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Leaving Fort William, the road is conducted down the south side of Linnhe Loch, the view westward being
Inverary, he will have an opportunity of surveying all the grand objects between Oban and Dalmally,—to be afterwards noticed.
The most direct road to the Isle of Skye is from Fort William ; and the distance to Arisaig, where there is a ferry from the mainland, is forty miles. The famous spar cave, upon the west shore of Loch Slapin, in Skye, is the great object of attraction to Tourists, the distance to it from Arisaig, by land, is forty miles ; but, as will be explained, it may be reached by a shorter course in a boat.
The route here described is from above Fort William by a ferry across the Lochy, which divides Inverness-shire from Argyllshire, and a road leading along the side of a moss conducts to the sea lock of the Caledonian Canal at Corpach, a distance of four miles. Near this is the church of Kilmallie, and in the burying-ground is the tomb of Colonel Cameron, of the 92d regiment, who fell at Waterloo, upon which is inscribed an epitaph composed by Sir Walter Scott. The road proceeds along the north shore of Loch Eil; and six miles from Corpach passes Fassfern, (Sir Ewan Cameron, Bart.); six miles beyond this is Glen-finnan, a narrow but highly picturesque valley, at the head of Loch Shiel, a fresh water lake, which discharges itself into the ocean by the river Shiel. In this secluded glen the young Chevalier met his friends, and unfurled bis standard on 19th August 1745. Upon the very spot, the late Macdonald of Glenalladale erected an obelisk to commemorate the event. The road re-enters Invernessshire, and proceeds through a wild country. The head of Loch Aylort, an arm of the sea, at length appears amid mountains, and deep in the glen is a farm-house ; next, a paltry inn. About fifteen miles from Glen-Finnan is Borrodale, (Macdonald, Esq.) and two miles farther, Arisaig-House, (Macdonald, Esq.) The scenery around this place is awfully wild and imposing. Two miles farther is the village of Ari. saig, having an inn and Catholic Chapel. It stands upon LochnaGaul, and here it was that Prince Charles landed from France, and took up his residence at Borrodale. The rock on which he stepped from the boat is still pointed out with respect. At Borrodale also he found refuge after the battle of Culloden.
If the weather be favourable, the Tourist ought to hire a boat to convey him directly to Loch Slapin, where the cave is situated, a distance from Arisaig of twenty-five miles. But, should he prefer a land excursion, he must first cross the ferry to Ardavaser, twelve miles. From this place, where he will find no inn, he proceeds along the government road; and a mile in advance passes Armadale, the superb
bounded by the mountains of Ardnamurchan. Upon reaching Corran Ferry, nine miles from Fort William,
mansion of Lord Macdonald, mostly built of marble, procured in the island. Striking views are obtained of the mountainous country of Knoydart on the mainland, indented by Lochs Nevish and Hourn. A mile further on is the church of Sleat, where stands the monument of the great Sir James Macdonald; and two miles farther, the house and ancient castle of Knock. The sea is now lost to the sight; and at the distance of three miles is the village of Camuscross, upon the commodious bay of Isle Oronsay. After proceeding through a wild moor for six miles, the Tourist comes in sight of the sea, where the fishing village of Kylehaken is seen upon the right; and, at a distance on the mainland, Loch Carron. In front are the islands of Scalpa and Raasay, and to the left the great mountain Ben-Caillich. Four miles farther on is the village of Broadford, where there is an inn ; and near this village is Corrychattachan, (M‘Kinnon, Esq.)
