22. We have been led to
linger so long over the Tweed, the Clyde, and the Border land, that we can
but very cursorily notice the other objects in the Lowlands, to which we
purpose to direct the tourist's attention.
The railway station in
Edinburgh, of the Edinburgh and Glasgow, as of the North British Railway, is
at a central point between the New and OId Towns, and near the east end of
Princes Street. Along the line to Glasgow, the most striking portions of the
route, in point of scenery, are the wooded Corstorphine Hills, near
Edinburgh, studded with •numerous villas, and a favourite resort from
Edinburgh—the very beautiful wide valley of the Almond between nine or ten
miles from the city—the view from the Avon Valley Viaduct, about the
nineteenth mile, where the Forth, with Stirling Castle, the Ochils, and
Grampians come in sight—and that beyond Falkirk, where the eye commands the
battle-fields of Falkirk and Bannockburn, the town of Falkirk, Stirling Rock
and Castle, a large seetion of the fertile valley of the Forth, with the
high mountain screens beyond.
The viaduct over the Almond
is a most imposing work, consisting in all of forty-two arches, with very
extensive and high embankments. Between Broxburn and Winchburgh Stations is
Newliston House, built by the celebrated John Earl of Stair, and the ruins
of Niddry Castle, Queen .Mary's first resting-place, on her flight from Loch
Leven, under the escort of the then owner of Niddry, the gallant Seton Earl
23. But far the most
interesting object to the antiquarian is the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, 174
miles from Edinburgh. The shell of the building—a large quadrangular pile,
enclosing a spacious court—is entire, and with the old church—founded, with
so many other of our ecclesiastical structures, by David I.-still used as a
place of worship, present an extensive and impressive mass of architecture,
as seen from the railway. But the tourist ought not to content himself with
the transient views thus obtained; he will be highly gratified by a closer
inspection. This was the finest of the palaces, and a favourite retreat of
our Scottish kings, and the birth-place of Mary Queen of Scots. Her father
being told, on his deathbed at Falkland, of the birth of a princess, he
uttered the expressions-6` 'Is it so? then God's will be done; it came with
a lass, and it will go with a lass,' and turned his face and died." The room
of her birth is shewn, and also Queen Margaret's bower, where she
"All lonely sat and wept the
The internal elevations of
each side differ one from the other. On one side is the Parliament Hall, a
large and elegant apartment. In the centre of the court are the remains of a
curious and elaborately-wrought fountain, erected by James V., one somewhat
similar to which has been erected in the town. The castle overlooks a pretty
sheet of water. It was on the streets of Linlithgow the Regent Murray was
shot by Bothwellhaugh. The church forms the largest place of worship (182 by
100 feet, including the aisles), and one of the finest pieces of Gothic
workmanship in Scotland; and in it are buried many of the Great of ages
bygone. About three miles beyond Linlithgow, pass the ruins of Almond,
formerly Haining Castle, at one time an important fortress.
24. Falkirk, 251 miles from
Edinburgh, is distinguished for the great cattle trysts held there, and is
of historical interest, from the action fought in its immediate vicinity,
near the village of Grahamston, in 1298, when Wallace was worsted; and the
more recent battle of Falkirk, in the Forty-five, when General Hawley
suffered a signal defeat from the Highland army. In the churchyard are
interred Sir John Graham, the friend of Wallace and his worthy compeer, and
Sir John Stewart of Bon-kill, who both fell in the first, and Sir Robert
Monro of Fowlis and his brother Doctor Monro, who were killed in the second
of these national contests.
About two miles to the north
are the Carron, the greatest iron-works in existence, and to which admission
is now readily obtained.
Between Falkirk and
Castlecary, which is 151 miles from Glasgow, passengers for Stirling and
Perth diverge by the Scottish Central, and at Kirkintilloch, nearly nine
miles on, the Monkland Railway branches off on the left to Airdrie, while a
little way further on, another branch leads oil the right to the romantic
glen of Campsie.
GLASGOW TO AYR.
