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Title: Scottish Loch Scenery
Author: Croal, Thomas A.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Scottish Loch Scenery" ***

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    A. F. LYDON.







The visitor to Scotland, entering from the south, has not far to
travel before he reaches one of the loveliest lowland scenes the
country possesses. The very ancient burgh of Lochmaben lies on a
branch line a little distance from Lockerbie junction, and, apart from
its picturesque surroundings, the old place presents attractions of
its own. It dates from very early times, and its burghers are known,
even to this day, as 'the king's kindly tenants.' Many of the
retainers of Robert the Bruce, to whom and whose ancestors the castle
belonged, having obtained rights of property in one or other of the
'four towns of Lochmaben,' under a tenancy direct from the Crown,
hence forming virtually a proprietary interest.

In Burns's _Five Carlines_, the burgh is called 'Marjory o' the mony
lochs,' from the numerous sheets of water around, of which our view
shows the largest and finest. This is known as the Castle Loch, and
covers about two hundred acres. Although not surrounded by the high
mountains and bolder scenery found further north in Scotland, this
loch presents a scene of great beauty, having fine verdant hills
surrounding it, and being itself clothed on every shore with beautiful
woodland scenery.

The ruined castle shown in the view occupies a prominent position upon
a heart-shaped peninsula. The visitor will find little but bare and
massive walls to tell him of the extent of this fortress, once
covering sixteen acres in extent, and forming the chief stronghold in
the south-west of Scotland. For many years after the castle fell into
ruin it is said the king's tenants used it as a quarry for building
stones, and Chambers, in his _Picture of Scotland_, speaks of one
honest burgher who then 'warmed his toes beside a pair of fine jambs
procured in Bruce's castle.' From the appearance of the ground, it is
evident the neck of the peninsula could be put under water for
defensive purposes, having both an outer and an inner defence of this
kind, besides one or more intermediate fosses that speak of the same
use. The present is not believed to be the original castle built by
the Lords of Annandale, but a subsequent erection of the thirteenth
century. The days of warlike lords and border forays are over for the
Castle of Lochmaben, and now it is to be regarded merely as a splendid
addition to the picturesque attractions of this very charming
district. Boats may be hired for a row or sail over the placid bosom
of the loch, and on a fine autumn evening no more delightful pleasure
could be got.

Besides its other attractions, Lochmaben presents a peculiar fact in
natural history, for in its waters are found--in addition to other
fish--the vendace, a species of fish found in no other loch. It is
popularly but erroneously called a fresh-water herring, for it belongs
to the family of _coregonus_, one of the salmonidæ. This rare fish
takes no lure, and thus can only be netted, and the fishing for it in
the Castle Loch is limited to one day in the year, in July, when the
vendace club meet, fish, and dine. The Mill Loch, another and lesser
of those surrounding the burgh, also contains vendace, which are
fished for one day in August. The Castle Loch measures a mile long by
three quarters broad, the Mill Loch is half a mile by quarter of a
mile, and the other waters are the Kirk-Loch, Hightae Loch, &c.


Although intimately associated with those scenes to which Burns so
plaintively puts the question

    'Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon
    How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?'

and although it 'pours a' its floods' under that ancient brig where
Tam O' Shanter had such a narrow escape, Loch Doon is far from the
immediate land of Burns, lying remote in a wild and solitary mountain
region. The loch is, however, within four miles of Dalmellington
station, and as there is excellent fishing, coaches frequently carry
the disciples of Walton, as well as searchers after the picturesque,
to this quiet, outlying place. Loch Doon is eight miles in length, and
irregular in form, the lower limb of the Loch, from which the river
Doon issues, lying to the right as shown in our view. The hills on the
south are in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and the loch, forming,
over its whole length, the boundary between that county and Ayrshire,
is surrounded with pastoral mountains.

At the head of the loch, at its southern end, lies an island on which
the remains of an ancient castle are seen. This building, the main
feature of which is an octagonal peel or tower formed of large square
stones, is only vaguely traceable in history, and at one time belonged
to Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce. Rather more than half a
century ago, several canoes were found in the loch near this island,
each boat formed from the stem of a single oak tree, the trunk being
hollowed out, and the ends finished off in form like a fishing-coble.
Common repute gives to such boats an antiquity of eight or nine
centuries, but no absolute date can be assigned to them. They belong
to what has been called by an eminent Scottish archæologist,
non-historic man. Whether they are also pre-historic may be matter of

The river Doon, for a portion of its course immediately after leaving
the loch, presents some very remarkable features. The gully through
which it flows gives the appearance of high cliffs rent asunder by
some fierce cataclysm to give passage to its waters. The walk along
this ravine is singularly striking, the rocks seeming at every turn to
close in so as to bar further progress, and when the river is full
after a wet season the spectacle is not without elements of terror.
All around, the region abounds with lochs, Loch Doon being the
largest. Excepting as regards the branch line of railway leading to
Dalmellington, the entire district lies apart and silent, a region of
hills, occasionally, as in Merrick (2704 feet) and Cairnsmore of
Carsphairn (2612 feet), rising to the dignity of mountains, and wholly
given up to pastoral uses, except where the iron works around
Dalmellington suggest that this upward district touches the border of
that mineral wealth which exists so abundantly a little further


While this is not the highest waterfall in Scotland--for the
inaccessible Falls of Glomak far exceed all others--the Grey Mare's
Tail ranks as one of the most striking. We find amongst the hills at
the north-west corner of Annandale, the waters of 'dark Loch Skene,'
which find no outlet save over this breakneck descent. Far down in the
vale below lies the watering-place of Moffat, famous for its
sulphureous springs, clear, cool, and medicinal. Coaches leave this
town daily during the season to reach the other side of the hills, and
ten miles distant from Moffat this splendid natural phenomenon is
seen. The coach, in the slow ascent to the higher level, gives the
visitor ample time to find, on foot, the best vantage points from
which to see the fall.

When the stream is small, the 'tail' falls off to thin threads of
spray, dashed into films of prismatic beauty as they rush from rock to
rock. But in spate, the effect comes out in all its grandeur,

    'White as the snowy charger's tail,'

and the appropriateness of the name bestowed on the waterfall
evidences itself. The entire fall is above two hundred feet at one
leap, over a dark rugged precipice, closed in on every side with sharp
rocks, and suggesting to the mind ideas of much terror and sublimity.
Attempts have been made to scale the face of the fall, occasionally
with fatal results, and the imagination can create, even if the eyes
cannot see, the fluttering of morsels of clothing that are pointed out
by the guide as horrible memorials of such foolhardy attempts. In this
wild region were enacted some of the terrible scenes of the
Covenanters' persecution. Away in those grim solitudes, 'hunted like a
partridge upon the mountains,' the dauntless upholder of the right of
private judgment would betake himself, associating with others of like
determination. On the 'Watch Hill' opposite Birkhill, the persecuted
people set sentinels to signal the approach of Claverhouse or his men,
while away in a cave, near a wild waterfall called Dobb's Linn, they
held their proscribed services, and here on one occasion the 'bloody
Clavers' shot four men, whose graves were marked in Ettrick kirkyard
not many years ago. The wild desolation of this scene befits the dark
and terrible incidents of which, at this period, it was the scene. The
farmhouse of Bodsbeck lies on the road between Moffat and the
waterfall, and has been rendered famous in literature through James
Hogg, the 'Ettrick Shepherd's' story of the _Brownie of Bodsbeck_, a
tale dealing with incidents of the persecution of the Covenanters.

From Moffat can be reached in a different direction some notable hills
and ravines, amongst which may be named Hartfell, and Queensberry
Hill, from the summit of both of which magnificent panoramas of
scenery are opened to view. A remarkable scene is that of the Earl of
Annandale's Beef Tub, otherwise called 'The Devil's Beef Tub,' a vast
semicircle of precipitous rock, down in the bosom of which many
beeves, perhaps driven from other mens' lands, could be hidden away.


There is no native of Scotland who does not wax poetical when St.
Mary's Loch is named. Round it and the district of which it is the
crown and glory there centres more of legend, ballad, poem and
sentiment than is to be found anywhere else, and in good sooth it is
only necessary to visit the place to realize the halo of love and
admiration which has been thrown around it. Then it is also the centre
of a famous angling district, and in 'Tibbie Shiel's' the
'contemplative man,' when his day of enjoyment is done, will find a
tidy bed, and eke some jovial companion, who will make the evening
hilarious as the day has been exhilarating. If the tourist has visited
the _Grey Mare's Tail_, described in the preceding chapter, the same
coach that has brought him from Moffat will bring him on to this scene
of singular pastoral beauty.

St. Mary's Loch presents sufficient space to make up a fine landscape,
and is not too large to be taken in at one glance. In its still beauty
it has its chief charm:--

    'You see that all is loneliness,
    And silence aids--though the steep hills
    Send to the lake a thousand rills,
    In summer tide, so soft they weep,
    The sound but lulls the ear to sleep.
    Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,
    So stilly is the solitude.'

The square keep seen in the foreground is Dryhope Tower, the home of
'Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow.' Here we at once plunge into the
old ballad and foray, for she married Wat of Harden, a famed Border
freebooter, and to name him is to let loose a flood of reminiscences,
legends, and family histories, on which the space at command here will
not permit us to enter.

