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Rambles Round Glasgow
Duntocher and Old Kilpatrick

WITH the appearance of Duntocher and Old Kilpatrick, as seen from the Clyde, the majority of our readers must be perfectly familiar. Passing Dalmuir by the steamer, a fine range of hills is seen stretching from east to west, and approaching the margin of the river immediately previous to its enlargement into the noble proportions of a frith. About half-way up the swelling slopes, and partially concealed amid wooded knolls, a tall chimney or two, and several gigantic factories, mark the site of Duntocher; while a church tower, and a scattered congregation of houses, reposing in the shadow of the hills and in close contiguity to the stream, indicate to the observant passenger that the famous birthplace of Ireland’s patron Saint is before him. Those who have only seen these localities, however, from the bosom of the Clyde, can form but a faint conception of the landscape beauties with which they are environed, and must of necessity have entirely overlooked the numerous objects of historical and traditionary interest which are situated in their immediate neighbourhood. Few parishes in Scotland, indeed, command such a rich variety of scenery as Old Kilpatrick, or are invested with more pleasing associations. Forming the boundary, as it were, between the Highlands and Lowlands, it combines the picturesque charms of both in their most striking and attractive aspects. Yet, in these days of "cheap trips" and "pleasure excursions," by river and rail, comparatively few of our holiday wanderers dream of visiting this locality. It has not the enchantment of distance to recommend it to their admiration. It is too near home to be properly appreciated. The crowd must have their shilling’s worth of steamer or train, and consequently often "go farther and fare worse;" while delicious snatches of scenery like those in this vicinity are left in a great measure to the solitary enjoyment of such eccentric ramblers as ourselves.

In consequence of the facilities of transit afforded by the ever-passing river steamers, the tract of country between Glasgow and Kilpatrick must be, even to the majority of visitors to the latter, a species of terra incognita. We propose, therefore, in accordance with our usual plan, to conduct our readers to that locality by what may not inappropriately be termed the "overland route." There are, of course, more ways than one to Kilpatrick, as there are to most places else. We might have taken, for instance, the low road by Yoker and Dalmuir; or the high road by Garscube and New Kilpatrick. We take neither, however; but evince our characteristic wisdom by steering a judicious middle course, which, although neither the shortest nor the easiest, has the merit of being at the same time the most picturesque and the most original. Leaving the city, then, by Anderston Walk, we make our way towards Partick. It is rather a difficult matter to leave the city in this direction, as she seems determined, in her westward progress, to keep pace with you. In our boyish days there was a "world’s end" somewhere about Finnieston, but where the pole may have shifted to now-a-days is beyond our ken. "Our auld respeckit mither" has long passed that once well-known landmark, with her stately streets, crescents, terraces, and squares. What an ogress the old lady must be! gardens and green fields, cottages and mansions, once familiar to our eyes, have disappeared in scores within her capacious maw, and still the cry is "give, give!" There is, in truth, "life in the old jade yet;" she is still justifying her noble motto, and continuing to "flourish."

