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Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Approaches to and Travelling in the Highlands, Highland Roads, Coaches, Inns, Steam Navigation, &c.


Approaches to either side of the Island, paragraph 1.—Distriet Roads and Statute Labour, 1.—Military Roads, 3. Parliamentary Roads, 4.—Repair of Public Roads, 6.—Travelling in the Eighteenth Century, 6.—Public Coaches, 7.—Highland Inns, 8.—Steam Navigation, 9.—Posting, &c., 10.—Outline of the more interesting Routes, 11.—Expense of Travelling, 12. Approaches to the Highlands.

1. THE main approaches to the Highlands from the south, are, 1st, By steam from London or Leith to Inverness, by the Moray Firth, at any of the ports on which the traveller can stop and penetrate into the "bowels of the land," in any direction he pleases. 2d, By the coast road from Aberdeen, through Elgin and Nairn shires. 3d, By the great Highland road across the Grampians from Perth, by Athole and Badenoch to Inverness, and by branches from Dalwhinnie and Kingussie to Fort-William. 4th, Nearly parallel to this road, but more to the east, a new line of communication has been projected from Dunkeld or Dundee by Braemar, to Grantown in Strathspey, and thence to Forres or Elgin ; but though already partially made, this route has not yet been completed. 5th, The roads leading north-west from the lakes of Perth, Stirling, and Dumbarton shires, which all either join between Loch Tay and Glencoe, and thence descend through that romantic gorge, to the Linnhe Loch; or which, passing more westerly into Argyleshire, skirt the sides of Loch Awe, and, from its eastern extremity, descend along the flanks of Ben Cruachan by Loch Etive to Oban and Fort-William. 6th, The great western approach by steam from Glasgow, by the Crinan and Caledonian Canals; and 7th, The steamers from Glasgow and Oban to Staffa and Iona, and to Skye and Stornoway in the outer Hebrides, which perform the voyage twice a-week in summer, and once a fortnight in winter; and to which may be added the occasional steamers which now and then take special pleasure trips to St. Kilda and other more remote islands.

On the eastern coast, a splendid mail-coach road proceeds along the shore northward from Inverness to Thurso in Caithness. Beyond Arisaig, on the western coast of Inverness-shire, however, it is impossible for the traveller as yet to penetrate by land, without interruption, to the extreme north-west point of Sutherlandshire. Nor is there much likelihood of a continuous 'inc of road being projected along this part of that coast. Besides the numerous ferries to be crossed, there are no roads except footpaths, or at best bridle or rather break-neck roads, through the rough districts of Morar, Knoydart, and Glenelg, in Inverness. A carriage road from the head of Loch Torridon by Kinlochewe, and thence down the west side of Loch Maree to Poolewe, has lately been finished, and another commenced from Poolewe by Loch Gruinord and Dundonald to Loch Broom, and one is projected from Shieldaig along Loch Torridon, which would afford a continuous coast communication from Shiel House to Ullapool; but from Ullapool through the district of Coigach to Loch Inver, in Sutherlandshire, there is as yet no public road, and only a very rough one across the country to Bonar Bridge. Some of these districts in which the communication is thus cut o fl, are so exceedingly rough and inaccessible —so remote and so thinly peopled, that public money has not hitherto been laid out on them ; but the proprietors and their tenants are exerting themselves to form what are styled district roads through them. Between the eastern and western coasts, excellent lines of communication extend from Inverness to Fort-William, and branching from this line from Invermoriston to Kintail and Skye, from Inverarry to Loch Hourn, and from Fort-William to Skye; again from Dingwall to Skye, and round by Loch Duich on the mainland to the Invermoriston road ; from Golspie and Bonar Bridge to Tongue and Cape Wrath, and round the west and north-east coast of Sutherland shire. To the south, again, Perthshire is intersected by cross lines of communication along Loch Tay and Loch Earn; but between these and the Great Glen, the country is one pathless waste, "by shepherds only trod." It will be prudent in the traveller to mark the portions of the west coast along which he cannot bring his own conveyance, or trust to any being procured in the country.

With these general remarks, which we know that strangers will be the better of keeping in view, we proceed now to a short historical sketch of the Roads, modes of Conveyance, Inns, &c., to which, if our readers will refer occasionally in their journeys, they will find that they have enabled us to avoid much repetition and detail in our subsequent chapters. Indeed, the progress of improvement in the Highlands has been so dependent on their being made accessible by roads (for previously even large armies could not penetrate them except by sea, or by burning down the native forests), that the present state of the country would be unintelligible, except by first glancing at such an historical retrospect.

Roads.

2. By the old acts of the Parliament of Scotland, it would appear that the legislature anciently interested itself only in looking after the highways immediately contiguous to market towns, and such as led to the parish churches, and scarcely any thought seems to have been employed on the propriety of forming great public lines of road through the country. It is hence not till near the close of the seventeenth century, that we discover the first germs, in the public enactments, of the modern regulation of highways, bridges, and ferries. Several excellent statutes were then passed, constituting the Justices of the Peace, and Commissioners of Supply existing in each county for assessing the land-tax, trustees or guardians of the highways, and vesting them with ample powers for their regulation and improvement. They are in particular authorized to call out annually all agricultural tenants, with their cottars and servants, and almost all other male persons, to perform six days' work, with their horses, carts, or sleds, and proper tools, for upholding the highways; the legal breadth of which is twenty feet, exclusive of the ditch on either side. Power also was given to the justices, acting as road trustees, to make bridges, regulate public ferries, alter the direction of the roads, and shut up useless ones. Subsequent enactments have enabled the different counties to convert the personal services required from the tenants into small sums of money, payable annually. In common with almost all other male persons, they are subject to a small direct contribution, or capitation tax, and were liable in a further sum, proportioned to their rents, in lieu of their horses and carts, and payable to their landlords, who are assessed to double or triple the amount. Under these statutes almost all the district or cross roads of the country are now maintained; but while each shire has a local road act of its own, "they are all subject to the regulations of a public one for the conversion of statute service into money," passed on the 21st July 1845.

3. In the south of Scotland, even at the beginning of last century, tolerably good roads were made in virtue of the old laws; but it is questionable whether the gentry in the Highlands ever availed themselves in the slightest degree, till after the rebellion of 1745, of the powers thereby put into their hands for opening up their wild and inaccessible estates. During the previous rebellion of 1715, however, the expediency of rendering accessible the fastnesses of the North, became apparent to government, as a measure of national police. The royal troops were, at that time, unable to penetrate beyond Blair in Athole; but before 1730, several great lines of road were commenced by the labours of the soldiery, which were finished in six or eight years afterwards ; namely, from Callander, near Stirling, to Tyndrum, and from Luss, on Loch Lomond side, both by the head of that lake, and by Inverary, to the same point, and thence to Fort-William by Glencoe, and from Fort-William through the Great Glen to Fort-George; from Crieff and from Dunkeld to Dalnacardoch, thence to Dalwhinnie, and from that to Fort-Augustus and to Inverness, and from Cupar-Angus by Braemar to Fort-George; and, besides these main lines, there were a few cross roads. Latterly, the total extent of these military roads was about 800 miles: they were provided with upwards of 1000 bridges. Some parts being subsequently abandoned, or taken under the charge of the proprietors through whose estates the roads proceeded, the length of road requiring the aid of government for its repair was reduced, at the close of last century, to 599 miles.

Those roads were formed by parties of soldiers, who during the working season received a small increase of pay: each party was under the direction of a master mason and an overseer, who had his instructions from an officer called the baggage-master and inspector of roads in North Britain, and who was directly amenable to the commander-in-chief of the forces for Scotland.

Under this system of military charge, the roads had continued till the year 1799, and for their formation and support grants were made by parliament of from 4000 to 7000 a-year. Doubts having been raised in parliament as to the propriety of continuing to support these roads out of the public purse, the opinions of Sir Ralph Abcrcromby, commander-in-chief, and Colonel Anstruther, general-inspector, were taken (in 1798) on the subject. Both of these officers admitted that, as military roads, they had become unnecessary ; but the latter, in particular, contended that they were of the greatest use for civil purposes ; and that, if neglected, the Highlanders, from the progress they had made in civilisation, would soon relapse into their former ignorance and slavish dependence on their chiefs, or would desert their country. By them also, and by the Highland Society, the anomaly was explained to government of a country not being able to support its own roads by the statute-labour and by tolls, in consequence of the thinness of its population and the small number of travellers frequenting it.

4. It was for these reasons that the ministry, in 1802 and 1803, when they began to attend to the general improvement of the Highlands, resolved to continue the grants for keeping the communication open with the low country, and of one part of the Highlands with another. Provision was further made for defraying one half of the estimated expense of such additional roads and bridges as might appear most necessary; the other half to be defrayed by the proprietors of land, or other persons who would be benefited thereby. By the act, commissioners were appointed to insure the proper expenditure of the public money, and the efficient and economical performance of the works. The Highland counties were prompt to the call of government in contributing their quota. The whole amount of parliamentary advances, including interest, has been 267,000, and the counties assessed themselves in about 214,000, towards the construction of these recent roads; being only liable for half the expense of making the roads, the expense of general management falling on the public. About 60,000 beyond these sums have had to be defrayed by individuals; so that about 540,000 have been expended on the Highland parliamentary roads. The length of new roads formed by this joint fund has been 875 miles, and the number of bridges of all kinds 1117, the whole of which were completed in 1820. With the exception of 148 miles in Argyleshire and Bute, these parliamentary roads lie almost wholly in Inverness-shire and the northern counties.

5. The military roads had, meanwhile, continued to be kept in repair entirely at the public expense, at a cost of from 4000 to 7000 per annum, and under the charge of a military superintendent till 1814 ; when this being considered too heavy a burden, considering the large sums advancing for the formation of new roads, the grant for the repairs of the military roads was reduced, for six years, to 2500. In consequence, a large portion of them has been allowed to sink into neglect. The line from Tarbet, by Inverary and Tyndrum, to Fort-William, and thence to Fort-George, and that from Inverness by Badenoch to the confines of Perthshire, with a portion of the Strathspey roads (in all about 260 miles), are now alone attended to. Since 1819, government has allowed 5000 a-year towards the expense of keeping both the military and parliamentary roads in repair; the whole being put, since 1814, under the management of the commissioners, and extending (including 138 miles of new county roads in Caithness) to 1286 miles. Their total maintenance comes to about 11,000 a-year, of which about four-fifths is for actual outlay on the roads. The counties have of late years begun to seek some relief from the pressure of their assessments by the erection of tolls on the more frequented roads, the proprietors thereby shifting from themselves on the public a considerable annual outlay. Originally it was intended by government, that, as in Ireland, the roads through the Highlands of Scotland should he toll free, owing to the poverty of the people.