The old kirk and kirkyard of St. Mary's were not less remarkable than
the loch:--

    'Lord William was buried in St. Marie's Kirk,
      Lady Margaret in Marie's Quire,
    Out o' the lady's grave there grew a red rose
      And out o' the knight's a brier.'

Thus ends the tale of the _Douglas Tragedy_. Less famous people are
buried there, as another voice tells us,

    'For though, in feudal strife a foe
    Hath laid our lady's chapel low,
    Yet still beneath the hallowed soil
    The peasant rests him from his toil,
    And, dying, bids his bones be laid
    Where erst his simple fathers prayed.'

The river Yarrow flows through St. Mary's Loch, having passed through
the small Loch o' the Lowes before reaching the larger water, 'Tibbie
Shiel's' lying between the two lochs. Yarrow is well known to every
reader of Wordsworth, and we must pass rapidly over what might be
suggested by that single word, so soft in sound, so suggestive of the
old-world lore of this magical district. Of every nook and dell, hill
and valley, stream and loch, there are stories and songs without end,

            'You hear sweet melodies
    Attuned to some traditionary tale.'

Heroes and bold outlaws, fair women and sorrowing widows, strifes and
plunderings, genealogies and traditions--the Vale of Yarrow and its
surrounding hills and streams abound in these. All hushed are they
now, and the once warlike burgh of Selkirk is a thriving manufacturing
town, but while the 'Flowers o' the Forest' are, in one sense 'a' wede
away,' the natural attractiveness of the district remains, with all
the stories of byegone times to add to its interest for romantic or
poetic minds.


The smallest of all the notable lochs in Scotland, its circumference
being under a mile and a half, Duddingston is nevertheless famous as
the resort of curlers and skaters, and for very many years it has been
a favourite playground of the citizens of Edinburgh, whenever John
Frost holds reign, and the ice is pronounced safe by the police. The
water is deep, and the loch is fed by several springs far down in its
depths, so that it is not a mere touch of frost that will produce
practicable ice at that part of the loch just under the rocky knoll
overhanging the middle. But when the frost has lasted for two or three
days, and the word is passed round in the city that 'Duddingston is
bearing,' then as if by common consent the city is stirred to wend its
way to the loch. Everyone is there, from the arab who has perhaps at
no other time a shoe on his feet, and whose sport can only consist of
'keeping the pot boiling' down the long slides that speedily get
formed, to grave lawyers, councillors and magistrates, while crowds of
the fair sex also don their skates, and anon the surface of the loch
gets obscured by the multitudes of people disporting on the ice. There
have been times when Duddingston, like the Thames, has been so
strongly frozen that an ox has been roasted upon it, and 'Frost Fair'
is still a tradition amongst old people. But a thickness of five or
six inches of ice suffices to make the entire surface safe and solid,
and when by the continuance of frost the ice reaches to nigh two feet
thick--no uncommon event--then the frosty carnival is at its best.

The village of Duddingston reposes under the wing of Arthur's
Seat--the hill shewn in our view--and lies to the right. In the
village is the house in which Prince Charles Edward lodged before the
battle of Prestonpans. In former times, Duddingston was famous for
'sheep's head' dinners, and its fruit gardens were also a favourite
resort in summer. The parish church, seen amidst the bare trees, is of
architectural interest because of several portions of Norman work
still extant, and also from the fact that at the gate of the
churchyard are to be seen the 'jougs', an iron collar used as a
pillory, and also a curious relic, a 'loupin' on stane,' placed
considerately there so that persons attending church on horseback
should reach their saddle with the least trouble. In the comfortable
manse, which lies away to the right, there lived for a time the Rev.
John Thomson, one of Scotland's greatest landscape painters, who was
minister of the parish, and died there in 1840. The roadway running
between the rocky knoll and the main hill is called the 'Windy Gowl,'
and in certain directions of the wind is almost impassable. The
precipitous rocks standing to the left of the hill are known as
'Samson's Ribs,' and consist of basaltic columns of the same formation
as Fingal's Cave and the Giant's Causeway. Viewed as we see it from
the east end of Duddingston Loch, Arthur's Seat loses the fine leonine
form it presents in every other direction. It is a noble hill, and
although little more than eight hundred feet high, its position as a
solitary eminence gives it much grandeur of appearance, and the view
from its summit is nowhere surpassed. On a clear day, the eye may
wander from the Cheviot Hills on the Border, to the Grampians in the
north-west, and while the city of Edinburgh lies spread out below, the
varied landscape of the Lothians and the sparkling waters of the Firth
of Forth come in to make up a panorama of varied beauty, amply
repaying the slight toil of the ascent.


We reach here a quiet loch, of no great extent, but presenting a
beauty of its own, and famous from its association with the ancient
palace that crowns the peninsula in its centre. The tale of Flodden
Field is closely associated with this palace, for in the small turret
at the right hand corner furthest in our view there sat Queen Margaret
in her bower, watching the turn of the road by which the king ought to
be seen on his return, and weeping in secret misgiving as to the
result of an enterprise which had been preceded by such a singular
warning. The scene described by Lindsay of Pitscottie, and better
known through 'Sir David Lindsay's Tale' in _Marmion_, took place in
the old parish church, closely adjoining the palace, the square tower
of which is seen over the trees. The king was in the practise, on each
anniversary of his father's death, to proceed to St. Katherine's
aisle,--still shown--and there to manifest his contrition for the
share he had had in that sad act. When

    'In Katherine's aisle the monarch knelt
    With sackcloth shirt and iron belt
      And eyes with sorrow streaming'

there stepped out from the crowd a mysterious stranger, 'in azure gown
with cincture white,' who warned the king not to go to the intended
war, more especially warning him, if he went, to guard himself against

                  'Woman fair
    Her witching wiles and wanton snare.'

Every one knows that as regards both branches of the warning, the
king proved regardless, and much of the disastrous result of Flodden
arose from the king's fatal dalliance with a renowned Border lady.

Of the loch itself there is not much to say, after it has been told
that it is dominated on the north by the gentle and verdant declivity
of _Glower-o'er-em_ or Bonnytoun Hill, on the summit of which is an
elegant open gothic cross to the memory of Adrian Hope, a soldier of
note who fell in the Indian mutiny. An exceedingly pleasant hour or
two may be spent boating on the loch. On the level sward to the left
of our view, the Linlithgow youth may be seen practising the game of
cricket, for which use of the palace precincts leave is given. The
palace grounds are open to the public, the building being in
government hands, and, it is believed, swallowing up the whole rent of
the small farm adjoining in the plasterers account for maintenance of
the extensive ruins.

Within those walls the beautiful Mary Queen of Scots was born in 1542,
and the room is shown, roofless and bare, as are other apartments of
more or less interest. The newest part of the structure is on the
north side, which is also the most ruinous, for when Hawley's
dragoons, in 1746, set fire to the palace, the wooden floors here
proved of course more easily destroyed than the vaulted and tiled
floors in the older parts.

The porch, it may be mentioned, is copied at Abbotsford, and the fine
fountain which stands in ruins in the courtyard has been reproduced in
fac-simile at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Leading to the palace from
the town, the church door being also within it, is a fine gateway,
with sculptured panels shewing the four knightly 'Orders' held by
James V., namely, the Thistle, the Garter, the Golden Fleece, and St.
Michael. The town of Linlithgow is a quiet, decayed county town,
famous in history for the assassination of Regent Murray by Hamilton
of Bothwellhaugh, in the High Street, and once distinguished by its
singularly copious water supply from wells or springs, some of which
still run on the streets, though most are now led into pipes for a
general supply.


The old rhyme has it that three of the finest rivers in Scotland set
out to run a race, with varying fortunes:--

    'The Tweed, the Annan and the Clyde,
    A' took their rise out o' ae hill side,
    Tweed ran, Annan wan,
    Clyde fell and brak its neck o'er Corra Linn.'

As an actual fact those three rivers find their head waters within a
very narrow space. Annan, with the shortest course, falls into the
Solway Firth; Tweed, getting many famous waters to strengthen its
current, the Gala, the Yarrow, the Ettrick and the Teviot, rolls its
noble course to the Border city of Berwick, and runs into the German
Ocean. The Clyde, after surviving its leap over Corra Linn and other
falls, becomes the great highway for ships at Glasgow, and has the
most useful, as well as the most romantic career of the three.

Before it breaks its neck o'er Corra Linn, the Clyde has already met
with an accident at Bonnington Linn, and rushes over rocks and gullies
of the most hazardous kind, so that it reaches the greater fall in a
condition of turmoil and agitation far removed from the gentle
character of its earlier course. Above Bonnington,

    'Smooth to the shelving brink, a copious flood
    Rolls fair and placid,'

but when it approaches Corra Linn, the water is alive and tumultuous,
and plunges over really as if it would break its neck in its mad

To reach this fall, the visitor leaves the burgh of Lanark at its
lower end, proceeds to Kirkfieldbank, and there obtains a card of
admission to the grounds of Corehouse. The river is crossed at
Kirkfieldbank, but long ere reaching this the water has quieted down,
and flows gently along. The roar of Corra Linn may however be heard,
especially if the Clyde be in flood. The walk after entering the
grounds is not long, when, following the course indicated by cards
(though the sound of the water indicates the way pretty well,) we
reach the ruins of Corra Castle, just overhanging the fall. A little
roadway,--quite safe, for it is on the solid rock--leads down to a
projecting cliff from which, seated on the benches placed there for
the purpose, the splendid sight can be viewed at leisure.

