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Autumnal Rambles Among The Scottish Mountains
A Few Days of Recreation in 1848


First Day

There is nothing more exhilarating or conducive to health than occasional change of scene and occupation. This variety is particularly salutary to men of studious and sedentary habits; so that, if indulgence in it be at all practicable, they ought, at all events once in the year, to leave care behind, and prepare themselves for renewed professional energies by a few weeks of complete relaxation. Impressed with this conviction, I resolved to avail myself of the various locomotive powers which have of late so wonderfully increased, to see and hear a little more than is generally to be expected in rural retirement, and am now about to relate what may be effected in little more than ten days, without incurring any formidable expense; hoping that to some of your readers my communications may not be altogether uninteresting or unedifying.

Along with a fellow-traveller of similar tastes and pursuits with myself, I left the Lockerbie Station for Glasgow on the 4th September. In our progress thither, nothing occurred particularly worthy of remark. That astonishing cutting at and near the summit of the Caledonian line, cannot fail to arrest the attention, as a proof of what wealth and ingenuity can effect. On each side of the line, several precipices have been called into existence of imposing grandeur, by cutting through the hardest and most compact rock; and, were it not for the strictest vigilance on the part of the servants of the railway, imminent danger would be incurred by fragments falling on the rails, whether accidentally detached, or intentionally placed there by the reckless and unprincipled. Unusual caution, however, is observed for several miles, so that no serious accident has hitherto occurred there.

In passing through this district, I was forcibly struck with the contrast between the present circumstances and those in which, when a boy, I used to traverse the same localities. Like many others on their route to school or college, staff in hand and prog in pocket, I was wont to wend my solitary way through mountains which, from our tardy, toilsome progress, seemed most provokingly to accompany us on our journey. Now, how different! Queensberry, Hartfell, the Lowthers, Tinto, Coulter Fell, &c., are scarcely seen till they are triumphantly passed and left far in the distance, scarcely leaving a trace in the memory; but greatly to the relief of both purse and person.

Long before entering Glasgow, the smoke, noise, and bustle which everywhere prevail, evidently prove the vicinity of a mighty city. Tile and brick-works, hot-blast iron furnaces, enormous cot-ton-mills, with their lofty chimney-stalks, all proclaim that here mammon has pitched one of his principal abodes; and, while thus impressed, the train is ushered into the station amidst a crowd of human beings of all denominations, each intent on their several interests. Porters, cabmen, omnibus drivers, &c., all offering their services, render it ka easy matter for experienced travellers to reach their destination, whether in hotels or in the houses ot friends; though, to the uninitiated, all seems a Babel of utter confusion, and there is much danger of fheir being imposed on, or falling into awkward and troublesome blunders. As for my companion and myself, having only small carpet bags and stout walking-staffs, we soon found our way to a comfortable hotel at the steam-boat quay, from which we intended next day to proceed to Inverary.

It is entirely unnecessary to enlarge upon the extension, &c., of this wonderful city, now decidedly the second in the empire. Suffice it to say, that its population amounts to 350,000, and is steadily increasing at the rate of 10,000 per annum, or perhaps even more; though there is much reason for suspecting that the quality does not keep pace with the quantity, as a great proportion of the newcomers are needy and ignorant natives of the Emerald Isle. Its business resorts and places of public amusement have of late been astonishingly multiplied ; so that there is no city in the British dominions which, in these respects, bears a more complete resemblance to London.

Second Day

Next morning we sailed in the Breadalbane steamer for Inverary, by Lochgoil. The navigation of the Clyde is particularly interesting to strangers, who wonder at the listless yawning indifference with which passengers accustomed to it behold everything around them. To those, however, who have never before, or seldom been there, all is beheld with lively interest—from the trim thatched cottage of the retired mariner, to the stately mansion, of the wealthy merchant, or far descended nobleman. But to the lover of nature there is a charm in the ever-varying peaks of the surrounding mountains, far surpassing everything else. Those of Arran, Argyle’s Bowling-green, and Arroquhar, are particularly attractive, and cannot fail to arrest the attention of English travellers, who, now that the Continent is in a great measure shut up, compose a very great majority of our Highland tourists. Every one must admire the retired quiet retreat of Ardentmny; while the whole of Lochgoil is preeminently "wild and majestic.” At the landing-place, a coach awaited the arrival of passengers for St Catherine’s, on Loch Fyne, to which there is a very precipitous and rugged road of about eight miles, over great part of which passengers generally prefer pedestriamsm, to the risk of broken necks, or over-fatiguing the poor horses. The valley, from Lochgoilhead to the top of the ascent, is remarkably ragged, with many fine cascades, and has received the expressive, though somewhat startling, denomination of Hell’s Glen. The streams and pools here must be very favourable for angling; and, owing to their proximity to the sea, cannot fail to be occasionally visited by something superior to the common run of bum trout. At St Catherine’s a small eight-horse power steamer soon conveyed us to Inverary, where we arrived amidst thick mist and heavy rain, a too frequent occurrence in this quarter, and which seems the only drawback to this princely and most delightful residence.

There is much difference of opinion as to whether this place or Taymouth is to be preferred. In many respects, there is a considerable resemblance, and much may be said on both sides. If the mountains about Inverary are less elevated, yet, by their being closer to the town and castle, their appearance is more imposing than those of Loch Tay; and as Loch Fyne possesses all the attractions of an inland lake, in addition to all the advantages of being an arm of the sea, navigable to the very doors, in this respect there is a decided superiority. Though Loch Tay is one of our very finest lakes, yet it is not seen from the castle, and its inland situation is attended with many and obvious inconveniences; so that I, for one, after long and intimate acquaintance with both, am rather inclined to prefer Inverary. If anything could have shaken my preference, it would have been the state of the weather during my late visit. Fortified, however, by an excellent dinner in the Argyle Hotel (Walker s), one of the best in Scotland, we sallied forth to renew our acquaintance with some of the splendid surrounding walks and drives, many of which are open to the public.