It appears quite unnecessary for us to detail the minute differences, in size and construction, between the military and the new roads. The former were narrow, but rarely provided with parapets or drains; the bridges were high and steep, and the roads were carried over every inequality of surface in as rectilineal a direction as possible--imperfections, it is needless to add, not chargeable against the parliamentary roads, which are, in general, well engineered. Many of the old military bridges, however, have stood the severest winter floods, in consequence of their arches being highly pointed, few, and open, and having no breastworks of stone at either end. In some instances the road has been often swept away at their extremities, and their bare gaunt masses left spanning a wide stream, apparently for no useful purpose. Besides the public roads, there are numerous district roads, supported by the statute-labour to which we have already alluded.

6. Notwithstanding, however, that, since the middle of the last century, the communication between the Highlands and Lowlands was opened in several directions, yet the inhabitants were extremely slow in availing themselves of the advantages of easy and expeditious travelling. For a considerable time after the suppression of the rebellion of 1745, the great Highland road by Badenoch was infested by gangs of desperate robbers; and so unsafe was the route across the Grampians, that many persons made their wills before undertaking a journey beyond their own neighbourhood. Garrons, or little Highland ponies, were then used by gentlemen as well as by the peasantry; inns were few and uncomfortable; and, even when post-chaises were introduced, the expense of hiring one was thought on for weeks, perhaps months, and arrangements made for dividing it among as many individuals as it would contain. If the harness and springs of the vehicle kept together, the travellers were introduced, jaded and weary, on the evening of the eighth day after that on which they had left Inverness, to the High Street or the Grassmarket of Edinburgh.

Public Coaches.

7. No regular post was established between Inverness and Edinburgh till after the Union ; and for fifty years the letters, which were brought only once a-week, were carried by foot-runners. To these succeeded riding-posts and single-seated cars. In the year 1806, the Caledonian coach commenced running between Inverness and Perth, a distance of 115 miles, and the journey was performed in two days. This undertaking was looked on as extremely hazardous to the parties concerned in it; and was, in fact, given up by all but one individual (the late Mr. Peter Anderson, solicitor in Inverness), who for a long period conducted it solely at his own risk. This road is now travelled either way, every day, in about fourteen hours, by a mail coach; while in summer, one or two other daily coaches are put on the road.

In the year 1811,a mail diligence, drawn by two horses, was established between Aberdeen and Inverness, a road on which there are at present three daily four-horse coaches, the Mail, Defiance, and Star.

Various attempts were made, at different times, to extend the coaching system to Tain and the northern towns, but without success, till the year 1819 ; when a mail diligence, drawn by two horses, and under a special contract with government, was established between Inverness and Thurso, and which has been of the greatest benefit to the districts through which it passes. The conductors of this coach have handsome allowances for carrying the letters, and they are exempted from the usual coach duty. It is now driven as far as Tain with four horses, to which place also another daily four-horse coach generally runs in summer, and a third from Inverness to Strathpeffer. For several summers an enterprising company has run a large daily four-horse coach (called the Breadalbane) all the way from Glasgow by Lochlomond, Glencoe, and Fort William, to Inverness, along a route unequalled perhaps in Europe for the variety and magnificence of its scenery. The journey was performed in two days. Another coach by the same route, so far, runs to Oban, diverging at Tyndrum.

The other Highland districts are now also pretty well accommodated. There is a coach running from Dunkeld, by Killin, to Loch Lomond; and another from Oban to Inverary and to Tarbet on Loch Lomond, by Glencroe; also one from Inverary to Loch Goilhead ; several between Stirling and the Trosachs; one from the bridge of Carr through Strathspey to Elgin and Fochabers ; and in the extreme north, a coach from Thurso to Tongue, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, returning the intermediate days. Besides these, we may mention the open mail-gigs, which run three times a-week between Dingwall and Dunvegan in Skye, and proceed twice a-week (on 'Mondays and Thursdays) from Golspie both to Tongue and Assynt, and return on the Wednesday and Saturday. Each of these conveyances accommodates three passengers. In the south, a mail phaeton runs daily between Dunkeld and Taymouth, and between Pitlochrie and Rannoch, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and various public conveyances carry crowds of passengers to and from Perth and Blair Athole.

Railways.

These are truly the links and chains by which the distant provinces of a great empire like ours are compactly united together, and brought near to the capital and great market towns, whether for commercial intercourse in times of peace, or for safety and mutual protection in war. It is impossible at present to say of what importance, in a national point of view, the remote districts of Scotland may he to the rest of the country, or how requisite it may yet be for government to have the means of speedily concentrating troops on our northern shores. But from the depressed state of the railway interests it is obvious that, if this mode of completing the communication between the Highlands and the south is carried through, it must be after the cost of constructing and maintaining railways has been greatly reduced, and most probably not without assistance from government.

