations; indeed, who knows this glen even now? The hills are high, but except at the Grianan Dartheil, not so rugged as at Glencoe, although the weird passages through the upper parts seem as wild and ghostly.

Loudoun.—We settle as before. GIen Etive must live in our feelings, and Deirdre is the first person who is said to have discovered its beauty, and to have recorded it in song. Perhaps you will object by saying that the song is put into her mouth. It may be so, but I know of no other author. No one of the outer world has come here to settle until about five years ago, when that new house was built; the summer fishers in the house above, which seems to be a very much improved dwelling, if not a new one, may be another exception; but both are very late comers. Now there is a steamer for the loch and a coach to take people up the glen. It is not easy to go to the shore to find a boat; one must sometimes pass the brook on the west side when it is high. The bridge is only two planks covered with sods, far up and reached only by passing through a bog. It is made for the shepherds; or one may pass over half land half water, to the mouth of the River Etive. It depends on the wind which side is best, but to-day there is no wind, and we have good rowers waiting us, and a long boat by the river side, and we may take the low road.

O'Keefe.—The hills are desolate and rather too plain, I imagine, as we go down the first mile or two.

Cameron.—This view may be so, but on our left is Ben Starrive or Ben Starra, which, by some mistake of a map, has been continued to be called in guide books Ben Slarive, and that is a lofty mountain (3,519 feet); it looks far down the loch, and on coming up it is often taken for one of the Shepherds or Buachaills. It is broken up by streams, and seems almost impassable for man as we see it.

Loudoun.—It is surprising that the water can be even in a small degree salt here, but there is sea-weed after 17 miles of a narrow passage against roaring streams often driving down great floods. Surely it must sometimes be quite fresh in the loch here?

Cameron.—Over on our left, at Inver Guithaiseagan, is a small plain. There is a wild story about a man who had robbed some place and hid his treasure there, but forgot the spot, leaving the gold to lie there still. I think that a probable enough story. Hiding gold was common, and finding it used not to be uncommon, but this may long ago have been found, and we have more interest in such a name as Inver Draigneach, the point of the thunderer, where such rolling stones are driven down from the mountain, making a great river of boulders. They are at rest now, but we see them there lying ready to flow along with the next sufficient stream.

Do not confound the words for the rumbling noise like thunder with some of the terms for Druid. The Gaelic language is full of traps that catch people in mistakes.

O'Keefe.—We are not in the wilderness; we have no sooner lost the sight of the top of the lake than we meet with man's innovations; here is a quarry, and a capital spot for our lunch.

Cameron.—Capital, if it were raining and windy, but I know a better place than this granite cavity. We come to it soon.

Margaet.—Then from what you say, Mr. O'Keefe, there is a Cruachan in Ireland, more famous in story than this one.

O'Keefe.--The hill was more famous, but only because of the palace that was near it. This one is so high that the lower portions receive names of their own, but as we are still in Glen Etive in a sense, it occurs to me that the reason that no really historical event is connected with the deep and secluded and most habitable portion is because of its inaccessibility. There never was a good road, and even the inferior one is not old; besides there is no road up either side of the loch even now, except for a good walker or rider, and no steamer plied until lately, and it goes only for a little in summer. I conceive Glen Etive about Dalness to have been a very safe place of refuge, and a good hiding place for the Uisnach family at first, and perhaps for many a generation of men who loved peace or who feared detection. It is, therefore, said in the legend that Naisi and his followers went to a wild part of Alba; and they would have been very safe down here and in the plain of Cadderly, where they could also fish; and here, if we turn to the right, and just before going into the bay at Cadderly we come to a little island called Eilean Uisneachan, and on that we must certainly land. It is only a rocky spot with a bush or two on it. It was mentioned that the Uisneachs, when hunting, put up booths, which attracted the attention of at least the narrators in the legend, by having three apartments, one for sleeping in, one for cooking in, and one for eating in. One booth is alluded to as having been on an island, and the name of the island remains. A chart lately published gives Uiseagan, but this is evidently wrong, as we may judge from the Old Statistical report, as well as present inhabitants of the district. The latter would mean the Island of Larks, a name most inappropriate, we may say absurd, since it is only a rather flat rock covered with smaller stones, and a few reeds and briers, certainly not for larks. There was a pile of stones of considerable length, but so irregular that it was not certain that it was a heap caused by the fall of any structure, although it was about the length of a couple of cowhouses of a size common enough. Passages were made through the heap, and a rough long hollow was reached, such as might be made when mere boulders are used for building; but the chief indications of residence were pieces of wood which had been cut into pegs, and various pieces of charcoal and bones. It was such a ruin as might come from "the booths of chase" divided into three. But a still better proof of continued or frequent habitation was outside the island, there being the distinct ruins of a road out of it, and on to the land,--a line of stones evidently was made leading to a good landing. It is easy still to see some of them out of the water; they are not entirely dry, I believe, at any time of the tide, but they were intended to support a dry walk to all appearance. The island is scarcely a hundred feet in any direction, a mere lake-dwelling, a place protected by the water on all sides, but only partially at this entrance.