The avenues are of great length, and can boast some of the largest beeches and limes in Scotland. In one of these, there are two contiguous beeches, very tall and straight, which unite at a great distance from the ground, and form one of the most complete specimens of the kind anywhere to be seen. This is called the Marriage Tree. It has been carefully enclosed, and is much admired by strangers. The public roads along the beach in both directions are particularly interesting; and none should omit going to Duniquaigh, which, though only about 700. feet in height, commands all that » is most worth seeing in this vicinity, especially the splendid residence of the Duke, with its lovely river and grounds. The bridge ,over the Airy is remarkable for being close to the salt sea on one side, with a bold rapid river on the other; thus affording every facility for all the salmon tribe to accomplish their fresh-water avocations, and the best angling to such as can procure liberty from his Grace. There is something particularly solemn and aristocratic in the town of Inverary. The houses are in general lofty, and have more the air of being the fragment of an ancient city, than what is looked for in a Highland village, containing little more than 1200 inhabitants.

Third Day

Haying to proceed to Oban on the top of- a stagecoach, and through a mountainous district, the state of the weather was not a little appalling. Our vehicle was quite full inside with an English party of ladies ana gentlemen, and nearly so without. If the preceding evening was bad, the morning was still worse. After breakfast, however, we moved off at the risk of a complete drenching. As good luck would have it, we had not proceeded many miles through a thick forest of varied and magnificent trees, till a decided change took place in the weather. Even the sun occasionally burst forth, displaying countless mountain torrents in all their glory. At Cladich, especially, we were all delighted with the gambols of a prodigiously swollen stream, rushing to Loch Awe with frightful and frantic rapidity. This end of the loch is by much the most interesting. It is here broadest, interspersed with well-wooded islands, and overlooked by the gigantic Ben Cruachan, which we had intended to climb; but its being enveloped in clouds rendered that out of the question.

Dalmally is six miles from Cladich. There is here a large and comfortable inn. The road betwixt these stages is so very steep in many places, that some of us preferred walking nearly all the way. We were here met by the Oban return coach, and tarried fully half-an-hour, greatly admiring the surrounding scenery. On leaving Dalmally, Kilchum Castle, the Orchy River, Loch Awe, and Ben Cruachan, with the adjoining mountains, chiefly arrest the attention; and it may well be questioned if there is a grander scene throughout all the Highlands of Scotland. The pass of five miles between Lochs Awe and Etive is particularly striking. The outlet of the lake forms at once a bold magnificent river, embanked by lofty precipitous mountains, and rejoices in the appellation of the Brunder Awe. The salmon-fishing there is strictly preserved, and considered by some the best roanshing in Scotland. Gentlemen, I was told, are permitted to fish by paying five shillings per day, or a pound per week, to the tacksman.

Though the upper part of Loch Etive is said to be very magnificent where it approaches the Glencoe Mountains, yet we were somewhat disappointed with that portion of it between Taynuilt and Oban. The celebrated Connel Fenywas unfavourably seen, owing to the state of the tide, and there is no very imposing grandeur in the surrounding mountains. Dunstaftnage Castle is certainly one of the most picturesque of our Scottish ruins; but the sudden appearance of the beautiful bay of Oban, with Kerrera, Mull, and others of the Hebrides, cannot be surpassed, and must be seen, to be duly appreciated. The bay is semicircular, backed with precipitous rocks, and all around its margin there is a rising town, with a considerable population. In the immediate vicinity, gentlemen are constructing beautiful villas; and the Castle of Dunolly, overhanging the sea, is an object of surpassing interest. The bay is landlocked by the island of Kerrera, by each end of which there is ready access to the Atlantic; so that there cannot be imagined a more snug and commodious harbour for all descriptions of shipping, from the herring-boat to a first-rate man-of-war.

The want of a parish church here has afforded an excellent opportunity for Free Church zeal being displayed, by the erection of a very handsome place of worship on an eminence overlooking the town and bay. Various other places of worship are also to be found here; but an imperfect knowledge' of the Gaelic in the preachers is an obstacle to the satisfactory communication of spiritual instruction among the lower classes, who, throughout the Highlands, are profoundly ignorant and bigoted. Here, as at Inverary, there is a deplorable prevalence of wet weather, insomuch that a gentleman residing in the neighbourhood informed me that, by referring to a regularly kept meteorological table, he found there were no less than 268 days on which rain had fallen from the 19th August last year, when the Queen visited Oban, till the corresponding day of this year! Upon my observing that surely May would be an exception, he assured me that it was one of the rainiest months, though throughout the rest of the kingdom such a month for fine weather has rarely been known.

Fourth Day

There is perhaps no expedition connected with the coast of Scotland more generally interesting than that to Staffa. Its remote situation among the raging billows of the Atlantic renders its approach at all times precarious; but, when a landing can be effected, rarely, if ever, have visitors been disappointed. I had long ago visited Oban with the intention of going to Staffa, but was thwarted, along with some otners, owing to the state of the weather. On this occasion we nearly met with a similar fate. "The morning lowered, the dawn was overcast, and heavily in clouds brought on the day,” insomuch that several of both sexes, who intended visiting the island, deemed it imprudent, and remained snug in Oban. At seven a.m. however, the Dolphin weighed anchor, under Captain M'Killop, who had last year been selected as pilot to her Majesty from the Crinan Canal to Oban, Staffa, and Fort-William.

The wind blew strong a-head, and the rain descended in torrents. We set several passengers ashore at Tobermory, among whom was a distinguished Edinburgh D.D. with his spouse. The situation of this little town is extremely interesting. The bay is well secured from heavy seas, well wooded, and no less than five good cascades were observed within half a mile of us, some of them falling perpendicular from a great height into the sea and being all flooded, we saw them to great advantage. On leaving Tobermory, and till we were about half-way between that and Stafla, there was no appearance of the weather moderating, so that the Captain hesitated as to proceeding, and despaired of landing us. The Dolphin, however, is a first-rate sea-boat, and seldom shipped water to any great extent. On nearing the island, symptoms of improvement appeared, and, to our great delight, we were all (about 24) safely put ashore, having the sailors as our guides to the great cave. There are many adjoining islands of most grotesque forms; but little, if any, better than naked rocks. Staffa is an exception. Though only about two miles in circumference, the pasture seemed tolerable, and there was about a score of small bullocks making the most of it.

