Skip to main content

Full text of "Wanderings in the Highlands of Banff and Aberdeen Shires, with trifles in verse"

See other formats


THE LIBRARY 



OF 



THE 



UNIVERSITY 
CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



OF 



WANDERINGS 



HIGHLANDS OF BANFF AND ABERDEEN SHIRES. 









WANDERINGS 



HIGHLANDS OF BANFF AND ABERDEEN 

SHIRES: 

WITH TRIFLES IN VERSE. 

BY J. (I. PHILLIPS. 



" Away, ye yay landscapes, ye gardens of roses, 

In you let the minions of luxury rove ; 
Restore me the rocks where the snowflake reposes, 
For still are they sacred to freedom and lovu." 

Bvitox. 



BANFF : 

FEINTED AT THE BANFFSHIKE JOURNAL OFFICE. 
1881, 



DA 



CONTENTS. 

-p 

b 



TOMINTOUL, I.NCUKOKV, AND TIM'. ( lu AMPIANS, . . 9 

STRATIIAVEN AND FERGAN \YEI.L, ... 17 

THE BRAES OK CONGI.ASS, . . . . 23 

GLENBUCKET, STRATHDON, AND GLENNOCHTY, . . 28 

CORGARFF AND STKATHDON, . . . . -35 

Gl.ENSUIE, Bl.ACKWATER, AM) LOWER C'ABRAi:H, . 54 

UPPER CABRACII, . . . . . -59 

GLENRINNES : ITS ARCHEOLOGY AND AGRICULTURE, . 68 

THE BRAES OF GLENLIVET SIXTY YEARS AGO, . . 75 

PRESENT BRAES OF GLENLIVET, .... 83 

OLD COLLEGE OK SCAI.AN, BRAES OF GLENI.IVET, . . 88 

INVERAVEN AND LOWER GLENLIVET, 95 

THE MOSSES OK GLENI.IVET, . . . . . m 

POETRY. 

LAND OF THK BRAVE, . . . . . .119 

DREAMING, ...... 120 

IN MEMORY OK BELLA. . . . . .121 

A RETROSPECT, . . . . . . 123 

To ANNIE, ....... 124 

BLIGHTED HOPE. ...... 125 

FORSAKEN, . . . . . . .126 

AN ODE TO NATURE, ..... 127 

AN ADDRESS TO THE WIND, ..... 120 

A DREAM, . . . . . . . 130 

LINES TO A LADY, ...... 132 

MOURNING, ...... 134 

AN APPEAL, . . . . . . 135 

To THE RISING SUN, . . . . 137 

Two MEETINGS, . . . . . .138 

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. .... 140 

To Li /./.IE, ....... 142 

THK FLOWER OF FIDDOCHSIDK, .... 143 

A BATTLE FIELD, ...... 144 

LIKE, ....... 145 



884725 



? R E F A C 




HE Wanderings which form the greater part 
<>t this volume have all, with one exception, 
appeared at different periods during the past six years 
in the newspaper press. They were fairly well 
received by the public when read separately, which 
encourages the hope that they will be equally 
fortunate when presented in the present form. 
When first written, I had no idea whatever of forming 
a collection. The walks were undertaken for plea- 
sure and recreation, and to make an acquaintance 
with the districts. [ tried to describe their physical 
features, their modes of agriculture, and anything 
else that came under my observation, as faithfully as 
possible. 

In this work I have strictly adhered to the 
original, only making an alteration or correction 



where deemed necessary. Therefore, if it lias no 
other merit, it may be relied upon as a guide. Taking 
the Braes of Glenlivet as a centre, all the surrounding 
districts have been personally visited, and by roads 
but little known to the outsider. 

With regard to the Verses, I can say but little. 
They have all appeared in the newspapers at some 
time. I have chosen, from a good number of pieces, 
those that I considered the best. In this I do not 
know that I have been successful. It is not always 
the case that one is a good judge of one's own 
efforts. 

In conclusion, I beg to offer my sincere thanks 
to all who have helped me in any way. To the 
Editors of the " Banffshire Journal " and the " Elgin 
Courant " those thanks are especially due, it being 
through their kindness that I have been allowed to 
reprint the papers. To my Subscribers I am also 
very grateful, and I fondly hope that the perusal of 
my Wanderings and Verses may give them pleasure, 
if not profit. 

J. G. PHILLIPS. 

BIIAKS or 



DA 



tv 

in the 




TOMINTOUL, INCHRORY, AND THE 
GRAMPIANS. 



'HE sun was glinting over the stormy Kyma, and 
the dews of night lay thick on the heather, as 
we ascended Glachcan on our way to Tomintoul. 
We had long wished to have a closer view of 
Scotland's Alps than could be obtained from the 
Braes of Glenlivet, but the weather prevented 
us. This morning, however, was calm and 
lovely. The fields were bright green, the hills 
dark brown, and the great dome of heaven a cloudless blue. 
Rapidly, and in the best of spirits, we moved along the 
shoulder of Glachcan, inclining downwards to dark Faemus- 
sach ; passed between Blairwick and Inchnacape, and at 
length reached the high road that leads to the capital of the 
Banffshire Highlands. Another half-hour and we passed 
Auchriachan, where the waters of the Conglass rush past at 
headlong speed, anxious, as it were, to shake hands with the 
amber Aven. A few minutes more and we reached the first 
stage of our journey Tomintoul. 

It has been the pleasure of some writers lately to paint 
Tomintoul black, simply, we imagine, because some one else 
did it before them. It is true that Tomintoul cannot boast 
of marble palaces, smiling gardens, or brilliant equipages ; 



10 

but it is likewise true that it is not cursed with houses of a 
less agreeable and romantic character. If the village of 
Tomintoul is not an Eden, it is within easy reach of some of 
the wildest and grandest scenes in Scotland. Where in the 
Northern Highlands can a sweeter or more romantic spot 
be found than Delnabo ? Crossing the Aven about a mile 
from Tomintoul, you move along the beautiful haugh, and in 
a few minutes reach the sequestered nook where the houses of 
Delnabo lie nestled. Immediately behind the steading rises 
a great black hill, with but little on it to attract the eye ; but, 
turning to the left, an abrupt knoll is seen with a narrow 
steep pathway winding round it. Ascend the pathway and 
you are among the crags of Alniack crags famous for their 
height and wild sterility. The stream Alniack in the course 
of ages has cut a channel through the red rock of at least a 
hundred feet, and the gorge is so narrow and perpendicular 
that it makes the head giddy and the flesh creep to peer over 
the brink of the fearful abyss. Move on towards the Gram- 
pians, and the scene gets wilder and more terrific. Great 
masses of rock are seen standing alone, like sentinels guard- 
ing the approach, and warning the stranger back from scru- 
tinising too closely the secrets of that wild scene. These 
fantastic peaks of rock are trappean, and belong to the meta- 
morphic system. The crags of Alniack are, however, but 
one of the many interesting and romantic scenes near Tomin- 
toul, and we would advise the keen-eyed writers who visit 
it to take a look of the surroundings of the village ere they 
give vent to their critical powers. The people of Tomintoul 
are quick and intelligent, and bear a strong love for their 
Highland home. There is one feeling among them, however, 
which we would like to see changed. It is that many of the 
young people are inclined to let the language of their fore- 
fathers sink into oblivion. We do not understand this feel- 
ing. There is much in the mountain tongue that merits 
cultivation. It is the language that Ossian sung in, and 
many other bards whose names are now lost in the mists of 
time. We do hope that this ancient language, which ought 
to be dear to every Scottish heart, will not be driven from 
its last stronghold in Banffshire. 

After reaching Tomintoul, we joined four companions, 



11 

one of whom had a vehicle in waiting ready to start with us 
for Loch Bnilg. Seated in it, with a plentiful supply of 
provisions, we rolled swiftly away, and soon left Tomintoul 
behind us. Wheeling round a turn in the road, we came in 
sight of Delnabo, described above. Though close on the banks 
of the Aven, it belongs to the Seafield estates, and is tenanted 
by Major Smith, Minmore, who also possesses Lynchork, 
near by, and the adjoining grazings, extending in all to 
about 10,000 acres, of which he is also the shooting tenant. 
Quickly Delnabo fades from our view, and we are skimming 
along towards Delavorar. The road at this point is very 
dangerous for vehicles. It runs along a steep bank over- 
looking the Aven, and is very narrow. It has apparently 
been hewn out of the rock composing the breast of the hill. 
At one part, as we approach Delavorar, it makes a sudden 
wheel, turning nearly at right angles, when the slightest 
restiveness on the part of the horse would be attended with 
the most disastrous consequences. But our driver knew his 
work, and we were driven along the dangerous pathway in 
the most perfect confidence. The heights on the west side 
of the Aven are very beautiful. The natural birches, which 
give them a picturesque appearance, were in full plumage, if 
we may so speak, and from their recesses were piped forth 
the songs of the thrush and blackbird, while the weird-like 
notes of the cushat dove had the effect of making one feel 
that they were alone with nature. 

Delavorar, lovely Delavorar, is without doubt the best 
situated farm 011 the upper reaches of the Aven. It stands 
on a level plain mid-way between the Aven and the birch- 
clad braes behind it. Nature has left nothing undone that 
could lend enchantment to this sweet spot. The cultivated 
land stretches along the west side of the Aven on either 
hand, and is as smooth and level as a bowling green, while 
the rich pasture lands, sheltered by the natural woods, 
combine to make it one of the most desirable farms that the 
heart of man could wish. We do rot envy Mr Gordon for 
his beautiful retreat, for there is no one more capable of 
appreciating and enjoying the splendours of a Highland home, 
but we must say that we would have gladly crossed the fine 
suspension bridge which spans the Aven in front of the 



12 

house, and taken up our abode, disposed to live at peace 
with all men. But we could linger no longer. The whip 
was again applied, and we dashed on to witness new scenes 
in the course of this romantic river. We had nearly for- 
gotten, however, to mention a fact which may be interesting 
to not a few. Delavorar, i.e., Lordshaugh, was once a 
camping ground to the gallant and chivalrous James, Marquis 
of Montrose, in one of his rapid marches through the 
Highlands. We passed Auchnahyle on the right bank of the 
Aven, and another small farm whose name we did not learn. 
At Gaulrigg, on the opposite side of the Aven, lived for 
many years the far-famed warlock, Grigor Willox M'Grigor, 
who through the instrumentality of a stone obtained from a 
mermaid, and a bridle once the property of a water kelpie, 
was for long believed by the simple country people to possess 
wonderful powers in the cure of disease. Happily these 
delusions are now almost obsolete in this part of the country. 
The strath now began to get narrower and more gorge-like. 
The birches on the hills were getting more scattered and 
thin, and the hills themselves were becoming more rugged 
and barren. We passed Torbain, Delestie, and Delachael on 
the west bank, and were free from the trammels of civilization, 
with the exception of gamekeepers' houses with their patches 
of cultivation. There is something grand and spirit-inspiring 
in being alone amid the wild and rugged mountains of the 
north. There is a strange feeling of liberty and freedom in 
being far away from the din and bustle of the busy town, 
and alone with nature and nature's God. There is a feeling 
of awe which no man can describe in gazing on the giant 
mountains with their hoary precipices that have braved the 
blasts of ages, and we are forced to exclaim in admiration, 
" Wonderful are Thy works," <fec. A short distance further on 
and we halted, leaving the pony to feed on a haugh near the 
Aven. We were a little cramped and stiif after our drive, but 
the fresh, strong breeze of the mountains soon dispelled the 
feeling and imparted new vigour to the limbs. Turning a 
corner, we came suddenly in sight of the Shooting Lodge of 
Inchrory. Here our attention was attracted by a large accu- 
mulation of marl. On examining it we were astonished to 
find some shells. Our curiosity was aroused, and we searched 



13 

for more, and soon filled one of our coat pockets. Our com 
panions were equally successful, each having filled a pocket. 
These shells puzzled us not a little. We could not believe that 
they were Lacustrine Flaviatile or Marine. We therefore 
consulted an eminent geologist upon the su bject, who kindly 
informed us that they were Helix Memeralis Lunie, a purely 
land shell, generally dispersed, but found more abundant in 
chalky or limestone districts, adding that there might be a 
specimen of H. arbisstisum among them. 