And so we may look around in this arm of the sea as if in an inland lake, where only a wild Highlander in old times could go, a place still frequented by seals and cormorants, eagles and foxes; although in summer visited by screw-steamers, it is probably quieter now, and less inhabited than ever it was, even from the first century, or how much longer no one can guess. I have come up here in a mist when the sky seemed to come down and shut us up as with a lid, so that we saw only some fifty or sixty feet up the hills, and to those from the sunnier south it produced fear and a desire to escape never to return.

Loudoun.—Now that these numerous reminiscences of Uisnach have left us a probable interval, I will take you across to another spot; it is Inver Liebhan on our left hand, a pretty bay at the mouth of a stream, where, too, is a farm-house and a piece of ground not difficult to climb. I came here thinking to sec a great cromlech. We find an enormous stone; but we must first walk up among the trees, which are neither many nor high, although a great ornament to the glen.

It is easy to see that this is no cromlech, or dolmen, or anything but a great fallen rock, which has lighted on three small stones, which for size are somewhat in the proportion of castors to a table; it may be that the rock was lying on the soil, which gradually was washed away, leaving these stones only. It is a geological lusus, and many a dreadful fall takes place on these hills capable of explaining such. On the other side of the hill, namely, on the Awe, a boulder was found on the middle of the road, settling one morning just before the coach, so that no vehicle could pass; and on the southerly side of the same river boulders and gravel seem to be rolling all the year, attempting to fill up the stream, which is white with the struggle against them.

O'Keefe.—Now I am tired. There is a want of stories here; you ought to know more about the place. Land me on the North, and I will walk to the quarries and see some activity.

Cameron.—If you stop at the point before the quarries I will show you another Uisnach memorial. We shall be there as soon as you.

Loudoun.—What is that called?

Cameron.—We call it Ruadh nan Draighean, which would be Thorn Point; but some prefer to write it Druidhean, which would be the Druid Point. I confess that the Druids and the thorns have a struggle here, and perhaps in other places. I see no thorns, and the rocks are too protuberant for us to suppose thorns to have abounded.

The remains are apparently those of irregular bothies ; some naturally placed stones have been doing duty in a cottage; some of the lines of wall are curved, others straight. These have been dwellings, but we can scarcely now say how rude; we know that stones may somewhat change their places where soil and vegetation and heavy rains are, not to speak of the inclination of the hilly ground. A tradition has been mentioned that a daughter of the King of Ulster came to live here, having run away with a son of the Earl of Ardchattan. Now, I suppose there has never been an Earl of Ardchattan, but that is of little consequence. A lady having run away from the King of Ulster and come to this place may fairly be looked on as a part of the tradition, and a very old one it is, and, when coupled with the names of places already mentioned in our conversations, remarkable enough, and reminding us to the last of that Uisnach clan, which has been so long neglected although it first made the place famous.

Loudoun.—Now, Mr.O'Keefe, since you have arrived, spend a moment in looking at the small remains of a dwelling of one of your country's heroines. As to us, we shall move about among these rocky shores and look for seals, and give you time to examine the quarries, which we can see well enough for our wants from the shore. We shall then take you in, and move onwards.

Cameron.—We have quite time to row to Ruadh na charn, opposite Ardchattan priory, and then on to meet the coach for Oban. The men are not too tired, and they do not require to go farther back than Bunawe.

There is a ferry at this "cairn point." Whether the word refers to the stone circle on the conical hill itself I do not know. The hill is said to be 169 feet high; it is called Dun Cathich, probably the hill of battle, and the large stone circle may be a burying place as smaller ones are, although the encircling of the top has led people to call it rather a Dun. The stones are large boulders of the Durinish granite, carried over, I suppose, although not arranged by glaciers. They touch each other. It is not a common style of fort, and a drawing has been taken. (See Fig.)

It is said to have been used as one of a chain of beacons, and this may be. There is another small hill on the loch, between this and Connel, called Tom na h-aire, the mound of watching, which evidently marks the habit.

Loudoun.—And here we arrive at the Abbot's Isle again, the monks' small kind of lake-dwelling and place of refuge, whilst we run in by Kilmaronaig.

We have passed along the shores of Loch Etive, and have seen the glen; we must leave others to climb the hills to seek the Pass of Terror, and tell us of the dwellings of the deer, and the summits where the eagles mount. We shall require a lodge in the mountains before we can reach these tops, and must have no daily interruption by descending.

Margaet.—We have seen the principal haunts of the sons of Uisnach, and now I should like to know who these Celts were and how they differed and do differ from other people.

Loudoun.—We may reserve this for a quiet conversation at Oban.


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