A wooden ladder and ropes facilitated our entrance to Fingal’s Cave, which came suddenly in view, and affected us all with a kind of solemn but pleasing awe. Entering in a boat was out of the question, as the long lofty surges would soon have reduced it to shivers; but most of us advanced half-way on the broken columns, and saw the waves distinctly dashing on the farther extremity, and falling in foam and spray from the roof. Their hoarse hollow echoes have a very fine effect. The tall basaltic columns are somewhat curved, and of a very dark colour; but altogether are elegant as well as majestic. The sea is deep, and beautifully green, and there is not the slightest appearance of seaweed or sludge of any kind, to render the footing slippery or uncomfortable. In short, we were delighted, and the more so, as we had all but despaired of being set ashore at all. There was only one lady of the party; but she was the first to leap ashore, and evinced throughout a degree of spirit and activity equal to any of the other sex. She was an Englishwoman, and, as her husband informed us, the mother of twelve children! There are the walls of a cottage in Staffa, but no dwelling-house. These walls are not old, and have evidently been constructed with care, and at considerable expense, probably with the view of its being a sentimental retreat for part of the year, though a very short period indeed would suffice to satisfy the longings of the most devoted recluse.

From Staffa we proceeded to Iona, about eight miles distant. Nothing can be more bleak and barbarous than great part of the west coast of Mull. It consists of red granite or porphyritic rocks, piled together in shapeless confusion, few of them exceeding 200 feet in height, and evidently so destitute of vegetation, that hundreds of acres would not afford pasture sufficient for one goat! We had no difficulty in landing on Iona; but it puzzled us all to conceive what could be the inducement to render this a seat of learning, or a burying-place for philosophers, bishops, and kings! It is certainly one of lie most uninteresting, physically, of all the Hebrides. Here and there is to be found an attempt at cropping; but, as for wood of any kind, there is absolutely none. Monks and friars seldom selected such abodes, as they have been proverbially addicted to roost in the fattest pasturage, so that their congregating here seems a mystery not easily to be.solved.

The ruins are fully as entire as most of us expected to find them; and many of the tombstones are covered with strange effigies of priests, warriors, kings, &c., which, with the inscriptions, are wonderfully sharp and entire. An islander, who speaks English tolerably, acted as our guide for a small consideration from each; and we were followed by scores of famished-looking children, offering for a trifle plates full of shells and small stones, some of which might be valuable, but the greater portion mere rubbish. "Penny, fimrpence, sixpence” seemed the amount of their English literature. The whole population of the island does not exceed 450, and is contained principally, if not entirely, in the immediate vicinity of the ruins.

Here are two respectable-looking manses, with as many churches, free and bond. It is difficult to conceive a more melancholy effect of the late Secession than is exemplified in this wretched island. Its poor, half-starved, ignorant population has not escaped the late epidemic; for we were informed that, few and mutually dependent as they are for comfort, those visited by the new light will scarcely recognise their former friends as beings of the same species with themselves! This sad state of things is to be observed throughout the whole of the Highlands, and prevails just in proportion to the ignorance of the inhabitants. I asked a highly respectable Highland clergyman, if there was no hope of proving to them its incompatibility with true religion? He replied, that it would be very difficult, as their Gaelic preachers had crammed them with such gross misstatements in regard to the Established Church; and as their ignorance and prejudices were such, that they could not read refutations of what they had heard, nor would they listen with patience to any one who was disposed to enlighten them.”

On returning to the Dolphin, the sailors handed about a begging-box, to which we were all disposed to contribute on account of their civility. A letter, however, accompanied the box, stating that the contributions were in aid of a Free Church School in the island. This intelligence being made public chilled the intentions of nearly the whole party, as we could not conceive the place destitute of either a Parliamentary or Parochial School, and as one must be quite sufficient where there are only three or four score children, and these concentrated in one corner of the island; moreover, we had just seen and heard enough of the effects of Free fcrk tuition to induce us not to connive at its extension.

Upon leaving this renowned seat of learning, resuted to have been “once the luminary of the Cale-onian regions,” we proceeded on our voyage round Mull. The same frightfully barren aspect prevails for a considerable way , when the coast becomes extremely lofty and precipitous, with here and there waterfalls of stupendous height, which, after heavy rains, are truly magnificent. The mountains here are covered with heath, and in character much resemble what is generally met with in the Highlands. Ben More (the highest) attains an elevation of 3000 feet.

The darkness was fast setting in as we completed our trip of about one hundred miles. Some think the fare (£1) too high; but really, considering the distance, the stormy sea, the double landing of the passengers, and the quality of the vessels, I cannot see there is much of an overcharge. Were the two meals (breakfast and dinner) included, I think no one would be inclined to murmur; and, circumstanced as most of the travellers are, these meals would be more nominal, than detrimental to the owners. Some of us partook of a hearty breakfast; but of these, few indeed had the hardihood even to look at a dinner such as aldermen might have sighed for.

The approach to Oban, whether by sea or land, is most interesting; but the inside of our various hotels, comfortable fires, and steady footing, were by this time as desirable objects as any that the Highlands could present.

Fifth Day

Early next morning, we were again on board of the Dolphin, for Ballachulish and Fort-William. The weather, in the first instance, was greatly improved. A strong favourable breeze hurried us along Loch Linnhe, passing the low-lying, rich, and verdant Lismore, anciently the seat of the Bishop of Argyle, and a complete contrast to Iona in every respect. We passed also Loch Creran and the beautiful Appin on the right, having the fine mountain district of Morven and Ardgour on the left. We soon entered Loch Leven, whose farther extremity seemed bounded by the fantastic lofty peaks of Glencoe, though it penetrates considerably farther in nearly the same direction.