Leaving the marl, we marched rapidly on to Inchrory, 
and soon had the pleasure of beholding what was once the home 
of the famous eccentric Shaw. His grandson, Donald Shaw, 
better known by his nom de plume of Glenmore, tells many 
laughable and interesting anecdotes concerning the old man 
in his "Highland Legends." It is now, however, transformed 
into a Shooting Lodge, and the flocks and herds that once 
browsed on the wild and beautiful banks of the Aven are 
now no more, but their place is filled by the red deer of the 
mountains, which are more at home in that wild region than 
domesticated animals. But this must not be understood as 
a case of eviction. No, it was private bai'gain between the 
parties, Shaw receiving a much larger and finer farm in 
Badenoch as compensation for leaving the farm before the 
lease was run. The Lodge of Inchrory is in itself a plain 
and unimposing building, but the situation is grand and 
beautiful. On the east of it a path strikes over a deep 
ravine in the hills to another Lodge named Laganal. 
Following this pathway for about two miles, we reach the 
head waters of the Don in Corgarff. Striking south-east, we 
follow the old drove road over the Ballochdearg, a very 
indistinct tract, which leads on to Braemar through the wildest 
district we ever saw. On the south-west, front mighty 
Clachvan raises his bold rock -crowned summit to the blast. 
This mountain is not included in the Grampian chain, but 
is removed about six miles north of Ben Macdhui. It is, 
however, an immense mountain, elevated, we would guess, 
about 3500 feet above sea level. Its crest is covered with 
great blocks of granite, which at a distance look like a group 
of giant castles. There is a strange legend connected with 
one of these boulders. It is that the wife of Fingal, a 



14 

mighty giantess, was once cany ing it (the boulder) in her 
apron, and in passing over this mountain it fell at the spot 
where it is still to be seen. Ever afterwards, down almost 
to the present time, it was believed that the female who 
managed to reach the stone and sit upon it would never die 
in child-bed, and if a male succeeded in accomplishing the 
same feat he would have the power of conquering death. 
The curious reader who may desire further information on 
this head may do so by turning to " Shaw's Highland 
Legends." 

Leaving Inchrory, we moved slowly onward, and soon 
reached the banks of the Builg, a rapid mountain stream 
that tosses its waters into the Aven near Inchrory. A little 
above this the Aven, which before had been flowing nearly 
due north, makes a rapid wheel, turning at right angles, and 
skirts the northern base of Clachvan. A little above where 
the wheel is made, we could catch a glimpse of the Lynn of 
Aven, which at one time had been a pretty considerable 
waterfall, but is now hacked like a staircase to allow the 
salmon to get up the water. We proposed going up to get 
a closer view of the fall, when one of our Celtic companions 
indignantly exclaimed, " You dare not ; the Gael cannot now 
tread his native mountains but he runs the risk of being im- 
prisoned by the Sassenach." It was no use grumbling, so 
we turned to the left and sauntered along the banks of the 
Builg. Just at that moment a golden eagle came floating 
over our heads. We stood gazing with admiration at the 
mighty bird of the mountains. It did not favour us with 
more than a single glance, but sailed slowly and majestically 
along the top of a perpendicular crag that was close beside 
us. When it had reached the extreme length of the crag, it 
turned and came slowly back, as if willing to show us its 
beauty and grace. Not a wing moved or a feather quivered ; 
it floated without the least apparent exertion in the wings of 
air. Suddenly something seemed to tickle its breast. It 
bent its proud head, and the aquiline beak was seen fumb- 
ling among the downy feathers of its breast, and still the 
wings moved not. A thought seemed to strike it, and it 
darted with the speed of the wind away to the rocks of misty 
Clachvan, and was soon hid from our sight. In the crag 



15 

beside us, a number of years ago, was an eagle's eyrie, but a 
venturesome youth managed to scale the rock and steal the 
eggs for an English sportsman. Since then the eagle has 
never built its nest there. 

Moving on again, we followed the track leading to Brae- 
mar, and a more difficult and wild road could not well be 
imagined. Abrupt, craggy knolls and gigantic boulders 
meet the eye in every direction. We crossed the roaring 
torrent several times on pieces of rock and huge stones. To 
do so may seem simple enough, but a good deal of care and 
coolness are requisite to avoid a ducking. In this disagree- 
able and fatiguing manner we at length hove in sight of 
the long looked for Loch Builg. On appi'oaching it we were 
a little disappointed, with its appearance. At first sight it 
looked so like a dark mossy tarn. But when we had come 
close up to it we found not a mossy tarn in the centre of the 
swamp, but a beautiful little lake, lone and solitary, guarded 
in the giant arms of the Grampian mountains. It had a 
beautifully pebbled beach, and the water was clear and 
amber-like. Loch Builg is in the Gordon estates, but is ever 
used by Farquharson of Invercauld, with the permission of 
the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. It extends to about 
three-quarters of a mile in length, with an average breadth 
of one quarter. Its depth is considerable, and its surface is 
ever in motion like a miniature sea. At the \ipper end of 
the loch is a small Shooting Lodge, where two little boats 
are kept for pleasure excursions on the loch. The trout in 
it are said to be large-sized and plentiful, but lean and soft, 
with a large, repulsive-looking head, and altogether unlike 
the clean, lithe trout of the pebbly Aven. After having 
taken a good look of everything worth seeing about Loch 
Builg, we seated ourselves by a spring that bubbled out of 
the hillside, and partook of a hearty luncheon. Then the 
declining sun warned us that the day was fast waning. We 
turned downwards, and again traversed what was truly the 
" rocky road " till we reached the foot of the crag where we 
had seen the eagle soaring. Here we halted and gazed long 
and wistfully up the Aven, while our thoughts were trans- 
ported to the beautiful loch where the noble stream has its 
source the loch that fired the muse of the poet who sung 



16 

Loch Aren spreads her ample deep 
To mirror cliffs that brush the wain, 
Whose frigid eyes eternal weep 
In summer suns and autumn rain. 
There matin hymn was never sung. 
Nor vesper save the plover's wail ; 
But mountain eagles breed their young, 
And aerial spirits ride the gale. 

We mentally recited these beautiful lines, and on looking 
round found we were alone, our companions being a con- 
siderable distance ahead. A warning cry was sent back, and 
a hand pointed southward. We glanced in the direction 
indicated, and saw the rolling mist come sweeping over the 
top of Clachvan. We turned swiftly round and fled, know- 
ing that in that tempest-swept land the mist descends with 
fearful rapidity. We soon passed Inchrory Lodge, tenanted 
by Lord Grosvenor, and reached the spot where our vehicle 
was. A sharp drive of an hour and a-half brought us to 
Tomintoul without mishap, save a slight wetting, it having 
begun to rain. After resting an hour in the village, we 
determined upon making an attempt to reach Glenlivet, 
though strongly advised to stay for the night where we were, 
and bitterly did we repent neglecting the advice. We had 
not left Tomintoul a quarter of a mile behind us when it 
began to rain very heavily, and the sky became overcast 
with black, inky looking clouds. We soon began to feel 
very uncomfortable. First the shoulders got wet through, 
then the knees, and, by and bye, the greater part of the 
body. Still the pitiless rain dashed against one's ears with 
relentless fury, as we splashed on through " mud and mire " 
and the long dripping heather ; but an hour and a-half of 
this sort of walking brought us home, and we were soon 
in bed and enwrapped in the arms of Morpheus. 



17 



STRATHAVEN AND FERGAN WELL. 



THE parish of Kirktnichael, the most remote parish in 
Banffshire, has, like most districts in the north of Scotland, 
its interesting object of superstitious veneration, which in 
bygone days was deemed a blessing by the inhabitants of 
Strathaven or, as it was at that time denominated, Strath- 
down and the surrounding districts, viz. : a well-supposed 
to cure all diseases of the skin if visited before old Sol arose 
on the first Sunday of May. The visitant had of course to 
drink as much as possible of the water and wash the afflicted 
parts in the healing fluid. The name Fergan Well is 
probably derived from the fact of the well being situated in 
the face of a rather steep hill called Knock Fergan. We 
had often heard of the wonderful virtue of its water, and 
determined to pay it a visit, not that we were afflicted with 
any disorder and depended upon it for a cure, but simply to 
satisfy curiosity. We accordingly started with a solitary 
companion, one well acquainted with the countiy, and with 
a spirit of enquiry kindred to our own. May morning was 
beautiful, though somewhat cold. The everlasting hills slept 
calm and peaceful, their ancient tops enveloped in the grey 
mists of dawn. We crossed the wild heath known as the 
Carrachs, which separates the eastern portion of the Braes of 
Glenlivet from the western, soon passed the noble farm of 
Lettoch, tenanted by John Gordon, Esq., a member of the 
Parochial and School Boards of Inveraven, and a J.P. for 
Banffshire, ascended the Glachcan Hill, the boundary of the 
parishes of Kirkmichael and Glenlivet in this direction. 
After reaching the top, we began to descend, and soon left 
Glenlivet, and, we may say, civilization for a time behind us, 
and entered the far-famed moss of Faemussach, a gloomy 
wilderness of peat. Crossing the road from Ballindalloch to 
Tomintoul, we traversed a vast heath-clad moor. Looking 



18 

away southwards, we could see some of the highest peaks of 
the Grampians, on the north-east old familiar Benrinnes 
reared his scarred and rocky summit, before us lay the hills 
of Strathspey, conspicuous among them being that of 
Cromdale Hill, and behind the hills of Glenlivet. This was 
without doubt the most lonely part of the journey. We 
could see nothing of humanity and little of beauty, not even 
a tree on which our eye could rest a moment with pleasure, 
all, all was bleak and bare, solitary and silent. , Quickening 
our pace as if to fly from the loneliness, half an hour's tramping 
brought us to the top of a little hill, from which we found 
ourselves descending into a deep and narrow glen. Having 
reached the bottom, we were a little surprised to find a fine 
farm steading and commodious dwelling-house right in front 
of us. This proved to be the farm of Clenconglass, occupied 
by Mr Grant, a native of Glenlivet, and one of the Road 
Trustees for the upper district of Banffshire. We understand 
he has brought large tracks of moorland under the dominion 
of the plough, and has made a splendid farm out of a 
heathery waste. The dwelling-house and offices are all new, 
on the most improved principle. The fitness of the name 
Glenconglass we were at a loss to appreciate, seeing that the 
stream Conglass is at least a mile distant from the steading, 
with a great black hill lying between them. The name 
might have been more appropriately Glen Chabet, since the 
Chabet gurgles close to the farm steading, wheeling away to 
the right and entering Glen Chabet a little beyond it. 
Chabet is an exceedingly romantic, deep, narrow ravine, with 
large hills surrounding it. The mist was twining itself into the 
most weird and fantastic shapes that morning, and hovering 
in light clouds over the farms of Ellick and Inverchor, which 
we could see but indistinctly down in the valley. 

