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Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Route IV: Branch B. (The Black Isle). Inverness, by Kessock Ferry, to Dingwall, Redcastle, Avoch, Fortrose, and Cromarty


Kessock Ferry, paragraph 1.—Roads; Allangrange; Kilcoy; Ferintosh; footnote, History of Redcastle, 2.—Ord of Kessock; Drumderfit; Origin of the Logans; Munlochy; Rosehaugh; Avoch, 3.—Fortrose; Cathedral of Ross; Rosemarkie, 4. General Sketch of the Black Isle, or Ardmeanach, footnote; Cromarty; Trade, 5. Traditions of Cromarty, 6.--Conveyances; Sculptured Stones at Nigg, Ect; Geology, 7.—Old Churches; Urquharts of Cromarty, 8.

1. Tnr road along the west bank of the river Ness conducts us towards its estuary, through the lands of Merkinch, to Kessock (Kesswick) Ferry, the narrowest part of the Moray Firth, and the main passage to the Black Isle, Dingwall, and the west of Ross-shire. This strait is about three-quarters of a mile broad, and is now one of the safest ferries in the north. The current of the river Beauly, which flows down next the northern shore, and the reflux of the ebb of the sea meeting the flow, create, at certain periods, an agitation of the waters which is more dangerous in appearance than in reality. It is thus pompously described by Franck, an officer of Cromwell's army, who wrote memoirs on his sojourn in Scotland—who, besides the dangers of the waves, says that his boat was nearly upset by the porpoises, "which vented so vehemently at the stern :"—" In the midst of this Pontus Cambrosia is a white spumation, or frothy, foaming, sparkling spray, that resembles via lactea; occasioned, as you see, from luxuriant tides and aggravating winds, that violently contract the surface of the sea, and so amalgamises them together, that neither the one nor the other can divide nor expatiate itself till inevitably sucked into the bowels of the ocean." Of the many beautiful points of view around Inverness, that, from the midst of Kessock ferry, of the Beauly and Moray Firths, and of the heights which line the great glen, of the town itself, and river's mouth, and the surrounding fields and hanging woods, especially at full tide, is one of the most interesting and extensive.

2. The peninsula lying between the firths of Beauly and Cromarty, called the "Black Isle," or "Edderdail" (the land between the two seas), or "Ardmeanach" (the monk's height), consists chiefly of three great ridges parallel to one another, and running nearly from south-west to north-east, of which the loftiest and farthest hack, called the "Maolbuy" (or yellow hill), rises to the height of between 600 and 700 feet, and which, though now enclosed and extensively planted, was, till of late years, a bleak undivided commonty. To the tourist this peninsula is useful, as affording him short routes either to the `Vest or North Highlands, and as presenting, in all directions, from its high, undulating surfaces, most grand and extensive views, whether he looks southward, across the Moray and Beauly Firths, upon Inverness, and towards the recesses of the Great Glen and Strathglass, or on attaining the summit of the highest ridge, he beholds all at once beneath him the expanse of the Cromarty Firth, embosomed in fine cultivated grounds, with high and wild mountains of every shape and size extending in grand groups and chains behind them.