Ballachulish exhibits some exquisitely fine features of Highland scenery; but tne effect is much marred by the active operations carried on in the slate quarries. We landed in the very midst of them, in order to visit the far-famed Glencoe. A huge, open, yellow-painted machine, bearing in Brobdignag characters the designation of "The Glencoe,” drawn by four stout horses, was soon in readiness, when no less than thirty adults besides the driver were forthwith in motion, in addition to others in less imposing vehicles. The road was far from being good, being much injured by recent heavy rains. The driver, however, did his work well, for there were few among us who were not prepared for a capsize or break-down, if not for both. We drove past scenes unsurpassed in grandeur, and beheld with no little interest the remains of the houses where the bloody and treacherous massacre took place in the reign of King William, but for which he was by no means responsible, as it has been most satisfactorily proved to have been owing to the barbarous feuds of the Campbells of Glenlyon with the McDonalds of Glencoe.

The mountains here on both sides of the glen average 3000 feet in height, shoot out into the most singular forms, and are almost destitute of anything like vegetation. The summits of some of them seem wholly inaccessible, and are tom asunder by numberless ravines and cataracts, so that many who have seen this glen consider it unrivalled, in wild, gloomy, romantic sublimity. About four or live miles from Baliachulish, there is a lake of remarkably pure water; but as it is quite destitute of wood, of a circular form, with tame shores, it adds little to the interest of the scene. Beyond this we proceeded about two miles, walking all the way, ana not a little annoyed by rain. There is the appearance of an immense cave about half-way up one of the mountains on the south side of the glen. It is in the face of a perpendicular rock, inaccessible by human foot, ana admirably adapted to impart interest to such legends as those of Ossian and other Highland bards. The upper portion of the glen, as I can testify, having long ago visited it as a pedestrian, is equally magnificent; and turning to the left, there is a near road to Fort-William, by what is called the “Devil’s Staircase,” near which two English gentlemen perished last season in a way that has never been satisfactorily accounted for, as the day, though cold, wet, and blustery, for the middle of September, was not such as could have been expected to produce fatal consequences to men at all accustomed to undergo cold and fatigue.

Our straggling ranks were at length summoned together by the frequent sounding of a trumpet; and, after considerable delay, we all resumed ouj places in our monster car, on our return to Baliachulish and the Dolphin. The rain now fell in good earnest, and it blew a perfect hurricane, insomuch that many were thoroughly drenched who had seldom, if ever, been so exposed; for there were among us ladies and gentlemen of very high rank, who generally manage to escape such familiarity with the angry elements. To do them justice, how-ever? they submitted with a good grace to their portion of the infliction, and were as ready to make a jest of it as any of the party.

We were all right glad to regain the comforts of the deck and cabin, and soon re-entered Loch Linnhe on our way to the Fort. The evening continued wet and stormy, so that we lost much in this part of our trip, particularly the view of Ben Nevis, only the lower portion of which was visible, and even that obscurely. To mountain-fanciers, this was a great disappointment. There is something very striking, as I well remember, in the first appearance of the giant hulk of the mighty Ben in approaching him from this quarter. He is curtained by mountains of inferior dimensions till arriving within eight or ten miles of the Fort, when he gradually emerges in frowning majesty from among his satellites, and at once asserts his dignity as king of British mountains. Arrived at our destination, our party divided, as some intended next day to ascend the mountain; while others, who had no such ambitious object in view, accompanied the Dolphin to Corpach, that they might more conveniently proceed by the canal on the following day to Inverness. My friend and I, being of the former number, stayed at the Fort, where there are now two excellent hotels, which is more than could be asserted a few years ago, when the miserable hostelries of the place received a severe and well-me-rited flagellation from the eloquent pen of Miss Sinclair, in one of her talented and interesting publications.

Before closing this letter, it is but justice to recommend to particular notice the excellent accommodations of the Dolphin. The modest quiet demeanour of Captain M‘Killop, one of the most able and attentive of his class, was duly appreciated and acknowledged by all; and we had dinners and breakfasts, of the most inviting description, served up in a style most creditable to the steward, and that might and would have satisfied, and did satisfy, Queen Victoria herself.

Sixth Day

During the course of the night and morning many anxious looks were directed towards the mountains, in hopes that the mists would be dispersed, and thus permit those who were so disposed to ascend

Ben Nevis. But, alas! we were doomed to disappointment The lazy, lumbering clouds shrouded the mountain nearly half-way down; and, being assured by the weather-wise that there was little chance of a change, we were reluctantly induced to take our places on the Corpach omnibus at an early hour. We soon crossed the Nevis, which in its short course, owing to the number and great height of the adjoining mountains, speedily becomes a river of no ordinary dimensions. We were then ferried across the bold, broad, and rapid Lochy, which may well be ranked among the largest rivers in Scotland. This river, however, in common with the Ness, the Awe, and the Leven, owing to their short courses under these names, are scarcely ranked with others of far inferior pretensions as to the quantity of water they throw into the ocean. Compared with any of them, as regards the flow of fresh water in a given time, "Father Thames ” degenerates into a mere baby.

At the ferry, we were joined by a tall, athletic gentleman, in the full garb of old Gaul, well known, not only in his district, but to all its visitors. We found him extremely good-humoured, intelligent, and communicative. Being an inhabitant of Glen Nevis, the height of the mountain is a point as to which he is particularly tender and jealous. On one of the party mentioning that Ben Macdhui was higher, u Long John,” as he is familiarly termed, fired at the idea, and rebutted the assertion, by assuring us that he had recently been informed by the chief of the late Government trigonometrical surveyors, that Ben Nevis was decidedly the highest by 110 feet. Of course this closed the argument, as "staying in Rome and fighting the Pope ” has always been held injudicious.

On board the Edinburgh Castle, we found ourselves in company with almost the Same party who parted from us the preceding evening, almost all English, and several with high-sounding titles. This is readily accounted for in various ways. During the shooting season, the Marquis of Douro, Lord Ward, and others of the English nobility residing in this district, may be supposed to bring friends of their own order around them. The Court also being then in Scotland might set others in motion. But the main cause is to be found in the shutting up of the Continent, which has providentially been the means of much spare wealth being concentrated in Britain, which would otherwise have been diffused over foreign lands.