Passing Sandyford, we turn aside to the right for the purpose of paying a brief visit to the West-end or Kelvin Grove Park. This is a recent acquisition of the municipality, and one which must be considered a decided ornament, as well as a sanitary benefit to the city. The rapid extension of the town in this direction rendered such a breathing space necessary; and if the opportunity had been once neglected, a lasting injury would undoubtedly have been inflicted on the community. The Lord Provost (Stewart), Magistrates, and Council, therefore, acted wisely when, in 1853, the lands of Kelvin Grove and Woodside came into the market, to secure them for the benefit of the public. The original outlay, something like £90,000, was, it is true, a heavy sacrifice, but it was confidently anticipated that a large proportion of the sum would be realized from building feus on certain parts of the grounds—an anticipation which time has shown to be perfectly correct. These fine grounds are situated on the eastern bank of the classic Kelvin, which, under a fringe of trees, flows somewhat lazily past the spot. They are in all about forty-two acres in extent, and present an exceedingly agreeable variety of surface. Along the stream there is a stripe of level sward; but from this they slope gradually upwards, in gracefully swelling terraces and banks, to a very considerable height. From a design by Sir Joseph Paxton, the surface is beautifully intersected with walks and carriage drives, turning and twining in every direction—now gliding under stately rows of trees—now meandering amidst blooming borders and gay parterres, and anon winding in the sunshine round terraces of smoothest and freshest green. From the summit, which is now crowned with long ranges of majestic edifices, there is a prospect of great extent and loveliness. At the spectator’s feet are the groves and glades of the Park itself alive with sauntering groups—women and children, men and maidens, in couples, or pacing along in solitary speculation. Here two lovers are seated apart discoursing soft nothings—there a party of wild youths are smoking the fragrant weed, and "laughing consumedly," while yonder, with spectacled nose and arms akimbo, measuring his lonely round, is the professor or preacher pondering what to-morrow, from chair or pulpit, he shall give forth. Looking beyond, we have a long stretch of the Clyde and all its bustle of trade and commerce, with the heights of Kilpatrick and Kilmalcolm rising in the distance. To the southward, over the green slopes and meadows of Renfrewshire, are the braes of Gleniffer—Tannahill’s own braes—the Fereneze Braes, Craig of Carnock, Neilston Pad, Ballygeich, where Pollok of the Course of Time spent his boyhood and youth, and to the south-east the green-wooded braes of Cathkin and Dychmont. To the northward, again, we have a glimpse of the Campsie and Strathblane Hills, with a Highland Ben or two peeping through the gap of the Lennox. From this commanding spot, indeed, may be scanned the principal landscape features within eight or ten miles of Glasgow, with nearly all the towns, and villages, and hamlets, and chateaus included within that range. Thus far we have had nothing but words of praise to bestow upon the Park and its patrons. Before leaving its precincts, however, we must indulge in a word or two of animadversion. The great staircase leading to the uppermost terrace—one of the most spacious and beautiful erections of the kind we have ever witnessed—is stowed away in a corner, where it must be looked for—positively searched after—before it can be seen. Why, in the name of all that is picturesque, was not this grand structure placed under the centre of the towering range which crowns with dignity the brow of the slope? In such a position it would have formed an imposing feature in the landscape of the Park, while in its present situation it is nearly, if not altogether lost. Could this oversight—for such we must consider it—not yet be remedied? Then there is the Kelvin, a perfect common-sewer, redolent of the most unsavoury comparisons. Can nothing be done to cleanse its foul bosom of that perilous stuff which loads the air with unholy odours, and threatens the lieges with fevers and other deadly maladies which are born of miasmatic stench? There was at one time some talk of preventing this pollution, by means of draining and filtration, but hitherto the evil is unmitigated, and every ornament that is added to the grounds, is therefore but an additional enticement to the breathing of unwholesome airs. "Reform it altogether," say we to the authorities, or at once renounce the credit which you claim as the founders of a new place of recreation for the people. Beautify the grounds as you may, while this evil remains without remead, we can only look upon your efforts in landscape gardening, as the adornment of a lazar-house - the whitening of a sepulchre.

"Then, farewll to Kelvin Grove, bonnie lassie, O;
And adieu to all I love, bonnie lassie, O;
To the river winding clear,
To the fragrant-scented brier,
Even to thee of all most dear, bonnie lassie, O."

But we have yet a lengthened way before us, and must be jogging. Passing Clayslaps, and having stolen a glance at our friend Sandie Baird’s beautiful and neatly-arranged beds of pansies, surpassing in their loveliness of hue the "glory of a Solomon," we proceed for a mile or so along the highway to Dumbarton, when we turn to the north, near the west-end of Partick, by what is locally denominated the "Craw-road."