In the year 1846, two opposing companies started railway schemes, one to connect Inverness coastways, through Elgin and Aberdeen shires, with the series of railways then in progress along the eastern counties of Scotland ; while the other proposed to carry a through line, 67 miles shorter, by the great valleys of Strathspey, Badenoch, and Athole, direct to Perth, and based on the north by a railway between Inverness and Elgin, which was to communicate by short branches with the ports of the Moray Firth. Such schemes were perhaps, though grand in conception and well engineered, premature with reference to the present cost of construction. The Aberdeen line (to be called the Great North of Scotland), had its act passed, but the works have not yet been commenced. From Inverness to the Spey, near Fochabers, their construction would not he expensive, as the ground is throughout level, and composed of sand and gravel, requiring no rock cutting ; and the traffic along this portion of the line would undoubtedly be remunerative. The crossing of the Spey at the point selected (a short way above Fochabers), involved most formidable works, and a VIADUCT on high arches, of more than a mile and a-half in extent. And accordingly, it is understood that the projectors are to abandon this portion of the scheme, and at the sacrifice of a detour of some miles inland, to cross the river Spey higher up by means of pa bridge thrown from the opposing rocks at Craigeilach.ie. The route thence to Aberdeen is practicable, but in many parts steep enough, the ruling gradient being the same in general as that which would have occurred in the rival direct line to Perth. The course of this latter line is worthy of being briefly described. Inverness and Elgin were to be its two northern termini, and from the vicinity of Nairn, nearly half way between these towns, the- main line was to ascend along the sloping ridges which bound Strathnairn on the south, and was to cross the river Findhorn at Dulsie Bridge, whence it was to skirt the base of the Knock of Brae Moray, and passing through a valley south of Lochindhorbh, was to reach Strathspey near the Kirk of Duthel. Its course thence to the summit level of the country in the pass of Drumouchter, was remarkably . straight, and almost all along gravel plains and terraces, and the altitude there attained would be about 1450 feet above the sea, with slopes on either side, each of about sixty miles in length. The steepest gradient to be overcome was 1 in 75 for a distance of eight miles from the summit on the descent into Athole; and another ascent from Nairn to the river Findhorn, involved a gradient of 1 in 84 for seven miles, which two acclivities, it was computed, would have required an additional cost of 3000 a-year for extra engines. It is believed that easier gradients would ultimately have been discovered ; but if not, evidence was given by the most eminent engineers, that the inclinations referred to were nowise formidable in themselves, and that steeper gradients were worked in several parts of the kingdom, especially on the Carlisle and Lancaster line, and the Caledonian has a gradient precisely similar in degree and in extent. The Parliamentary committee, without going into any inquiry as to the traffic evidence, refused the bill, "having arrived at this result (as their decision expressed it), solely on the present state of experience as to the working of severe gradients of considerable length, over great altitudes, and are not to be taken as giving any opinion against the formation of the Perth and Inverness line, should the experience of the working of railroads now in progress of formation, or of others of a similar character, support the principle upon which the Perth and Inverness is proposed to be constructed. Neither is it the intention of the committee in any way to prejudge the question, whether, even if a line be constructed from Aberdeen to Inverness, the northern counties of &otland are not entitled to the benefit of a second line from Perth, to Inverness." As railway speculations have since turned out, this decision was probably a fortunate one for the shareholders; but the reasoning of it is important, and should still be kept in view with reference to the future dealings of government for developing the resources, and completing the defences of the kingdom.

With regard to traffic, the promoters of the direct line to Perth announced that they were prepared to prove, that, taking as a basis for calculation the great number of persons who for business or pleasure at present pass through the Highland counties every summer and autumn, there was reason to believe that there would be from 45,000 to 50,000 through passengers by the railway a-year; that about 140,000 sheep would annually take the rails at various points ; from 30,000 to 40,000 lean cattle ; about 2000 fat cattle at the least, and six or eight times as many fat sheep; that a very large proportion of the merchandise, now sent to the Highlands by sea, would arrive by rail in preference, while the products of the country would be sent south by it, such as grain, timber, [There are not short of three millions of tons of growing timber along the line, and 60,000 acres of improveable land.] game, slates, and building stones, and the products of the distilleries; and that coals and lime would be extensively passed along the line for domestic use and local improvement, and perhaps for smelting the lead, iron, and copper ores, believed to be existing in many -parts of the country. If the data on which those calculations were founded were at all correct, and they were very similar to -those adduced by the supporters of the Great North of Scotland, and by the South Aberdeen Railway Company in the year 1845, it would appear that a direct railway through the centre of the Highlands, collecting the traffic from both north and south, and dispersing it at its termini, and on all sides of it in its course, ought to yield a gross annual return of about 140,000.

In the year 1847, the legislature, on the representations chiefly of the then Lord Advocate, and of Lord Breadalbanc, and with the view of giving employment to the destitute Highland population, sanctioned the laying down of a railway from Glasgow to Dumbarton, and the lower end of Loch Lomond, and from the further extremity of this lake to Oban. Only one portion of this line has as yet been formed (viz., from Bowling Bay, on the Clyde, to Loch Lomond), which will greatly improve the means of communication, but it is not probable that the rest of the works will be attempted for several years to come.

Inns.