From the inn of North Kessock, on the Ross-shire side of the ferry, where carriages, gigs, and saddle-horses can be had, two roads proceed, one by the sea-side westwards by Redcastle [The fine old tower of Redeastle, which is still inhabited by the proprietor, Colonel H. D. Baillie, was anciently the head castle of the lordship of Ardmeanach, and also a royal castle. "On the forfeiture of the old Earls of Ross, it was annexed inalienably by parliament to the Scottish Crown in 1455; and in 1482, the Earl of Huntlic, the king's lieutenant in the north, bestowed the keepin' of Redcastle on Hugh Rose, Baron of Kilravock. It was seized soon thereafter by hector Mackenzie, and the country of Ardmeanach spuilzied by William Forbes in Strathglaish, Chisholm of Comer, and other accomplices, against whom Rose of Kilravock obtains sentence, 12th May 1492. Thus armed, the Earl of Huntlie farther gave commission to Mackintosh, Grant, Kilravock, and others, to the number of 3000, to go against Cainoch M'Cainoch and his kin (the occupiers of Glen Cainoch) for spuilzing Ardmeanach, and killing Harold Chisholm in Strathglaish, and that they did harrie, spuiizie, and slay the clan Kynech by his command, as the king's rebels and oppressors of the hedges" (Kilravock MSS.) Tradition says, that when Queen Mary was at Inverness, on which occasion it is also believed her majesty bestowed the name of Beauties or Beauty on the priory there, she visited Redcastle. It was afterwards burnt in Montrose's time; and the family of Mackenzie of Redcastle (the first of the house being Rory More, second son of Kenneth, fifth Laird of Kintail, and who acquired the estate about the year 1570) having become unfortunate, the property was sold in 1790 by authority of the Court of Session, and purchased for £25,000 by Mr. Grant of Sheuglie, the gross rental bein- about 11000 a-year. In 1824, the same estate was bought by the late Sir William Pettes for 1135,600 but has since been resold to the present proprietor for a sum considerably less. On the estate of lied-castle, the tourist will pass the ruins of the old chapel of Gilchrist (or Christ's church), the burning of which is described in the horrid "Raid of Gillie-christ," (page 149.)] (five miles), which joins the great post road at the Muir of Ord (three miles on, and two miles from Beauly), and is continued across it to Moy and Contin (five miles more), on the Loch Carron road from Dingwall. The other road from Kessock holds over the hill, in a north-west direction, for Dingwall, and at the first toll-bar (two miles on) a branch of it strikes off for .Munlochy, Avoch, Fortrose, Rosemarkie, and Cromarty. Another branch from the Dingwall road breaks off three miles farther on, at the Tore Inn or public-house, and which also conducts to Avoch and Fortrose, without passing through Munlochy; and an arm of it strikes west from nearly the same point of junction for Redcastle and Beauly. Near the top of the ridge of the Maolbuy, a very tedious but straight road proceeds due east to Cromarty, intersected by cross ones from Munlochy and Rosemarkie leading to Invergordon ferry. At Arpaphily (three miles from Kessock) we pass a small Episcopal chapel, and opposite it, in the hollow on the right, the house of Allangrange, and the site of an old chapel of the Knights Templars. Farther on is the Castle of Kilcoy (Sir Evan Mackenzie), on the height above Redcastle, and behind it one of the largest cairns---enclosed with circles of upright stones—in the north of Scotland. These lie about half a mile north-west of the tower. Descending thence towards the head of the Cromarty Firth, the traveller will behold one of the most magnificent panoramic views in the country, as he passes through the barony of Ferintosh, a district long celebrated for its superior whisky. The privilege of distilling spirits in this barony, not subject to the excise laws, was granted to President Forbes of Culloden (the proprietor), a poor recompense for his extraordinary exertions in behalf of the Hanoverian government; and it was bought back by the Crown, in 1786, for a sum of about £20,000. The tower of Ryefield, on the right, is the messuage of this estate, which belongs to the county of Nairn; and on the left will be observed another small tower or fortalice—that of Kinkell, on the estate of Conon, the old residence, on the eastern side of the island, of the Gairloch family, an ancient and powerful branch of the clan Mackenzie, now represented by a promising youth, Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, whose estate in this quarter is also valuable and beautiful. At Scudal Bridge (two miles from Dingwall) we join the main post road. (See page 388.)

3. Let us now revert to the roads proceeding from Kessock to the eastern parts of the Black Isle. The high, round-caped hill, immediately to the east of Kessock, is called the Ord, or Wardhill of Kessock, and is crowned with a strong walled structure, extensively vitrified. One of its acclivities on the right hand, as we descend towards Munlochy by a side or district road, is called the ridge of Drumderfit or Druim dour, " the ridge of tears," which, as the many cairns strewed over it would indicate, was about the year 1400 the scene of a strange and sanguinary event. Donald, the then Lord of the Isles, having collected a powerful army, made a descent upon Ross, and encamped on this ridge, opposite the town of Inverness, which he threatened with fire and sword, if not propitiated by an exorbitant ransom. Happily for the town, the provost, whose name was Junor, was a man of penetration and address. Aware that Donald's army was greatly fatigued, and in want of provisions, Provost Junor contrived to smuggle into the camp a large quantity of strong spirits, which were eagerly consumed by the isles-men, who soon sunk, under the power of the intoxicating beverage, into the most profound slumber. In the mean time, the provost collected a number of resolute adherents, and crossing Kessock ferry at dead of night, suddenly fell on Donald's camp and massacred almost every man. The farm of Drumderfit was, till very lately, occupied for upwards of 400 years by a respectable family of the name of Logan, from the Lothians, who were extensive merchants or traffickers, and who, tradition says, received by marriage into their house the last heiress of the old Bissets of Lovat, an alliance for which they paid dearly, through the inroads and jealousies of the clan Fraser, who succeeded the Bissets in the Lovat estates. The Logans also suffered from their attachment to Episcopacy; but they afterwards retrieved their losses, by becoming commissioners for Forbes of Culloden, for the sale of the licensed Ferintosh whisky. Munlochy is a little post town, situated at the head of a small but picturesque inlet of the Moray Firth, from which a road continues nearly due north, across the elevated and far-extending moorland, to Invergordon Ferry on the Cromarty Firth, and another branch-in- from it leads straight forward along the ridge of the hill to Cromarty. That by the coast introduces us, four miles on, to the little fishing village of Avoch, passing previously the mansion-houses and grounds of Rosehaugh (Sir James Mackenzie of Scatwell, Bart.), and of Avoch (Alexander G. Mackenzie, Esq.), and, one mile further, to the ancient burgh of Fortrose.

[Between Avoch and Fortrose a broad green sward formerly extended along the sea-beach, and was continued to the Ness of Cliauonry, on which the burghers used to play at bowls and golf, and along which the great Sir George Mackenzie, Lord Advocate to Charles IL, and author of some of our best Scottisl'i statutes, used to ride with a large escort when on his way to court or Parliament. It abounded with the little white Burnet rose (rosa spinosissisna), and hence the name of the estate, "Vallis Rosarum," or "Rosehaugh." On a rocky mound now called "Ormond," or the "Lad' Hill," at the west end of these green links, stood the ancient Castle of Avoch, to which, as related by Nvyntoun, the Regent, Sir Andrew the Moravia, "a lord of great bounty, of sober and chaste life, wise and upright in council, liberal and generous, devout and charitable, stout, hardy, and of gr eat courage," retired from the fatigues of war, and ended his days about the year 1338, and was buried in the "Cathedral Kirk of Rosmarkyn." Passing afterwards into the possession of the Earls of Ross, this castle was, on their forfeiture in 1476, annexed to the crown, when James M. created his second son, Duke of Ross, Marquis of Ormond, and Earl of Edirdal, otherwise called ,4rdmanache, and hence this district, i0lich still bears these names, thus became one of the regular appanages of the royal family of Scotland.]

4. As a free town, and as the seat of the bishops of Ross (whose palace or castle was completely, and their cathedral in a great measure, destroyed by Oliver Cromwell), Fortrose was in ancient days a place of considerable consequence; the records of its chanonry or canon courts contained transcripts of almost all the valuable documents relating to the family histories and estates in the county of Ross, and it gave birth to men eminent both in church and state. Here resided the celebrated historian, Bishop Lesley, the last Catholic bishop of Ross, who lost his see for his zealous support of Queen Mary. Dr. Gregory Mackenzie, the laborious compiler of the lives of the most eminent writers of the Scottish nation, also dwelt here, in an old castle belonging to the Earl of Seaforth, and lies interred in the tomb of that family within the cathedral; and a physician of the same name, noted in his day for a work entitled " The Art of preserving Health," is said to have been in his youth a teacher of the grammar school in this burgh. The famous Scottish statesman and lawyer, Sir George Iaclkenzie, often retired from courts and senates to enjoy the delightful and secluded walks about Fortrose ; and the late Sir James Mackintosh, the well-known historian, senator, and author of the "Vindicioe Gallicee," received the rudiments of his education in this place. With the adjoining older burgh of Rosemarkie, which dates its first privileges from Alexander II., and with which the old chanonry of Ross was united by a charter from King James II. (anno 1444), under the common name of Fortross, softened into Fortrose, it now shares the honour of possessing a numerous tribe of knights of the awl and shuttle; but, although provided by government with an elegant and commodious harbour, and by the neighbouring gentry with an academy for the education of youth, and an Episcopal chapel, Fortrose boasts of little or no trade, and no rapidly increasing population. The situation of the town is romantic and sunny, and the grounds about it which have long been under cultivation, are rich and in high order; and when the cathedral green was surrounded by large old trees, before Cromwell's axe was laid to their roots, and the houses of the town were removed to a distance from the cathedral—save that the canons and presbyters of the see had each, near it, his manse, with gardens and court-yards, entered by gothic arched gateways—the whole place must have had a very beautiful and imposing appearance, more like an English ecclesiastical town than a Scotch one. After the Restoration in 1660, the bishops, from poverty, feued out small portions round the edges of the green for building, and thus the sacred enclosures, which were formerly reserved as a site for certain annual fairs, and as a burying-ground, has been encroached upon. Mr. Neale, in his "Ecclesiological Notes" of 1848, thus describes what remains of the cathedral—though his ground plan which accompanies it was too hurriedly got up; and we doubt much his accuracy in separating the south chapel into distinct nave and chancel: " On one side of this green are the remains of the once glorious cathedral, the see of the bishops of Ross. It was not destroyed in the Knoxian Reformation, but by Oliver Cromwell, who applied the stones to the construction of a fort at Inverness.

