« AnteriorContinuar »
near approach to the grounds of Blair Atholl. The road passes old Fascally, (Butter, Esq.) and on the south side of the Garry, Killicrankie Cottage, (Hay, Esq.) and on the left Urrard, (Alston, Esq.) and Orchilbeg, (Duke of Atholl,) on the right; Strathgarry, (Stewart, Esq.) and Shierglass, (J. MacInroy, Esq.) on the left, and advances to the mansion of Lude, situate among deep groves at the southern extremity of a ridge of hills stretching Rannoch at the eastern extremity of the lake. The view from this point, westward, is grand and picturesque. Looking eastward, the village forms the fore-ground ; on the left, is a bold precipice down which descends a brawling torrent; and on the right, is the steep and enormous Schihallien, insulated from the surrounding mountains, and towering to a height of 3550 feet. This mountain is the reputed haunt of the monstrous fairy Cailin. After the disastrous battle of Methven, Robert Bruce and his Queen, with a few adherents, had a retreat near its northern skirts ; and in modern times, Dr Maskelyne, the late astronomer royal, made upon it his observations of its power in attracting the plummet, which it was found considerably to affect. Proceed along a good road on the south side of the lake through a forest, and pass Carie, (Robertson, Esq.) At the distance of six miles from Kinloch Rannoch is Dall, the hunting-seat of Lord Grantley; and five miles farther, the village of George's-town, where there is a good inn. About a mile hence is Barracks, (Robertson of Struan,) and Rarnoch Lodge, (Menzies, Bart.) Here the road terminates, at a distance of thirty-two miles from its commencement at Bonskeid.
The Tourist wishing to visit Loch Ericht, will have to proceed across the heath a distance of six miles. This lake stretches from north to south over a space of sixteen miles; and its upper extremity touches upon the region of Badenoch in Inverness-shire. scene of complete desolation and solitude, the only habitation that appears upon its uncultivated banks being a solitary shooting lodge to. wards the head of the lake, and the hut of a shepherd. In a cave near its southern extremity, the young Chevalier was some time concealed from the King's troops. Where the lake discharges its wa. ters is a rock upwards of 100 yards of perpendicular height. On its summit, which is barely accessible, are the remains of a fortification, 500 feet in length, and 250 in breadth. The wall, upwards of fifteen feet in thickness, is composed of great broad stones without
It is a
BLAIR ATHOLL-ATHOLL HOUSE.
from the north. The road descends into the opening valley, and, after crossing the river Tilt, enters the plantations of
Nature has formed on each side of this valley numerous terraces, some having their sides variegated with flowering shrubs and herbage, and others deeply shaded with the rich foliage of trees of a stately growth. A mile farther on, the road reaches the village and inn of Blair, situate upon rising ground, which overlooks a fine plain at the junction of the Tilt and Garry. Upon this plain stands
formerly Blair Castle, one of the seats of the Duke of Atholl. It is a building of great strength, as well as extent. The time of its erection is uncertain, but the oldest part is supposed to have been built by John, commonly called De Strathbogie, who enjoyed the title of Atholl in right of his wife. In 1644, it was garrisoned by the Marquis of Montrose, who was joined by a large body of Atholl Highlanders, to whose bravery he was indebted for the victory of Tibbermuir. In 1653, it was taken by storm by Colonel Daniel, an officer of Cromwell. In 1689 it was held by an officer of Viscount Dundee, on behalf of the exiled family of Stewart ; and an attempt to besiege it, made by Lord Murray, son of the Marquis of Atholl, led to the battle of Killicrankie.* The last siege it endured was in 1746, when it was
* In a letter, dated Edinburgh, 10th September 1689, General Mackay writes, “ He had reduced the country of Atholl, and placed 500 men in garrison at Blair-Castle.”—MS. in possession of Mackay of Blackcastle.
gallantly defended by Sir Andrew Agnew against the Highlanders, who retired from it a few weeks before the battle of Culloden. When peace was established, its turrets and battlements were removed by the Duke of Atholl, and the height of the building considerably reduced.