25. The Depot of the
Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway is off George Square, and the Booking Offices
of the Glasgow and Ayr, and Glasgow and Greenock lines, will be found at the
south end of Glasgow Bridge. The tourist will, in all probability,
experience unexpected disappointment in the aspect of the country on the
route to Ayr, though it is generally well cultivated, and at Lochwinnoch and
Loch Kilbirnie, between the sixteenth and twentieth miles, long shelving
hill-sides rise in almost unbroken sheets of mingled corn and woodland, and
with the fine grounds of Castle Sempil on the former; the glare of the iron
furnaces near Beith, adding a peculiar feature of their own. Indeed, great
part of the country traversed by the line, and by the branch from Dalry to
Kilmarnock, is a very rich mineral field; but the portion of Ayrshire
through which the railway passes is generally flat and tame, particularly
when it deflects along the coast, without the redeeming richness which the
dairy fame of Ayrshire would lead one to anticipate, and quite different
from the fine hilly coast of the Firth of Clyde, and the bold and beautiful
features of the Carrick shores to the south of Ayr.
Between Glasgow and Paisley
are the ruins of Crookston Castle, where Mary and Darnley sojourned for a
Paisley contains upwards of
60,000 inhabitants, and is celebrated for its manufactories in shawls,
silks, and velvets. The chancel of its fine abbey is still used as the
parish church. Beyond Paisley are "the Newton Wuds" and "Braes o' Gleniffer,"
sung by Tannahill, and the lands of Elilerslie, the patrimony and
birth-place of Wallace.
At Dalry, 23 miles from
Glasgow, a branch, 10,1 miles long, leads to Kilmarnock. To the eastward
lies the proper district of the celebrated Ayrshire cows.
Kilwinning is the seat of the
first Freemason Lodge established in Scotland, which it was by a party of
free masons, from the continent, who came to assist in building the abbey.
It is also distinguished by the favour in which archery has been held here
for nearly four centuries; and the custom of shooting for the popiujay,
described in Old Mortality, is still kept up.
Here, 26 miles from Glasgow, a branch leads to Saltcoats and Ardrossan, the
latter 5- miles distant—a favourite watering-place, and a point of departure
and arrival of steamers, especially for Fleetwood, in connection with the
Between Kilwinning and Irvine
appear the towers of Eglinton Castle, the seat of the Earl of Eglinton, a
spacious, modern castellated mansion, surrounded by extensive plantations
and very large old trees. Other towns—Irvine (the birth-place of James
Montgomery the poet, and of Galt the novelist) and Troon—are passed on the
way to Ayr, where the towering mountains of Arran, which had been in sight
for some time, continue to attract the eye, and Ailsa Craig shows itself in
26. Ayr is a very pretty
town, with a fine river running through it, navigable into the heart of the
town, and having a suburb of fine villas to the south. It possesses several
historical associations connected with Wallace and Bruce. Two statues
commemorate the first, one by the self-taught sculptor Thom, ornamenting a
building on the site of the tower where the hero had been confined. The
Parliament which settled the succession was held by the latter in the
The principal localities
connected with the name of Burns, about Ayr, are the banks of the Doon,
within less than three miles to the south—and some spots adjoining, which we
will specify—and the villages of Tarbolton and 31auchline, eight and eleven
miles to the east. On the banks of the Doon, close by the "Auld Brig o' Doon,"
a beautiful monument, which cost upwards of £3000, has been erected to the
memory of the great Peasant Bard. It is a temple, consisting of nine
Corinthian pillars, resting on a rustic triangular base, surrounded by
ornamental shrubbery, and set down in the midst of a beautiful country, and
immediately overlooking those immortalized banks and braes, soft and lovely,
"o' Bonnie Doon." Within an apartment on the ground floor are exhibited
several interesting relics, and a full length statue of the poet by F]axman
; and in an adjoining grotto are two figures of Souter Jo/may and Tam o'
Shanter by Thom.
Before reaching the monument,
however, close by the roadside, and about two miles from Ayr, is the
cottage—a clay bigging, a but and a ben —built by his father with his own
hands, and where Burns was born on 25th January 1759. Between the town and
the cottage will be pointed out—for we follow nearly in the track of
"—honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr as night did canter—"
Whar in the snaw the chapman smoor'd;"
" the kirks and meiklc stane,
Whar drucken Charlie brak's neck-bane
and, nearer the monument,
" the cairn
Whar hunters fand the murder'd bairn."
Between the cottage and the
monument still stands the shell of
"Alloway's said haunted kirk;"
and close by it,
" the well
Where Mungo's wither hang d hersel."