The fort has perished; the cathedral, in the last stage of decay, still exists. It formerly consisted of choir and nave, with aisles to each, eastern lady chapel, western tower, and chapter-house at the north-east end; what remains consists merely of the south aisle to chancel and nave, and the detached chapter-house. The style is the purest and most elaborate middle-pointed; the material, red sandstone, gave depth and freedom to the chisel ; and the whole church, though probably not 120 feet long from east to west, must have been an architectural gem of the very first description. The exquisite beauty of the mouldings, after so many years of exposure to the air, is wonderful, and shows that, in whatever other respect these remote parts of Scotland were barbarous, in ecclesiology, at least, they were on a par with any other branch of the mediaeval Church. The east window, fragments of the tracery of which hang from the archivolt, must have been magnificent, and consisted of five lights; it is wide in proportion to its height, and must have afforded great scope for throwing up the altar beneath. On the outside, in the gable, there are two lancets, the lower one much longer than the other; the whole effect is extremely satisfactory; I know not, indeed, where one could look for a better model for a small collegiate church, and such as might suit the needs of our communion at this moment. There are two windows on the south side, of the same elaborate and beautiful description, but consisting of four lights. The piscina remains, and the mouldings are truly the work of a master. The south aisle was separated from the chancel by two middle pointed arches, now walled up, but not so much injured as to destroy their extreme loveliness. In the first of these arches is a canopied tomb for the foundress, a Countess of Ross, the date of which is probably 1330. Very possibly her lord might be interred in a similar position in the north side of the choir. This must have been one of the most beautiful monuments I ever saw. Between the foot and the easternmost pier, a credence is inserted, sloping up with a stone lean-to against the passage wall. In the second arch is a poor third-pointed high tomb and canopy, with the effigy of a bishop, by tradition, the second bishop of the see; a thing manifestly impossible, unless the monument were erected long after the decease of the person commemorated. The chancel-arch is modern. The nave consists of four bays, and much resembles the chancel in its details : the fourth is, however, blocked off for the burying place of some family (the Mackenzies of Sea-forth). In the second arch is another third-pointed monument. On the south side the first window is injured ; the second resembles those in the chancel arch ; the third is high up and mutilated ; the fourth is a plain lancet. The west front is remarkably simple, and contains nothing but a small two-light middle-pointed window, without foliation. The rood turret still exists, and is a very elegant, though somewhat singular composition. It stands at the junction of the south aisle of nave and chancel, and acts as a buttress. Square at the base, it is bevelled into a semi-hexagonal [Octagonal. It forms a cross or short transept to the chapel.] superstructure, and has elegant two-light windows on alternate sides. The top is modern. The chapter-house, as at Glasgow, consisted of two stages, a crypt and the chapter-house properly speaking. The crypt still remains, and is used as a coal-hole ; the upper part, which has been rebuilt, is now a school and court-room. The remarkable disorientation of the chancel to the south is worthy of notice; it gives, at first sight, the effect of a gigantic apse to the whole north side of the ruins. There is a Scotch chapel in Fortrose, a horrible conglomeration of pinnacles, without chancel—without any one good point; it seems quite new."

We trust her Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests will now save the remains of the cathedral from farther decay, and protect the green from encroachments, by enclosing it as a place of healthy recreation for the inhabitants.