A little further on, and we reached the tract which 
branches from the county road about a mile east from 
Tomintoul. Our attention was here directed to the fine 
farm of Croughly. The Conglass makes a beautiful sweep 
along the foot of a birch -clad brae, and the farm-house and 
steading stand about half-way up the brae. They were built 
by the late General Gordon early in the present century, and 
were considered at that time to be the finest in Strathaven. 



19 

The present tenant is Mr John Grant, a member of the 
School Board of Kirkmichael, and an enterprising flock- 
master and arable farmer. A little to the south-west we 
observed the ruins of Croughly distillery, built by a son of 
General Gordon, who inherited a fortune of some 17,000. 
He built also another distillery at Delnabo, near Tomintoul, 
which was discontinued shortly after coming into the posses- 
sion of the Messrs Smith, of the Glenlivet one. This lucky, 
or rather unlucky, youth is said to have wasted his fortune 
in an incredibly short space of time, and then emigrated to 
the United States of America, where, it is reported, he died 
in indigence. With a sad thought of such a fate we moved 
westward along a pretty good road, cut out of the side of a 
hill all but perpendicular, and at the foot of which the Con- 
glass sweeps along through beautiful haughs like a huge ser- 
pent. A little further on, and we passed a large two-storied 
house in the middle of a well-cultivated field, the last house 
left standing on the once large farm of Tomachlaggan, now 
forming part of the fine farm of Ruthven, where of yore the 
noted Jock o' Ruthven, or "King o' the Drovers" lived, 
and of whose drinking bouts and pugilistic encounters with 
Christopher North, or the " King o' the Cairds," we find a 
very interesting account in a work entitled, " Highlands and 
Highlanders as they were and as they are," by the late W. 
G. Stuart, Esq., Glenurquhart, and a native of Strathaven. 
At Tomachlaggan is the Public School and Schoolhouse of 
Kirkmichael, both edifices seeming to have seen a good many 
winters, and they occupy a cold, bare height, exposed to the 
many fierce and bitter storms that blow there from all parts 
of the compass. The School is said to be, iinder its present 
teacher, in a very flourishing condition. Descending a steep 
brae on the county road, reminding us very forcibly of 
General Wade's style of road making, we pass near to the 
Manse of Kirkmichael, without doubt one of the most 
beautiful spots in the whole of Strathaven. The heart of 
man could wish for no finer or more romantic situation to 
live on than the little wooded height overlooking the Aven 
with its effective background. Belts of dark green pine 
enclosing a little park, on that May morning, was the only 
spot on which nature seemed to smile. While all around 



20 

was withered up by the bleak, scourging winds, this little 
Eden was quite green, with two or three black Polled cattle 
browsing contentedly upon it. Glancing at the Parish 
Church and ancient Churchyard,* which stands a little fur- 
ther down the vale, and on the opposite side of the turnpike 
from that on which the Manse is, we press on to Fergan 
Well, crossing on a capital girder bridge of iron for foot 
passengers only. 

The water o' A'en, which runs sae clear, 
'Twad beguile a man o' a hundred year. 

The Aven is undoubtedly a clear river, coloured some- 
what like amber. It runs rapidly, and has some pools in it 
of very great depth. One immediately below the bridge here 
seemed to be about 15 feet. Crossing the haugh beyond the 
bridge, we reached the foot of Knock Fergan. At Dalvreach, 
on a beautiful spot, stands the Free Church and Manse 
Rev. Mr M'Queen's. Near this also are the Slate and 
Flagstone Quarries, where for a long period of years a large 
business has been carried on in the manufacture of these for 
the requirements of the surrounding districts. 

Having entered upon a narrow pathway among the 
heather, we began to ascend, and in about a quarter of an 
hour reached the famed well, the well we had tramped so 
far to see. As we approached, we observed a young lad 
busily engaged drinking of the precious water. Not wishing 
to disturb him, we stayed at a little distance watching his 
movements. He leaned over the well and drank, he filled 
a cup and drank, then he leaned over the well again perhaps 
unable to drink more. Afraid the little fellow would injure 
himself by taking too much, we shouted at him to stop. He 
nimbly arose with a scared look, and spoke to us with a 
strong Gaelic accent. He had possessed himself of two 
bottles full of the water, which, on being interrogated anent, 
he assured us was not the *' real Glenlivet." 

* Our time was so limited when we visited Strathaven that we were com- 
pelled to pass by this interesting object of antiquity. It has many fine head- 
stones, some quaint and old. Many have a much greater interest than mere 
local. Many gallant and distinguished soldiers sleep calm and quiet in that 
sweet spot. The stranger visiting Strathaven should endeavour to pass an 
hour or two all alone in it. 



On sitting down beside the well, we must confess our 
spirits somewhat drooped. Our expectations had been 
somewhat luminous, and the reality not coming up to the 
ideal, were doomed to disappointment. We had anticipated 
at least finding the well on a beautiful spot, but instead, it 
is simply a mountain spring in the midst of a waste of 
heather and bent, and surrounded by a cairn of rude 
undressed stones. How it ever came to be recognised as a 
healing spring was really more than we could guess at. Our 
companion suggested that it was possibly owing to a certain 
St Fergan or Fergus, who is said to have dwelt somewhere 
near by. Still it has been deemed a sacred spot from time 
immemorial by the surrounding Highlanders. The market 
now held at Tomintoul on the first of August was once held 
here, and it still retains the name of the Well Market. Our 
forefathers were not very particular at times as to where 
they transacted business, but to hold a market so far up the 
side of a steep hill that it would almost kill an aged person 
to reach, was truly a wild freak indeed. Though the well 
and the hill have little that is enticing about them apart 
from the legend, the view from them is grand. The mighty 
Grampians, clad in the snows of a thousand years, seemed to 
be within a few miles of us, though we knew them to be 
more than twenty distant. The greater part of Strathaven 
below Tomintoul lay spread out map-like at our feet. We 
could see and admire the fine river sweeping along through 
pleasant, well cultivated haughs and birch-clad braes, the 
Conglass leaping forth from a dark wooded ravine, running 
forward until.it is within a few yards of the Aven, where it 
would seem to hesitate, wheels half round and runs alongside 
for a considerable distance, then wheels again before pouring 
its waters abruptly into the leading stream. 

Our time was getting limited, the sun being far past the 
meridian, so we started down the hill, re-crossed the bridge, 
reached the road and pushed forward at a brisk tramp for 
Tomintoul. We crossed the Conglass by a wooden bridge, 
passed the beautiful farm of Ruthven already mentioned, 
said to be the largest one in Strathaven, tenanted by Mrs 
Gordon. A little beyond, we were agreeably surprised to 
find ourselves close upon Strathaven Lodge, tenanted by 



22 

Major Starkie. It is built upon a beautiful haugh, smooth 
and level as a bowling green, close by the Aven. The Bridge 
of Aven, built by General Wade when constructing his 
military road from Perth to Inverness, is an interesting 
object. It is one of those hump-backed erections so peculiar 
to the General, and is raised over a narrow part of the 
river, each end resting upon a rock, and has two spans, a 
narrow and a wide. This old bridge withstood the force of 
the flood of 1829, although the water rose almost to the key- 
stone, as related by Sir Thomas Dick Lander in his " Moray 
Floods." Over this bridge, and winding up a steep brae to 
the right, is seen the road that leads past Durdow, and thence 
on to Grantown. Passing Craighulky with its vast accu- 
mulation of limestone, we soon reached Tomintoul, situated 
on a ridge " 'tween twa waters running clear," and after an 
hour and a half's march, got back to the Braes of Glenlivet, 
a little footsore and weary, yet resolved to visit Strathaven 
again at no distant date. 



23 



THE BRAES OF CONGLASS AND ITS 
AGRICULTURE. 

WE had been invited by some friends to visit the Braes 
of Conglass, and availing ourselves of this invitation, we fixed 
on a day to start. Spring had just given birth to summer, and 
all nature rejoiced at the new born season. Phoebus began 
to show himself above the summit of the eastern hills, and 
his bright beams were frolicking with the masses of fleecy 
cloud that floated lazily northwards on the wings of the soft 
southern breeze. The feathery choristers chirruped and sang 
in the trees at Chapelton as we passed, and the bees were 
out on the scented clover as we entered the Moss of Vautuck. 
With considerable difficulty we picked our way through its 
intricacies, and arrived safely at Larachvarry, where we 
called on our friend John Sharp, one of those bookworms 
whom nature has dropped promiscuously in every land for 
the sole purpose, it would seem, of unlocking her secret 
wonders and presenting them to the gaze of mankind. He 
was, as usual, pouring over a musty volume, but laid it aside 
as we entered, and looked up with a bright, welcoming smile 
and a hearty " Good morning." After a chat, we took our 
leave and proceeded up Tomtrumper, a hill which bounds the 
south-west of the Braes of Glenlivet. When about half-way 
up, we sat down, kindled a pipe, and took a quiet look at 
our surroundings. 

At our feet lay Vautuck, with its vast accumulation of 
peat, in some parts originally (that is, before it was cut for 
fuel) over thirty feet deep, its origin dating far back into the 
misty past, the first deposit probably from near the middle of 
the Post-Tertiary period. On our right is Scalan, with its old 
College, built by the Roman Catholics in more troublous times 
than the present. Nearer is the Tuim of Scalan, a small 
round hill composed altogether of the mountain limestone. 



24 

Further round on the right rises Conachreck, composed 
wholly of a bynary granite, which must have been raised 
from its original resting place deep below by some tremen- 
dous Plutonic convulsion, and forced up through the strati- 
fied beds until it now rests side by side with the mountain 
limestone, and is the sole representative of the primary rocks 
in the Braes of Gleulivet. Again attacking the heights of 
Tomtrumper, we soon succeeded in reaching the top, and 
were winding along the feeble and indistinct tract which 
leads on to the Braes of Conglass. Half-an-hour's more 
walking, and we reached Lynavoir, tenanted by Mr L. 
Grant, the farm nearest Glenlivet, and which we had come 
to visit. 