    'Dashed in a cloud of foam, it sends aloft
    A living mist and forms a ceaseless shower.'

In the sun, tiny rainbows form, as different points of view are taken.
The deafening roar of this grand cataract rises and falls in a
singular way, as if every slight inequality in the volume of the river
could be detected. The note is low and grand, so that the sound of the
human voice, shrilly set above its deep diapason, is easily heard, and
conversation can be quietly carried on. As in all great waterfalls,
the impression is deepened and strengthened by familiarity. For one
minute the feeling may arise 'is that all'--the next, the grandeur of
the scene has won its way to the mind and taken captive the
imagination. Sit for an hour and the feeling will grow, while to
revisit it day after day for a week will intensify wonder and
admiration at the marvellous scene. Does it plunge and roar thus, year
in, year out, day and night, continuously? Is there no pause, no rest,
for the tost and troubled water--no quietness for those reverberating
rocks that stand around in awe of the ceaseless and giant power that
has so eaten its way into their hearts?

Everyone who visits Corra Linn walks through the ground to Bonnington
Linn, which from the Corehouse side is seen in face, the water
plunging over in two streams divided by an island. If these falls are
approached on the Bonnington side, the visitor sees Corra Linn in
face, can descend (by a steep descent) to the bed right under the
fall, visits the Wallace Cave where the river roars through a gulley
only a few feet wide, and may cross by an iron bridge to the island in
the middle of Bonnington Linn.


In this cataract, the Clyde leaps a greater distance than in either of
the falls above, and by many it is considered the finer of the two
great waterfalls. It lies about three miles below Lanark, and is
reached from the public road. It is difficult of access, for the
visitor must either content himself with a distant view, or take his
heart in his hand and descend a precipitous and dangerous path, where
at times to hang on by the eyelids may seem the only resource. In
speaking of Corra Linn, nothing has been said of the extreme beauty of
the scene through which the river flows. From Hamilton to some
distance above Lanark, the Clyde valley is a famous fruit district,
itself a testimony to the richness and mildness of the locality. It
would be vain to dwell on the sylvan splendours of the reach of the
river from Bonnington to below Corra Linn. High banks overhang the
whole way, sometimes running to bold cliffs, crowned with woody
knolls, with shining snatches of verdure in every crevice; at other
points wooded to the water's edge. Standing on the bridge at
Kirkfieldbank the river is seen pleasantly flowing on towards its
third leap, the greatest of the series. Before passing by the road to
this scene a detour should be made, on the opposite bank, to the
Cartland Crags, where a lofty bridge crosses the river Mouse, and
amongst whose lofty cliffs the hero William Wallace found refuge after
his famous exploit in slaying Haselrig the English Sheriff.

Approaching Stonebyres, the war of troubled waters is again heard. The
stream is not far off the road, and only a short walk is necessary
before the scene bursts upon the view. Of course glimpses of the
waterfall can be obtained from many points, but the choice aspect is
to reach the bed of the stream below, and gaze upwards on the mighty
rush of waters. To one who is bold and sure-footed there is no great
difficulty in approaching pretty near the fall, unless the river
should be in spate, when of course the difficulty is increased, and
may indeed become too dangerous to be possible. Supposing the fall
approached within several score of yards, what a splendid scene, and
how thrilling is that on which we gaze!

    'O what an amphitheatre surrounds
    The abyss, in which the downward mass is plunged,
    Stunning the ear.'

The entire descent is about ninety feet, in several distinct leaps.
This broken character of the two great falls gives them a great deal
of their distinctive beauty. Doubtless, if the flood had plunged in
one sheer leap, the turmoil below would have been greater, but the
picturesque aspects of the scene would have been lessened. The jutting
rocks and ragged edges by which the fall is broken, give to the face
of the waterfall an ever varying feature, and with the undulating flow
and gamut of sound here, as at Corra Linn, it presents at each moment
some new point for admiration. Then the triple and repeated leaps
churn the water into the snowiest foam and spray, so that the falls
have great brightness and lightness in spite of the quantity of water
plunging over. The combination of tones of colour is indeed notable,
and when to the greens and browns of rock and tree, and the white foam
of the fall, there is added a brilliant sunshine and cerulean sky
flecked with light clouds, anyone standing here may well exclaim that

    'Earth hath not anything to show more fair.'


This loch has at the present day a two-fold attraction--historical and
piscatorial. Like most other places of interest in Scotland, the story
of Loch Leven and its castle clings round the chequered career of Mary
Queen of Scots. Here, for eleven months, the beautiful Stuart Queen
lay a prisoner, and eventually her escape was arranged with all the
romantic devotion and quiet daring with which she was ever able to
inspire all who fell under the spell of her charms or the pity of her
fate. Here, as Burns has taught us to believe, she uttered that sad
'Lament on the Approach of Spring' which forms one of the most
touching bits of the national poet's writings,

    'Now Nature hangs her mantle green
      On every blooming tree,
    And spreads her sheets of daisies white
      Out o'er the grassy lea.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Now blooms the lily by the bank,
      The primrose down the brae;
    The hawthorn's budding in the glen,
      And milk-white is the slae:
    The meanest hind in fair Scotland
      May rove their sweets amang,
    But I, the Queen of a' Scotland,
      Maun lie in prison strang.'

The waters encompassing the castle form a loch of an irregular square
form, with a maximum length of four miles, and over two miles wide.
The island on which the castle stands is not the largest, there being,
at the eastern end, a large island named after St. Serf, and still
showing the remains of a priory, originally Culdee, and of which
Wyntoun, author of the _Orygynale Cronykil_, was once the head. The
castle, a massive square keep, with a quadrangle of fortified
buildings around it, is of great antiquity, dating, it is alleged,
from Pictish times. The walls of the keep are in good preservation,
and the lower floors, being vaulted, still remain. The surrounding
wall, with circular towers, can be walked upon, but the main buildings
in the area are only indicated by lines of foundation walls. From the
side nearest in our view a sunken causeway formerly connected the
castle with the promontory on which Kinross House stands, and it can
still be traced at the bottom of the loch.

The surroundings of the loch include the Western Lomond, and the
Bishop Hill on the north-west, and Benarty on the south. Regarding the
last named hill, a retired politician is said to have written the
following couplet, in retirement here,

    'Oh blest is the man wha belangs to nae party
    But sits at his door and glowers at Benarty.'

The district traversed in reaching the loch impresses the visitor as
being fruitful and prosperous, and there are abundant evidences around
of much mineral wealth. It is, however, for angling purposes that Loch
Leven attracts the greater number of its visitors. The Loch Leven
trout are active and firm-fleshed, and are in much esteem both for the
sport they yield and for the table. At the west end of the loch, close
by the town of Kinross, boats are let for angling, and besides many
private parties, a large number of clubs hold stated competitions on
Loch Leven, and the 'baskets' made, and the prospects of sport, are
the subject of daily reports in the Edinburgh and Glasgow newspapers.
Beds and boats are telegraphed for in advance, regarding which a good
story is told of an Edinburgh journalist, once famous with rod and
line, who first sent a wire to the unsophisticated Kinrossians. When
he arrived he saw that he was unexpected, and asked 'did you not get
my message?' The reply was, 'Ou ay, we got a letter, but as it _wasna
in your ain handwriting_, we paid nae attention to it!'


This is one of the lochs without a history, although doubtless men
have lived and died, married and given in marriage, laboured, plotted,
and perhaps thieved and robbed upon its borders. It owes its presence
in our collection because of its position in an island, and that one
of the most tempting spots in the more lowland parts of Scotland. The
island of Bute, which unites with Arran and the Greater and Lesser
Cumbraes to make up a county to which Bute gives its name, lies on the
west of the Frith of Clyde, and is separated from the mainland on the
inner side by a narrow, tortuous, and picturesque channel called the
Kyles of Bute. Landing at Rothesay we find a busy, cleanly, charming
watering place, with suburbs of Craigmore and Port Bannatyne filling
up the lovely shores of Rothesay Bay, and giving from every window
enchanting peeps of water and hill, carrying the view far into the
mountainous county of Argyle. Writing of this lovely, verdant island,
David Macbeth Moir (the _Delta_ of Blackwood,) says

                  'each moment brought
    A new creation to the eye of thought.'

So much for poetry. We may tell of Bute a more prosaic story, when a
town-lady, going, as the Glasgow people say, 'doon the watter,' asked
a lodging-house keeper in Rothesay about thunder, and received the
very satisfactory rejoinder, _more Scottice_, in question form, 'Wha
ever heard o' thunder in an island?'