A new parish church has lately been erected by subscription, and a stipend for a minister appropriated out of a fund left by a worthy bailie of Fortrose in the end of the seventeenth century, intended for the benefit of the Episcopal communion. This building, and a Free Church near it, both make pretensions to modern Gothic, but they are spiritless and devoid of symmetrical proportions. The Gaelic language is but little known in this or the adjoining parish of Avoch, but the English spoken dialect is peculiar, and abounds in obsolete words and phrases, many of which, especially among the fishermen at Avoch, are Danish. So late as 1686, the bishop and his chapter made over the grass of the cathedral green, and the feu and manse maills and duties, to the schoolmaster of the parish, on account of the "troubles," and seeing that Episcopacy was then again likely to be overturned. The first Presbyterian pastor was established here about the year 1710. Fortrose can boast of a most comfortable inn, and private lodgings are easily had, both here and at Rosetnarkie, which are delightful sea-bathing quarters. The manse and church of Rosemarkie (on the site of the tomb of St. Boniface, the patron saint of this parish, and who is believed to have taken up his residence here on a mission from the Pope in the seventh century), a little to the east, are beautifully situated. In digging the foundations of the present church, a large stone coffin was come upon, and a cross, which is beautifully carved with foliage and knotwork on both sides, but without any inscription, and was likely the patron saint's cross. It was coolly appropriated as a grave-stone, and broken in two. The projecting sandy point of Chanonry, running out into the firth, between Fortrose and Rosemarkie, is terminated by a fine and useful lighthouse, and by the ferry-house, where we take boat for Fort-George and the Inverness-shire coast.

From Fortrose, the public road to Cromarty sweeps across to the opposite firth, and a shorter branch by Eathie, but at present in bad order, bends inland across the intervening hills, whilst beyond Raddery there is a further choice of the road from Munlochy to Cromarty. A footpath along the cliffs overhanging the sea is generally preferred by the pedestrian, and to the geologist we would particularly recommend it, that he may visit the small but very curious Has deposit near Eathic, and the sandstone beds with the Ichthyolite concretions, in the description of which Mr. Hugh .Miller laid the foundations of his fame. We may also remind our scientific friends, that along the sea-beach eastward from Rosemarkie, they can form a good collection of specimens of hornblende-rock, chlorite and actynolite schist, quartz-rock, and granite and gneiss charged with garnets; and by the botanist, these 'rocks will be found extremely prolific in herbaceous plants, ferns, and mosses.

5. Cromarty is celebrated all the world over for the safety of its bay (the Portus Salutus of the ancients) the convenience and neatness of its harbour, the boldness of its bluff promontories (called the Sutors)—the opposing disjoined members of the coast line—and which protect it from the blasts of the north-east, south, and west, and for the exceeding beauty and fertility of its neighbourhood. At morning's glow it hails the sun, rising, between the Sutors, from the bed of the German Ocean, and at even it beholds his level rays gilding the massive shoulders of Ben Wyvis, and burnishing the broad retiring waters of its own inland firth. Cromarty is often a stirring place, and a refuge in storms to all vessels which may be out on the adjoining seas. It has a fine pier and lighthouse, and a beautiful esplanade, and has a good beach for sea-bathers. It contains also a manufactory for bagging, one or two timber yards, several cooperages, a brewery, two banks, and a depot for pickled salmon and for the other produce of the country, which is collected here previous to being carried away to the southern markets by the Inverness trading vessels and steamers. A considerable trade in pork has for fifty years been carried on at Cromarty: the annual value now cured may be from £5000 to £10,000. The import and export trade of Ross-shire formerly passed through this town; but the erection of a harbour at the more convenient and central port of Invergordon has, of late, diverted it very much; and the many ruinous and tottering buildings in Cromarty indicate, that unless a new spur to its commerce is found out, its glory will speedily depart. The estate on which it is situated has been, till very recently, under trust, and the subject of litigation, which also of course mar the prosperity of the whole neighbourhood. It now belongs to the family of Mrs. Rose Ross. As at Rosemarkie, Fortrose, and Dingwall, the ancient cross of Cromarty is still standing, though it is perhaps questionable whether the worthy burghers should be allowed to retain any such mark of distinction, their ancestors having, through their simplicity, and little estimation of those political honours for the acquisition of which people now-a-days manifest such inordinate zeal, resigned to his _!Majesty King Charles II. their privilege of presenting a delegate to parliament. Cromartyshire is now united with Ross.