The plantations in front of the house have not the best effect in an immediate view; but when beheld at a distance from the opposite bank of the Garry, the appearance of the place is very imposing. In the background is seen the vast outline of the mountains of Beny-Gloe, the dreary heights of which exalt the picturesque beauties of the inferior ridges, and enhance the rich appearance of the subjacent valley ; while the prospect down the Garry, where Ben-Vracky rises pre-eminent among
the barrier mountains near the eastern outlet of the pass, is one of peculiar grandeur and interest. The summit of the far distant Schihallien is seen overtopping the southern ridges; and west of Ben-y-Gloe rise the eminences of Atholl forest, bounded by BenDearg on the north.
But the glories of this neighbourhood consist in its gloomy dells and ravines, scooped out of the living rock by numerous mountain streams, its long retiring vales, shaded by the precipitous sides of wooded mountains and its stupendous cataracts. These altogether compose a region where the hand of nature has vigorously impressed her own sublime and wildly romantic features. Art has not been wanting to give effect to the enchanting scenery of this region. The ornaments of woods, and the conveniences of roads, have been supplied with a princely profusion; and the traveller has all the facilities which civilization affords of enjoying scenes as gloomy, savage, and wild, as when they first started into existence.
A superb cataract, to which the stranger is conducted, is called the York, after Archbishop Drummond. It is about a mile distant from Blair Castle upon the Lude estate. Near to the bridge of Tilt, a stream, called the Burn of Fender, after descending from the skirts of Ben-y-Gloe through a richly wooded glen, pours its waters over a huge cliff into the impetuous Tilt, whose roaring torrent runs almost invisible in the hollow caverns of the rocks that rise like ramparts from its banks. This cascade is viewed to the greatest advantage from the opposite side of the Tilt. A good footpath up the glen conducts the Tourist to other cascades upon the burn of Fender ; the first that is met with is equally beautiful, though of a less lofty character than the York; the great body of the water gushes through a deep ravine, overhung with trees and underwood, while a portion of the stream is divided from the principal waterfall, and spouting over a jutting rock, is scattered into a shower of foam in its descent. But the upper fall of the Fender is most worthy of attention, the fall itself and its locale combining the sublime and the magnificent. The stream first appears tumbling amidst trees and over rocks, and being joined by another stream that darts from the side, throws itself down a steep declivity into a profound hollow, and thence sweeps with velocity down the narrow glen. Along the path we have described, there is the Tulchan, a very large cairn ; and a line of smaller tumuli lay at one time between this place and Lude-House, but cultivation has obliterated the greater part of them.
The Tourist now ascends into
which partakes in a high degree of the wildest Alpine scenery This glen, in ancient times, was famous for its race of warriors.
It is of great length, and hemmed in on each side by the steep sides of two continuous chains of mountains. Ben-y-Gloe forms the southern screen of the valley ; and the road, passing from BlairAtholl along the brink of fearful precipices which rise from the bed of the river, descends into the depths of the glen; then leaving its woody defiles, it winds along the bases of huge and grassy mountains. Ravines and recesses, formed by the brook or the mountain torrent, occasionally occur, half-concealed by tangled screens of honeysuckle and wild briar, which mingle their tints with the golden saxifrage and the snowy parnassia, and combine with numerous birch-trees to load every passing breeze with their odour. Glades open up at short distances, disclosing views of singular beauty; while scenes of rural industry occasionally blend with the wild appearance of herds of red deer, sweeping along the sides of the hills like wreaths of mist.
Two miles up the glen, a bridge has been thrown across the river, from which an enchanting view may be obtained. Beyond this, the valley is more open, and the river, in all its various forms of torrents, sunless pools, and noisy waterfalls, becomes more interesting to the sight. In the middle of the glen the Duke of Atholl has a hunting lodge; a little beyond which the road is inaccessible to carriages. The scenery increases in wildness, but loses in variety; the eye having only the broad russet surface of the mountains to repose on, excepting where a stream occasionally pours down their sides, affording moisture to the gloomy pine and other trees waving solemnly over it. The rivulet of Loghaine is now seen to join the Tilt, after flowing from the small lake of Loch-Loch ; upon it are the remains of the sylvan palace in which the Earl of Atholl most sumptuously entertained King James V. his mother, the Pope's legate, the French ambassador, and others; an account of which the legate, Æneas Sylvius, has transmitted to posterity. Another very circumstantial account of the same me