At the village it will be proper to procure a guide, as the Tourist has now to strike away from the road to Loch Slapin, in the district of Strathaird, across a heathy country. At the head of the lake a river flows into it, and two miles beyond this is Kilmaree. The cave is two miles farther ; but the Tourist, instead of doubling the head of the lake, should procure a boat at a farm-house upon the north shore, and proceed by water to the cave, which is upon the west side. The entrance to the cave is a huge gap in the rocky coast, thirty feet in breadth; 500 in length, and 100 in height. Through this natural avenue the visitor gradually ascends, until he reaches the mouth of the cave, which is of the form of a Gothic arch, and opens to a passage where profound darkness reigns. To proceed farther, torch or candle light is indis. pensable. The passage from the mouth of the cave is nine feet broad, and from fifteen to twenty feet in height; is level for sixty feet; and then there is a steep ascent of fifty-five feet. At this distance there is a flat of a few feet, and to this resting-place the sides of the passage are completely black. But beyond this is another ascent of twentyeight feet, white as a glacier, to which it bears a close resemblance. At the head of this pass, the breadth is eight feet, and above is a vaulted roof, twelve feet high, and of dazzling brightness. The right side of the arch is sustained by a regular Gothic column, shooting from the
de, under three-fourths of its circumference. Proceeding along this passage, the walls appear covered with the most elegant incrustations, and its roof fretted with sparry icicles. It gradually enlarges to ten feet in width, and forty in height, when, all at once, the visitor enters a saloon of wonderful splendour. The open space is suddenly enlarged
it proceeds along the north shore of Loch Leven, a branch of the great Loch Linnhe, stretching eastward. Upon both sides it is bounded by lofty mountains, their summits pointed like spires; between them the tide rolls in with solemn majesty. The Tourist will be amply repaid for his trouble in exploring the shores of this lake, which present many striking and beautiful landscapes. Fourteen miles from Fort William, he reaches the ferry across Loch Leven, and on the opposite side is the village and inn of
in the district of Appin, Argyllshire. The narrow strait at the ferry is called Calas ic Phatric, from a tradition that Patrick, a son of the king of Denmark, was drowned here. The road proceeds close by the extensive slate quarries of Ballachelish, which, in point of quality, are equal to any in the kingdom ; and along the southern shore of Loch Leven for four miles, until it turns up
to twenty feet in diameter, s nearly circular, and the whole is composed of incrustations, shining like the most brilliant gems, and of snowy whiteness. The bottom is filled with water, and resembles a large marble basin, surrounded with an infinite variety of grotesque figures of spar, while from the roof are suspended innumerable shining stalactites. There is a continual dripping of water from the roof, and the whole surface is covered with moisture.
The scenery in the neighbourhood of this cave is in the highest degree sublime. It comprehends
- The savage wilds that lie North of Strathnardil (Strathaird) and Dunskye;" and to the west are seen the dark blue mountains of Cuchullin.
The island of Skye is the largest of the Hebrides, being forty-five miles long, and from three to twenty-five in breadth, the average being fourteen. The population is upwards of 18,000. It is exceedingly mountainous ; and abounds with rivers, lakes, glens, and ancient ruins. It was much indebted to the late Lord Macdonald for many valuable improvements.
the dark valley of
famous as the birth-place of Ossian, and noted for the massacre of its hospitable and unsuspecting inhabitants, committed by the government troops in 1691. The particulars of that transaction are familiar to every one ; it fixed an everlasting stigma upon the reign of William and Mary, and combined cruelty and treachery in a higher degree than any other public act to be met with in the annals of the country.
The scenery of Glencoe is the most awfully wild and romantic of any in the Highlands, or perhaps in the British islands. The valley is remarkably narrow, and on every side black rocks, almost perpendicular, rise to a height of 3000 feet. On one side their summits are jagged and broken for many miles, in some places shooting into lofty spires : and at many parts two opposite ranges approach so near together, that they seem to hang over each other, as if to shut out the glen from the light of day. Among the hills, on the south side, is Malmor; and the celebrated Dun Fion, the hill of Fingal, is conspicuous among those upon the north. In the middle of the valley is a small lake, and from it issues the stream of Cona, frequently alluded to in the Poems of Ossian.
- Their sound was like a thousand streams that meet in Cona's vale, when, after a stormy night, they turn their dark eddies beneath the pale light of the morning,"
“ The gloomy ranks of Lochlin fell, like the banks of the roaring Cona. If he overcomes, I will rush in my strength, like the roaring stream of Cona.” * *
Why bends the bard of Cona, said Fingal, over his secret stream? Is this a time for sorrow, father of low-laid Oscar ?".
Glencoe is closed in at its farthest extremity by the rugged mountain of Buchael Etive, over which is a road that, from its steepness and inequality, has obtained the appellation of The Devil's Staircase. But, by keeping the road to the right, the hill is avoided ; and, after traversing a barren and desolate country, the Tourist arrives at the
distant twenty-eight miles and a half from Fort William. This inn was built about the period of the Rebellion 1745, for the accommodation of the king's troops when marching through this dreary territory. Nine miles and a half beyond the King's House is Inveroran, on the left of which is Loch Tulla, scantily ornamented with pine and birch. Two miles beyond Inveroran, the road crosses the river Orchy; and on the right is seen the pretty vale of Glenorchy, where the inhospitable desert which the Tourist has passed is succeeded by the most pleasing indications of fertility and cultivation. This valley, or glen, is the property of the Earl of Breadalbane, and gives the title of Viscount to his eldest son. About four miles from the bridge of Orchy, the road touches upon the borders of Perthshire; and, three miles further, reaches the small village and inn of
situate at the head of Strath Fillan in Perthshire, upon the line of the great military road from Stirling to Fort William, and distant from the latter forty-seven miles. In this neighbourhood are the lead mines of the Earl of Breadalbane ; and, at a short distance, is Dalree, or the King's Field, where King Robert Bruce, in 1306, sustained a severe defeat from Macdougal of Lorn. Leav