An agreeable walk of some half-hour’s duration between verdant hedgerows and overhanging trees—during which we pass in succession the mansion of Woodcroft, the auld warld hamlet of Balshagrie, and that most stately but most melancholy edifice, the Lunatic Asylum at Gartnavel— brings us to Annisland Toll, where, turning to the left, we pursue our journey in a westerly direction. From the number of coal-pits in this vicinity, it is obvious that the valuable black diamond abounds to an extraordinary degree in the bowels of the land over which we are now treading. Carboniferous districts are generally anything but attractive to the lover of landscape beauty. The country around us, however, is an exception to the rule. Those fine woods to the north-east are portions of the spacious pleasure grounds of Garscube House, the handsome seat of Sir Archibald Hay Campbell of Succoth, Bart., M.P.; while the dense masses of foliage immediately to the left of our present course, conceal from our view the mansion of Jordanhill, the family seat of Jas. Smith, Esq., a gentleman who has long been a distinguished ornament of the scientific and literary circles of the west of Scotland.

In former times the Jordanhill estate was held by a family named Crawford, one member of which achieved a name in his country’s history by an exploit remarkable alike for coolness and bravery. This individual was Captain John Crawford of Jordanhill, who, in 1571, with a small band of followers, succeeded in taking, by an ingenious stratagem, the Castle of Dumbarton. After the battle of Langside and Queen Mary’s flight to England, this strong fortress, then deemed all but impregnable, was held in the interest of the royal exile by the Governor, Lord Fleming, who steadily refused to surrender it to the party then in power. Crawford, who had been a servant of the unfortunate Darnley, and was of course a bitter enemy to the Queen, formed the resolution of seizing this stronghold, and putting her friends to flight. Accordingly, on the occasion alluded to, with a select party of his retainers, he marched towards the castle after night-fall, provided with ropes and scaling-ladders, and having in his company an individual who was familiar with every step upon the rock. Arriving at the castle about midnight, and being completely screened from observation by a dense fog, they commenced operations. After encountering great difficulties and considerable alarm, occasioned by one of the men being seized with a convulsive fit while half-way up the ladder; they at length attained a position on the walls, and, after striking down a sentinel, who was about to give warning of their presence, they rushed upon the sleeping garrison, shouting, "A Darnley! a Darnley!" and easily succeeded in effecting its capture. The assailants did not lose a single man, while so complete was the surprise of the opposite party that they surrendered almost without a blow, and of course their loss was also trifling. The Governor managed to make his escape; but a number of individuals of distinction were made prisoners within the walls of the castle, among whom was Hamilton, Bishop of St. Andrew’s, who was immediately tried for participation in the murder of Darnley, and being convicted, was sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Benefit of clergy had by this time gone completely out of fashion, and his reverence, who was generally detested, shortly afterwards expiated his crimes on a tree at Stirling. The following wicked Latin couplet is said to have been written on the occasion:—

"Vive diu, felix arbor, semperque vireto
Frondibus, ut nobis talia poma feras."

Passing the entrance to Jordanhill, from which a lengthened avenue of stately trees leads to the house, which is effectually concealed from view by its fine sylvan screen, we turn again towards the north by a rough country road to the "Red Town." This is the name given to several ranges of colliers’ houses, which are quite as plain, unattractive, and uncomfortable in appearance, as such edifices generally are. We are rather surprised, however, with one adjunct to the Red Town, namely, an extensive and somewhat elegant school. From its capacity one would imagine it was designed to accommodate not only the juvenile but also the adult inhabitants of the village, and probably, indeed, the grown-up natives are fully as much in need of the schoolmaster as the rising generation. The moral and intellectual culture of the mining population has hitherto, we are sorry to say, been too much neglected. Such an institution as the one alluded to should undoubtedly be attached to every collier village; and we were gratified to learn, from a little fair-haired girl, whom we overtook with a couple of pitchers, returning from the well, that there were "a gey wheen o’ scholars in the schule baith on ilka days and Sundays."