Staying for some time at the above mentioned place, we 
started again with two companions to explore the Glen. 
Taking the nearest route for the top of the district, we 
struck across a little hill called Tomgarlet, and were soon 
moving along the heathery heights of the Braes of Conglass. 
Suddenly we came upon a small birch wood, hid away in a 
hollow of the hill. This is the only representative of the 
forest in that bleak region. Entering the wood, we found 
that its sole tenants were the beautiful blackcock and a few 
stray mountain birds. Quite a profusion of mountain daisies 
reared their modest petals under the shadow of the perfumed 
birches. Continuing our march upward for about a mile 
and a-half, we crossed the Conglass, and reached the road that 
traverses the glen near a mountain spring called the " Well 
of the Leicht." This beautiful spriEg and the road which 
passes it have an important and interesting history. 
Upwards of a hundred and twenty years ago the soldiers 
under General Wade were busy constructing this highway, 
the great central road for the Highlands. Through lone 
valleys, and over bleak and inhospitable mountains, this road 
pursues its course into the Capital of the Highlands. The 
Well is enclosed with masonry, and a large stone in front 
tells the passer-by that the Right Hon. Lord Charles Hay, 
Colonel, made the road from it to the river Spey. This was 
one of the few men whom Dr Johnson, the great lexico- 
grapher, admired. Near this are the Iron and Manganese 
Mines of the Leicht. They were wrought for a considerable 




25 

/time, but were then too far from 1'ailway communication to 
c pay. A report is current that the Company who wrought 
the mines proposed to run a tramway to the spot, but that 
the proprietor thought it better to close them for a time. 

Turning backwards, we move down the narrow glen 
following the old military road. Here not a bird even 
could be seen, the murmuring of the stream alone, as it 
gurgled over its rough rocky bed, breaking the oppressive 
silence. On a little further, and we hove in sight of a game- 
keeper's cottage and a shepherd's shealing. We met the 
shepherd, M'Grigor, who proffered hospitality, and shortly 
after, on turning a corner in the ravine, came in sight of the 
farm steading of Blair-na-marrow, a name which signifies 
field of the dead. As to the origin of this name nothing is 
to be learned, legend and tradition being equally silent on 
the subject. We hazard the opinion that a battle must at 
one time have been fought, perhaps the result of a clan feud, 
so unimportant, or so distant that the account of it hath 
died of age. For a long series of years a public house was 
kept here, where the weary wayfarer could obtain a glass of 
the " real Glenlivet," but it has long since been discontinued. 
The farm is tenanted by Mr P. Grant, an extensive sheep 
dealer. On a little further and we reached Badnafrave, or, 
as it is pronounced in the Gaelic, Badnavraeo, i.e., Bush- 
roots. It is also tenanted by a Grant, likewise a very 
extensive sheepowner. He must be congratulated upon 
the magnificent new steading he has built, which would be 
deemed very fine in any district. A little further on and 
we reached Rhynamarst, tenanted by Mrs M'Pherson, where 
a pleasant hour was spent. Recrossing the Conglass, we 
moved along the banks of a tributary called Altnavoir, on 
the right bank of which is a farm called Casfuar, tenanted also 
by a Grant (the Grants here would seem to predominate), 
and soon completed our survey of a great portion of the 
Braes. 

The Bi'aes of Conglass form one of those deep, narrow 
ravines which are often met with among the mountains of 
Caledonia. How an attempt was ever made to cultivate 
this spot is more than can be discovered. Those who first 
tried the experiment could not have been deficient in courage. 

D 



26 

It is a lone, secluded glen, enclosed by great masses of hills, 
and lying, we may say, at the very foot of the Grampian 
Mountains. A few hours' walk from any part of it would 
land the pedestrian at either Ben Aven, Cairngorm, or Ben 
Macdhui. As may readily be imagined, such a district is 
anything but favourable for the operations of the husbandman. 
If the Braes of Conglass farmer manages to grow as much corn 
as will make bread and seed he is thankful, and looks for no 
more. In this, however, he is seldom successful. The 
high altitude of the district, the lateness of the season 
as a rule before seed can be got into the earth, owing 
to the winter snows, and the liability of a snow storm 
coming on sometimes weeks earlier than in more favoured 
localities, combine to make the harvest very precarious 
indeed. To sheep stock, therefore, these farmers turn 
their attention, and in the management of these they 
have, and we trust will continue to be eminently successful. 
Some of them send as many as 2000 sheep to pasture in the 
Lowlands every winter. Few farmers in the lower parts of 
Moray, Banff, and Aberdeenshires, that have anything to do 
with sheep, but will know the Grants of Blairnamarrow, 
Badnafrave, and Lynavoir. Yet rearing sheep in districts 
like these, where they can only be kept for about half the 
year, is a very expensive business, and liable to many draw- 
backs. Of all animals it would seem that sheep require the 
greatest care and attention, and even when all care is 
exercised, disease will often break out amongst them, and 
affect the value of the flock. The cultivated parts of the 
district are managed in the most approved style. The five 
shift rotation is generally condemned in all upland districts, 
and the people in the Braes of Conglass are no exception to 
that rule. The amount of artificial manures required to be 
put into these light soils is another very serious matter. 
There can be no doubt but these compositions are sucking 
the blood, as it were, from the soil. It is natural to suppose 
that the land requires as much put into it as is taken from 
it, and if this is not done, there must be a gradual consump- 
tion of the land. 

The people who inhabit the Braes of Conglass are 
eminently Celtic, and the Celtic tongue still lingers among 



27 

them. There is a sound in their accents that strikes one as 
breathing the spirit of the mountains. This is more 
particularly the case with the females, who do not come so 
much into contact with natives of the lower part of the 
country. The population are very fond of education, and 
the majority of them are well favoured in that respect. 

In a scientific point of view, the district is unimportant. 
Archaeologically speaking, there is simply nothing at all to 
attract the attention. In our opinion, geology is about as 
poorly represented. A trap rock here and there lifts its 
hoary head above the heather. There is also the appearance 
of Plutonic action, but the general features of the hills are 
round and ridged, and do not indicate any very serious 
disturbance. 

It was getting late when we left Lynavoir on our return 
journey. The wind was sweeping up the deep valleys with 
an eerie sough, and the sky was overcast with dark frowning 
clouds, sure indications of a coming storm, but we sped on 
with redoubled vigour, and soon reached Clash of Scalan, 
from which we made the best of our way home. 



28 



GLENBUCKET, STRATHDON, AND 
GLENNOCHTY. 

IT was a bright morning, that llth of October, when we 
sallied forth from Chapelton, in company with a young Eng- 
lish stranger, to have a look of GJenbucket and Strathdon. 
The clouds of mist, which at dawn had been sleeping on the 
hillsides, were scattering and rolling away southwards as the 
hazy autumn sun shone forth from the east. We passed 
Auchnascraw, over the northern shoulder of Tomvouan, and 
wended our way downward to Demickmore, crossed a small 
stream, and were soon among the swamps and bogs of the Moss 
of Ladderfoot. We then passed the farm of that name, and 
were now marching along the ravine between the mountains 
of Ben More and Cairnlechtrach. We passed the Well of 
Kilahaul, where fays of old delighted to dwell, peered into 
its depths, but there was no offering there to the good 
spirit that once dispensed cure for all diseases that ever 
afflicted humanity for simply leaving a pin in the well, or 
anything else that was handy hence the name of the 
" Preen Wall," in local phraseology. But these times are 
fled. The schoolmaster gave the death blow to superstition, 
and the Highlander can laugh now without fear at kelpies 
and fairies, hobgoblins, and every other creature that ever 
the imagination conjured up. Leaving the well, we crossed 
the corries of Aultnasacht, and were soon panting up the 
Ladder. A climb of half-an-hour, and we reached the top. 

The view from the Ladder was not nearly so good as 
we have seen it. A dull haze obscured objects at a distance ; 
yet the more prominent hills of Aberdeen, Banff, Moray, 
and Inverness were distinctly visible ; while away in the 
north-western horizon the dim outline of the hills in Ross 
and Sutherland could be faintly traced. Bad though the 
view was, our English friend was delighted with the pro- 
spect, and exclaimed in ecstasy, " This is truly what your 
great countryman called 

Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, 
Land of the mountain and the flood ! " 



29 

Leaving the top of the Ladder, we turned to the left instead 
of following the tract that led to Glennochty. This path was 
altogether new to us, but we knew that it led to Glenbucket, 
and we followed it without the least hesitation. The long 
way over the Gilaharn was beguiled by our friend describing 
to us life in London. Thus talking, we entered the head of 
Gleiibucket ere we were fully aware of it, and saw in the 
distance a smoking chimney. We pressed along towards it 
as rapidly as the rough nature of the ground would admit, 
pausing now and again to gather " blaeberries " and cran- 
berries that grew thickly around. The place proved to be the 
farm-house of Backans, tenanted by Mr Brodie, a gentleman 
with whom we had some acquaintance. We received a warm 
welcome and a cup of fragrant tea, which was very refreshing 
after our walk. We spent rather more time here than could 
well be spared ; but this was so far made up for by Mr 
Brodie volunteering to accompany us down the Glen and 
show us the local places of interest. 