Leaving Rothesay by the road near its centre, and passing the parish
kirk, Loch Fad is found about two miles out. On the south side,
forming the foreground and left of our view, the shores are low and
green, but on the other side it swells out into bolder outlines, and
may fitly claim to be a Highland loch. A curious mound crosses the
water, leading to its northern side. On this side of the pretty island
loch, Edmund Kean, in 1827, built himself a residence. From his
windows, and more especially from a summer-house placed on the height
above, there is a grand view, embracing not only the near waters of
Loch Fad, but glimpses of Rothesay Bay, and on the outer line the bold
features of Argyleshire. Over the doorway of this summer-house, the
great tragedian had those lines

    'How glorious from the loopholes of retreat
    To peep at such a world.'

And this concisely expresses the feeling with which a wearied man may
seek his holiday in such an island as this. True it is, that Rothesay
has a telegraph, and a post office, and a newspaper, and that in two
hours' time one can be set down in the heart of Glasgow. But the
insular charm is a great one.

    'The promises of blooming spring live here,
    And all the blessings of the ripening year.'

Those lines were formerly inscribed at Mount Stuart House, the
residence of the Marquis of Bute, recently burnt and rebuilt. It lies
on the Clyde shore of the island, at no great distance from
Rothesay,--indeed there are no _great_ distances anywhere in the
island--and forms one of the many beautiful drives through the island.
On the way thither the village of Ascog is passed, where on a rocky
point jutting out into the river there is a little church, and at its
end a monument to Montagu Stanley, poet, actor, artist, at one time
well known in Edinburgh society. From Mount Stuart and Ascog, and the
other houses on this side of the island, there is an extensive view of
the Frith of Clyde, on the broad waters of which there is a
never-ending panorama of steamers, yachts, and gallant vessels.


Justly termed the Queen of the Scottish Lochs, this magnificent sheet
of water presents an almost infinite variety of scenery. It has on the
eastern side one of Scotland's notable mountains, Ben Lomond, and
around are hills of lesser, though still great altitude, over which
the giant mountain towers as a monarch amidst his courtiers. There are
on the loch several excellent steamers, and as the distance from the
pier at Balloch to the landing place at Ardlui is upwards of twenty
miles, a day can be delightfully spent in going and returning, giving
the charms of Highland scenery without the ordinary fatigues of
travelling, and the delights of an excursion on a wide expanse of
water without the attendant risk of sea-sickness.

There are on the bosom of Loch Lomond several large islands, and many
small islets, adding greatly to the beauty and variety of its scenery.
Some of the islands are clad in oak; one is called Inchlonaig, or
yew-tree island; some display the silvery leafage of the birch, others
are covered with the hardier fir, and here again the element of
variety comes in to charm the sense. Our view shews the loch before it
has narrowed to the lesser channel between Inversnaid and Ardlui, and
before it has lost the charm of those wooded islands that beautify the
southern and wider part. The bulky form of Ben Lomond fills up the
scene, and the sun shining amidst clouds is significant of the varied
weather that may be encountered in one day. The wide reaches and more
lowland aspects of the southern end may be passed in all the enjoyment
of a noon-day summer sun, but ere the upper part of the loch is
reached clouds may gather, and a sudden torrent of rain or a sullen
blast of wind may overtake the voyager. But again, in an hour all is
peaceful and beautiful, and the rain has served to augment and enhance
the burns, rivulets, and streams, whose crystal waters feed the loch
from every shore. On several of the islands are ruins of old castles,
and all around the scene is redolent of memories of old feuds, violent
strifes, and fierce clan struggles. To-day all this is changed, and we
revel only in the grandeur and beauty of the scene. Those caves hide
no caterans to rob us, the cattle and sheep on hill or island are safe
from the foray, and the dwellers around pay no black mail to save
themselves from the attentions of stout and bare-legged ruffians.

At Rowardennan Inn are guides and ponies, and although the stalwart
man may dispense with the latter, it is not safe to attempt the ascent
of Ben Lomond without a guide familiar with the road, for sudden mists
may envelop the climber, and a mistake in the road may lead to death.
What is to be seen from the top? Rather ask what is not seen? Right
away to 'the back of the North Wind' stretch the innumerable hills. To
the west the mountain ranges of Argyleshire, to the south-west the
long peninsula of Cantyre, with the waters of the Atlantic seen
beyond; to the east the castles of Stirling and Edinburgh may be
picked out, to the south the busy Clyde, and in the foreground the
splendid loch itself. Ben Lomond stands as a sentinel or outer-guard
to the Highlands, and hence the range of view from it is of unusual
extent. All that is to be seen from it cannot be described, so rich,
so extensive, so varied are the prospects presented.

It is said that last century a visitor wrote some lines on a
window-pane at Tarbet Inn, on the ascent of Ben Lomond, and a few
words of his advice may fitly close our essay:--

    Rest, oh! rest--long, long upon the top,
    There 'hale the breezes, nor with toilsome haste
    Down the rough slope thy youthful vigour waste.
    So shall thy wondering sight at once survey,
    Woods, lakes and mountains, valleys, rocks and sea,
    Huge hills that heaped in crowded order stand,
    Stretched o'er the western and the northern land.


An essential part of the Trosachs tour is the coach drive between
Inversnaid on Loch Lomond, and Stronachlacher pier, where the steamer
on Loch Katrine begins (or ends) her journey. There is one little loch
on the way, from which emerges the Arklet, which runs into Loch
Lomond, and forms the fine series of cascades of which the upper fall
is shown in our view. There is almost no need to waste words in any
description of this delightful scene, so well does the picture we
present describe itself. We may say of it, in lines that Wordsworth
has linked indissolubly with the place

                      'A very shower
    Of beauty is thy earthly dower

           *       *       *       *       *

    These trees, a veil just half withdrawn,
    This fall of water, that doth make
    A murmur near the silent lake.

           *       *       *       *       *

    In truth together do ye seem
    Like something fashioned in a dream.'

It may well be doubted whether the Highland girl, with her 'twice
seven consenting years,' and her 'homely ways and dress,' would have
enchained the sympathetic poet, had he seen her in some place less
lovely, or less provocative of a feeling of poetic contentment. Be
that as it may, it will be confessed that the scene, with or without a
'Highland Girl' to stir the strings of the heart, will remain
impressed on the mind of every one who is sensible of the beautiful.
And so we can join with Wordsworth, in the conclusion he arrives at,
always excepting, if necessary, his passion for the girl of fourteen--

    'For I, methinks, till I grow old
    As fair before me shall behold,
    As I do now, the cabin small,
    The lake, the bay, the waterfall,
    And thee, the spirit of them all!'

There are many remembrances of Rob Roy, truthful some of them,
fanciful the rest, in the vicinity of Inversnaid. Not far off is Rob
Roy's Cave, the entrance scarcely visible, while within there is a
vast cavern, whence in fancy we may descry

    'The wild Macgregor's savage clan
    Emerging at their chieftain's call
    To foray or to festival.'

On the road between Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine is seen Inversnaid
Fort, now in ruins, having in itself a chequered history. Built in
1713 to check the Macgregors, it is said to have been at one time
resided in by General Wolfe. Now, like some doomed city of old, 'the
cormorant and the bittern possess it,' for the Macgregors are at
peace, their name and tartan are no longer proscribed, and now no
black-mail is levied on any one in the district but the strangers, and
for their protection the government has no need to provide. It is at
times a costly thing to travel in the Highlands, when beds are at a
ransom, and all the wealth of Ind will not secure the coveted box seat
of the coach. But a Macgregor who levies black-mail in a Scottish city
has put the thing in a nutshell, for when remonstrated with about his
charges he said, 'What for should I charge less?--my hoose is fu'
every nicht!' There is true political economy shaking hands with the
plunderer of the Saxon!


The most brilliant gem in the loch scenery of Scotland is
unquestionably Loch Katrine or Ketturin, and it is needful, however
attractive or deserving of praise other waters may have proved, to
avoid exhausting upon them the vocabulary of praise, lest no words of
greater admiration should be left for this, the loveliest of them all.
Even if Scott had not superadded to Loch Katrine the witchery of his
genius, and made Ellen's Isle as famous among the abodes of heroines
as the Fountain of Vaucluse, this water would have asserted its claim
to public regard. True, it was Scott that gave the impetus for touring
in Scotland--or Scott-land as some have called it!--and Loch Katrine
thus obtained a first hold upon the admiration of the world. But spite
of all rivals, it maintains first rank, and although it cannot cope
with Loch Lomond or Loch Maree in point of size, neither of those
great lochs command the same admiration.

Scott in _The Lady of the Lake_, has depicted the scene in words of
fire; taking sunset for the time. The 'gallant grey' has fallen,--the
guides still point out the very spot!--and the huntsman pursues his
way till the end of the glen is reached, and Loch Katrine bursts on
his view,

                'An airy point he won,
    Where, gleaming with the setting sun
    One burnished sheet of living gold,
    Loch Katrine lay beneath him rolled,
    In all her length far winding lay
    With promontory, creek and bay,
    And islands that, empurpled bright
    Floated amid the livelier light,
    And mountains that like giants stand,
    To sentinel enchanted land.'

In pointing to 'promontory, creek, and bay,' as the characteristics of
the loch, Scott has depicted its most charming attributes, while the
islands, of which Ellen's Isle is the largest, help to enhance the
effect. As the little steamer breaks the still waters into drops that
glance like gems in the sunlight, the scene changes every
moment,--changes in detail, but never in degree of beauty, for the
loch is lovely throughout, and never fails to enchant the eye.

The chief attraction of the loch itself is the lovely wooded isle that
fills the foreground of our view,

    'The wild rose, eglantine, and broom,
    Wasted around their rich perfume.
    The birch trees wept in fragrant balm,
    The aspens slept beneath the calm,
    The silver light, with quivering glance
    Play'd on the water's still expanse.'

Seldom indeed will the casual visitor have the opportunity of viewing
this scene thus, by the silvery moonlight. But in sunlight it is not
less beautiful, and the description is complete. Next to the island,
the point of attraction is the 'silver strand,' from whence one of the
many fine views of Ben Venne may be had.

While Loch Katrine thus ministers to our love for the beautiful, its
waters have learned to combine the _utile_ with the _dulce_, and here,
in October 1859, came Queen Victoria to turn on the water for the
supply of Glasgow. Many and fierce were the controversies as to this
scheme. But Lord Provost Stewart, who was mercilessly assailed for
upholding such a costly scheme of water supply, is now commemorated in
Glasgow by a splendid fountain in the West-End Park, and staticians
and sanitary reformers are able to show that the death rate amongst
the half million crowded workers in Glasgow has manifestly lessened
since the city acquired the right to drink the sparkling waters of
Loch Katrine.


Turning aside from the formal round of the Trosachs and Loch Lomond,
to penetrate into that wonderful district which the Callander and Oban
railway has opened up, we reach, at no great distance from Callander,
Loch Lubnaig, 'the crooked lake,' so called from its bent form, which
is almost identical with the form of the boomerang. The river Leny,
which drains the lake, passes through the Pass of Leny, once famous as
a gateway defending the entrance to the Highlands. Here, whether
viewed from the train or the road, the river is seen to rush over huge
rocks, tearing, roaring, and tumbling, in a manner calculated to
terrify the timid entrant to this wild district.

The lake itself lies clear, black, and deep, a somewhat sullen, yet
always beautiful sheet of water. On the left the dark masses of Ben
Ledi cast their shadows upon the water, intensifying the depth of its
tone, and giving the loch its distinctive character. Near the water
the banks are in many places full of gentle woodland beauty, but as a
rule the impression made by the overhanging bulk and the dusky-hued
rocks of Ben Ledi, absorb the sense, and the loch ever presents an
idea of grandeur and desolation. The railway line follows the edge of
the loch over its whole length, and the construction of this track
formed a most difficult engineering task, which at some stages of its
progress was nigh abandoned in despair. To get round the hard and
unyielding shoulders of the mountain, where they impinged direct upon
the water, embankments had to be made across a number of bays and arms
of the loch. In one case the task of throwing rocks and stones into
the water was persevered in for nine months without perceptible
result, but by continued labour a footing above water level was at
last obtained. As the train pursues its course along the bank of the
lovely loch,--the eye the while rejoicing in the dark and placid
beauty of the water, and the charm of the hill scenery beyond,--there
will at times come the feeling that the distance between the carriage
window and the treacherously pellucid depths of the loch is all too
little. The fear is unfounded, for no sign of subsidence has been
shewn--the mass of stones thrown in was too solid for that. But this
is a feature in the case that no traveller will fail to notice, and
the impression thus made by Loch Lubnaig makes it a water which once
seen will never be forgotten.

Near the debouchure of the river is St. Bride's Chapel, where Angus
thrust the fiery cross into the hands of Norman, as described in _The
Lady of the Lake_. About half-way up the loch is Ardchullary
farmhouse, which was at one time the retreat of Bruce the traveller in
Abyssinia, who here wrote the volumes on which a century ago such keen
controversies arose. On the opposite side, where the railway runs, is
Laggan, said to have been the abode of Helen Macgregor, whom Rob Roy
carried off from here by force and married. In the veritable histories
of Rob Roy, however, his wife's name is given as Mary, daughter of
Macgregor of Comar.


No one can accuse the Scottish lochs of want of variety, for in each
is found some specialty, some individual beauty, that stamps it on the
mind, so that the visitor can carry away a distinct impression.
Nobody, for example, who has been at St. Fillans, or attended the
annual games there, is likely to have any difficulty in remembering
this pretty modern village, and the fine loch near which it lies. St.
Fillan, it may be mentioned is a personage of great sanctity in
Scottish hagiology. And when his crosier, carried away to Canada by
its 'Dewar' or hereditary keeper, was recently restored to Scotland,
and placed in the National Museum at Edinburgh, one might have almost
doubted whether Scotland were really Protestant at all, so full was
every one of the fame of this great miracle-working saint. As is well
known, it was the presence of his arm-bone, in the hands of the Abbot
of Inchaffray, which enabled the Scots to win the battle of

Loch Earn, it is to be understood, was known before the Trosachs.
Although shut in at its upper end by the gloomy hills that darken Glen
Ogle, and from that side until recently not very accessible, it was
reached from Crieff and St. Fillans, long before Scott invented those
wondrous stories about the Trosachs district which are to-day so
veritable that the scene of each incident is pointed out. And in its
perfection of beauty--for so we consider it--it well deserves to hold
its place in public regard. The reverse view from that given here is
also beautiful, and it may be said that no more perfect scene can be
witnessed than from the carriage window in the Oban train as, high on
the side of a steep and terror-striking mountain, it enables the
visitor to look down, as with a bird's-eye view, upon this lovely
loch. The sheet of water is symmetrical, a feature which may be a
beauty or a disadvantage, according as the spectator looks for
completeness of display, or for mystery as the aim of the picturesque.
But, as it is expressed by MacCulloch, Loch Earn is 'consistent and
complete,' and he points out that by this completeness it possesses an
appearance of extent beyond which it actually possesses. The mind can
grasp it all, but we feel that there is a great deal to be grasped.
The hills are sufficiently high to give dignity to the scene, and the
glowing verdure all around gives it softness and beauty. Benvoirlich
is its summit hill, and the house of Ardvoirlich--the 'Darlinvaroch'
of Scott's _Legend of Montrose_--occupies a fine spot half way down
the loch. In this mansion is preserved a singular talisman, a perfect
sphere of rock crystal, with four silver bands, which throughout the
country side has the credit of curing diseases when dipped in water to
be drunk by the patient.

It remains to notice some physical peculiarities of this loch.
Although situated at an elevation of several hundred feet above
sea-level, its temperature is so equal that the water is never known
to freeze, and even the stream that flows from it never shows ice on
its surface till it has run several miles into bleaker regions. The
depth of the water is at some places six hundred feet, and as it lies
in the immediate region of earthquake in Scotland, it is allowable to
conjecture that some hidden fire of nature far below keeps the water
just a point or two above ordinary heat, and thus produces the
phenomenon stated. There are trout in the loch, and leave to fish can
readily be obtained at either end, as the hotel keepers have boats
upon the loch.


Many of the lochs of which we have spoken have the advantage of Loch
Tay as regards the number of their visitors, and their repute in
distant parts. But in no case is greater beauty to be seen than here,
and no spot in Scotland will more fully repay the labour of travelling
to see it. It lies surrounded with splendid hills, Ben Lawers on the
north proudly towering over the scene. It is very finely wooded over
all its banks, and its slightly irregular form creates change and
variety at every mile of the way. It is the merit of Loch Tay that now
the visitor has 'three courses' before him, like a great statesman of
our day. When he leaves Killin station at the upper end, or Aberfeldy
station at the lower end, he may follow the coach route on the north
side, or he may prefer the less public road on the south side, or he
may sail on the bosom of the water in the steamer, the _Lady of the
Lake_, launched in 1882 by the Earl of Breadalbane. From Killin, the
direction of our view, the north road, which is generally followed,
lies to the left. Just at the head of the road--one of the roads made
by General Wade--is seen the ivy-covered ruin of Finlarig Castle,
situated amidst fine woods, and having near it the burial place of the
Breadalbane family. The Queen, visiting Taymouth Castle in 1842,
lunched at Auchmore, where the south road strikes off. She speaks of
the scene as enchanting, and it would be difficult to find a more
appropriate word. Ben Lawers, the ascent of which is made from Lawers
inn, has not many superiors in height in Scotland, and its ascent is
not difficult, while the view from it is superb. Behind Ben Lawers,
and further on running to a junction with the valley in which Loch Tay
lies, is the grand district of Glen Lyon, of which many think, that
from its upper reaches in the Forest of Mamlorn to where the Lyon
falls into the Tay, there is not a glen in Scotland so weird and yet
so verdantly beautiful. The ascent of Ben Lawers, it may be mentioned,
has special charms for the botanist, boasting amidst many rare plants
the drooping saxifrage (_S. cernua_,) not elsewhere found in this
country. The district abounds in water and in waterfalls, including
the falls of Acharn, which are seen from the north side, but may be
visited if the south road be taken. From near Aberfeldy, when the
noble river Tay, the birth of this grand loch, has run some miles of
its course, the tourist naturally turns aside to visit the falls of
Moness, 'the epitome of waterfalls,' as Pennant says, on a stream
which flows through the town of Aberfeldy. Here is the scene so
exquisitely sung by Burns;

    'The braes ascend like lofty wa's
    The foaming stream, deep-roaring, fa's
    O'er hung wi' fragrant, spreading shaws,
                The Birks o' Aberfeldy.'