From the Red Town the road gradually ascends to a considerable eminence called Clober, or Cowdonhill, which commands an extensive and beautiful prospect of the surrounding country. On the summit of this elevation, and overshadowed by a girdle of trees, stands the ancient mansion of Cowdon, a dreary, desolate, and wobegone looking edifice. This structure is two storeys in height, and has at one period been of considerable extent. It was in bygone years the seat of a family named Crawford. About the beginning of last century it passed by marriage, with the extensive estates attached to it, into the possession of a certain John Sprewl, who thenceforth adopted the double surname of Sprewl Crawford. From various dates which are still legible on the walls it would appear that the building has undergone extensive alterations at different periods. Over the doorway there is a heraldic carving, much defaced by time, but on which a bird and a star are still observable. On one of the gables, which has lately been rebuilt with the old material, there is a star, with the date 1666; and on the front of the tenement, in a sadly dilapidated condition, is a sun-dial, with the names of John Sprewl and Isabella Crawford inscribed on it, with date 1707.

Strange stories are current in the countryside concerning this "bleak house." A spot is pointed out in the neighbourhood where the grass will not grow, and which, according to tradition, was the scene of some dark deed in days of yore. Couple this fact with the circumstance that a quantity of human bones were, many years ago, found in a portion of the edifice, which was known as "Cowdon’s den," and the intelligent reader will have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the house must be haunted. Such, according to popular rumour, is indeed the case. People shake their beads when spoken to on the subject, and hint more than they are willing to express. One old lady of the Crawford family, we are informed, having hidden a pot of gold in a niche of the wall during her life, could "get nae rest in her grave" afterwards until she had revealed the secret. A story is also told of a certain wicked laird, a friend and associate of Claverhouse, the persecutor, who was an occasional visitor here. This worthy, on his death-bed, is said to have ordered the servants to keep immense quantities of coals on the fire, that he might have a foretaste of what was awaiting him in the state of existence upon which he was about to enter. Of course such an uncanny end could forebode no good for the future; and it is said the laird is still doomed to revisit, "in his shirt of fire," the glimpses of the moon! If such be really the case (and we are not by any means prepared to prove the reverse), it must certainly gall him sadly, if spirits care for such sublunary things, to witness the decay which has recently befallen his former dwelling. Externally it has indeed a most ghastly and doleful appearance, while the interior, sic transit gloria mundi, is inhabited, not by owls and bats, but by several families of colliers. A section of the edifice has also been fitted up as a counting-house and store for a neighbouring colliery. We ask a decent-looking woman, whom we meet at the door of the venerable mansion, if she is not afraid to live in a house which bears such an ominous character. "Atweel no," she replies, "I’ve leeved here for the last four years, and never saw onything waur than mysel’, unless maybe now and then a fou man. I’m thinking," she continues, "the wae drap whisky‘s the warst speerit that now-a-days enters the auld sickle o’ a biggin’."

Before leaving Cowdonhill, we may mention that a curious relic of antiquity was for many generations in the possession of the family. This was a silver spoon, the mouth-piece of which was not less than three inches in diameter, and had the following legend inscribed on it

"This spoon I leave in legacie
To the maist-mouthed Craufurd after me.

At a subsequent date the following limping but pithy lines were also engraven on this gigantic table implement:-

"This spoon you see
Is left in legacy;
If ony pawn't or sell’t,
Cursed let him be."

Descending the brae in a northerly direction, a few minutes’ walk brings us to the Forth and Clyde Canal, which we cross a little to the westward, and again proceeding towards the north, are speedily at the famous gate of Garscadden. This place was formerly a favourite resort of holiday ramblers from Glasgow and Paisley, who came for the purpose of inspecting the principal entrance, which is somewhat of an architectural curiosity. The gateway is a massive yet elegant structure, of castellated form, and, being unlike in size and appearance to any edifice of a similar kind in the west of Scotland, it excited in a high degree, on its erection, the wonder of the common people, who formed numerous myths to account for its origin. What these were we need not now rehearse, as the gate has long ceased to be a nine days’ wonder, and is but seldom visited. The house and estate of Garscadden are at present in the possession of John Campbell Colquhoun, Esq. of Killermont and Garscadden. In the early part of last century the lairds of Kilpatrick (in which parish we now are) were famous for their devotion to the cup. Like Tam o’ Shanter and his cronie, the Souter, they aft "were fou for weeks thegither." Anecdotes of the wild doings in these days are still rife in the parish, and as one of them refers to a former laird of Garscadden, we may as well give it here. A party of these roystering country squires were, it seems, on one occasion engaged as usual in a deep drinking match, when one of the company observed the laird to fall suddenly quiet, while a strange expression passed over his countenance. The observer said nothing regarding the circumstance, however, and the merriment went on for some time as formerly. At length,