The first object of interest that meets the eye in Glen- 
bucket is the Shooting Lodge, tenanted by Mr Barnes. The 
Lodge is a fair sized, plain building, but the situation is 
very good, It stands on a level baugh on the left bank of 
the Bucket. Near it is a small plantation, with a large hill 
in the background. Moving down the Glen for a consider- 
able distance, we reached a haugh of more than local celebrity 
it having once been the battlefield of two chieftains. The 
tale runs thus : The Earl of Mar, having had to fly from 
his home on Deeside, was wandering among the wilds of 
Badenoch and Lochaber. One night, when famishing for 
want of food, he came upon a lonely hut, and craved shelter 
for the night. The kind-hearted Highlander at once ad- 
mitted him, and, whether judging by his appearance or 
otherwise that his guest was no ordinary man, he killed the 
only cow that he had to make provision for him. By and 
bye the time came when the Earl could return home, and, not 
forgetting the kindness which he had received, he gave him an 
invitation to visit him at Mar Castle. Cameron did so, and as 
a recompense for his kindness, he was granted certain lands in 
Kildi'ummy, on the Don. As time rolled on, the Camerons 
began to wax powerful ; but a quarrel with Mowat, a Dee- 



30 

side chief, put an end to the race at one fell swoop. A 
challenge was given, the conditions of it being that they 
should meet with a certain number of horsemen on each 
side. Both parties met at the appointed place, but Mowat 
took the liberty of placing two men on each horse, the con- 
sequence being that the Camerons were exterminated, with 
the exception of a young maiden, the daughter of the chief. 
This young lady, as she grew up to womanhood, attracted 
the eyes of all by her beauty and grace. Many of the young 
nobility offered marriage, but she steadfastly refused them 
all, unless they solemnly promised to avenge her father and 
kinsmen's death. Few cared about taking such a feat in 
hand, Mowat being known as one of the ablest warriors in 
the county. The second son of Lord Forbes, however, was 
so enamoured of the young lady that he resolved to win her 
or die. He, accordingly, challenged Mowat to meet him in 
Glenbucket with all his force. Mowat came, and was met 
by young Forbes on the haugh mentioned above. Ere the 
battle began, a very sensible arrangement was made, viz. 
that, instead of killing so many men, they should fight it out 
themselves, the followers of both looking on. The combat 
then began, and Forbes seemed to be getting the worst of it 
for a time, but, fired by desperation to live, he fought on, 
and eventually overcame his stubborn foe. The place where 
Mowat fell is marked by a grey stone, and the hill on the 
opposite side of the Bucket is still called Ladylea the young 
heiress having watched the progress of the struggle from that 
eminence. This is a brief outline of the tragic tale, and in it 
is seen the style of match-making in vogue in the olden time. 
Moving on a little further, and we reach Badenyon, a 
name no doubt familiar to many musical readers from the 
well known Strathspey, " John, or Jock o' Badenyon." But 
there is more about Badenyon of interest to the passer-by. 
On a little height, close by the door of the present dwelling- 
house, in byegone days, stood a rude stronghold. The site 
was pointed out to us by Mr Michie, a very intelligent man, 
and one seemingly well versed in the legendary lore of the 
district. He stated to us that its origin dated from 1590, 
but, from the description given, we are of opinion that it 
was of much older date. For example, the masonry was of 



31 

rough, undressed boulders. Now, in tlie sixteenth century, 
it is not likely that a building of any pretensions would be 
built in that way. Within a stone-throw of it stood another 
stronghold, but even the site of it is now cultivated land. 
Yet, with the help of Mr Michie, we could trace the founda- 
tion and the moat. A little above Baden yon is the spot 
where "Thrummy Cap," of superstitious celebrity, is said to 
have dwelt. But time was pressing we had still a long 
way to walk, and, however reluctantly, we were forced to 
say good-bye to Mr Michie, and leave Badenyon and its 
legends behind us. Moving along here, the Glen was very 
uninteresting. The principal objects that attracted the eye 
were the large hill of Craiginscore and the utter failure of 
all kinds of crop. We could not do otherwise than sympa- 
thise with our Glenbucket friends, for bad as everything was 
looking in Glenlivet, it was, if possible, even worse in Glen- 
bucket. But the Earl of Fife is a good landlord, and we 
doubt not but he will come to the rescue. 

After passing the Public School, a tidy little building, 
Glenbucket began to show distinctive features. Before this 
it would l)e impossible to describe it otherwise than a ravine 
among the hills ; but now it suddenly opened out, and the 
country presented to the eye the appearance of a basin, or, 
if you will, a bucket with a single outlet, formed by the 
stream that drains the Glen, and has its confluence with the 
Don a little further down. There cannot be the shadow of a 
doubt but that the basin has been scooped out by the action of 
water. But we dare not approach the scientific in this sketch ; 
we only glance at the physical outlines of the district as they 
strike the eye. Here we saw two little hamlets slumbering 
in the side of the basin, as it were, named respectively Bel- 
naboth and Belnacraig ; while down in the bottom of the 
basin stood the Free Church and Manse. Away further up 
we could also catch a sight of the Established Church and 
Manse, hid in a grove of trees. Close by. Ben Newe rears 
its somewhat conical summit, dividing Glenbucket from 
Strathdon. Near the foot of Ben Newe is the old Market 
Stance of Peterfair, now removed to Huntly, owing, it is 
said, to its being likely to prove a second Donnybrook, as 
far as free fighting is concerned. Following the course of 



32 

the Bucket a little further, the scene spread out before us, 
and, panoramic like, at once rose from the commonplace to 
the picturesque and lovely. We shall not soon forget how 
that scene struck us. Direct before us stood, on an eminence, 
the old castle of the Gordons of Glenbucket, which we will 
notice by and bye; while a little further back the Don 
swept majestically down its hill-enclosed strath. Further 
back still, and the hills rose dark and sombre, relieved here 
and there by the stately pine woods, in which the last bright 
rays of the declining sun were fondly playing, bathing the 
landscape in a flood of yellow light, especially where the 
woods were showing the tints of autumn. These pine-clad 
hills that were so beautiful, stretched away in the direction 
of Glenkindy. 

Leaving the highway here, we were conducted by Mr 
Brodie through a park to see two of the famous " cuppet 
stones." They are simply two huge boulders, lying close 
beside each other, and in the exposed surface are a number 
of the singular holes resembling a cup, and from which they 
doubtless take their name. Here we may mention that 
great .quantities of boulders are scattered over the surface of 
Glenbucket. They belong no doubt to the time when o\ir 
country was under an Arctic coating, these boulders being 
dropped in the march of icebergs. Another class of stones 
in fact a class that met our eyes at every turn struck us 
as extremely strange, especially when lying side by side 
with those of the boulder drift. We refer to schorl. We 
observed one dyke in which almost every stone had a large 
mixture of schorl in it. But a truce to this subject in the 
meantime. We must hasten on, else darkness will soon ob- 
scure everything from our view. Leaving the cuppet stones 
therefore to tell their own tale, we hurried away to the farm 
house of Tombreck, tenanted by Mr Forbes, auctioneer, a 
gentleman well known over a wide district of country. As 
a judge of cattle, Mr Forbes has few equals. We called 
while passing, but as usual he was away at a sale, therefore 
we could not see him. Moving on again, we came down to 
Milton, where we had the pleasure of an introduction to 
Mr Wattie, who is not only a newspaper correspondent, but 
also a poet. Leaving Milton, we crossed the Bucket and 
made the best of our way to the old Castle. 



33 

Whatever may be the opinions of men regarding the 
Rebellion of 1745, it is impossible to repress a sigh of pity 
for the gallant but unfortunate men who staked their all on 
its issue. Many of the more thoughtful among them, if not 
blinded by enthusiasm, must have foreseen the consequences 
of joining their fortunes with the chivalrous, if Quixotic, 
Charles Edward, and sharing in his brief but brilliant cam- 
paign. Of the ultimate good of that rising there can be 
no doubt. It settled for ever a dynastic struggle, broke the 
system of clanship and its concomitant evils ; fixed the des- 
tinies of a great nation ; and opened up the Scottish High- 
lands to milder and happier influences. Yet, it was with 
feelings of sorrow and pity that we approached the old Castle 
of Glenbucket. Though now a ruin, enough is left to tell the 
tale of former grandeur, when the foot of the kilted warrior 
trod its halls, or mixed in the giddy whirl of the dance. Yes ; 
the imagination will picture such scenes in spite of the teach- 
ings of this prosaic age. The heart must be hard indeed 
that cannot feel a touch of pity when viewing the old Castle 
of Glenbucket for the first time. Among the many who 
followed the fortunes of " Bonnie Prince Charlie," there was 
none more gallant and true than Goi'don of Glenbucket, the 
last of a powerful and brave race. The stately old trees that 
once adorned the park around the Castle, still stand there 
mute sign-posts of other years. Of the Castle itself little 
can be said. In every particular it is the old baronial castle 
of the middle ages. The spiral staircase, the vaulted cham- 
bers, the narrow windows, the loopholes, and oaken doors, 
studded with pondei'ous nails, all point to feudalism. The 
situation is very good. It commands a fine view of hill, and 
wood, and river, and in its hey-day it must have been a place 
of considerable strength. Close by the Castle is the Mains 
of Glenbucket, occupied by Mr Bremner, but we could 
scarcely spare time to glance at it, the sun having already 
set. There was still, notwithstanding, a considerable twi- 
light left to us, and, bidding Mr Brodie good-bye, who had 
kindly acted as our guide thus far, we turned our faces south- 
ward, and moved rapidly up the Strath. Quickly we passed 
in succession hill, wood, and rock, all very lovely, no doubt, 
if we had only had more time to look at them. Soon we 



34 

came in sight of Castle Newe, the beautiful seat of Sir Chas. 
Forbes, Bart. We were very much disappointed that the 
light did not linger a little longer, so that our companion, 
Mr Smith, might view the beauties of this princely mansion, 
but it could not be. We could only dimly trace its outlines 
through the gathering gloom and the trees. Reluctantly, 
therefore, we turned our backs upon it, and continued our 
journey up Strathdon until we reached Belnaboddach, where 
we were to spend the night with Mr Farquharson. 

Next morning dawned clear and bright, and we sallied 
forth, just as the sun had arisen above the eastern hills, to 
have a look at the surrounding country. Our first walk 
was along the southern side of the estate of Belnaboddach, 
where we noted some of the improvements Mr Farquharson 
had lately made, and marked the advancement of former ones 
since we last visited the district. Returning along the 
northern side of the estate, we talked of the present depressed 
state of agriculture, and the relative effect which it had on 
landlord and tenant. Such a theme could not be otherwise 
than interesting when we looked around and saw the late- 
ness of every kind of crop. After breakfast, we ascended 
the highest hill in the neighbourhood, and had a beautiful 
view of Strathdon and the Deeside hills, conspicuous among 
which were Lochnagar and Morven, names which Byron has 
rendered immortal. Looking further westward, we could see 
the dark masses of the Grampians looming directly before us, 
capped with eternal snow, while at our feet lay the fine 
wooded hills of Strathdon, with patches of cultivation along 
the banks of the river. Further down, and the tall spire of 
the Parish Church divided attention with the more distant 
Castle Newe. Descending again to Belnaboddach, we dined, 
and started on our homeward march, Mr Farquharson 
accompanying us a considerable distance on our way, in fact, 
nearly half-way to Glenlivet, where, bidding him good- 
bye, we hurried forward, so as to pass the treacherous 
swamps of Monsack ere night would settle down. We at 
length reached the top of the Ladder, and were soon descend- 
ing its steep breast into the Braes of Glenlivet. 



CORGARFF AND STRATHDON. 



IT was a beautiful morning in May, when we started on our 
journey to Corgarff and Strathdon. At Scalan we were 
joined by another, who was to act as guide through the 
mountainous region through which we had to pass before 
we could be blessed with a sight of the waters of the Don. 
He took the lead, therefore, and proceeded due south until 
we began to climb the Tom of Scalan, a small, green hill, 
a little to the west of the old College of Scalan. Reaching 
the top, we turned to take a look of the country around us, 
and, indeed, it was a lovely sight. There, beneath us, lay the 
Braes of Glenlivet, hushed in repose, surrounded by the rude 
and ragged hills of the North, their rough sides not yet alto- 
gether free from their winter covering patches of white 
being scattered here and there like sheets of foam on a dark 
stream. Yet, this last mark of the Northern King added 
to the beauty and romance of all around. Directly to the 
north of us sat, enthroned in state, as it were, the gigantic 
Benrinnes, who seemed to look down with contempt upon 
the dwarfs beneath him. But feeling that we were losing 
time, which was precious to us, as it is to every one, we 
tui'ned our faces to Cairn Dulack, a monster hill which lay 
right in our front, and which had to be climbed before we 
could say that we were clear of Glenlivet. We bent our 
energies to the task, and, after nearly half-an-hour's climb- 
ing, succeeded in crossing one of his bulky shoulders. Halt- 
ing on the top for a moment to regain our breath and rub 
the sweat from our brows, we turned and took another rapid 
glance at the country that we were leaving behind, and then 
turned and plunged into the solitudes of nature. I say soli- 
tudes, for we had over seven miles before us of mighty hills, 
without a single human habitation, with the exception of a 
solitary shepherd's shealing. However, we marched on with 



36 

light heart and buoyant hopes, for we were all pretty well 
acquainted with hill-climbing. 

