Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Netherlorn and its Neighbourhood

THE district illustrated and described in the following pages is, like many other interesting by-ways in the Highlands, still comparatively unknown. Of its scenes and legends little has been written, and what has been is to be found in scattered fragments through a multitude of books.

In the preparation of this volume, the information contained in the works hereafter mentioned has been freely made use of. The accounts given in Fordun's Chronicle (A.D. 1380), Dean Monro's Description of the Western Isles (1549), Martinís Description of the Western Islands (written about 1695), Pennant's Tour in Scotland (1772), and MacCulloch's Western Isles (circ. 1819), form a consecutive series of description and observation from the fourteenth century downwards. The earlier spelling of place-names was phonetic, and it is surprising how little, in many hundred years, the pronunciation of those Gaelic words has changed. Many islands mentioned in Monro's book, however, cannot now be identified; and even in MacCulloch's Description, written just ninety years ago, there are two islands, called by him Garveloch-na-skian and Garveloch-na-more, which are not now known by these names. Of the history much may be gleaned from such books as Adamnan's Life of St Columba, edited by Dr Skene from Bishop Reeves' translation; St Columba, by the Rev. D. MacGregor of Inverallochy; Skene's Celtic Scotland, Gregory's History of the Western Highlands and Islands, Dr Dugald Mitchell's History of the Highlands and Gaelic Scotland; A Memorial History of the Campbells of Melfort, written by one of the family; Cosmo Innes's Origines Parochiales, the Fasti Ecclesiae and the 0ld and New Statistical Accounts. A most interesting book which deals with Northern Rural Life, by the author of Johnnie Gibb of Gushetneuk, gives an account of the great famine of 1698-1700; while a detailed description of the prehistoric forts of Lorn may be found in Dr Christison's Early Fortifications in Scotland. The Duke of Argyll's Adventures in Legend, Lord Archibald Campbell's Records of Argyll, and Archibald Brown's Memorials of Argyllshire, teem with interesting legends and traditions of the district, and may be read with pleasure. To Mr. Henry Whyte (Fionn), Glasgow, thanks are due for the loan of his father's manuscripts, map, and sketches relating to the history of Easdale.

Notwithstanding the frequent reference to the books alluded to, the greater bulk of the history incorporated in this description of Netherlorn and its neighbourhood was communicated orally by the best informed "seannachies" the district has known in recent years--the late Mr. John Clerk, Kilbride, and Miss Jane Phillips, Luing. These old stories are gradually, with the increase of English speaking, being lost: it would seem as if they object to being translated from the language of the Bards into prosaic, alien English. At any rate the younger generation of Highlanders takes much less interest in them than its fathers did; and soon what is not written will be irrevocably lost.

These articles appeared originally in the pages of The Art Journal (1908): they are now considerably enlarged. The drawings are from the pencil and brush of one who has been happy in knowing thoroughly and lovingly the country he has so well delineated; the chapters are from the "prentice hand" of a. country physician with no previous experience of literary work, who has been glad to second the efforts of the artist in the depiction of the characteristic scenery of Netherlorn, and to gather together a little of what a few years ago was an abundant folklore.


EASDALE, October 1909.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus