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