About a mile from the top of Cairn Dulack we reached 
the Iron and Manganese Mines of the Leicht, now solitary 
and desei*tecl. Iron was first discovered here upwards of a 
hundred years ago. At that time, it was carried over the 
hills to Nethy Bridge, where it was smelted with charred 
wood. Mr Burgess, schoolmaster, Tinnet, was, we believe, 
the first that discovered manganese ore here. He was 
guided by Donald Smith (better known as Donald Gow), of 
Tomintoul, through all the wilds of the Banffshire High- 
lands in search of minerals. Donald tells us that he made 
up packages of sand from every stream, from the Grampians 
downwards, and that he sometimes, without Mr Burgess 
knowing it, has left a parcel or two behind him, when they 
were getting too heavy to carry. Donald guided him to the 
Leicht, and the consequence of the visit was the opening of 
the mines on the 14th April 1841. They were wrought by 
the Duke of Richmond the first year, and went on rather 
languidly, only twelve men digging, and it was manganese 
alone that they dug ; but the second year saw new life and 
vigour applied. The firm of Cookson, Newcastle, had bar- 
gained with the Duke, and they at once heaved up a mill 
for the purpose of grinding the manganese. Bothies were 
erected for the miners with such rapidity that they slept in 
them the third night, but the walls were composed altogether 
of turf. Before the machinery reached the Leicht, 15 boys 
ground the ore. After the mill started, of course, their work 
was at an end. There were two pairs of rollers or cylinders 
in the mill. The upper pair were rough for breaking the 
stone, and the under pairj finer for mashing it. The outside 
wheel was a ponderous thing, being 25 feet in diameter. It 
was made by the firm of Abernethy, in Aberdeen, and was 
drawn all the way over the hills at an enormous expense. 
The inner, or spur wheel, was a ton in weight, and came 
from the same firm. It is related that they had great diffi- 
culty in taking it up the hill from Corgarff. The horses that 
were yoked into it could not keep their footing. The minister 
of Corgarff, however, gave them a bull which kept his ground, 
and thus they got it to the top. 



37 

Mining was carried on briskly for six years, and had 
reached a depth of 85 feet from the surface. The material 
was driven to Speymouth, a distance of about 45 miles. The 
price that the carters got for conveying it there was only <! 
per ton, a sum which few would care about accepting now 
for such a distance. For about four years it gave 8 per 
ton at its destination, but after that it became a losing 
speculation, and came down from 8 to 3, the consequence 
being the closing of the mines. The same material could be 
imported from the Continent at less money. The greatest 
number of people ever employed was 63, but often there 
were less. 

The hills around are full of iron and manganese. 
Donald Smith states that he has often split a block, the one- 
half manganese and the other iron ore, and the iron ore is of 
first-rate quality. Thirteen years ago, he dug 100 tons as a 
specimen, and it yielded from 72 to 75 per cent. iron. Four 
years ago, he dug 25 tons, but never learned how much it 
yielded. The mill is still standing, and a capital house ; it 
is strongly built, with a good substantial roof. The machinery 
of course is all away, and all is silent around it, with the 
exception of the bleating of sheep, the sharp bark of the fox, 
or the wild scream of mountain birds. Yet it would not be 
difficult to imagine the time when these peaceful valleys shall 
resound to the snort of the iron horse, and the clank of the 
hammers of busy workmen, and Tomintoul now a com- 
paratively poor village, where no sort of manufactory is 
carried on be the centre of a large mining district. 

Leaving the mines, we proceeded along the ravine for 
about half-a-mile, when we stepped out on one of General 
Wade's roads, his central road through the Highlands. 
Close on the opposite side is a well of fine, cool, sparkling 
water, which the soldiers had discovered, and enclosed with 
masonry. There is a strong iron ladle attached to as strong 
a chain, with which the weary traveller may refresh himself. 
We observed the following inscription cut in a stone over 
the well, which we had some difficulty in deciphering, owing 
to a break in the stone, and the inroads of time upon it, which 
has nearly obliterated all the letters : " A.D. 1754, 5th Com- 
pany, H.E., 33rd Regiment. Right Hon. Lord Chas. Hay, 



38 

Colonel, made the road from here to Spey," which is a distance 
of about 17 miles. The well is about a mile and a-half above 
Blairnamarrow, i.e., field of the dead, the farthest up farm 
steading in Conglass-side. Leaving the well, we turned 
south-east at a brisk tramp. We had now the satisfaction 
of having a good road to walk upon, though in some parts 
it is somewhat out of repair, and it is not one of those hollow 
searching roads that the degenerate engineers of the present 
day plan. No, no, General Wade has carefully avoided all 
hollows, and sought the heights. He runs his roads straight, 
no matter how many impediments are in his way, but I 
fancy it would have taxed his ingenuity a bit to have dragged 
half-a-dozen Woolwich Infants over some of these hills after 
him. About half-a-mile further on, and we reached Loch-an- 
kin Doan, i.e., the Loch without a bottom. It is decidedly a 
strange looking pool, and in a strange place. It is situated 
close by the roadside, at the foot of a hill. How it is fed is 
more than I know, very probably it is by springs, yet the 
water does not look like spring water. It is simply a dark 
mossy tarn, about twenty yards in length, and at its greatest 
breadth almost ten, but a very bad sign of its having no 
bottom, is the fact that when we passed it, it was altogether 
covered with snow, with the exception of a small break at 
its northern extremity, where an immense quantity of frogs 
were leaping and moving about. I stood taking a thorough 
look at this strange pool, famous in many Highland Legends, 
some of which say that his Satanic Majesty has a peculiar 
fancy for the spot, and indeed I am half of that opinion myself, 
for a more lonely looking place could scarcely be found. 

A short time longer, and we reached the summit of 
what is called the Leicht Hill, but the fact is that there are a 
combination of hills of that name. What a splendid view 
can be got from the top of this hill ! What a grand and 
magnificent picture presents itself to our admiring gaze ! 
Far as the eye could reach, nothing could be seen but hills in 
eveiy direction, " peak o'er peak, and fell o'er fell." Looking 
backwards, we saw away to the north-east the lofty Benachie. 
A little nearer, the Tap o' Noth arose something like a huge 
stack of corn, tapering away to a point. Nearer still, the 
Buck o' the Cabrach, another conical-looking hill, appeared. 



Then we swept our eyes away north and westward, and 
caught a sight of old Benrinnes again. Every hill of any 
importance, from Benachie to the Pap of Caithness, could 
be seen from our position. Turning again, and looking 
southwards, the vast chain of the snow-clad Grampians sat 
directly ahead of us. At sight of them our thoughts were 
elevated, our imaginations fired, and we felt very patriotic. 
We recollected that it was at the foot of this range of 
mountains that the Scotch made their first stand for freedom, 
and fought the legions of conquering Rome, the legions that 
broke the celebrated Grecian phalanx. We remembered also 
that Tacitus admits that they were very brave when they 
hurled themselves upon the disciplined and hardy columns 
of Rome. Yes, our hearts did swell within us when we 
gazed upon these mighty mountains. There to the east, 
arose in gloomy grandeur, the " Dark Lochnagar " of Byron. 
Further down the Dee could be seen his " Morven of Snow." 
Those who have read that immortal poet's works and who 
have not and who gaze on the scenes of his youthful days, 
" and behold the rude rocks where his infancy grew," will 
feel their bosoms glowing within them, and feel the magic 
influence of the Muses stealing over them, as they stole 
over me. 

We lingered long on the lofty mountains on the upper 
reaches of the Dee, that may be called classic ground; but 
when we had drunk in all the peculiar features in that quar- 
ter, our gaze naturally turned further west, in search of some- 
thing new, and we were not disappointed, for there the mighty 
Ben Macdhui lifted his head to the blast, clad in the snows 
of a thousand years ; for although he is not so high as to be 
within the limits of perpetual congelation, yet, huge wreaths 
are blown to such a depth in the gullies and ravines, that are 
like so many wounds in his breast, by the wintry blasts which 
howl around him, that he was never known to be free from 
snow. His height above the sea is 4295 feet. Further west 
still our eyes wandered, and Ben Aven and Cairngorm reared 
their wild and rocky summits. Between these two moun- 
tains, lying slumbering at their feet, is the beautiful amber- 
coloured Loch, mother of the clear and beautiful Aven. 
Cairngorm is 4095 feet, and Ben Aven 3968 feet above the 



40 

sea. In the breast of the last-mentioned mountain is the 
far-famed " Shelter Stone," made immortal by Sir Thomas 
Dick Lander in his " Wolf of Badenoch." But we must 
proceed downwards, else I am afraid that the Braes of Glen- 
livet will not see their wandering children to-night. Leav- 
ing the Leicht, therefore, we began to descend, and in about 
half-an-hour we entered the valley of a stream called the 
Milton Burn. We had now a change of scenery. The hills, 
which heretofore were entirely destitute of wood, began to 
show a different appearance fine waving woods, principally 
of pine, growing to the very top. The hills around us were 
many, but not nearly so high as those which we had left be- 
hind us. Every step we were taking was bringing us nearer to 
civilization and the haunts of men, and, to confess the truth, 
we were not in the least sorry, for hills with rough chasms 
cut in their breasts by winter torrents, showing tremendous 
precipices, horrid gulfs, and yawning abysses, may be very ro- 
mantic to read about, and very nice to the gaze of the poet or 
painter, but when it comes to climbing them for a few hours, 
far from the peaceful habitations of men, it is quite a differ- 
ent matter. It comes to physical exertion then, which 
means sweating, gasping, and swinging the arms backwards 
and forwards to their full stretch, in the vain attempt to 
drag the weary limbs a little sooner to the fancied top where 
you may rest ; but how are we mortified on reaching it to 
find another hill before us, even steeper than the last one, 
and, perchance, another after that ! By the time that one 
has climbed an hour in this fashion, romance begins to take 
wing, and we begin to long for a kindly cot or shepherd's 
shealing. When we tramp on another hour, and still no 
appearance of a " reekin' him," we are apt to exclaim with 
the poet 

Ob ! solitude, where are the charms 

That sages have seen in thy face ? 
Better dwell in midst of alarms 

Than reign in this horrible place. 