Close by Kenmore, at the lower end of the loch is a wooded island, on
which lies buried Princess Sybilla, daughter of Henry I. and wife of
the Scots King, Alexander I. In the inn-parlour at Kenmore Burns wrote
some lines of intense feeling and adoration, in which he dwells on

    'The sweeping theatre of hanging woods;
    Th' incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods,'

--twin characteristics of this most attractive region.


It is but seldom that the eye can rest upon so much soft beauty and
stern grandeur as can be seen at one moment in looking at this grand
loch. Rivalling Loch Lomond in length, it is much narrower, and while
richer, is perhaps less varied. In sailing over its clear waters, the
richly wooded islands and green banks suggest some large and placid
river. Crowded with islands, especially at its upper part, each one
with its ruin, its legend, or its sylvan beauty to attract, the loch
is in all respects charming. There is Inishail--the island of the
fair, immortalized by Hamerton,--Inis-Fraoch, the Hesperides of Celtic
romance, with golden fruit, a dragon, a lover, and a legend, all in
due form, Inistrynich, the island of the Druids, and many others. And
near the head of the loch is the peninsula on which stands Kilchurn
Castle, to whom we may say with Wordsworth,

                    'thy hour of rest
    Is come, and thou art silent in thy age.'

This ruin is one of the favourite subjects of the Scottish landscape
painter, and its picturesque character is well seen in our view.
Though now a complete wreck, it was entire and served as a post for
the royal troops in the '45, and almost within living memory it was a
habitable mansion. It is said that an economical steward of the Earl
of Breadalbane fancied the roof timbers would be useful at Taymouth
Castle, and had them removed. It is certain that for long the gigantic
stronghold served as a common quarry for the surrounding district, and
that even the church in the adjoining Glen Orchy has in it some stones
from the old castle. On the high ground to the right is a circular
and somewhat rude yet effective stone monument to Duncan Ban
Macintyre, of Glen Orchy, who died in Edinburgh in 1812, aged 89
years, and whose fame as a Gaelic poet is unique.

At its upper end the loch forks into two arms, that to the right
receiving the Orchy and other feeders, while that to the left runs
through the dark Pass of Brander, and there, in the river Awe, the
loch finds its outlet. Formerly the saying that 'it's a far cry to
Lochow' had more significance, for now the railway has made this grand
loch easily accessible, and as the line skirts the upper end of the
loch (where a large hotel has been built) and proceeds on terraced
banks through the Pass of Brander, crossing the rapids of the Awe on a
high bridge, the traveller enjoys the beauties of the district in a
large degree. The sail on the loch is, however, a part of the Highland
tour which no visitor should forego.

Ben Cruachan, whose double peak (the highest 3667 feet) dominates the
district, is one of the most striking of the Scottish hills, in its
massive form, magnificently swelling contours, and unique position,
giving perhaps a greater idea of bulk than other hills of the same
height. On three sides it rises from the water's edge, Loch Awe in its
two upper branches, the river Awe, and Loch Etive, the sea-loch into
which the latter runs, washing its base. The ascent of this noble Ben
is best made from the Bridge of Awe, a scene rendered familiar in
Scott's _Highland Widow_, and the view from the summit is magnificent.
No one will ever regret the toil of surmounting

                    'yon sovereign lord
    Huge Cruachan, a thing that meaner hills
    Might crush, nor know that it had suffered harm.'


Coming round the base of Ben Cruachan by rail, and leaving the Pass of
Brander and the rapids of the river Awe, the observant traveller will
not fail to notice that the large and spreading water he now
approaches has the character of a sea loch. If no other indication
were given, the presence of brown sea-wrack along the margin of the
water would show that here the tides ebb and flow. Far away to the
right, surrounded by grand hills, and closed in at the distance by the
bulky shoulders of Buchael Etive, is the upper reach of the loch,
forming in itself a most attractive portion of Highland scenery. The
railway, however, confines itself solely to the south side of the
lower and salter reach of the water, separated from the inner loch by
a reef of rocks, through the chief opening in which the receding tide
rushes with the character of a waterfall. Passing along the loch,
there is seen on the north side the remains of Ardchattan Priory, one
of the three religious houses established in Scotland after the
pattern of those in the Val de Choux (Cabbage Valley, or, _Scottice_,
Kale Glen, as the recent historian of Pluscardyn ingeniously puts it)
near Chatillon, in Burgundy. Loch Etive narrows at its mouth at
Connell Ferry, and then opens grandly into Loch Linnhe.

Dunstaffnage Castle, shown in the view, is one of the royal castles of
the Duke of Argyle. The building, which is of great antiquity and
strength, was destroyed by fire in 1715. Some guns supposed to have
belonged to the Spanish Armada are in the castle, and the remains of a
chapel are seen, in which are supposed to rest, not only the remains
of the actual King Alexander II, but of various more or less
apocryphal Dalriad kings. Over the water is shown the site of the
Pictish capital of Beregonium, (said to have been destroyed by fire
from heaven!) and, near it, on Bal-an-righ, is a vitrified hill fort,
the _Selma_ of the poems of Ossian.

At Dunstaffnage was at one time kept the Coronation Stone, or Stone of
Destiny, of which the tradition says that it was the veritable stone
on which Jacob laid his head when he had the dream on his way to
Padan-Aram! Geologists say that the structure of the _Lia Fail_ agrees
with that of the stones at Dunstaffnage. Leaving out tradition, the
stone is said to have been removed from this place to Scone, near
Perth, where the kings of Scotland continued to be crowned till Edward
Longshanks removed this Scottish palladium to Westminster Abbey, where
it remains to-day, fixed beneath the coronation chair. It is said that
Edward II. was willing to restore the Stone of Destiny to Scotland,
but was prevented by the London mob. The 'destiny' was proclaimed in
verses that have been rendered in this form

    'Unless the fates are faithless grown
      And prophets voice be vain
    Where'er is found this sacred stone
      The Scottish race shall reign.'

Without a doubt, the house of Brunswick claims the throne of those
realms in consequence of their Stuart descent, so that the stone has
not as yet failed in its effect, and every one desires that the
'destiny' should continue in the same line, whether the boulder from
the borders of Loch Etive has anything to do with the matter or not.


Here we have the culmination, as regards beauty, of the waterfalls of
Scotland. This is one of the scenes that struck the imagination of
Burns, as, standing by the fall, he wrote in pencil words that can
never be omitted in any description for they fulfil all that
description can effect--

    'Among the heathy hills and rugged woods
    The roaring Foyers pours his mossy floods
    Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds
    Where thro' a shapeless breach his stream resounds
    As high in air the bursting torrents flow
    As deep recoiling surges foam below
    Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends
    And viewless Echo's ear, astonished, rends:
    Dim seen through rising mists and ceaseless showers
    The hoary cavern, wide surrounding, lowers,
    Still, thro' the gap the struggling river toils
    And still, below, the horrid cauldron boils.'

The last idea is one that ever recurs in the presence of a great
waterfall, and in every respect the description is perfect, the
shapeless breach, the bursting torrent and the deep recoiling surges
are each impressed on the mind, even if the visitor has not read
Burns's lines. When Dr. Johnson visited Scotland, he too saw the Fall
of 'Fiers' as it is called in his _Journey to the Western Islands_,
and although a long continuance of dry weather had robbed the fall of
much of its promised grandeur, Dr. Johnson, while philosophically
remarking that 'Nature never gives everything at once,' gives a
striking word-picture, exercising as he says, his thoughts to
'conceive the effect of a thousand streams poured from the mountains
into one channel, struggling for expansion in a narrow passage,
exasperated by rocks rising in their way and at last discharging all
their violence of waters by a sudden fall through the horrid chasm.'
This is splendid, and if old Samuel Johnson had seen Foyers at its
best he could not have improved on the description.

The steamers on Loch Ness invariably stay at the pier of Foyers,
affording time to walk to the grand falls. The hotel here is built on
the site of 'General's Hut,' and still in Johnson's day it is 'not ill
stocked with provisions.' The name is given because General Wade, when
superintending those roads that are rendered famous by his epitaph,
was lodged at this spot. There are two falls, with a distance of about
a quarter of a mile between them, the lower or great fall being that
shown in the view. Over the upper fall there is a light bridge thrown,
and the scene here is very fine, though it is exceeded in grandeur by
the snow-white rush of the lower waterfall. The latter earns its
title of the 'fall of smoke,' the spray rising in never-ceasing clouds
of grey mist-like smoke.

A notable scene in the immediate vicinity of Foyers is the Pass of
Inverfarigaig, with vast cliffs, and many interesting geological
points of study. By ascending this pass and striking westward a fine
approach can be obtained to the upper fall of Foyers. Again, by a
ferry near the pier, the loch can be crossed, and the quaintly shaped
hill of Mealfourvonie can be ascended. Again, a short distance brings
the visitor to Castle Urquhart, while a little further on is
Drumnadrochit, rendered famous by _Punch's_ Fat Contributor,--'your
health sir, in a dram!'--where but for the telegraph wire, and the
post office, and the newspaper, and the frequent steamboats, a man
might moon away his time, and never tire of the fine air, the
wonderful surroundings, and the remote stillness. If a man wished to
be a hermit, and yet see much of the world, to be unoccupied, yet
never fail of variety of occupation, to be rested and refreshed, yet
interested and employed, he could not do better than take up his abode
at Foyers for the four or five months of the long days between April
and October.