The original of Tam o'
Shanter was a Douglas Grahame, tenant of Shanter, in Carrick, not far from
Turnberry Castle, and a noted toper, with whom Burns made acquaintance when
sojourning, in his nineteenth year, at Kirkoswald.
In 1766, William Burns
removed from the cottage to the farm of .Yount Oliphant, about two miles to
the south-east, and lived there for eight years. Obliged by ill fortune to
leave Mount Oliphant, old Burns next resided with his family at Lochlea, on
the banks of the Ayr, three miles from Tarbolton. The scene of "Death and
Dr. Hornbook" is on the Faile, in the immediate vicinity; and at Coilsfield
lived " Highland Mary," the theme of one of his finest ballads.
On his father's death, when
Burns had attained the age of twenty-five, his brother Gilbert and he took
the farm of Mossgiel, near Mauchline, which is about eleven miles from Ayr.
It was here that greater part of his productions were penned, many of them
in the stable-loft where he slept. Mauchline is the scene of the "Holy Fair"
and "Holy Willie," and of "The Jolly Beggars." "Poor blailie," "The Mouse,"
"The Daisy," and other exquisite compositions were inspired by the objects
around him at Mossgiel, and the Spence of the farm-house is described in the
opening of " The Vision ;" and here he composed the "Cottar's Saturday
Night," which of all his productions, perhaps, most enshrines him in the
hearts of his countrymen. In Mauchline are pointed out "Auld Manse Tinnock's"
house, and the cottage of "Poosie Nansie"—the scene of the "Jolly Beggars."
John Dow, then landlord of the Whitefoord Arms Inn, was the subject of the
amusing epitaph written on a pane of glass in the inn. In the house of his
early friend Mr. Gavin Hamilton he penned the satirical poem, "The Calf,"
and in it, too, he was married; for Mauchline was the scene of his courtship
of "Bonnie Jean," as it was also of his friendship with Lapraik and David
Sillar, "ace o' hearts." "The Lass of Ballochmyle" was a tribute to Miss
Wilhelmina AIexander, after having encountered her in the grounds of
Ballochmyle House. These brief notices must suffice, and may at least serve
to direct the curiosity of those whose admiration of Scotia's Bard may lead
them to do homage to his memory by a visit to "The Land of Burns."
27. Should time permit, a
drive along the Carrick shore, and into the parish of Maybole, before
retracing his steps, will amply repay the tourist. The coast becomes bold
and rocky, and is richly wooded, and lined with numerous fine ruins, as
Greenan, Dunure, and Turnberry, the castle of the Bruce, while Colzean, the
spacious and magnificent baronial seat of the Marquis of Ailsa—representative
of the powerful race of the Kennedies Earls of Cassilis—overhanging the sea,
presents a most picturesque and imposing appearance. The whole of the parish
of Maybole is exceedingly rich, and highly wooded, and possesses a
remarkable number of old feudal castles in various stages of decay. The
extensive ruins of the Cluniac abbey of Crossraguel, also about two miles
from Maybole, will be found full of interest.
COASTS OF GALLOWAY.
28. Should the tourist
incline to make himself acquainted with the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright., a
district not yet much visited, he will find considerable variety of scenery.
After reaching New Galloway, at the head of Loch Ken, by Dalmellington and
Loch Doon, and after surveying the fine scenery about Loch Ken, he had
better—in order to a complete range of the coast, which, and the banks of
the rivers out of the beaten track are best worthy of notice—strike across
through the Highlands of Galloway to Newton-Stewart, whence his course will
be by Creenan to Gatehouse, and thence, by the west side of the Dee, to
Kirkcudbright—from that passing through the wooded grounds of St. Mary's
Isle (Earl of Selkirk), to the fine ruins of Dundrennan Abbey, where Queen
Mary passed her last night in Scotland, and whence she embarked for England.
