Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[graphic][merged small]
[graphic]

induce many tourists to ascend the hill. Its height is 822 feet above the level of the sea. The ascent, which is neither difficult or dangerous, may be made either by the footpath leading past St. Anthony's Well, with St. Anthony's Chapel on the left; or by following Victoria Road, commencing at the northern base of the hill, to the point presenting the easiest access to the summit. This point is reached after passing Dunsapie Loch, on the left of the road, a spot as sequestered as if there were no such city as Edinburgh within a distance of 50 miles. Descending again to the road, the tourist may prosecute the beautiful walk round the hill, and return to the city by the south side; or he may retrace his steps and proceed up the Canongate from Holyrood.

If the footpath ascent be preferred, the pedestrian proceeds up the face of the hill, passing on the left the ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel,* while upon the

various sounds of active industry or idle revel, and the lofty and craggy hill, silent and solitary as the grave; one exhibiting the full tide of existence, pressing and precipitating itself forward with the force of an inundation; the other resembling some timeworn anchorite, whose life passes as silent and unobserved as the slender rill, which escapes unheard, and scarce seen, from the fountain of his patron saint. The city resembles the busy temple, where the modern Comus and Mammon hold their court, and thousands sacrifice ease, independence, and virtue itself, at their shrine; the misty and lonely mountain seems as a throne to the majestic but terrible genius of feudal times, where the same divinities dispensed coronets and domains to those who had heads to devise, and arms to execute, bold enterprises.”—SIR WALTER SCOTT-Introduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate.

* The spot where Jeanie Deans is represented to have met with the ruffian Robertson may be seen in ascending the hill, although no remains of the cairn are now visible. “It was situated,” says the novelist, “in the depth of the valley behind

right is the semi-circular ridge of bold and precipitous rocks known by the name of Salisbury Crags. The walk along the top of these Crags commands beautiful prospects of the city, as also does the promenade immediately below.* From this walk may

Salisbury Crags, which has for a background the north-western shoulder of the mountain, called Arthur's Seat, on whose descent still remain the ruins of what was once a chapel, or hermitage, dedicated to Saint Anthony the Eremite. A better site for such a building could hardly have been selected; for the chapel, situated among the rude and pathless cliffs, lies in a desert, even in the immediate vicinity of a rich, populous, and tumultuous capital; and the hum of the city might mingle with the orisons of the recluses, conveying as little of worldly interest as if it had been the roar of the distant ocean. Beneath the steep ascent on which these ruins are still visible was, and perhaps is still pointed out, the place where the wretch Nicol Muschat had closed a long scene of cruelty towards his unfortunate wife, by murdering her with circumstances of uncommon barbarity. The execration in which the man's crime was held extended itself to the place where it was perpetrated, which was marked by a small cairn, or heap of stones, composed of those which each passenger had thrown there in testimony of abhorrence, and on the principle, it would seem, of the ancient British malediction, 'May you have a cairn for your burial-place.'”- Heart of Mid-Lothian.

* “ If I were to choose a spot from which the rising or setting sun could be seen to the greatest possible advantage, it would be that wild path winding around the foot of the high belt of semicircular rocks, called Salisbury Crags, and marking the verge of the steep descent which slopes down into the glen on the southeastern side of the city of Edinburgh. The prospect, in its general outline, commands a close-built, high-piled city, stretching itself out in a form which, to a romantic imagination, may be supposed to represent that of a dragon; now a noble arm of the sea, with its rocks, isles, distant shores, and boundary of mountains; and now a fair and fertile champaign country, varied with hill, dale, and rock, and skirted by the picturesque ridge of the Pentland mountains. But as the path gently circles around the base of the cliffs, the prospect, composed as it is of these enchanting and sublime objects, changes at every step, and presents them blended

« AnteriorContinuar »