But if such grumbling feelings e'er existed within us, 
they had now entirely disappeared. A5s we marched along 
on the soft green carpet that stretched away by the burnside, 



41 

and turning a corner, we beheld, a short distance ahead of 
us, a small farm steading. I once thought about giving a 
cheer, but did not, owing to the appearance of some females 
at a door, who seemed immensely taken, with us, for they 
stared at us almost immediately after we hove in sight, and 
for a considerable distance after we went past them. In a 
short time longer we reached the high road to Aberdeen, 
which traverses Corgarff to the very top. Before proceeding 
further, we halted to take a look around us. 

Corgarff, like most Highland glens, is simply a hollow 
amongst the hills, yet every glen has its peculiarity to dis- 
tinguish it from its neighbour. (Jorgarff's peculiarity is its 
extreme narrowness. I do not think that from the top to 
the bottom, which is a distance of nine miles, there is one 
part of it a mile in breadth. It is a long narrow strip of 
cultivation, in the valley of the Don, which rises about two 
miles above the glen. It is like an oasis in the desert. 
Cultivation appears to be conducted in the best and most 
approved way, but it is naturally a very late district, and all 
the arts of modern cultivation are not able to force up. crops 
in anything like time. The Braes of Glenlivet are late, but 
Corgarff is even later. Any cattle which we chanced to see 
were good, being either shorthorned or polled. The horses 
are not so heavy as in the low country, yet they are more 
suitable for a Highland one. Proceeding slowly along the 
road, we passed on our left, a small inn, called Bridge-end, 
better known as " Cock Brig," a snug little house. Some 
distance further on, also on the left, is Allargue, nestling on 
a braeside, a small estate, which, by the way, was for sale 
when we passed it. The house is not large, nor is there 
anything about it that would indicate to the sti'anger that it 
is the mansion-house of an estate. It is simply like a good, 
plain, substantial farm house, yet it would be a nice summer 
residence for any one who wished to retire for a time from 
the din and bustle of the busy world. To such a one it has 
but one disadvantage, and that is its distance from a railway 
station, the nearest one being Alford, or Ballater on Deeside. 

Looking across the Don, we beheld what seemed to be 
an old castle of the feudal times, but on observing it closer 
we found that it was not nearly so old. It is one of General 

E 



42 

Wade's forts or stations, that he heaved up as a sort of 
barracks for his troops when constructing the roads. It is 
situated on a gentle height overlooking the Don, and is 
surrounded by one of those zig-zag walls, with, if we remem- 
ber rightly, three loopholes for small arms in each angle. 
It is far from being a strong fort, either in its defences or 
its situation, and is capable only of resisting swordsmen. 
From the hill above it, ordinary modern marksmen could 
pick off the soldiers at the loopholes without much trouble ; 
yet it was serviceable to Government much later than in 
General Wade's time. It was here that the soldiers were 
stationed 50 years ago, for the putting down of smuggling. 
We found on examining the building, that it was decaying 
fast, the stairs and flooring being dangerous to tread upon, 
and in a short time it will be roofless. It is inhabited at 
present by thi'ee individuals.* 

Leaving the Castle, we proceeded down the Don, pass- 
ing on our way several capital cottages, one in particular a 
shop. The new houses in Corgarff are very superior. An 
air of cosiness, and even elegance, hangs around them, not 
often to be met with in Highland glens. We passed here a 
milestone, which told us that we were 51 miles from Aber- 
deen, and, we would say, about seven from the top of the 
Glen. A little further on, and we came to the Churchyard 
of Corgarff, situated on a beautiful green haugh, about 150 
yards from the Don, and surrounded by a modest wall of 
about four feet in height, with a substantial ii'on gate, in the 
centre of which is the following inscription : v" The people 
of Corgarff erected this Gate and Wall." We entered the 
little field of the dead with solemn feelings, and in silence. 
A churchyard has a something about it which stiikes us with 
an awe and a melancholy foreboding, which requires a change 

*At the time of the publication of the old " Statistical Account of Scot- 
land," the most ancient building still entire in the parish of Strathdon was the 
old Castle of Corgarif . It was supposed to have been built by some of the 
Earls of Mar for a hunting seat. During the feuds between the Forbeses and 
the Gordons, it was burned in 1751 by Adam Gordon of Auchindune, or some 
of his officers; and, as the "Account" states, "Alexander Forbes of Towie's 
wife, then big with child, who was in it, together with her children and servants 
seven in number, were cruelly burned to death. Having been rebuilt, it was 
purchased by Government in 1746 from Mr Forbes of Skellater, and for several 
years after, 15 or 20 men were stationed in it. The garrison then sunk to two 
or three individuals." 



of scene before it can be shaken off. Yet, it gives a sort of 
sad pleasure to the living to see their deceased relations 
sleeping their long last sleep, beneath a trim and tidily-kept 
green sod, and we have seldom had the pleasure of seeing a 
country churchyard in such good order as the Corgarff one 
is. It forms a square, and has a nice gravelled walk run- 
ning all round its inside. There are some very fair head- 
stones in it, the best one being of Aberdeen granite. One 
in particular fixed our attention, in the centre of the Church- 
yard. It is in monument shape, the base being Aberdeen 
granite, the centre a square block, with the inscription in 
gold letters ; on each side of the square is Peterhead granite, 
and the top is of Aberdeen granite, the whole being perhaps 
about 12 feet in height. Leaving the Churchyard, we con- 
tinued our march down the Don, and soon came to the 
Church of Corgarff. In appearance, it is almost new, but 
the colour of the stone being limestone, probably gives it 
that appearance. The Church, calculating by the size of it, 
would be seated perhaps for about 500, and is situated on a 
bare piece of ground on the right bank of the Don. It is 
like the usual run of country churches, having a belfry on 
one of the gables. The Manse, a little to the south of it, is 
a beautiful retreat, hid away in a grove of fine trees. The 
Church would be much better if it also were surrounded by 
trees, which could be done with little trouble or expense. 

We continued our march down the glen, and as we 
passed along we observed a small round hill, with what 
appeared, to be a monument on the top of it. On inquiry, 
we were informed that it was erected by the Corgarff people, 
to the memory of John Forbes, an uncle of the present pro- 
prietor, who was much beloved by the tenantry on the Newe 
estates. It is called " John's Cairn," and will transmit his 
name to posterity, as long as Corgarff is inhabited. We 
turned off the main road here, to have a look at one of the 
two places of worship in Corgarff, a Roman Catholic Chapel. 
We crossed the Don by a wooden foot bridge, and continued 
in a southerly direction for about a mile, on a road leading 
to Glengairn, on Deeside, when we reached the chapel. It 
is situated at the mouth of a glen, and is a very small, un- 
assuming building, seated perhaps for about 100. Service is 

E2 



44 

conducted in it once n month, by the priest of Glengairn; he 
has a walk of about seven miles. After taking a look at the 
hills around, we turned back, and Boon reached the point 
where we struck off. The river at this point makes a sudden 
turn to the north, and sweeps along through pleasant haughs 
and well cultivated fields. The ix>ad we were traversing 
winds along in the same direction. Nothing peculiar in the 
scenery strikes the eye for a considerable distance down. The 
strath is narrow, and the hills almost bare, but they gradually 
assumed a different appearance as we advanced. Fine fir 
woods are nodding and waving on their breasts, and sometimes 
their ancient tops are crowned with them. Beautiful little 
cottages are peeping out here and there along the left side of 
the road. In fact, every sheltered nook has its cottage, and the 
inhabitants are all anxious to oblige strangers in any way, 
and are very hospitable. Onward another mile, and we 
passed a rather remarkable looking house. It had a sort of 
aristocratic air about it, and yet it seemed to be a farmer's 
house. Making inquiry, we learned that it was the mansion- 
house of Skellater, an old Lairdship, now belonging to the 
Newe family. Leaving Skellater, we proceeded slowly on 
for about a quarter of a mile, surveying the splendid scene 
that spread out before us. The road winds along the base of 
a beautifully wooded hill, and on the opposite side, another 
rises to about an equal height, while to make the scene 
complete, the Don sweeps majestically through the pass 
between them, wheeling away to the right. It was so 
beautiful here that we lingered long, gazing at the dark 
green woods, echoing with the mournful and weird-like notes 
of the cushat dove, that resounded from different quarters. 
Then we moved onwards, each individual occupied with his 
own thoughts and imaginations. These thoughts were lofty 
and pure, for who can look upon the face of nature in all 
her wild sublimity without feeling how poor and insignifi- 
cant a creature man is, and without a feeling of awe and 
admiration for the Almighty One, who commanded countless 
worlds revolving in space to exist. Talk not to me of man's 
great achievements in science, in art, and in literature. I 
say that the meanest spring that rises from the bowels of 
the earth is beyond his comprehension and his power. 



45 

Talk of his art. Why, he cannot mutch the wild bee's nest ; 
and his literature, that river rolling pasD could tell us more 
than all the volumes that have been written from Moses 
down to the present day. But I am digressing. Wheeling 
round the foot of the hill, we marched on at a good pace, for 
it was now about three o'clock, and we had nearly 20 miles to 
walk yet. We passed Louacli Hill on our left, with another 
cairn to John Forbes. A little further, and we reached 
Lonach Inn, or Lonach Lodge as it is called, a beautiful 
little house in the centre of a grove of firs. It must be free 
from the shouts of the bacchanal, for in it only porter and 
ales are sold. We entered, and turning to the left, immedi- 
ately found ourselves in a capital room, the walls of which 
were tastefully hung with pictures. We could not help 
admiring the order and precision of every article in the 
room. It had an air of comfort and snugness about it, which 
few country inns can boast of. To add to our pleasure, the 
people were extremely kind and courteous. Leaving Lonacli 
Inn, we once more started forward. We passed, on both 
sides of the road, several standing stones, popularly known 
as Druidical Stones. The antiquary, however, more properly 
calls them Monumental Stones, raised in pre-historic times, 
as a mark of affection, or as a memorial of some great deed. 
A little beyond this, and the turrets of Inverernan House 
began to show themselves through the trees. 

Inverernan is the seat of General Forbes, who com- 
mands a portion of the East India Army. It is worthy of 
being the seat of a General. It is a handsome building, and 
comparatively modern looking. It is situated on the left of 
the high road to Aberdeen, fronting towards the Don. Be- 
tween it and the highway is the tidy little park, with clumps 
of trees scattered through it. Some parts of it could be im- 
proved and beautified ; but the gallant General's time is, 
doubtless, so much occupied in discharging the duties of his 
profession, in the service of his country, that he finds little 
time to think of such trifles. Away on a little height behind 
the mansion stand the offices and servants' houses, and im- 
mediately behind rises a fine wooded hill, stretching away 
westward, forming the boundary on one side of Glen Ernan, 
famous in the Forbes' march or gathering, " Ca' Glennochty 



46 

and gather Glen Ernan," are well known words in Strathdon. 
In early times, the lairds of Invereman were among the most 
powerful chieftains in Strathdon. I believe a letter still 
exists from the Earl of Mar, immediately preceding the rais- 
ing of the Standard of the Rebellion by that nobleman in 
1715, addressed to his trusty friend the Baron Bailie of 
Strathdon, telling him to gather all the men of Strathdon, 
and march to Braemar by a certain appointed day. What a 
change since those troublous times ! While standing here, 
we caught sight of another tine looking building, whose win 
dows were glittering in the rays of the declining sun, and 
seemingly only a short distance removed from Inverernan, 
away to the north-east. It proved to be Edinglassie, be- 
longing to Sir Chas. Forbes, and which gives him part of 
his title. 