"In the thrang o’ stories tellin’,
Shakin’ hands and joking queer,"

another individual remarked "Is na’ Garscadden looking unca gash the nicht?" "And so he may," said the individual first alluded to, "for he has been, to my knowledge, wi’ his Maker during the last half hour; I noticed him slipping awa’, puir fallow, but didna like to disturb the conviviality by speaking o’t!" It was even so; the poor laird had died "in harness."

About a mile due north from Garscadden House, which is finely embowered in woods and gardens of the most luxuriant growth, rises Castlehill, a gentle but commanding elevation, crowned with a tiara of lofty trees. Towards this point we now wend our way, amid leafy hedgerows dappled with flakes of bloom, and loading the breezes, as they come and go, with sweetest perfume; through daisied pastures studded with picturesque groups of kine; and by corn-fields rippled with verdure, and palpitating, as it were, to the song-bursts of the sky-cleaving lark. Now we pass a comfortable farm-steading, where

"Hens on the midden, ducks in dubs are seen,"

while our unwonted presence is greeted by the house dog’s honest but rather unwelcome bark; and anon we are lingering by some lonely patch of planting, reckoning the number of voices that swell its choral hymn, or the number of bloomy eyes that are winking in the fitful radiance that keeps coming and going through its fluttering canopy of leaves. We soon find ourselves on the summit of Castlehill. This spot was, in ancient times, "when wild in woods our noble fathers ran," a station or fort on the celebrated wall with which the Roman invaders endeavoured to check the ceaseless incursions of the unsubdued Caledonians. From its commanding position, and the vast extent of country which it overlooks, this must have been a post of considerable importance to the baffled "masters of the world." "Graham’s Dyke," as the immense barrier which then existed between the Forth and Clyde is called in popular parlance, passed immediately over the hill on which we are now stationed. This vast military structure, commenced by Agricola and completed by Antonine, was about twenty-seven miles in length from river to river. It consisted, according to the best authorities, of a great fosse or ditch, averaging forty feet in width, by about twenty in depth, and extending in one unbroken line over hill and plain. On the southern side of the ditch, and within a few feet of its edge, was erected a rampart of mingled stones and earth, about twenty feet in height and twenty-four in thickness at the base. This rampart, or agger, was surmounted by a parapet, behind which ran a level platform for the accommodation of the defenders. Within the wall, and generally approximating to it, was a regularly causewayed military road, while it is supposed that not fewer than nineteen forts were erected at various distances along the line. In the lapse of centuries, the traces of this mighty bulwark have become in a great measure obliterated. The plough has passed over the greater portion of its course, and it is only here and there, by slight indentations of the soil, that it can be now discovered. From time to time, however, pieces of rude sculpture, carved stones, urns, and tablets have been discovered along its track—interesting relics of the haughty strangers who, long, long ago, sought dominion in our land. Two inscriptions were dug up many years ago at Castlehill, and are now, to all practical intents and purposes, as effectually interred again in the bowels of the Hunterian Museum. One of these has a number of rude figures, emblematic of a Roman victory over our Caledonian forefathers, carved upon it, with an inscription referring to the completion of a certain portion of the wall. Mr. Stuart, in his caledonia Romana, gives the following translation of the legend inscribed upon it:—

"To the Emperor Cæsar Titais Aelius
Hadrianus Antoninus
Augustus Pius, father of his country,
The Second Legion, Augusta,
(Dedicate this, having executed)
4,666 paces."