This loch, with soundings deeper than any in the German Ocean, has
come into notice in an especial manner, because it forms, in its
twenty-four miles, a large section of famous tourist route, the
Caledonian Canal. The loch is within a few miles of the handsome town
of Inverness; the river Ness, draining the loch, running through the
town to the Moray Firth after a short but lovely course over the
intervening distance. Between Loch Ness and the outlet there lies a
vast gravel peninsula, dividing the section known as Loch Dochfour
from the rest, the barricade thus formed being a safeguard to the town
against the enormous pressure of water that would otherwise flow out
in times of flood. As it is, the records of the town point to terrible
devastations from the Ness coming down in strength. The deep waters of
the loch get lashed into stormy waves by gusts of wind rushing down
from the surrounding glens, so that Loch Ness does not always present
the peaceful aspect of our view, as seen by the summer visitor. But we
will take it on such a day by preference, and can warrant to every one
who comes that the sail in the fine steamers plying on the loch and
canal will be redolent of joy and beauty and grandeur. We may conceive
that there is more comfort and ease in seeing Loch Ness than when, a
hundred and nine years ago Johnson and Boswell rode along its shores.
But the high terms in which Bozzy speaks of the scene are as fresh
to-day as then, for the road shaded with birch trees, the hills above
it, the 'sequestered and agreeably wild' scene, are as fitted to
engross attention as ever. We know also that they would see Castle
Urquhart, on its prominent peninsula, and would probably be struck by
the notable form of the hill called Mealfourvonie. They stopped at the
'General's Hut,' as indeed we all do, for the new hotel at Foyers is
built on its site, whence we take the road to visit the falls of that
name, as described elsewhere.

Fort Augustus, standing at the western end of the loch, is now a
Benedictine monastery and school. Built after the Jacobite rising in
1715, as part of the plan for holding the turbulent Highlanders in
subjection, it remained crown property for a century and a half, and
falling into disuse and neglect was then sold for its present purpose.

Although our view gives but a small section of the loch, our notice
may be directed to the other parts of the route that now yearly
carries thousands of tourists through the Glenmore-nan-Albin. There is
at Corpach the famous 'Neptune's staircase,' where eight locks bring
the boat from the outer loch to the canal level. Loch Lochy, ten miles
in length, forms the western portion. Then after two miles of canal
Loch Oich is reached, this sheet of water being four miles long. Then
another cut takes to Loch Ness, the whole distance, from the staircase
to Muirton lock on the east side being about fifty miles. The entire
route, barring the delay at the locks up and down, has all the charm
of one continuous voyage on an inland lake, the portions in canal
being almost indistinguishable except in width from the natural
channels. There is a constant variety and glory of scenery during the
day's sail, and nowhere can the traveller spend a holiday with more
delightful surroundings.


There are few scenes more fitted to move the imagination than the
wonderful loch, and the more wonderful hills that surround it,
presented in this view. It is somewhat of an exaggeration for Sir
Walter Scott to say that here

    'Nor tree, nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower,
    Nor ought of vegetative power
            The weary eye may ken.'

But this is distinctly the impression of a first survey of the wild
scene, though under glints of sunshine there will not fail to meet the
eye little snatches of grassy bottom and stunted herbage, here and
there in the midst of the rocks. Yet there is so little to relieve the
singular darkness of the rock-pent water, and the dusky green of the
Cuchullin hills that surround it, that one fully appreciates, even in
the brightest weather, how true a picture Scott has drawn of the

      'For rarely human eye has known
    A scene so stern as that dread lake
      With its dark ledge of barren stone.
    Seems that primeval earthquake's sway
    Hath rent a strange and shattered way
      Through the rude bosom of the hill,
    And that each naked precipice
    Sable ravine and dark abyss
      Tells of the outrage still.'

To see Coruisk in fine weather is impressive, but it is when leaden
clouds weigh down the atmosphere, and dank mists clothe the rugged
peaks around, that the scene comes out in its full and weird
impressiveness. Then 'naked precipice,' 'sable ravine,' and 'dark
abyss,' are seen to be true words, and there comes on the spectator
some feeling of scenes that have been read of in Dante or Milton:--

                            'He views
    The dismal situation, waste and wild.
    A dungeon horrible on all sides round * *
    Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
    And rest can never dwell.'

But we must not give too black a character to this loch and its
surrounding hills. It is no Malebolge, filled by 'sounds and sights
unholy,' and while it impresses by its solitude and grandeur, it also
gratifies by its intense feeling of repose, and its remoteness from
the ills of busier life. Those visiting Coruisk will view with wonder
the extraordinary peaks of the Cuchullins, (pronounced Coolins,) each
more fantastic and broken than his neighbour, and all consisting of
the green-black hypersthene trap that gives its character to the
scenery here. South-east of the loch is the mighty bulk of Blabheinn,
(pronounced Blaven,) a huge mass with precipitous sides, down which,
on the occurrence of one of the frequent showers of this watery isle,
the rain is seen to descend in broken rills of dazzling whiteness,
making an extraordinary effect upon the upright face of dark rock. To
the north-east, the Cuchullin hills terminate in the ragged triple
peak of Scuir-na-gillean, the rock or hill of the young men. This
height was first scaled, in recorded history, in 1836, when Principal
Forbes, of glacial fame, ascended it, and since then, with guides, it
has been frequently climbed. But from the extraordinary formation of
the hill, the ascent is a work of much danger, and lives have been
lost in the attempt. The peak is a narrow ledge, precipitous on every
side. The height is 3220 feet, and although Scuir-na-Banachtich, the
westmost peak, is believed to be as high, it has not been climbed so
far as is known, and thus Scuir-na-gillean holds first rank in this
wonderful group of mountains.


The first sight of this glorious loch, as the stage coach from
Auchnasheen station brings the traveller to the top of a steep
descent, is calculated to excite the liveliest emotions of wonder and
surprise. The road reminds one of some Alpine pass, while far below
stretches the large sheet of water, with its western end eighteen
miles away. If for a moment a feeling of the smallness of the loch
should supervene, the huge hills dwindling it down by their enormous
bulk, this soon passes away, and we feel to be in presence of one of
Scotland's proudest lochs. The coach drive to Gairloch occupies six
hours in all, including a short stoppage to bait the horses at
Kinlochewe, and during the whole time the eye is filled with pictures
of grandeur or of delight. After the tedious descent to the water's
edge has convinced you that the feeling of smallness is a mistake, you
have time to observe the effect which such a mountain as Ben Slioch
has in dwarfing all around it. Loch Maree is but six miles from the
sea, with no great descent, so that the hill raises its mighty
shoulders almost sheer from the sea level. From the road you perceive,
skirting the loch on the other side, what seems a fringe of very small
bushes. But anon a two-storey house appears among the bushes, which
now, with a known standard of comparison, are seen to be tall trees!
From the top of Ben Slioch, or any of the neighbouring mountains of
first-class size, the view is grand, embracing at once the Atlantic
and the German Oceans. On the opposite side from Ben Slioch is the
Scottish _Pentelicus_, Ben Eay, whose brilliant white quartz pinnacle
may sometimes be seen shining in the sun, like the famed marble
mountains of Greece.

On the bosom of Loch Maree, near its widest end, are several islands,
the largest of which, Eilan Mhaolrubh, contains the remains of an old
chapel, and a holy well that is even yet in high repute amongst the
ignorant. It is sometimes said that the chapel, island, and loch get
their name from the Virgin Mary, but this is now universally
acknowledged amongst scholars to be an error. It was the Irish
preacher, Maelrubha, (Latinised to Malrubius, then softened down in
local tongues to Mulray, Mourie, and Maree,) who came over to Scotland
in the seventh century, who gave his name to the place. Dr. Arthur
Mitchell, in his Rhind Lectures on Civilization, has told in full the
story of the curious superstitions concerning this island, of which
examples as recently as twenty years ago are quoted. It is to be noted
that when, a year or two ago, the Queen visited the island, great
indignation was expressed in some quarters, because it was on a Sunday
evening she got rowed over from her retreat at Talladale to see this
interesting place.

The coach leaves the edge of the loch at Talladale, after a lovely and
varied drive along its banks, now in the bosom of a dense wood, now in
the midst of a rocky chaos,

    'The fragments of an earlier world.'

A few miles down the road are found the romantic falls of the Kerry.
The man on the box seat at the left of the coach looks sheer down the
precipice over which the stream falls, as the coach with a swing turns
the corner of the steep road, with little visible between the
traveller and the dangers of that awful chasm!