8. On the state of the inns, that momentous topic to the traveller, it may be safely asserted that accommodation, in this particular, is now almost universally pretty good—in many instances excellent. In the south Highlands, where they are all well frequented, the inns are commodious, and in every respect well conducted. Along the line of the public coach road from Perth to Thurso they are generally roomy and comfortable; and though metropolitan elegance cannot be expected, and even much of low-country snugness is at times awanting, yet the traveller will find himself necessitated to forego but few of "the comforts of the Saut-market." On most of the other roads the inns are naturally on a lower scale. In the Great Glen, and from Fort-William to Stirling, and between Dingwall and Portree, they are generally of a respectable class; and on all the parliamentary roads, and through most parts of the Highlands, and even in Sutherlandshire, where now the superior character of many of the inns will agreeably surprise the traveller, at intervals of from ten to fifteen miles, there are, if not in all cases exactly falling under the term inn, at least what are called, in Scotland, public-houses; buildings consisting chiefly of two storeys, slated and floored, and containing from four to eight rooms. The latter are, perhaps, in some few instances, rather scantily furnished, and may want carpets and bed curtains, but they are generally provided with both ; and not unfrequently the tourist will be gratified by the unexpected savoir vivre he will meet with. Considering the recent establishment of these inns, and the want of familiarity on the part of the Highland peasantry with the more refined habits and comforts of the south, the business of innkeeping has fully kept pace with the other improvements of the country. If much refinement and elegance is not everywhere to be seen, there is at least abundance of substantial commodities : no lack of black-faced mutton and poultry, with the addition of salmon, and various other excellent fishy on the sea-coasts; and, indeed, scarcely a burn but affords trout. The traveller may everywhere calculate on the luxuries of tea and sugar, and generally loaf-bread or biscuits;—eggs and milk, with whisky, &c., always in abundance;—not unfrequently a good bottle of wine, in sufficiently remote localities. The wayfarer need be under no apprehension of Highland eagles banqueting on his famished carcass, or of being subjected to any pyroligneous process in chimneyless hovels surcharged with "peat reek." There is no fear as to fare; but the tourist's patience is sometimes not a little taxed by the tardiness of the attendance, arising from the comparatively limited intercourse in some directions. It must also be confessed that, in many of the inferior inns, there is a lamentable inattention to cleanliness, at least in the staircase and passage, and about the doors. The rooms, however, are not much to be complained of, though a little painting and papering would greatly improve them, and care is almost invariably observed to have the bedclothes and table-linen unobjectionable. Though we have experienced very little reason for the precaution, the more inexperienced traveller may not be the worse of being recommended to attend, at least in the more unfrequented roads, to have the bedclothes aired. We may add, that the horse will be as well off as his rider; good stabling being seldom wanting. Neither need the Saxon be apprehensive of finding himself at a loss to make his wants known, as it very rarely happens that individuals are not now met with who understand the English language.

Steam Navigation.

Conveyance by steam has been as signal in its effects in our northern localities as elsewhere—annihilating distance, and pouring a tide of living energies through scenes heretofore se-eluded. Steam vessels ply daily in summer, and twice a-week all the year to and from Inverness and Glasgow, along the passage between the west coast and islands, and through the Caledonian Canal and its grand series of lakes. At each end of the Crinan Canal, as also at the west end of the Caledonian Canal, the passengers and luggage are now transferred, and the whole voyage is performed in summer in less than two days. The boats from Glasgow reach Oban about 5pm., and Fort-William and Bannavie the same evening, and those for Glasgow arrive at Bannavie about 3 P. M., and at Oban about six o'clock, remaining there for the night. In connexion with or independent of these boats, others diverge from Oban between May and October, now daily, weather permitting, to Staffa and Iona, making the circuit of the Island of Mull. Glencoe can also be visited every day from Oban, returning in the evening, or proceeding to Bannavie. Two boats ply every week from Glasgow to Oban and Skye, and one every fortnight proceeds as far as Stornoway in Lewis. These make the voyage round the Mull of Cantyre, calling at Port Askaig, in Islay, as also at Loch Inver, in Sutherland shire. In and about the Firth of Clyde, steam-boats are innumerable ; and steamers ramify from it in all directions. Two sail every day up and down Loch Lomond, which the tourist can visit from and return the same day to Glasgow; or he may reach it also, or Edinburgh, by the Trosachs and Stirling, there being a tiny steamer on Loch Catrine. Another boat also forms a regular communication between the head of Loch Tarbet and the Island of Islay. On the east coast, a large steamer plies every alternate Monday between London and Inverness, and ports in the Moray Firth; numerous steam vessels connect the metropolis with Edinburgh, Dundee, Montrose, and Aberdeen. Two of the Leith and Aberdeen boats proceed weekly to Inverness, leaving Leith on Tuesday and Thursday, and Inverness on Thursday night and Monday morning ; and between all these places there are regular trading smacks. Of these steamers one alternately visits Aberdeen, and thus makes the voyage in twenty-four hours or less. Another steamer from Leith visits the ports on the Moray Firth and coasts of Sutherland, coming up too as far as Inverness while a small steamer supplies the trade from Inverness to Invergordon, Findhorn, and the Little Ferry. A steam-boat now likewise plies every week between Leith and the Orkney and Shetland Isles—from Leith on Fridays, and from Kirkwall on Tuesdays. The passage by the London and Inverness boat is performed in sixty to seventy hours, and at a moderate expense. Two regular sailing packets ply between Leith and Kirkwall, and one from Leith to Stromness. The communication is thus once a fortnight. Larger and better vessels sail also once a fortnight between Leith and Shetland.