The second stone was discovered in 1826 by a neighbouring farmer, and was presented by the proprietor of Castlehill to the Hunterian Museum. It is a votive tablet, and was dedicated "to the eternal field deities of Britain."

On the summit of Castlehill faint outlines of the Roman encampment are still traceable. A belt of trees has been tastefully planted around the spot, while the interior is one unbroken verdant area, save that one lone tree, seemingly by accident, has sprung up near the centre. While we are here a flock of cattle are scattered about the enclosure peacefully chewing their cud, the cushat is cooing among the branches overhead, and the blackbird piping on a leaf-hidden pedestal. It is difficult, indeed, in these times to realize to ourselves the idea that the "pomp and circumstance" of ruthless war have ever marred the scene. Yet here the Roman helmet has gleamed, the Roman sword has clashed, and here man has encountered man in dire and deadly feud. But

"All these are silent now, or only heard
Like mellowed murmurs of the distant sea."

The prospect from Castlehill is of the most magnificent description, and would, to any lover of landscape beauty, amply recompense the journey of a day. To the north is seen the full range of the Kilpatrick Hills from Dumbuck to their western termination. Looking westward over a finely undulating country, adorned with towns, villages, and mansions innumerable, we have the Campsie range from the peak of Dungoyne to Kilsyth. Turning gradually from the south towards the west, we have the valley of the Clyde from Tintoc to Dumbuck spread as in a map before our gaze, with Dychmont, Cathkin, Ballygeich, Neilston Pad, and the Renfrewshire Hills, forming the picturesque outline of the horizon. To attempt a description of a scene so rich and so infinitely varied in its features, would, in truth, but be to exhibit our own utter incapacity: and as self-esteem forbids that we should parade our own deficiencies, we shall content ourselves with quietly recommending the reader to take stick in hand and witness it on his own account, while we make our descent on Duntocher.

Immediately to the north of Castlehill passes the highway from New Kilpatrick to Duntocher, along which, in a westerly direction, we now pursue our course. A pleasant walk of about two miles, principally down hill, brings us to the village of Faifley—a kind of suburb of Duntocher. These villages, with Hardgate, form as it were one irregular and straggling, but cleanly and comfortable looking township. The houses are, for the most part, plain two-storeyed edifices, and in many instances have small gardens attached to them. The population are, in general, either directly or indirectly connected with the extensive factories of Messrs. Dunn & Co. In 1808, when the works at Duntocher first came into the hands of the late William Dunn, Esq., the village was almost deserted. The former proprietors had lost heart, and everything was in a languishing condition. Mr. Dunn, a man of indomitable energy and perseverance, who had raised himself from a humble rank in society by his industry and shrewdness, speedily infused new life into the concern. The works were gradually extended and improved under his vigilant and enlightened superintendence, until at length they attained a high state of efficiency; and the working population increased from 150, the original number, to upwards of 1,500. By the almost unprecedented success of his manufacturing operations, Mr. Dunn at length achieved a splendid fortune, and died in the possession of one of the finest estates in the west of Scotland. At his decease, a few years ago, the bulk of the property thus accumulated passed into the hands of his surviving brother, Alexander Dunn, Esq., the present proprietor.

In proportion to its size, Duntocher seems to he amply supplied with the "means and appliances" of religious and intellectual culture. There are no fewer than five places of worship in its immediate neighbourhood, to each of which is attached an educational establishment; while there are several other schools supported by parties unconnected with any local congregation. We understand that there are also several libraries, by means of which the reading portion of the population have, at a moderate rate, their literary requirements abundantly gratified.

The situation of the village is highly romantic, and many of the walks in its vicinity are really of the most delightful description. In the background are the beautiful Kilpatrick Hills, scarred with their picturesque glens, down which streamlets are ever tumbling in foam, or stealing gently under the long yellow broom; while immediately below is the fertile valley of the Clyde, with its verdant slopes, its stately mansions, and never-ceasing traffic. The inhabitants generally, as might indeed be expected, have a more robust and healthful aspect than is ordinarily to be seen in less happily situated manufacturing communities.