The weather improved as the day advanced, so that a more cheerful and delighted party never tra-4 versed Glenmore-na-h’alabin. After partaking of a sumptuous breakfast, we were on deck in good time to admire the stem and strictly Highland scenery of Loch Lochy. Loch Oigh, though much inferior in extent, is still more interesting, owing to greater variety among its mountains, the romantic ruins of Invergarry Castle, and the splendid scenery around Glengarry House the residence and property of Lord Ward, who is much esteemed in this district, though the successor by purchase of a far-descend-ed Highland chief. The mouth of the river Garry is particularly striking. It is close to the ruins of the castle, dark and deep, and received a portion of our company into its winding recesses, overhung by lofty-spreading trees—the very beau ideal of a Highland chieftain's mountain fastness.

The canal here is rather beneath the summit-level, consequently the waters of the Oigh flow in an eastern direction. The river of the same name leaves the loch broad and rapid; and after a boisterous course of five or six miles is received into Loch Ness at Fort-Augustus. Owing to the tedious process of passing through the looks, many, and some even of the ladies, walked the whole way between Lochs Oigh and Ness. Fort-Augustus is truly magnificent in its situation, and has not generally been done justice to by tourists. We had plenty of time to walk all about the Fort, which is kept in good repair, and commands a view of the whole of Loch Ness, through a splendid vista, twenty-four miles in length, of noble mountains, well wooded on both sides towards their base, of which Mealfourvonie ranks decidedly the highest.

Once more on board the steamer, , she dashed through the waves at a prodigious rate, having a strong breeze from the west, and the sun shining in all his glory. Glen Morriston, with its elegant mansion, arrests the attention of all, as a residence well worthy of any proprietor. Here also we shipped and unshipped passengers, and then steered across the Loch to the Fall of Foyers, where we found a vehicle ready to take the ladies to the Falls, who, being somewhat dilatory in their motions, afforded pedestrians abundance of time to see them to full advantage. This was the third time I had been there; and being pretty well acquainted with all the by-paths, I had an opportunity of exploring the whole course of the river from the high road to its mouth. As there had been much wet weather, and there was now bright sunshine, we could not have been more fortunate. They who were particular as to comfort had recourse to umbrellas and plaids to protect them from the spray; and on one projecting point about half-way down the great fall, we actually felt the solid rock trembling under the tumbling rush of waters. There were stragglers in all directions, so that there was much bell-ring-ing before we were all fairly on board again.

Castle and Glen Urquhart next attracted our attention. The former, situated on a rocky promontory, must evidently have been, a place of great strength before the introduction of artillery. The latter is a rich, beautiful, and well-wooded district, but destitute of much of the Highland character, which, however, may be witnessed in perfection at Inverfaragag on the opposite side of the lake, whose bold rugged shaggy cliffs and thundering cascades amply reward the adventurous pedestrian. At the eastern extremity of this noble lake (which, considering its enormous and uniform depth, contains, I am confident, more fresh water than any other in Scotland, not excepting Loch Lomond), stands the elegant, though fantastic, modern mansion of Dochfour, where Prince Albert and suite dined and lodged in the autumn of 1847. Here the loch finds an outlet for its thousand feeders, by the bursting away of the broad, clear, and stately Ness, celebrated for its salmon-fishing, beautiful islands, and fertile holms. In the course of half-an-hour we were at the locks, within a mile and a-half of Inverness, to which there was ready access by conveyances of every description. Thfere are few objects of much interest here. The Castle and view from it are principally deserving of attention; and, as it was in the immediate vicinity of our hotel, we were not long in being there, and repeatedly returned with much satisfaction, besides walking out in various directions. It is but justice here to add, that the Captain of the Edinburgh Castle (Turner, I think, by name) is most affable and communicative, as well as strictly attentive to his duties.

Seventh Day

Next day, being the Sabbath, afforded us an opportunity of hearing several of the preachers in this Highland capital. We attended the High Church in the forenoon, whose venerable pastor, Dr Rose, has long been laid aside by age, as his excellent assistant has recently been by bad health, contracted by a too faithful discharge of professional duty. Their place, however, was ably filled by a young friend, who preached both forenoon and afternoon, to a numerous and highly respectable congregation. In the evening, I attended Divine service in the Free Church, where I was likewise much pleased with the ability of the Rev. Mr Thorbum, who had also a very well-filled church. It is customary for some of the gentlemen here, and many of tneir children, to wear the philabeg on the Sabbath, regarding the Highland costume as full dress. We were delighted to witness the respect shewn to the Lord’s day by all orders of the people. At night we attended a Quaker meeting; but, as the Spirit did not move them on this occasion, our edification was but small.

On the evening of our arrival at Inverness, a young gentleman of modest prepossessing appearance entered the traveller’s room. Soon after, on my remarking that he seemed to be a pedestrian, and asking what route he had taken, he informed us that he was travelling on foot and quite alone; that he was fond of mountain scenery, and had last been on the tops of Lochnagar, Ben Macdhui^ and Cairngorm, and had spent a stormy night in the open air on the side of Loch Aven, one of the wildest scenes in existence. His style of travelling so much resembled my own when about his age, and when I had visited these very mountains, that I soon became interested in his narrative. Upon our informing him that we intended going to the top of, Ben Wyvis, he begged to be of the party, to which we readily assented.

Eighth Day

On Monday morning early, the 11th September; leaving our luggage in the hotel, we set off for Kessock Ferry, at the base of Craig Phadrig, said in most of the tourist books to be 1150 feet in height, though it evidently does not exceed 550, and whose celebrated vitrified fort seemed to us a mere delusion, or, as one of our friends termed it, a “vitrified humbug.” A little before seven, we embarked in the Dunoon Castle steamer for Invergordon, passing Fort-Greorge, the most complete perhaps m the kingdom, and Fortrose, with its lighthouse still ignited. We greatly admired the entrance of the Frith of Cromarty, sentinelled by u the Souters ”—detached rocks at the entrance.

The town of Cromarty is beautifully situated, and commands a view of nearly the whole bay, in which the entire British navy might most conveniently ride at anchor. A few days before our visit, a great shoal of bottle-nosed whales visited this place, of which nearly a hundred were killed. After a short delay, we proceeded to Invergordon, where we landed about ten o’clock, and commenced a day of toil and adventure not readily to be forgotten by any of us.