Posting, &c.

10. Besides the public coaches, steam-boats, and packet vessels, travellers can, in most of the towns on the east coast and the southern boundary of the Highlands, be accommodated with post-chaises, open cars, and four-wheeled phaetons, gigs, and riding-horses, and with post-horses on the Highland road from Inverness to Perth. On the west coast, common carts, with a swing seat in the centre, are much used as substitutes for cars or gigs. There are such kept for hire at Fort-William, Ballachulish, and other neighbouring places ; while at Oban there is a good supply of vehicles of various sorts.

Outline of the more interesting Routes.

11. It may not be unacceptable to the tourist to have an outline given of the most interesting routes through the Highlands. We will suppose him at Inverness, which he may have reached either by steam from London or Leith, or by the Highland road from Perth, and in the first instance not purposing to go farther north, and limited in time. The line of the Great Glen to Fort-William, and thence southwards, will be most generally followed ; and we would recommend the traveller, should he be journeying, as he most probably will, by the steam-boat, to leave it at Oban, and _proceed thence by coach round the head of Loch Awe and Dalmally; and thence by Loch Lomond to Glasgow or to Inverary. From Inveraiy he may proceed by steam down Loch Fyne, and through the Kyles of Bute, and up the Firth of Clyde; or by Loch Goilhead, Loch Long, or Loch Eck, to Greenock; or by Loch Lomond, or the Gareloch, to Dumbarton and Glasgow. By the public conveyances this distance from Inverness to Glasgow occupies two days in summer, and three the rest of the year. Should the traveller be pressed for time, he should not omit visiting Loch Lomond. If able to spare an additional day, let him follow either of the other courses; and, stopping at Dumbarton, from thence proceed to that beautiful lake, and diverge to the Trosachs and Stirling, from whence he may, if bent on it, reach Glasgow or Edinburgh the same night. But if he have more leisure, there are many objects to attract the tourist's attention along the main line.

First in importance are the islands of Staffa and Iona. At Oban he will remove into another steam-boat, which will convey him round ,Mull, that same day, to Staffa and Iona, Tobermory, and back to Oban. Instead of returning at once from Tobermory, two or three days cannot be better employed than in visiting Skye, by the steam-boats which ply to that island. Next in interest to Staffa, the scientific traveller will perhaps be disposed to visit the Parallel Roads of Glenroy. This he must accomplish previously to leaving the Great Glen, by stopping at Letterfinlay on Loch Lochy, or at Fort-William. The former, or Spean Bridge midway, is most convenient in point of distance. By a little active exertion they may easily be visited, and Fort-William reached the same night. The ascent of Ben Nevis is a feat which most people feel an anxiety to perform. It will occupy one whole day. Should circumstances permit, we would suggest the Vale of Killean, eight or nine miles distant from the Fall of Foyers, as well worthy of a visit on foot or horseback, in connexion with the fall; and, instead of going through with a boat, let the traveller cross the lake to Urquhart, and proceed four or five miles up that glen, as far as Loch Meiklie. Returning to Drumnadrochet, at the mouth of Glen Urquhart, he will proceed by the banks of Loch Ness to Invermoriston; or, landing first at Urquhart, he can more conveniently be ferried over to Foyers at Ruisky, and recross the lake there again. A delightful excursion may be made from Invermoriston up Glen Moriston, and along Glen Shiel, to Loch Duich. From hence Skye can be readily reached. Or the pedestrian may cross the hill to Loch Hournhead, and from that return to the Great Glen at Invergarry; or the tourist retracinghis steps up Glen Shiel to Cluany, will find a road leading into Glen Garry, at Tomandoun. The larger circuit from Invermoriston to Invergarry is about eighty miles. If not disposed to make this whole tour, still it will be well to ramble for five or six miles up Glen Moriston and Glen Garry. Loch Arkaig is well worthy of a visit. A parliamentary road leads to the foot of the lake from the village of Corpaeh, a distance of nine miles; and a bad country road also communicates between Highbridge and Gairlochy, at the west end of Loch Lochy. The traveller will likewise find an excursion of two days from Fort-William or Corpach to Arisaig well repay the trouble; or in one day Loch Shiel, and Prince Charles's monument may be visited. Glencoe and Loch Leven are every way worthy of having a day devoted to them; and the traveller can proceed from Ballachulish to Oban, either by water or land. He will be highly gratified either way. Glencoe is a daily excursion now from Oban. Lastly, the tourist may, in the course of a few days, with the greatest convenience, visit the islands of Isla and Jura, Colonsay, and Oronsay; and he can be at no loss in reaching, from any part of the Clyde, either directly or by a little circuit, the Island of Arran—to explore whose wild and picturesque scenery and remarkable geological structure will be found of no ordinary interest.

