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Autumnal Rambles Among The Scottish Mountains
Preface to the Second Edition


It is not a little gratifying, that, in these days, when the sale of books, like most other commodities, is much at discount, a second edition of my "Rambles” should be in demand. This, I am aware, is in a great measure to be attributed to the particular walk in literature which I have chalked out for myself; for it would be presumptuous in no ordinary degree, when so many abler pens are at work, to ascribe my success to any intellectual superiority. In the department of pede8triani8m) I have not much dread of a rival, for some time, at least, though I shall be most happy to yield the palm to any aspirant in that way, who may have been called to the field by the perusal of my lucubrations.

My success is also much owing to the very favourable manner in which my little book has been reviewed in many of the most respectable periodicals throughout the kingdom, though in few of them did my advertisements appear, and my personal acquaintance with any of their editors or contributors is extremely limited. To the “Athenaeum,” in particular, I am much indebted for its very flattering eulogium, as, from the high character which that work bears, there can be little doubt of the “Rambles” being extensively perused throughout England, more especially at the University seats, from which principally our spirited and enterprising pedestrians are now-a-days known to emanate.

Among other highly complimentary remarks in that distinguished journal, my reviewer states "Walking tours may be regarded as a peculiarly English pastime; for, though more decently dad persons are found on the roads of Germany than on those of our own country, these are the hand-worker8 travelling professionally—not students and men of means taking exercise out of mere love of adventure and of physical exertion. Mr Grierson speaks with enthusiasm of the hundreds of young English whom he has met with on the hills and by the lochs of his romantic country,” &c.

Of these young men, every person must speak enthusiastically, who has met them, as I have frequently done, in the wildest and most barbarous scenes imaginable, making light of the numberless discomforts surrounding them, expatiating, with clever and good-humoured volubility, on the strange characters with whom they have recently been associated, and expressing unbounded admiration of a country which, in every respect, contrasts so diar metrically with their own. Enviable, indeed, must be their feelings, released for a season from the trammels of college life, their health and strength innovated 1by change of scene and salutary exercise, whilst their minds are expanded by intercourse with a description of men who, though rude in manners and in speech, are yet possessed of many of those sterling qualities which contribute mainly to the worth and dignity of our race. And scarcely less enviable must be their social intercourse at Oxford and Cambridge, in their hours of respite from classical and scientific pursuits, when, with youthful buoyancy and glee, they recount their various exploits and experiences among the savage glens, foaming torrents, and heath-clad mountains of Caledonia.

It was principally with a view of encouraging and enlightening such interesting young men, that I resolved, at my ripe age, to appear before the public in the capacity of a mountaineer, and I rejoice to think that my exertions of head, hand, and feet, have been duly, appreciated. This new edition will be found to contain nearly a half more matter than the former, though the price will be comparatively little increased. Deeside, owing to its being that district of Scotland chiefly favoured by royalty, must be particularly interesting to tourists. This consideration induced me to dwell at some length upon its attractions; and, if reliance is to be placed on the opinion of many of my friends, by whom my remarks have been perused, my efforts in this instance, compared with what I have formerly written, have been more than commonly successful.

Excepting in cases where a mere jeu d'esprit was evidently my object, I Have been moat careful to adhere scrupulously to matter of fact, and I possess the amplest testimony that I have succeeded in this most essential point. A learned professor in Glasgow College writes — "I have followed you from the Broomielaw to the Point of Ardnamurchan, the extent of my travels in that direction, and can vouch for the strict accuracy of all your statements.” The worthy minister of Strath, in Skye, avers that, “All my remarks as to that island are just and correct;” and another esteemed clerical friend says, "I am glad to learn that a new edition of your1 Rambles’ is forthcoming. I gave my copy to a friend near Glasgow, who writes that he has found it of great service to him in his rambles, and that it is correct to the minutest particular.”

In addition to the list of hills enumerated in my former preface, I may here state that I have since ascended Etteric Penn, Wind Fell, and Loch Fell, near Moffat; Birrenswark, near Ecclefechan; and Lochnagar, Morron, Ben Macdhui, &c., on the Dee. Some may feel disposed to ridicule my including such puny eminences as Birrenswark. In reply, I have to remark, that such hills as that are named, not on account of their height, but on account of their position, or historical association. Thus, Birrenswark exhibits the remains of one of the most distinct Roman camps to be seen in Britain; whilst Craig Phadrig, of nearly equal altitude, has been much celebrated for its vitrified fort Though I have included these and similar insignificant hills in my list, I have omitted many which every one climbs, and others four or five times their height, but not remarkable, being overtopped by neighbouring mountains on whose summits I have stood.

In this second edition, appears a very correct and interesting representation of Balmoral. My fellow-traveller, Mr Donaldson, furnished the original sketch; and I am indebted to Mr Alexander Ritchie for the very tasteful manner in which he has executed the engraving of this, as well as of the frontispiece. The view of Balmoral was taken from the private walk leading from the public road to the Queen’s Arbour, on the south side of the Castle. The river Dee is on the north side, close to the mail road, and the Castle stands, as nearly as may be, half way betwixt these roads. The grounds around . the Castle are as trim and neatly kept, and the verdure as fresh and soft, as can be seen at any of the royal palaces in merry England, while rude rocky mountains ascend on every side.

Nearly a mile down the river, there is an iron bridge, leading to the church, &c. This bridge is not reckoned very secure, so that her Majesty generally, if not always, leaves her carriage, and walks across, when travelling in this direction. Near the south end of the bridge, are several cottages tenanted by some of the humblest of her Majesty’s subjects. These tenements are gradually assuming a neat and comfortable appearance, and her Majesty takes much pleasure in inquiring into the circumstances of the inmates, and removing their wants.' The Lochnagar Distillery is in the immediate vicinity, but much screened by woody and rocky eminences. As Prince Albert honours this erection with his patronage, it is presumed his whisky-flask will frequently be replenished from its produce, when on his stalking excursions among the mountains.

T. G.


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