Having breakfasted at sea, after passing Fort-George, we started from Invergordon without delay, knowing that we should have a stiff day’s work, but by no means anticipating the actual amount. We had seven miles of a walk along the beautiful coast-road, before striking off at Evanton, for the astonishing scenery on the Aultgrande river. This we soon reached, under the kind guidance of a jolly miller who lives hard by, and found it far surpassing anything of the kind we had ever seen. Crichup Linn in Closebum is but a faint type of it. For nearly two miles it rushes over a succession of rugged rocks between banks about 150 feet in height, overhung with trees and brushwood, and so near each other, that in some places an active person might leap across the hideous chasm. In very few places can the dreadful work below be seen, and there only by hanging from the trees; but the noise and ascending spray afford sufficient proof that the scene must be terrific indeed— much of it perhaps never witnessed by human eye, and impossible to be visited, unless the spectator were slung over with ropes. There is a slight footbridge over it in one place, by standing on which we had a pretty good view of the scene for a short space above and below; but by far the greater part of this horrible den must be left to the imagination.

Soon after emerging from this truly wonderful spot, we crossed the river by a wooden bridge, and, passing some cottages, directed our steps to the summit of Ben Wyvis. This we had occasionally seen from on board the steamer soon after passing Fort-George, and, to our mortification, found it covered with newly fallen snow. Showers of snow fell all day on the mountain, visiting us in rain, so that we could only get glimpses of the top. These lucid intervals, however, we made the most of; as, the mountain being a huge shapeless mass, without taking accurate observations, we might never have reached the real summit. Upon asking a shepherd the best mode of ascent, he told us we could not reach the Monument, as he termed the Cairn, that day, and that we were sure to be benighted. This put us to our mettle, and we never stopped a moment for three or four hours hard walking over hills, and through bogs, often knee-deep in heather and peat moss alternately, till we came to the bottom of the last ascent, which was fearfully rugged, and the upper part covered with snow.

Several miles above the fore-mentioned bridge, the river is divided into two; the main branch emerging from Loch Glass, about eight miles in circumference, and the other descending by cataracts, through frightful ravines, from the summit of Ben Wyvis. We kept pretty dose to the latter, which we crossed close to the steep ascent above alluded to. It was now half-past four, and, before we got to the top, it must have been at least six; but we were actually afraid to look at our watches, as there was now a certainly of our being benighted* The snow fell fast, and lay several inches deep, pretty hard frozen, among which, in many places, we had to struggle with hands as well as feet. The difficulty now was to find the u Monument,” for we could not see above fifty or sixty yards in any direction. We agreed to separate, that we might have three chances instead of one, but not farther than that we could hear a loud call. After a considerable time, our young friend proved the lucky man, and shouted, with him of antiquity, "I have found it!.” This was indeed a joyful sound, though it may readily be conceived now much we were disappointed when, instead of one of the most commanding views in Scotland, extending over great part of the Atlantic and German Oceans, with many of the Hebrides, the counties of Caithness, Sutherland, Boss, Cromarty, Argyle, Inverness, Nairn, Moray, Banff, Aberdeen, ana Perth, we could only distinctly see each other at the distance of a few yards! Such, however, has since been the fate even of Royalty herself on Lochnagar, so that we have the less reason to complain.

Our triumph, even in these circumstances, was great on reaching the Cairn, which I ascended* and heightened by an additional stone, using snow instead of mortar. This mountain is nearly 4000 feet high, and has perhaps a larger base than any other mountain in Great Britain. Being the most elevated ground north of Ben Nevis and the Braemar mountains, the view is very little intercepted in any direction. It is, however, an ugly, savage-looking concern; and, being far removed from any inhabited district, none should attempt its ascent who have not an entire day at their disposal—"momtrvm Aorrendum inams” and on this occasion it may be added, "cut lumen aderrvptum.” I may here mention that the best starting place is Strathpeffer, which is ten miles from the top, while Dingwall is twelve. The mountain resembles a horse-shoe— the upper ridge being three or four miles from one extremity to the other, but rising very gradually from the end nearest Strathpeffer, which ought to be ascended first, and the ridge kept till the other end is reached, on which stands the Cairn, and by which we ascended.

In descending, we chose a less dangerous route, though frequently checked by ugly precipices, which, owing to falling snow and approaching night, it was not easy to avoid. Great though our difficulties had been, they were surpassed by what still lay before us, having to struggle through five or six miles of the worst description of bogs and quagmires, which few think of crossing even in broad day without a guide. Countless were the tumbles we met with, some of them so ludicrous, that had we not dreaded falling asleep, and lying among these horrid morasses all night, at the imminent risk of our lives, we could not have refrained from laughing heartily at each other and ourselves. Forward, however, we had to toil, far from knowing where-we should emerge. Indeed, had it not been for the moon, it is more than probable that we must have wandered about in all directions, till we became completely exhausted, with hunger and fatigue.

At length we reached a peat road, by following out which we arrived at a shepherd’s cottage. The inmates were all in bed; but, on hearing of our disastrous circumstances, they were, with some difficulty, induced to get up and bring us some thin milk. We were here informed that Dingwall was the nearest place of accommodation. We had still between three and four miles to go, but ha<I now a hard road under foot, and went on our way rejoicing. We soon reached the toll-road between Ding-wall and Strathpeffer, and in half-an-hour found ourselves snugly seated in the Caledonian Hotel, with every luxury at our command. It was now half-past ten; and when we sat down to supper, we had eaten no food of any description for fourteen hours and a-half, though we had walked at least thirty-three miles, over some of the wildest moors in Scotland. The innkeeper told us that gentlemen thought it a hard day’s work from his house, and that they never tried it without a guide.

