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Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Branch E. From Invergarry to Loch Hournhead and Cluany


The River Garry and Loch Garry, 1.—Loch Quoich. 2.—I,och Bourn and Pass to Shielhouse, 3.—The Rhaebuie Road; Glen Luina, 4.

1. THE road through Glengarry connects the Great Glen with the head of Loch Mourn, and leaves the former at the comfortable inn of Invergarry. The river Garry is a rapid and troubled stream, which discharges itself into Loch Oich, from Loch Garry (about three miles distant), and which winds through a magnificent amphitheatre of hills clad with birch and scattered firs. Loch Garry, though comparatively but little known, is among the finest of our mountain lakes; in length about seven miles: its banks, consisting of a series of low swelling eminences, are clad with birch trees, of late years sorely diminished of their fair proportions; but which still, though much thinned, extend from the water's edge to the bases, and spread up the ravines and corrics of the high receding mountains which form the glen. On advancing beyond a bend, in which the loch terminates at the eastern extremity, the whole extent of its waters and wooded banks comes suddenly into view. They occupy the near portion of a long vista, which is lost in a noble range of lofty but distant mountains, stretching across from Loch Quoich along the head of Glen Luine to Glen Moriston.

2. The first public-house on this road, called Tomandoun, now a tolerable small inn, is twelve miles from Invergarry. Loch Quoich, which occupies a considerable portion of the remaining distance to Loch Hournhead, is likewise a fine sheet of `eater, but with little wood. It is now embellished at the west end by the mansion of Mr. Edward Ellice, I.P., who has improved his Highland property with judgment and taste. The road continues to ascend till within three miles of Loch Bourn, where, after passing through a barrier of rugged rocks, confusedly heaped together, it suddenly descends from its elevation, and rapidly attains the sea level. The whole distance from Invergarry is strikingly devoid of human habitations. At the end of Loch Mourn a single farm-house appears; and on the further side of a small burn is the public-house, or inn, close by the loch side.

3. Loch burn is a narrow arm of the sea, extending inland about twenty-five miles, through a series of high, rough, and steep hills, and towards its head it becomes almost completely land-locked. It is an excellent herring-fishing station, the fish being generally very plentiful and of superior quality. A road has been opened along a small part of the coast of Knoidart, on the south side of the strait ; but the remainder is barely passable on horseback, the rugged track crossing very considerable elevations, while there is no access, save for pedestrians, to Glen Shiel and the extensive district of Glenelg. The route to the former lies across Corryvarligan, a pass about 2000 feet high, from the top of which the bird's eye view of Glen Shiel and Glen Oundlan, lying parallel to the lower portion of the former, is very remarkable, and exceedingly picturesque. The glens diverge nearly at right angles from one another ; both are straight, narrow, and precipitous ; their sides bald and rocky, or scantily covered with heath, and the summits sharp and serrated. We have been led to particularize this sequestered scene, because it occurs on a route we would recommend to tourists, viz., to ascend Glen Garry to Loch Hournhead, and thence strike across, as above pointed out, by the pass of Corryvarligan, to the inn of ShieIhouse, at the head of Loch Duich; and from thence to proceed back to the Great Glen by Glen Shiel and Glen Moriston. In proceeding to Shielhouse, we direct our course along Glen Oundlan, the whole distance from Loch Hournhead requiring about five hours' smart walking.

4. The importance of the road from Invergarry to Loch Bourn is enhanced by the Rhaebuie road from Tomandoun in Glen Garry to Cluany in Glen Moriston, connecting the two glens, and affording a more ready access for the large droves of cattle from Skye and the west coast of the country on their way to the southern markets, to the Loch Langan road, and thence to Dalwhinnie. But this road possesses few attractions; for tediousness, it may fairly compete with any of equal length in the Highlands; it is ten miles and a half long; and crossing from Tomandoun into Glen Luine, (lying nearly parallel with Glens Moriston and Garry, and falling into the former at Doe Bridge,) it makes a tiresome ascent along the northern side of that valley. But the traveller's labour is almost repaid by the magnificence of the upper and precipitous part of Dram Cluany, passing at the base of which the Rhaebuie joins the Glen Moriston road a little to the east of the inn of Cluany.

Glen Luine is a sequestered pastoral valley, watered by a sluggish and tortuous stream, which occasionally spreads out its waters into a small marshy loch. Glen Garry was purchased, on the sale of the Glengarry estates, by Lord Ward, and Glen Quoich by Edward Ellice junior, Esq., I.Y., the chief only retaining the property of Knoidart.


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