Although not reckoning amongst the grander waterfalls of Scotland, the
cataract on the Garravalt, in the Queen's Forest of Ballochbuie, is
behind few in the picturesque wildness of its surroundings. The name
in Gaelic,--'Garbh-allt'--is characteristic and descriptive,
signifying a rough brook, and our view of the roaring cataract shews
how completely it deserves that name. The entire course of the stream,
from its rise in Cairn Taggart, one of the Loch-na-gar group of hills,
is about five miles, and the linn itself is little more than half a
mile from where the Garravalt joins the Dee. To reach the place,--and
few visitors to the famed district of Deeside will omit to visit
it,--only a slight deviation from the road leading from Crathie and
Balmoral to the Castleton of Braemar is called for, the place where
the road leads off being close beside the Bridge of Invercauld, over
the Dee.

This waterfall, the finest of several in Deeside, has been
enthusiastically praised by every writer. The Queen, in the _Leaves
from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands_, says, 'From the road
in the wood we walked up to the _Falls of the Garbhalt_, which are
beautiful. The rocks are very grand, and the view from the little
bridge, and also from a seat a little lower down, is very pretty.' Her
Majesty has here indicated the two points of view generally chosen,
namely that from the bridge looking down, and that from below, looking
up the stream, the latter being adopted for our representation. To
say, as one writer has done, that 'the water comes foaming and raging
and toiling down in a manner almost impossible to be described,' is to
abdicate the chief functions of a word painter. The waters come
roaring and rushing down the rocky cleft, hurrying over the blocks and
stones that impede their passage, and creating a noise that is heard
far off,

          Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound
    And so never ending, but always descending
    Sound and motion for ever and ever are blending.'

The eye never tires in looking at the lively scene, and the ear drinks
in the murmuring and thundering sound, which has the usual faculty of
swelling and falling, till the mind gets imbued with the idea that the
waters are endowed with the faculty of speech, so that we
involuntarily ask 'what are the wild waves saying?' and linger long at
the spot in the vain hope that the varying syllables of the living
water will yet form themselves into intelligible words. This is not to
be however, and we may turn away to look for a moment at the
picturesque country in which this attractive waterfall is situated.
The steep pine-covered hill is called the Forest of Ballochbuie. Here
again we may turn to the Queen's book, where 'the aspect of the wood
which is called Balloch Buie' is described as 'most lovely.' It is
said that this ground was at one time given to the Farquharsons of
Invercauld, by the Earl of Mar, for a tartan plaid. It is now royal
property, and forms an extensive and valued addition to the forest of
Balmoral, which lies between Ballochbuie and the castle. It was in the
Mar territory, at the Castleton of Braemar, that in 1715 the then Earl
of Mar raised his standard in support of the Chevalier St. George,
whom he had previously, in Glenlivat, proclaimed as King James the
Eighth of Scotland. Here, where 'the gathering pipe on Loch-na-gar'
was heard sounding 'long and sairly,' the inheritor of the crown of
the Stewarts has frequently attended a very different gathering on the
'Braes o' Mar,' when the Duffs, the Farquharsons, and other clans
meet, not for feuds and bloodshed, but for the athletic rivalries of
'tossing the caber' and other native games.


It is perhaps puzzling to the stranger to learn that Loch-na-gar is a
mountain, 3768 feet above the level of the sea, though there is on the
summit, and hemmed in by steep precipices, a small sheet of water that
gives its name to the hill. But in the Dhu Loch, a little further in
the heart of this mountainous district, we find one of the most
striking scenes in Scotland. It was of the hill and its surroundings
that Lord Byron wrote his familiar lines,

    'Away ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses,
      In you let the minions of luxury rove.
    Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes,
      Tho' still they are sacred to freedom and love.
    O Caledonia, beloved are thy mountains,
      Round their white summits though elements war,
    Though cataracts foam, 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
      I sigh for the valley of dark Loch-na-gar.'

The _Dhu Loch_, or black loch--a well-deserved name--has its bed, as
shown in our view, in steep and desperate precipices of granite, and
for sternness of outline is not excelled. The red-deer on its banks
are undisturbed, for seldom does the foot of man intrude on their
repose, and while the water is clear, it is strongly discoloured by
the peat, and the absence of foliage, with the sterile loneliness of
the scene, make men shun rather than court its remote solitudes. 'The
scenery is beautiful here,' says the Queen, in her _Leaves from the
Journal of our Life in the Highlands_, 'so wild and grand,--real
severe Highland scenery,' and the description is surely a true one. No
one can come about the Dhu Loch without being prepared for 'several
scrambles,' like the royal party, and without being prepared also to
endure the 'severity' as well as enjoy the beauty of the place. If he
does not, like Lord Byron, admit Loch-na-gar to be 'the most sublime
and picturesque of Caledonian Alps,'--for perhaps some hill already
named in this volume, unknown to Byron, such as Blaven, or Ben Eay,
might dispute the title--still he will acknowledge that it is a
wonderful region. It is said that on a fair calculation of what
elements go to make up a desirable climate, the kingdom has nothing
better to offer than Braemar, and that Balmoral is the ideal site for
a residence. The district is like all that belonged to the little bear
in the child's story. The hills are neither too high nor too low, but
just right. The climate is neither too mild nor too severe, but just
right. The rainfall is neither too much nor too little, but just
right. In short it is a perfect region,--perfect in its variety of
scenery, from the rich woodlands of its lower ranges to the wild
grandeur of its mountain recesses. Perfect is it also in its fine
lochs, its picturesque waterfalls, its brattling burns, and its
rolling rivers.

The waters from the Dhu Loch run into Loch Muick, above which lies the
hut at Altnaghuissac, a favourite _shiel_, or mountain summer house of
the royal family when living at Balmoral. This lies in the very
innermost recesses of a grand region, and here the pure air, and the
splendid views, combine to make a haven of retreat, whether, as in the
case of royalty, from the cares of state and the turmoil of politics,
or, in the case of the jaded man of business, from the burdens and
anxieties of the daily grind of life. Those characteristics, more or
less true of the whole inner region of Aberdeenshire, have made the
district a favourite _sanitarium_, while for the mere pleasure-seeker
it presents a succession of delights, full of unalloyed beauty, unless
indeed the weather should break down, and the unwary traveller is
caught in the rains and mists of winter, which may make the ascent of
Loch-na-gar dangerous.


It is not a little remarkable that the only conception of the Devon
put on paper by Robert Burns was as a clear winding river, whose sweet
stream 'meandering flows.' The fact was that Burns was led to know
that something was expected of him, and his muse was not to respond,
for she acted spontaneously or not at all. A woman did eventually
inspire him to write--ah! those women, how much of Burns' best
thoughts did they command!--and he referred to the romantic stream
only in order to tell that the 'bonniest flower' there had once been a
sweet bud on the banks of his own beloved Ayr. The river Devon has a
short and chequered existence, and after a course of thirty-four
miles, falls into the Forth within five miles of its source. At that
little bit of its journey when, after rising in Stirlingshire, it
flows through Perthshire into Kinrosshire, and then doubles back
across a peninsular bit of Perthshire to reach the county of
Clackmannan, the stream goes through a series of vicissitudes that
completely destroy its 'clear-winding' character. First there is the
deep chasm across which the Rumbling Bridge is thrown. There are here
two bridges, one over the other. The earlier bridge, built in 1713,
eighty feet above the stream, is narrow and without a parapet, and
there is a local tradition of a man who fell asleep in his cart being
taken home safely over this exalted and narrow pathway by the instinct
of his horse. The present bridge, a plain but strong erection, was
built in 1816, and is one hundred and twenty feet above the stream,
the latter hidden far below amidst inaccessible precipices and
darkening woods. Further up the stream is the 'Devil's Mill,' said to
be a waterfall, but so completely inaccessible, that the character of
the place is very much a matter of conjecture. However, there is
heard far down in the depths below the clack and beat of a mill; and
as this goes on Sabbath and Saturday alike, the name quoted above has
been bestowed on the unhallowed mill. It is understood that the water
falls into a basin or chasm without outlet, carrying air with it, then
the air bursts out with the boom that resembles the regulated beat of
a mill. Be the cause what it may, the delusion is perfect.

Pursuing its way for a mile through a deeply cleft and gnarled valley,
the Devon flings itself in desperation over the Cauldron Linn. There
are two points of view for this singular waterfall, one from above
looking down, the other, shown in our view, from below, looking up.
From above, at the level where the trees are seen, the water leaps
into the cauldrons that give the Linn its name. In the hard basaltic
rock the swirling water has worn out three circular vats or cauldrons,
in which the stream incessantly goes round. The surplus water plunges
over the edge of one cauldron to that below, or, as in one instance,
has worn a hole in the side of the pot, and rushes through that. It is
said that when a sheep's carcase is brought down, and the river is not
high, it will swirl round in the cauldrons till a spate comes strong
enough to carry it over the edge. At the top the round lips of the
upper cauldron nearly meet, so that a man of nerve could leap across.
The distance is probably not over a yard, but so dizzying is the
incessant whirl of the water, that so far from leaping across, a timid
visitor may not even look over the edge, unless prone on the earth he
puts his face over, conscious that six-sevenths of his body are safe
on _terra firma_!

From below none of this terrible stir of the Cauldron Linn is seen--we
have merely a snowy sheet of water, beautiful certainly, and
impressive in its height, and encircled with lofty precipices, so
that, without reference to its characteristic features above, it takes
rank as one of the most beautiful cataracts in Scotland. The view,
which forms a vignette on our title-page, would in its natural place
come before or after Loch Leven.


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