Many, no doubt, will be disposed to marvel at the folly of men, reputed sane, voluntarily exposing themselves to such hardships as to hunger and fatigue. To this I rej>ly, that, unless they kte mountain lovers, fired with the noble ambition of standing at the very top of society, it is utterly hopeless for me to attempt our justification. To those, however, who are capable m some degree of sympathising with us in our lofty aspirings, I may say, that having been disappointed both as to Ben Cruachan and Ben Nevis, we were resolved, at all hazards, not to be beaten with Ben Wyyis, the last object of the kind we had in view on this occasion. Besides, after undergoing such an amount of labour, it would have been very spiritless not to have persevered till we reached the highest pinnacle of the mountain. Such want of pluck would have covered us with confusion all our lives. I may still further add, that we did not despair of the day clearing, and that we were mistaken both as to the distance and the nature of the ground, which in many places was next to impassable. Had we known more about these matters, we would certainly have carried some provisions with us, which we avoided doing, either as to meat or drink, conceiving that the less we were burdened the better, and that, after a hearty breakfast, we should require no more sustenance till we reached Strathpeffer about sunset Experience, however, is the best of all instructors, and all of us agree that, if ever so circumstanced again, we shall richly deserve it

Ninth Day

On the following morning, as may readily be supposed, we felt no disposition to be early astir. Our knee-joints almost refused their office, so that coming down stairs was attended with no little difficulty, and required considerable tact. Breakfast, however, was easier managed, which, along with the perils and pleasures of the previous day, was discussed with all that zest and alacrity for which the heroes of the staff and wallet have so justly been celebrated.

Dingwall has been greatly improved within the last half-dozen years. At that time, the streets were so wretchedly paved, as almost to be unfit for coaching, and the whole place left an unfavourable impression on my mind, as well as on my body., Not so now. It really is a nice little town, with two excellent hotels, and the streets, being Macadamised, are as smooth as can be wished. To prove that we were not wholly knocked up, we agreed to walk to Strathpefler. This strath is short, but consists of rich well-farmed holm land, perfectly level. At its upper extremity is Castle Leod, one of the best specimens of an old baronial residence throughout the Highlands, and apparently quite in a habitable condition. The village of Strathpeffer is beautifully situated, "but built without any regard to plan. There were still a good many visitors, of whom a great proportion were clergy; but all seemed much at a loss what to do with themselves, which is a mighty bar to the enjoyment of such places. We returned by an omnibus, and, after a short delay in Dingwall, took places on the coach for Inverness.

Strathconon is the first attractive object in this route, and a finer there is not in broad Scotland. The river is large, rapid, and richly wooded. The adjoining ground is well cultivated, and the distant conical mountains at its source pierce the clouds with their sharp adamantine peaks. Judging from the specimens we had at McPherson’s hotel, the trout-fishing must be first-rate, and the salmon are abundant. Near Beauly, we passed through the Muir of Ord, famous for its cattle markets. The soil here is particularly light and barren, though in the immediate vicinity we saw them housing as fine crops of wheat as ever grew. Beauly is an interesting village, with an excellent inn, well fre-

Juented in the touring season, on account of the 'alls of Kilmorac, a few miles distant, which we would have visited had time permitted. Many years ago, I saw them to such advantage that I would gladly have repeated my visit. The whole scenery on this river is fine, which is supposed to have originated the name, beau lieu, at a time when Scotland was much frequented by the French. Eilan Aigas, the Highland residence of the late lamented Sir K. Peel, is on an island in this river Beauly, and belongs to the Chisholm. It was most provoking, the whole way to Inverness, to see that huge mass of deformity Ben Wyvis perfectly divested of clouds; so that, had we been one day later, our toils would have been amply rewarded.

Tenth Day

Very early next morning, we left Inverness by the mail for Aberdeen. Our young friend parted from us her§, having resolved to go to Fort-William. Boon after the dawn of day, we passed Cul-Joden Moor on our right, and a little farther on, Castle Stewart close on our left, where Prince Charles Stuart slept on the night before his sad reverse. Had he on that occasion "rowed him in a Hielan’ plaid ” on the heath among his devoted followers, and thus allayed their clannish feuds and raised their drooping hopes, he might not have been compelled to do so afterwards on the rugged sides of Ben Aulder, though, very probably, the results would ultimately have proved more ruinous to Scotland.

Naim is the first town of any note through which the mail passes. Much of this neighbourhood has been rendered classic by the magic pen of Shakspere; and the venerable ruins of Cawdor Castle, by reason of historical associations, are particularly attractive. Here, as in Forres, Elgin, Fochabers, and, indeed, the whole way to Aberdeen, the inns seem to be extremely well kept and comfortable, which is mainly owing to this district being much frequented by wealthy sportsmen during the shooting and fishing seasons, who, after the fatigues of the day, afford little breathing-time to waiters, cooks, hostlers, or any who can minister to their comforts. From the appearance of its banks, the Findhoru must be a most mischievous river in its wayward moods. Its suspension-bridge is one of the finest in the kingdom; and the forests around Damaway Castle, a seat of the Earl of Moray, seem almost interminable. Forres and Elgin are two of the most genteel looking little towns in Scotland —the latter is celebrated for its splendid ecclesiastical ruins and very handsome modem church. From this neighbourhood, there is a distant view of the Cairngorm mountains; and Belrinnes, on whose summit I have stood, is distinctly visible for a great many miles. In an opposite direction we were still haunted with a dim view of the long ridge of our old enemy, Ben Wyvis, like the apparition of an ill-laid ghost.

At Fochabers we stopped for breakfast, but were only allowed twenty minutes, which was no small mortification, for there was no lack of the best salmon,hot rolls, and everything tempting; and a drive of fifty miles was no bad preparative for the ample enjoyment of them. As for myself, these good things came in so late, that I conceived I was quite justified in carrying part of them in my hand to the coach. The Duke of Richmond s splendid seat (Gordon Castle) is in the immediate vicinity, and was graced with a flag, in honour, we presumed, of her Majesty. The town of Fochabers is much resorted to by anglers—the salmon-fishing in the “rapid Spey” being considered equal to any in the kingdom. Here there is, perhaps, the very finest specimen of school architecture in Scotland. It is quite new, and was founded by Alexander Milne, a native of Fochabers, who died in Louisiana in 1839, leaving a legacy of 100,000 dollars for the gratuitous education of children in this parish.