6. Macbeth was Thane of Cromarty or Crombathi, [The curved or crooked bay.] and Cromarty House stands on the site of the old castle of the Earls of Ross. The seaward quarters of the town are inhabited by a colony of fishermen, who go ten or twelve miles out to sea to the haddock and herring banks, where they find their perilous livelihood. A friend and fellow townsman of their own, Mr. Hugh Miller, their most interesting and graphic historian, a few years ago, among his other writings, published an account of these hardy fishermen; from which we extract the following notices of the former history of the town of Cromarty :-

"James the Sixth attempted to civilize the Highlands and Isles, by colonising them with people brought from the southern counties of the kingdom; and his first experiment, says Robertson, was made in the Isle of Lewis, where, as the station was conveniently situated for prosecuting the fishing trade, he settled a colony brought from the shores of Fife. The historian adds further, that the project miscarried in this instance, through the jealousy of the islanders, who were alike unwilling to forsake their old habits, or to acquire new; and that it was altogether abandoned on the accession of James to the throne of England. That Cromarty was originally peopled by some such colony, appears at the least probable, from the following circumstances. The surnames of the oldest families in it are peculiar to the southern counties of Scotland; and the Gaelic language, though that of the adjacent country, was scarcely known in it prior to the erection of its hemp manufactory.

"At the close of the seventeenth century, and early in the eighteenth, the herring fishery of Cromarty was very successful; and the era of the Union is still spoken of as the time of the 'herring drove.'

"During the era of the `herring drove,' Cromarty was a place of considerable commercial importance. I have heard from old men, that at the beginning of the last century, not less than five three-masted vessels belonged to it, besides others of lesser size. Like many of the trading towns of Scotland, it suffered from the Union, and the failure of the herring fishing completed its ruin. It fell so low before the year 1730, that a single shopkeeper, who was not such literally, for in the summer season he travelled the country as a pedlar, more than supplied the inhabitants. It is a singular fact, that the tide now flows twice every twenty-four hours over the spot once occupied by his shop.

"Those acquainted with the natural history of the herring, know that it is not uncommon for it to desert on the sudden its accustomed haunts.

"Cromarty, as I have stated, after the failure of its herring fishery, dwindled into a place of no importance; and its excellent harbour, which, as an old black-letter folio states, was so early as the sixteenth century `callit by Scottish folks the hailI (health) of seamen,' proved of value only to a few half-employed fishermen, or to the voyager driven from his course by tempest. This change materially affected the character of the inhabitants.

"Unsuccessful exertion is naturally succeeded by inert apathy, a mood the most unfavourable both to learning and the arts. During the era of the `herring drove,' strange as it may seem, there were fishermen in Cromarty who were no contemptible scholars. There is a tradition that one of the Urquharts (extensive proprietors in the neighbourhood) of that time, when sauntering along the shore, accompanied by two guests, gentlemen from England, asked a fisherman he met several questions in Latin, and to the surprise of the visitors received prompt answers in the same language. In the age which succeeded, education among this class was entirely neglected. Nothing can give a stronger conception of their nerveless apathy than the fact that children of the men who, their rank in life considered, were both learned and intelligent, scarcely knew that the world extended more than a thousand miles round the place of their nativity. Though inhabitants of a sea-port town, they believed that at the distance of a few weeks' sailing the ocean was bounded by the horizon, and that all beyond was darkness: but though thus ignorant, not Virgil himself was better acquainted with the signs of the weather, or could tell more truly when storms or calms might be expected.

"The domestic economy of the people at this age is deserving of notice. Their clothing they manufactured themselves. Every half-dozen neighbours had a boat, and every family a strip of land. The latter supplied them with bread, and by the former they supplied themselves with fish. At midsummer, when cod, ling, mackerel, &c., are to be caught near the shore, it was customary for them to sail to Tarbet Ness, an excellent fishing station, twenty miles north of Cromarty, and stay there for several weeks, laying up store for winter. The day was occupied in fishing; at night they moored their boats and converted the sails into tents. In autumn the more enterprising among them formed parties, and scoured the firth in quest of herrings. During the time of the 'drove,' a premium of twenty pounds Scots was awarded every season to the boat's crew that caught the first barrel of fish. This premium (I have not learned from what quarter it came) was afterwards much more the object of the fishermen than the herrings themselves; but it was not every season they caught enough to entitle them to it. The grandfather of the writer, a man who witnessed the smoke of Culloden from the hill of Cromarty, and who, in his eighty-fifth year, possessed all his faculties, bodily and mental, frequently made one in these parties. I have often, when a child, stood by his knee, listening with an intense interest to his minute characteristic details of men and times, which were unknown almost to every other person living. From his narratives, and the knowledge I have acquired of the character of the present age, I find data to conclude, that in the last ninety years, there has been a change in the manners and habits of the inhabitants of this part of the country, greater beyond comparison than any other that has taken place among them since the era of the Reformation. The men of the present age in the north of Scotland are much more unlike their predecessors of the reign of Queen Anne and George the First, than the latter were to the people who lived there three hundred years before. To give a detail of the signs of this change, to examine into the various causes which effected it, and to consider and balance its advantages and disadvantages, physical and moral, would be a work of interest, and, as the subject now presents to me, one not of great difficulty."