To perform a complete tour of the Perth and Stirlingshire Highlands, the traveller should proceed to Stirling ; thence, if his time permit, we would recommend him, instead of proceeding direct to Loch Catrine, to go round by Crieff and Comrie to Lochearnhead. From that to Callander by Loch Lubnaig. This circuitous route to Callander from Stirling is fifty-two, the direct road only sixteen miles. The Trosachs and Loch Catrine can either be seen in one day from Stirling; or the visitor may, from the upper end of the lake, return by Loch Ard, Aberfoyle, and other scenes celebrated in the novel of Rob Roy. The whole extent of this excursion, from and back to Stirling, is seventy-four miles. Should it he found impracticable both to go round by Crieff and to visit Loch Catrine, preference is due to the latter and contiguous scenery, or vice versa, and the round between Glasgow and Stirling accomplished in one day. It can also be reached from Loch Lomond. From Callander, the next stage in our progress northwards is Lochearnhead. The pedestrian may reach it from Loch Achray, by crossing the hill through Glenfinlas. Leaving Lochearnhead for Loch Tay, we reach Killin, and proceed by either side of the lake, the south preferable, to Kenmore, thence to the lower part of Glenlyon, and to Fortingal. But the tourist ought not to omit a visit to the Falls of Dloness, at Aberfeldy. Instead of pursuing the course of the Tay, our advice is to cross from FortingaF to Strathtummel, either at Tummel Bridge, or Kinloch Rannoch, and to descend that valley, either crossing at the bridge of Garry, or by boat at Pitlochrie, farther down. Hence, through the romantic pass of Killiecrankie, we enter Blair Athole. Having examined the Falls of Bruar and Fender, and the beauties of Glen Tilt, the traveller, retracing his steps, will proceed to Dunkeld and Perth. The whole length of the devious route here chalked out is, from Stirling about 230, from Glasgow 260 miles. The main and direct line from Stirling to Loch Catrine, Loch Tay, Strathtummnel, Blair, Dunkeld, and Perth, is about 150 miles.

Reconducting the reader now to the north, we would direct his notice to the high claims of the river Findhorn, and of Strathspey, to a share of the tourist's attention. An excursion from Inverness by Fort-George and Cawdor Castle to Forres, and thence up the Findhorn to Farness; or if on foot, to Free-burn, and from either of these places to Grantown and the upper district of Strathspey, will be found full of interest. The distance from Inverness to Forres, Freeburn, Bridge of Carr,Grantown,Kinrara, and back to Inverness, may be about 140 miles; or, proceeding straight from Forres to Grantown, about twenty miles less.

If desirous of becoming acquainted with Ross-shire and the northern counties, the traveller may make an agreeable journey, of 150 miles, from Inverness, by Dingwall, to Loch Carron, and back by Dornie, Shielhouse, and Loch Ness. We would especially recommend him to diverge from Auchnasheen to the head of Loch Maree, and after satisfying himself with the wild beauties of this fine sheet of water, whether as to he seen at its upper extremity, or by a sail to its numerous islands, or to the further end, let him, making if he incline a circuit byGareloch, (now accessible by a road along Loch Maree) proceed from Kinloch Ewe to the head of Loch Torridon; there to send back his vehicle to Auchnasheen, and to go on to meet him at Jeantown, while he takes boat for the village of Shieldaig, and thence walks on by Kishorn, or, better still, round by Apple-cross, to Jeantown; where, resuming his conveyance, he will pursue the course indicated by Dornie — and he had better take Plockton and Balmacarra by the way—to Shielhouse and Invermoriston, devoting a day at Shielhouse to visit the Falls of Glomack. On his way to Loch Ness he can cross at Foyers to the Fall, and returning, take a run from Drumnadrochet for four or five miles up Glen Urquhart. With a gig, this excursion will occupy about seven or eight days, and we could hardly point out a more varied and interesting succession of scenery. The tourist will find some rich and fine scenery between Dingwall and Invergordon; and, if an admirer of a fertile grain country, he will in Easter Ross, between the latter place and Tarbet Ness, find a great extent of land in as high a state of cultivation as any in the kingdom. In five or six days, the active pedestrian may, from Strathgarve, on the Loch Carron road, make a circuit by Loch Broom and Ullapool, Poolewe on Loch Maree, Gareloch and Loch Torridon, to Jeantown, a stretch of wild and grand scenery, but very little known; recently, however, much opened up by connecting lines of road, wanting only a few miles between Strath Broom and Little Loch Broom, to complete the communication ; or from Ullapool, a walk of twenty miles past Achall, conducts by a beautiful route to Oikel Bridge, on the Assynt and Golspie road ; whence the traveller can shape his course either to the north or east coast of Sutherlandshire. Whether he enters Ross-shire or not, he ought to visit the Falls of Kilmorack, on the Beauly; and he will not be disappointed if he penetrate to the head of Strathglass or Glenstrathfarar, or to Loch Africk; nor, if on foot, can he find a tract more worthy of being explored than the shores of Benneveian and Loch Affrick, and descending thence into Kintail, past the stupendous Fall of Glomak. This indeed is a route which will well repay the pedestrian tourist's pains, should he choose it in connexion with that indicated by Dingwall, Jeantown, and Shielhouse, proceeding thence through Strath Africk to Strathglass, instead of proceeding from Shielhouse by Loch Ness, which, with Glenmoriston, Urquhart, and Foyers, can be visited with equal convenience from Loch Ness. To render Lochs Benneveian and Affrick objects of more frequent attraction to all classes of travellers, nothing is wanted but the connexion of the head of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass, which requires the formation of only about three miles of road, and better accommodation at Invercanich in Strathglass, all which is projected, and, we trust, will soon be accomplished. This would open up one of the finest drives in the Highlands—say from Inverness, by the south side of Loch Ness to the Pass of Inverfarikaig, Fall of Foyers, Vale of Killean, and Fort-Augustus; thence to Invermoriston (which may be more conveniently approached along the north side of the lake, crossing to Foyers on the way, and recrossing), and eight or nine miles up the glen—along Loch Ness side to Drumnadrochet, and up Glen Urquhart into Strathglass at Invercannich, seven miles above Struy Bridge—up the course of the Glass to Loch Benneveian, to the end of which, eight miles above Invercannich, a good carriage road conducts, and beyond it the way must be found by boat, on foot, or horseback. Retracing his steps, the wayfarer descends Strathglass to Struy, Erchless Castle, the Drhuim, and Falls of Kilmorack, to Beauly Bridge, and regains Inverness by the fine district of the Aird. At Struy, Glenstrathfarar will be found well worthy of attention. The whole of this distance may be about 150 miles, and might be curtailed by omitting some of the scenes. Taken in connexion with the round from Dingwall by Loch Carron, Loch Maree, and Shielhouse (where the Falls of Glomak should not be forgotten), and Invermoriston, we do not think it possible in the compass of ten to fourteen days' travelling for the stranger to select a more admirable route. But for the present the little hiatus at the head of Glen Urquhart mars the continuity.

