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History of the Town of Greenock
Part 16


The documents connected with this history having been nearly exhausted, it now only remains to give a short sketch of the various pleasure tours which can be accomplished in a short period from our harbour. And there is scarcely any situation round about more centrical for embarking on a tour of pleasure for two days, or as many weeks; while the convenience of our inns, and their excellent management, ensure every comfort.

The first of these is the delightful excursion to Helensburgh, the Gairloch, and Roseneath. The usual way is by steam to this fashionable watering village; and from this you can walk up the banks of the Loch to the Row Ferry, and from thence cross to Roseneath. The scenery from this extensive peninsula is of the most sublime description, combining, as it does, many beautiful scenes of high cultivation; all of which are bounded with a ridge of finely marked hills. Before leaving this spot, it is worth while visiting the mansion of the Duke of Argyle. Though in an unfinished state, it has still a princely appearance. The next tour to Lochgoilhead and Arrochar can be accomplished by Dumbarton; and by embracing this route, the Vale of Leven, with its winding stream, and the exquisite scenery of Lochlomond, with its many islands and lofty Ben, can all be seen. If the traveller wishes to extend his journey beyond the day, he can turn to the right from Inversnaid Mill, and from thence visit the old fort of Inversnaid, as also Locharkil, Lochcatharine, and Trosachs, with their rich and unrivalled scenery and from thence continue the route either by Aberfoyle, or by Lochs Achray and Venacher, through Callender on to Stirling, which can be accomplished in about two days. The route which turns from the left at Lochlomond, is a narrow stripe of land, which divides its waters from those of Lochlong. Having reached Arochar, here the scenery is of the wildest description; and Benarthur lifts its abrupt top towards the west. The sail from Loch long is truly interesting; but probably the best winding up of the tour is to proceed through Glencroe on to Inverary. This leads through that bleak and barren vale, with its ragged crags, till you reach Lochrestal, in the vicinity of which is a stone inscribed with ''Rest and be thankful." Proceeding onwards, the road varies, and assumes an interesting appearance, till you reach Ardkinglas, and from this cross Lochfine to Inverary at St. Catharines. The pleasure-grounds around the Duke's castle are extensive and well planned. The hill of Dunicoich, which stands behind the castle, has a fine appearance. The castle was begun in 1745, and has been much improved; and is well worthy of being visited by the stranger. On leaving Inverary, the route can be pursued down Lochfine, and along the picturesque scenery of the Kyles of Bute; or from Strachur on the opposite side, along Locheck, till you reach Holy Loch.

The work is now brought to a close; and though it embraces but a short period, has many facts which may be interesting to those who are natives, residing here or in a foreign land. Many of these particulars have been gleaned from old inhabitants, who still remember the beginning of almost all our streets, and  when not a single Spire or stalk reared its head. The change has been wonderful; and to those who, after thirty years' absence, have again visited their early scenes and schoolboy haunts, the effect of all this has been almost overpowering. That love of country which is the distinguishing characteristic of almost every Scotsman, in whatever clime, or under whatever circumstances their lot may be cast, is considered very powerful in those who have left our shores, and, through various circumstances, been compelled to seek wealth and honours in other lands. If these few pages recall to them anything of the past, or stir up a kind remembrance, one object of this book has been accomplished. And to those who remain, none amongst them can wish more fervently for a union of feeling, in looking to the interests of the community, and to the growing importance of our native town, than the compiler of these pages, who now concludes this history in the beautiful lines of Sir Walter Scott :-

"Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself bath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he bath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand
If such there breathe, go, mark him well
For him no Minstrel raptures swell
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
Despite those titles, power, and pelf
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung."


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