From Dundrennan, we proceed along the bold line of coast to Balcarry Point,
jutting out into bold and lofty headlands, and indented by numerous bays,
and pierced with many fine caves, at no distant period the haunts of most
determined smugglers. This district is the locality of Ellangowan in Guy
Mannering. Progressing along the bay of that name to the very pretty village
of Auchengairn, afterwards proceed to Orchard-ton, where there is much
beautiful scenery. Thence to Palnackie, and, crossing the Urr, to Dalbeattie,
or diverging first to visit Castle Douglas. The mouth of the Urr commands
beautiful views, and the shore of Colvend is also much indented by deep
caves. Passing through the fertile parish of Kirkbean, in which, near
4rbigland, is the cottage where the notorious Paul Jones was born, we
advance along a range, terminating on the south in the hill of Crifjel,
towards Dumfries by the village of New Abbey—with the beautiful ruin of
Sweetheart Abbey, founded by Devorgilla, mother of John Baliol—and obtain
views of Caerlaverock Castle, on the opposite side of the Nith. The views
from Criffel, or other of the heights on the route we have traced, are very
extensive, ranging over a great extent of the Scottish and English coast,
and seaward embracing the Isle of Man.
is a well built town,
beautifully situated on the east bank of the Nith, distant 71 miles from
Edinburgh, 33 from Carlisle, and 60 from Ayr, distinguished by the general
opulence of its inhabitants—the spaciousness of some of its streets—the
number and style of its public buildings—its excellent academy—its
libraries—the variety of its literary and other institutions, and the rather
gay propensities of the upper classes. Its cemetery is remarkable for the
extraordinary number of fine monumental works, but its chief ornament, and a
much visited shrine, is the beautiful and far seen mausoleum over the mortal
remains of Burns. "it contains in the interior a fine emblematical marble
structure, designed by Peter Turnerelli, which represents the Genius of
Scotland investing Burns in his rustic dress and employment with her poetic
mantle." The best known historical incident in connection with the town is
the assassination by Robert Bruce of "the Red Comyn" in the chapel of the
monastery of Grey Friars in 1305. Dumfries carries on considerable
manufactures in hats, lambs' wool hosiery, and wooden soled shoes, and its
cattle, horse, and pig markets are very important. The chief objects around
Dumfries are the ruins of Lincluden Abbey, originally a nunnery, remarkable
for the large scale of its details, and of which the few remains testify to
the very rich style of decoration. It was a favourite haunt of Burns, whose
last farm was Ellisland, seven miles above the town. About an equal distance
to the south are the ruins of Caerlarerock Castle—of triangular form—a very
strong fortress of the Earls of Nithsdale. At one angle are two round
towers, with the entrance between, and at each of the remaining angles there
was another round tower. Its strength of position depended upon the waters
of the firth and of the Lochar Moss, by which it was hemmed in. It sustained
a memorable siege from Edward I. The old Castle of Tordiorwald is also a
There is also, about eight
miles from Dumfries, the very peculiar district of Lochmaben, with the ruins
of its castle, the strongest fortress on the border. Eight different lochs
lie contiguous in a plain of singular fertility. Amidst these, to appearance
in an island, is the old mean looking burgh of Lochmaben. The fortress on
one of the lochs, with its outworks, designed with great jealousy of
approach, occupied sixteen acres, and was the paternal castle of Robert the
Bruce as Lord of Annandale. The possession of this stronghold was an object
of much solicitude to the monarchs of both kingdoms. The fine ashlar casings
of the walls have been almost all demolished by the Vandal burghers of
Lochmaben, of which several houses are wholly built from the stones. The
lochs abound with a great variety of trout, severals rare in Scotland, among
others vendace, a small delicious fish, almost peculiar to this locality.
Besides Lochmaben, there are four small villages, "the Four Towns," among
the inhabitants of which, called "the King's kindly tenants or rentallers of
Lochmaben," an extensive, very rich haugh is parcelled out on a tenure,
resembling the udal tenure in Orkney—exempted from all the feudal forms and
casualties of the rest, o£ our landed system in Scotland. There are about
250 such proprietors here, whose ancestors have occupied the same lands for
half a-dozen centuries! forming quite a rural aristocracy.
Dumfriesshire rises on the
north into mountain ranges of very considerable elevation, some as high as
3300 feet. From these it subsides into lesser central hills, intersected by
three nearly parallel rivers, the Kith, Annan, and Esk—the courses of which,
as they descend, become wide valleys or basins, which latterly subside into
extensive plains, separated by eminences of moderate height. The face of the
country thus exhibits a very great variety of scenery, the inland portion in
particular being highly diversified.