The circuit of the western section of Sutherlandshire, presenting a succession of wild and, till very recently, almost inaccessible scenes from Bonar Bridge, or the Mound (each about sixty miles from Inverness), to Tongue, Cape Wrath, and round by Assynt, is 180 miles.

From the Mound, round the west and north coasts of Sutherland and of Caithness shires, to John-o'-Groat's House, and thence by the east coast to the same point, the distance is rather more than 260 miles. The lover of cliff scenery will find ample gratification in this tour. An additional week or less will make him acquainted with all the more interesting features of the Orkney Islands.

Expense of Travelling.

12. We will conclude this article by giving a few particulars as to the expense of travelling in the Highlands. The rate of posting is Is. 6d. a mile ; is. a mile, or about 15s. a-day, is usually charged for a car, or four-wheeled vehicle, or 10s. to 12s. with the horse's keep; and 10s. for a gig, under the same condition; and 5s. for a riding horse When required for several days together, about a fifth less than these prices will be taken. Nothing additional to the usual gratuity to himself, and his living, is charged for a lad, if required to take charge of the vehicle. A horse's keep in travelling will cost 4s. to 5s. a-day. The charges at the principal inns, in towns, are pretty much the same as in the south; viz. 2s., or 2s. 6d., to 3s., or 3s. 6d. for dinner ; Is. 3d. to 2s. for a substantial breakfast, or similar evening repast; 1s. to 2s. 6d. and 3s. for a bed, for which a charge is seldom made when the traveller has a horse. Port and sherry, 5s. a bottle ; malt liquor, 8d. or 10d.; brandy, with warm water, at the rate of 3s. 6d. per half pint; whisky about one-half that price, or less. In the country inns, the lower rates mentioned above, or less, are charged. Wine and brandy are seldom kept in the inferior inns, nor malt liquor, or it is of indifferent quality, where there is a land-carriage. Servants in the best inns are paid 4d. to 6d. a meal, by persons travelling singly; in the inferior inns, they do not expect so much. The cabin fare by the steam-boats, from Glasgow to Inverness, is 1: 1s.; from Leith, 16s.; from Aberdeen, 10s.; and from London to Inverness, 3 : 10s.; and 2 : 2s. steerage, living included; from Leith to Orkney, 1: 13s.; from Glasgow to Oban, 10s. 6d.; and thence to Staffa and Iona, and back, 21s.; and to Skye, 25s., steerage, 8s.; passengers paying extra for their eating. Three pounds are charged from London to Aberdeen, living included. The passage by the sailing smacks, between London and Inverness, is 1 :11:6; for which abundance of substantial fare is provided, the average length of the passage being seven or eight days. A berth in one of the Leith and Orkney packets comes to 25s., living included. These reach their destination occasionally in thirty hours; sometimes, though seldom, not for six or ten days. An inside seat in the coach, from Inverness to Perth (116 miles), costs Sts.; an outside, 25s.: the mail 10s. and 7s. more. From Aberdeen to Inverness (108 miles), the charge is 2 inside, and 21s. outside. Between Inverness and Thurso (141 miles), by the mail, the fare is 2: 11 : 6: inside, and 1: 17:6 outside; or 4d. and 3d. per mile. The mail gigs charge about 21d. per mile. Travellers complain with much reason of the burden of having to pay coachmen and guards in Scotland ; each of the former still occasionally only drives one stage, and for an average distance of eleven or twelve miles looks for his sixpence, while the guard expects at least at the rate of one-half that allowance throughout a long distance ; but the English fashion has brought the general rule into use, of being driven forty, fifty, or sixty miles by the same coachman, to whom Is. to 1s. 6d., or 2s., is the customary doucenr. The steamer fares, especially on the west coast, fluctuate from occasional opposition.


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