The writer from whom this extract is taken is now well known to the public as a poet, a man of science, and a reviewer; and Mr. Miller's work on the " Old Red Sandstone," and his "Foot-prints of the Creator, or the Ostrolepis of Stromness," will long be popular proofs that we may find "sermons in stones, and good in everything."

7. In summer a two-horse coach runs daily to and from Inverness and Dingwall by Kessock, or by Beauly, and proceeds up Strathpeffer, for and with passengers visiting the mineral wells. Another coach used, in favourable and busy seasons, to proceed from Kessock by Avoch and Fortrose to Cromarty, but for the present it has been discontinued. [The post gig, carrying three passengers, now supersedes it.] The London, Leith, and Inverness steamers regularly call at Invergordon and Cromarty, landing passengers and goods by the way at Fortrose and Fort-George; and a small steamer has lately been introduced solely for the Moray Firth and Sutherlandshire coasting trade.

A packet-boat in summer sails daily between Nairn and Cromarty (fare for a single passenger being 2s., or about 15s. for the boat), and another twice a-week between Fortrose and Inverness. [The antiquary should not omit, while at Cromarty, crossing to Icing, and seeing the beautiful sculptured stone cross in the churchyard there, and the similar ones at Hilton and Sandwick, five or six miles to the eastward. They resemble the great carved pillar at Forces; but are in some respects more interesting and beautiful, the figures on them being more distinctly Christian. The geologist, also, will find the ichthyolite beds, so fully illustrated by Mr. Miller, at low water, in the bay between the town and the Sutor of Cromarty; the has and fish beds at Ęthie, beyond the Sutor, on the margin of the Moray Firth; and the nearest cliff to the ferry-house on the Nigg shore, exhibits the line of junction of the primary with the red sandstone and fish beds, which enabled Mr. Miller to determine the true position of the latter, and which he regards as displaying an epitome of the geology of the whole north of Scotland, and especially of Caithness-shire.]

8. Three miles westward of Cromarty, by a good road, the tourist will reach a pier and ferry, where a boat may be had for Invergordon, and into which carriages and horses can be safely taken. We pass on the way Pointzfield (Sir G. G. Munro), Bra,erlan;well (General Sir Hugh Fraser), and New Hall (Shaw
Esq.), and the interesting remains of the old church of Kirkmichael, so picturesquely described by Mr. Miller. A district road proceeds westwards past the modern kirk and manse of Resolis, which joins the main post road from Inverness to Thurso, near Scudel bridge, one branch of it, already mentioned, striking across the hill southwards, past Belmaduthy, the beautiful residence of Sir Evan Mackenzie of Kilcoy, to Munlochy, and the other proceeding by Findon and the shore side to Alcaig Ferry, at the mouth of the river Conon. This road is interesting, as it commands most extensive and beautiful views of Easter Ross and Ferindonald, and at its western extremity, looks right into the long vista of Strathpeffer, having the town of Dingwall most suitably placed at its entrance, and in the centre of the picture. Beneath the road, likewise, we see the ruins of the ancient church and grave-yard of Cullicudden—the old Bishop's palace of Castle Craig—and the site of a church dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The whole district, in fact, was a very early seat of the church (probably from the seventh century), and when her earthly power fell, it was taken up by the wild iron-fisted barons—the Urquharts of Cromarty—the gable of one of whcue mansions at Kinbeachy, with the date on it of the middle of the sixteenth century, is still standing; and hard by, a cottage contains one of their monumental tablets, showing, from its astrological dates and signs, their learning, and probable connection with the superstitions of diabolrie, or, as the people called it, the "black art."


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