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Leaves from the Journal
Visit to the Dhu Loch, &c. 11 Sept. 1849


September 11, 1849.

The morning was very fine. I heard the children repeat some poetry in German, and then at ten o’clock we set off with Lady Douro [now Duchess of Wellington] in our carriage, and drove on beyond Inch Bobbard, changing horses near Birkhall, and stopping for a moment at the Linn of Muich; here we found the ponies, which we mounted, forded the river, and were almost immediately at the hut. We stopped there only for an instant, and remounted our ponies directly; Grant, Macdonald (who led my pony the whole time, and was extremely useful and attentive), Jemmie Coutts (leading Lady Douro’s pony), Charlie Coutts, and John Brown going with us: old John Gordon leading the way. It was half-past twelve when we began ascending the hill immediately behind the house, and proceeded along over the hills, to a great height, whence the view was very fine, quite overhanging the loch, and commanding an extensive view of Glen Muich beyond on the opposite side. The road got worse and worse. It was particularly bad when we had to pass the Burn of the Glassalt, which falls into the loch, and was very full. There had been so much rain, that the burns and rivers were very full, and the ground quite soft. We rode over the Strone Hill, the wind blowing dreadfully hard when we came to the top. Albert walked almost from the first, and shot a hare and a grouse; he put up a good many of them. We walked to a little hollow immediately above the Dim Loch, and at half-past three seated ourselves there, and had some very welcome luncheon. The loch is only a mile in length, and very wild; the hills, which are very rocky and precipitous, rising perpendicularly from it.

In about half an hour we began our journey homewards. We came straight down beside the Minch, which falls in the most beautiful way over the rocks and stones in the glen. We rode down, and only had to get off to cross the Glassalt, which was an awkward ford to scramble over. The road was rough, but certainly far less soft and disagreeable than the one we came by. I rode “Loch-nagar” at first, but changed him for Colonel Cordon’s pony, as I drought he took fright at the bogs; but Colonel Gordon’s was broken-winded, and struggled very much in the soft ground, which was very disagreeable.

We were only an hour coming down to the boat. The evening was very fine, but it blew very hard on the lake and the men could not Mill, and I got so alarmed that I begged to land, and Lady Douro was of my opinion that it was much better to get out. We accordingly landed, and rode home along a sort of sheep-path on the side of the lake, which took us three-quarters of an hour. It was very rough and very narrow, for the hill rises abruptly from the lake; we had seven hundred feet above us, and I suppose one hundred feet below. However, we arrived at the hut quite safely at twenty minutes to seven, thankful to have got through all our difficulties and adventures, which are always very pleasant to look back upon.

We dined a little before eight with Lady Douro, and played two rubbers of whist with her.

Old John Gordon amused Albert by saying, in speaking of the bad road we had gone, “It’s something steep and something rough,” and “this is the only best,” meaning that it was very bad,—which was a characteristic reply.


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