In passing through the centre of Strathbogie, and on hearing the names of the various parishes— Keith, Huntljr, Mamoch, &c.—we were forcibly re-minded of this being the Waterloo of the Church of Scotland. Had it ;not been for the determined stand made by the ministers of this Presbytery on the side of rational religion and constitutional law, the people of Scotland would have been consigned to a state of thraldom unknown to them since the days of Popish supremacy; for who can doubt of such being the direct tendency of those claims advanced by the scheming ambitious leaders of the late secession? True it is, in these times, such usurpation of power by any body of ecclesiastics could not have been of long duration; still it was their object to render it permanent; and had their projects not met with a prompt and firm resistance, it is hard to say what mischiefs might have ensued, before law, reason, and common sense resumed the ascendency. An overruling Providence, however, has, from seeming evil, educed real good, as a vast accession has thus been made to the Christian ministry, while the Established Church continues more firm and efficient than ever. The marked success of the late Mr Edwards of Mamoch, whose presentation to that parish was the origin of the fray, and whose congregation was quadrupled during his short incumbency, in defiance of every discouragement, affords a striking proof of the correctness of the well-known apophthegm, "magna est verita& et prevalebit”

Benachie, a ragged-looking mountain of no great heieht, continues long in view from the coach-road; and the small river Urie, a branch of the Don, was our fellow-traveller for many miles. To all appearance, this must be a first-rate trouting-stream, its banks being free from brushwood, while its waters are of a proper hue and depth,-with most desirable alternations of stream and pool, and the fields, being well cultivated, must afford plenty of grabs and worms for fattening the finny tribe. Bain fell in abandonee as we approached Aberdeen, which we entered about fire o’clock, after a rapid drive of thirteen hours.

Aberdeen, in many respects, is one of the most remarkable cities in the kingdom. Its streets, bridges, and harbour, are on a scale which might well become the capital of Scotland. The new College, new North Church, County Buildings, Banking-houses, Markets, &c., are well worthy of the attention of all travellers. They impress one, indeed, with the idea of their being too fine—much grander than there is any occasion for; and lead one to infer that, in these respects, the pride of the inhabitants has outrun their prudence. The suspension-bridge over the Dee is a truly splendid structure, and the viaduct for the intended railway is the most magnificent thing of the kind in Scotland; but the nearness of these edifices to each other, and their awkward relative position, create a confusion which is somewhat offensive to the spectator. We counted considerably above a hundred arches in . the viaduct, but could not accurately number the rest, though we saw there were many more. It terminates at the New Markets in Union Street, one of the most spacious, elegant, and substantial, anywhere to be seen, being throughout constructed of polished granite, of which there are many quarries all around the city, and which is exported to London, and other places, as an article of traffic.

The Royal Fleet lay in the harbour, but we arrived just one hour too late for seeing the interior of the Victoria and Albert, which was open to respectable parties, not exceeding twelve, every day from eleven till four. The appearance even of the outside of this noble steamer is not a little gratifying; and the triumphal arch and arrangements for the accommodation of the spectators were very tasteful and commodious. Her Majesty’s residence at Balmoral created considerable excitement in this interesting city; and, if she is an annual visitor, it cannot fail to be of incalculable benefit to Scotland in many respects. Nothing, for instance, could have a finer moral effect than her regular and devout appearance in the House of God on the Sabbaths, among the simple, lowly population of a Highland parish, evidently impressed with the conviction mat she and they were but members of one great family, and all alike in the eyes of their heavenly Father. What a salutary lesson was this to our Scotch nobility and gentry, many of whom conceive that, being Episcopalians, it would be inconsistent, or perhaps degrading, to worship in the Established Church of their native land!

Eleventh Day

Very early next morning, we were on board of the Bonnie Dundee on our way to Granton Pier. Aberdeen harbour is large and commodious, but the entrance is much obstructed by a bar, for the removal of which much money has been expended to their little purpose. The London steamers are very large, 1100 or 1200 tons burden, and can only find egress and ingress when the tide is at full flow. The Dundee was in the offing, so we were carried out to her by a steamer of much inferior dimensions.

The coast, for a great way, is very rocky and interesting, being indented with numerous creeks and caves, to explore which in a small boat, in fine weather, must be very curious and amusing. The ruins of Dunnottar Castle are picturesque, and very extensive; but here, as all along the coast, there is no wood of any description, so that Dr Johnson’s well-merited sarcasms seem to have been completely thrown away. We passed close along the shore till we were off Montrose, so that we had a most satisfactory view of Stonehaven, Johnshaven, and many other fishing villages celebrated for the curing of haddocks, if not for their natural charms. The weather could not have been more favourable, and the wind being from the land, the nearer we lay to it, our progress was the more smooth, pleasant, and expeditious. As we passed Montrose, Dundee, and St Andrews, at the mouths of their respective bays, we could see little of them but their smoke, though we observed the Bell Bock Lighthouse distinctly, at about twelve miles distance, and had a very satisfactory view of the fine ruins of Arbroath, and the rugged cavemed coast in its neighbourhood.

The Isle of May, the Bass, North Berwick Law, Traprain Law, and even Tantallan Castle, were all distinctly visible as we entered the Frith of Forth. The numerous tile-clad royal burghs on the Fife coast, from Crail to Aberdour, were quite under our eye, and at several of them we shipped and unshipped passengers and goods. Passmg close under pretty little verdant Inchkeith, with its elegant lighthouse, we soon reached our destination, Granton and, for the small charge of four-pence each, were most comfortably driven in an omnibus to the very centre of Edinburgh—a city too well known, and too generally admired, to require any eulogy from my humble pen. Suffice it to say, I am convinced, after having had it for head-quarters twenty years, that, were it not for its chill, cutting east winds, for two or three months in spring and early summer, it would be the most delightful city residence on the face of the earth.

Here my companion and I parted company next day, when I made a run by railway into the centre of East Lothian to visit a friend; and next again, by a similar conveyance, regained Lockerbie, our starting place, and in a few hours more reached my home, after travelling by sea and land at least 800 miles in thirteen days.


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