On a hill of moderate height, which overlooks Duntocher, there existed until recently distinct traces of an extensive Roman encampment or fort. These are now almost obliterated; but from time to time many valuable relics of art— produced by the builders of the great wall—tablets, altars, vases, &c., have been discovered at this interesting locality. Most of these have been deposited for preservation in the Hunterian Museum. Some curious subterranean chambers, supposed to be of Roman origin, were also discovered in the vicinity of the fort in the year 1775. In one of these an earthen jar was found, with a female figure formed of reddish clay, and a few grains of wheat. At the foot of the hill there is a bridge, which is also popularly supposed to have been erected by the Romans, but which, notwithstanding a Latin inscription to that effect, by Lord Blantyre, who repaired the structure in 1772, is asserted by long-headed antiquaries to have no more claim to that honour than what may arise from the circumstance that the stones of which it is composed were probably taken from the neighbouring fort. We make no pretensions ourselves to skill in these matters, and shall not presume to express an opinion on the subject. We may mention, however, that when seen from the water-worn channel of the rivulet, the bridge has an ancient and picturesque appearance; and that we should not like to call its antiquity in question where two or three of the Duntocher folks were gathered together. Right or wrong, they are determined to have it a Roman edifice, and would, there is reason to fear, be inclined to deal anything but gently with an obstinate incredulant. Talk ill of Habby Simson at Kilbarchan, inquire for a "bull" at Rutherglen, or a "steeple" at Renfrew but by all means avoid speculating on the genuineness of the bridge at Duntocher, if you have the least regard for the good-will of the natives.

Leaving Duntocher, we now take our way towards the village of Old Kilpatrick, which is situated on the northern bank of the Clyde, about a mile to the westward. Immediately after our departure from Duntocher, we pass on the left the fine policies of Auchentoshan, the handsome seat of Alexander Dunn, Esq., and a little farther on the mansion and grounds of Mountblow, likewise the property of that gentleman. For beauty of site and extensive command of scenery these stately edifices, which are in close proximity to each other, will certainly bear favourable comparison with any in the lower ward of Clydesdale. In the grounds of Auchentoshan, several faint vestiges of the Roman barrier are traceable; and in the gardens of Mountblow, there is an ancient monumental cross, which is supposed to be of the twelfth century, and is similar to those which have been found at Cantyre and in the Hebrides. This curious relic was used for some time by way of foot-bridge over a neighbouring burn, and was only rescued from that degraded position by the late Mr. Dunn, who had it removed to its present more secure and more honourable site. In consequence of the friction to which it was then subjected, the carving on one side of the cross has been entirely effaced; while that on the other, from lengthened exposure to the weather, has become very obscure. The inscription is perfectly illegible, and two nondescript figures on the upper portion, with a confused kind of ornament, are all that can now be perceived. Time and the elements have indeed taken from it irrecoverably the tale which it was commissioned to unfold. That this interesting relic of a long vanished age may be preserved for a more lengthened period from the destructive influences of "the wind and the rain," we would venture to suggest to Mr. Dunn that it should be immediately placed under cover.

Scene on the Clyde from Dalnottar Hill

About half-way between Duntocher and Kilpatrick there is a gentle eminence called Dalnottar, from the brow of which is obtained one of the most lovely and richly variegated prospects imaginable. The Clyde, now swelling into the character of a frith, is seen stretching away into the distance of the Cowal hills, its bosom fretted with numerous ships and steamers plying busily to and fro between the various ports. On one hand is the Kilpatrick range of hills terminating in the rocky height of Dumbuck while at their base, along the irregular margin of the water, Kilpatrick, Bowling, Dunglass, and the gigantic rock of Dumbarton, are brought at a glance before the gaze of the spectator. On the south side of the river are Erskine House, the seat of Lord Blantyre, and its beautifully wooded banks and braes, with Port-Glasgow and the hills above Greenock in the distance. The scene altogether is of the most delicious description, and we need not wonder that it has often tempted the painter into the exercise of his art. Such of our readers as remember the old Theatre Royal, Queen Street, will doubtless recollect the famous drop-scene, taken from this point by the celebrated Naismith, which was so highly appreciated as a work of art that not less a sum than five hundred pounds was offered for it by the manager of one of the London theatres. The prospect from this "coigne of vantage" has frequently been transferred to the canvas since; but we question if it has ever been more faithfully or artistically rendered than in the instance to which we have alluded. Commending the spot to the professional attention of our modern aspirants to landscape honours, we resume once more our downhill course. We may mention at parting, however, that the tasteful little residence on the brow of the hill was occupied for several years by our late highly respected town-clerk, Mr. Reddie, and his family.

The village of Old Kilpatrick is situated on a level space of ground between the base of the adjoining hills and the Clyde. It is of no great extent, and consists principally of a single street, which forms a portion of the highway between Glasgow and Dumbarton. The houses are generally of the plainest architectural description, and several of them are indeed in a half-ruinous condition. There is a number of cosie-looking dwellings about it, however; and, from a pretty extensive application of whitewash, the place has, on the whole, a clean and tidy aspect, while the numerous well-kept gardens about it increase the attractiveness of its appearance, and at the same time augur well for the home comfort of the inhabitants. At the west end of the village stands the parish church, a plain but neat edifice with a handsome tower; and around it, in a spacious church-yard, "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." There are several curious gravestones and monuments in the ground, and one is pointed out to us as that of St. Patrick. There is no inscription on the monument, but from its appearance it must be of a date long subsequent to the age of the great frog-destroyer. This individual is traditionally said to have first seen the light in this vicinity. As in the case of the birth-places of other illustrious personages, however, there seems to be some doubt on the subject; and whether "his mother kept a whisky-shop in the town of Enniskillen," as the popular Irish song has it, or whether he came of the "dacent people" of Kilpatrick, it will probably be no easy matter now-a-days to determine. There are two other places of worship besides the Established Church in the village, namely, a small but neat edifice in connection with the Free Church, and an old United Presbyterian meeting-house of somewhat dreary appearance. The place altogether, indeed, has rather an "auld warld" air, and has apparently undergone but little alteration for many years.

A short distance west from the village is Chapelhill, a spot which is remarkable as having been the terminating point of the Roman wall. Formerly it was supposed that this immense structure extended to Dunglass Castle, but modem antiquaries, after minute investigation, have become satisfied that it was at this locality that the terminal fort was erected. Many relics of Roman art have been discovered here, and it is even deemed probable that within this elevation a number of subterranean chambers may yet remain uninjured. Two tabular stones were found at the Chapel-hill, in the year 1693, by Mr. Hamilton of Orbiston, and presented by him to the University of Glasgow. These stones, from the inscriptions upon them, appear to have been erected by the sixth and twentieth legions of the army, to commemorate the erection of the wall and to perpetuate the memory of the reigning Emperor Antoninus Pius. On one of them is a figure of Victory, with a laurel wreath upon her brow, and an olive branch in her hand. Earthen vases and Roman coins have also been discovered at Chapelhill, which, besides its interesting antiquarian associations, possesses charms of a scenic description which will abundantly repay a visit from the poet or the painter.

After lingering for several hours in the vicinity of Old Kilpatrick, now speelin' the richly wooded braes, every alteration of position revealing a new picture to our gaze, and anon threading the mazes of some nameless glen or deli, radiant with bloom, and musical with the voices of linnet and of thrush, we return to the "Red Lion" to satisfy those cravings which, in spite of landscape beauty or sentimental association, are continually reminding us of our non-chameleon nature. The poet and the rambler are, alas! alas! even as other men, and must ultimately draw their inspiration from such gross materials as the beef steak and the "tappit hen."

Having taken "our ease in our inn" for a brief space, we proceed to the ferry (for Kilpatrick, unfortunately for herself as well as for her visitors, has no wharf), and paying our "three bawbees," are safely deposited on board one of the river steamers, which, in somewhat lees than an hour afterward, is "blowing off" within a few yards of the Glasgow Bridge.

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