Leaving Inverernan, we proceeded down for a short 
distance, when we were surprised to find ourselves in the 
vicinity of another Castle. We struck off the road to the 
right, and soon found ourselves in front of one of the most 
beautiful buildings in the whole of Strathdon, which is 
studded with them, surpassed only by Newe. It is roman- 
tically situated amid clusters of trees, on a gentle eminence 
overlooking the Don, It is built in the cathedral style, with 
spires and turrets. The approach to it from the Newe direc- 
tion is beautiful, and in perfect order. There are some marks 
of decay beginning to appear on the house, owing, perhaps, to 
its having no regular resident who is interested in its fate. 
The family who owned it sold it some time ago to Sir Charles 
Forbes for 30,000, and then went to America. The shoot- 
ings of it bring about 700 a year. We left Candacraig by its 
lovely avenue, with a feeling akin to sorrow to think that 
such a beautiful house should go to decay. We soon reached 
Park Villa, a thriving hamlet, containing a merchant's shop, 
a blacksmith's, and a carpenter's. Across the Don from this 
point, Glen Corvie breaks through the chain of hills which 
divide Strathdon from Deeside, and runs away in a south- 
eastern direction towards the Dee. On a little further, and 
we reached the Bridge of Poldullie, whose large arch spans 
the Don immediately above the famous pool called the " Pot 
of Poldullie," which we were told measures 25 feet in depth, 



47 

a statement which we took the liberty of doubting. It is 
certainly an awful looking dungeon, seething and whirling, 
and as black as night. I shuddered, and felt a creeping sen- 
sation steal over me, as I gazed into its dark depths. A 
little beyond this is the ruins of the old Castle of Inver- 
nochty. It is called the " Doune of Invernochty." It is 
situated on the top of an artificial mound, rising abruptly 
from the plain to about the height of 60 feet. We climbed 
to the top, and examined the ruin, which we found to be 
very small indeed. Only a small part of the fort for there 
can be little doubt but that it is an old Pictish stronghold on 
the east side remains to tell that humanity once dwelt there 
in ages so remote that even fertile tradition fails to give us 
any information about it. The mound measures 208 paces 
round the top, and is surrounded by a moat. In byegone 
days it was said to be a favourite haunt of fairies (a race of 
beings that have now altogether disappeared), whose mis- 
chievous pranks often disturbed the peace of families in the 
neighbourhood. One is related of a poor man who had been 
at the Mill of Bellabeg for meal. When on his way home, 
in company with a neighbour, while passing the Doune, they 
heard the sound of music. The one with the meal, with 
foolhardy courage, ascended, and immediately found himself 
in the midst of a party of dancers, who induced him to join 
them. The poor man did so, and, as the story goes, had to 
dance there a whole twelvemonth, when the man who bore 
him company formerly chanced to pass on the same night, 
and again heard the sound of music, which by the way, was 
Hallowe'en, the night of all others which our simple and 
rude forefathers believed to be given up to those merry little 
gentry, who frisked through the air in company with less 
musically inclined customers, namely, witches, following in 
the train of the fairy queen, who had the privilege of riding 
a fine milk white pony, playing up all sorts of devilish games 
on any one who was unlucky enough to be outside. It was the 
temerity of that gentleman before-mentioned in venturing 
out on that dread night that cost him a year's dancing, and 
he might have been dancing still, had not his neighbour, 
with great dexterity and not a little nerve, seized him by the 
coat tail while whirling past with his meal pock on his back, 



48 

in company with a gay young fairy. Immediately when 
human hands touched him the spell was dissolved, and fairies 
and all disappeared from their sight, and the dancer was con- 
veyed home to his son-owing wife and family, who had 
mourned him as dead ; but he woxild never believe that he 
had danced more than one reel, and even insisted, it is said, 
on having another. Many are the wondrous tales told 
about these old castles, and the above is one picked from a 
few that has connection with the " Doune of Invernochty." 
We had to leave it, however, with its legends, and, while 
moving down, we caught sight of the Church of Strathdon, 
a stately structure with a handsome spire. Though our 
time was limited, we determined on having a nearer view of 
the Church. Stepping from the high road, therefore, we 
crossed the Don, and in a few minutes reached it. We 
found it a most handsome Presbyterian Church, dating from 
about 1850, and built in the form of a cross, with the fine 
tapering spire resting on one of the arms of the cross. On 
one side of the Church is the burying-ground, with the usual 
number of headstones some of them newly erected, othei-s 
quaint and old, the inscriptions on which it would have 
taken a considerable time to decipher. The interior of the 
Church is veiy handsome, and it was interesting to notice 
that within the walls is the burying-place of the family of 
Newe and Edinglassie. 

Round the walls are inserted marble tablets to the 
memory of, among others, members of the families of Newe, 
Inverernan, Caudacraig, and Allargue. The inscriptions 
number 24 in all ; and one of them, erected by the Strathdon 
people, runs thus : " In memory of Hugh Robert Meikle- 
john, eldest son of the Rev. Robert Meiklejohn, minister of 
Strathdon, and Lieutenant H.E.I.C. Engineers, killed at 
Jhansi, Central India, 3rd April 1858, aged 22 years. 
Gallantly leading one attack of storm ers, he was the first to 
scale the wall, and there fell de<?d, deeply lamented by all 
who knew him. Erected by the inhabitants of his native 
Strath, to testify their high admiration of his bravery and 
moral worth, their sincere sorrow for his premature death, 
and their heartfelt sympathy for his bereaved family." 

Leaving the church and manse, we recrossed the Don, 



49 

and reached the point where we struck off. Here the stream 
Nochty, which drains the Glen of that name, tosses its 
turbulent waters into the Don. Crossing this stream, we 
reach Bellabeg, where there is a handsome little shop and bank. 
Mr Wattie, merchant, keeps a store of general goods, and a 
member of the same family is agent for the Aberdeen Town 
and County Bank. Near it, is the Mill of Bellabeg, con- 
nected with the foregoing legend. A little further down, 
and we reached Bellabeg House, now belonging to Sir 
Charles Forbes; it has nothing of the castle about it, but is a 
good old fashioned house. A little further from here, and 
we reached Forbestown, a beautiful and picturesque little 
hamlet, composed of nice little cottages, built in the English 
fashion, with projecting roofs. They are built on the left 
side, and are all new. Each cottage has its trim little garden, 
sloping gently down to the highway, rich with flowers and 
vegetables. Sir Charles must have the interest of his 
tenantry thoroughly at heart, for the fact of his having 
built all these beautiful cottages for the poor people, and 
granted many other privileges besides, places this beyond 
dispute, " for facts are chiels that winna' ding." The people 
appear to be happy and contented, and poverty seems to be 
an unknown guest among them. A little beyond Forbes- 
town, is the Newe Arms Inn, a large and commodious house 
for a country inn, kept by Mr M'Grigor. Close by are the 
i % emains of the old Castle of Colcpahonie. The walls are of 
prodigious thickness, and built of rough undressed boulders, 
now overgrown with grass. It has been of considerable size 
at one time, and, doubtless, its halls have echoed the clank 
of many a mailed warrior's tread, in the long forgotten past, 
and many a fairy form has lightly glided through the dance, 
or listened to the tales of other years, chanted by the hoary 
ministry! of the family. Often, perhaps, from that broken old 
window has the fair white hand waved adieu to the depart- 
ing lover, whom she might see no more, but she knew that 
his thoughts would be of her, when he met in the shock of 
battle, or lay dying in the field of glory. But though these 
old walls may have witnessed all this, and much more, it is 
now a complete ruin, with the exception of a vault that is 
used as a wine cellar. In the immediate vicinity, is Lonach 



50 

Hall, which, when we passed it, was used as a female school, 
but a beautiful new one has now been built in the hamlet of 
Forbestown. On the haugh below the Inn, the celebrated 
Lonach Gathering is held. Leaving the Newe Arms Inn, 
we proceeded down for nearly a mile, when we turned to 
the left, and entered the approach to Newe. A splendid 
approach it is, and of considerable length. We traversed it 
rapidly, and soon found oui'selves in front of Castle Newe, 
the seat of Sir Charles Forbes, one of the most superb 
edifices I ever saw. It is so simple in its structure, and yet 
so grand. It is a solid block building, built altogether of 
dressed freestone. Before, or rather on each side of the hall 
door, is a miniature cannon with the word " Lonach " marked 
upon them. We spent more time gazing at this princely 
residence of the chief of the Forbeses than we could well spare, 
for the sun had already gone down, and we had ten miles before 
us yet. Reluctantly therefore we turned our backs upon it, 
without seeing the gardens, which we were told are of the 
first quality. We retraced our steps, and soon reached the 
Mill of Newe, a large mill, almost new. On we went, as 
hard as we could walk, until we reached Bellabeg, where we 
turned up Glen Nochty on our way home. About a mile 
up the Glen, and we reached Belnabodach, an estate belong- 
ing to my friend Francis Farquharson, Esq. We called on 
Mr Farquharson, and were received with true Highland 
hospitality. During our conversation, Mr Farquharson 
favoured us with some account of the Clan Farquharson, 
and of the connection which his family had with that once 
powei-ful Highland sept. He is descended from the leading 
branch of the family of Invercauld, and his fathers settled 
in Strathdon about a century ago. They were a warlike 
race, as most Highlanders were, and loved the sound of the 
bugle better than the rush of their native river. That is the 
reason why so many of his relations have been soldiers, and 
the present proprietor of Belnabodach inherited a portion of 
his sires' enthusiasm, and also entered the army, but sold out 
after a time, and now occupies his spare hours in reading 
collections from his well-filled library. 

Leaving the house of Belnabodach, we walked over the 
cultivated part of the estate, in company with Mr Farquhar- 



51 

son. It carries an admirable stock of cross cattle. Tlie 
estate is of about 458 acres, half cultivated, and half in rich 
pasture. The situation is pleasant, on the south side of the 
Nochty. From the house a beautiful view of Strathdon is 
obtained. On the opposite side of the Nochty is Invernettie, 
now become the property of the Rev. Mr Watt, minister of 
Strathdon. Torrincroy, away on a height above Invernettie, 
also belongs to that gentleman, who bought it from the 
Earl of Fife a few years ago. Continuing our homeward 
march, we soon entered the avenue leading to Auchernack, 
one of the seats of Forbes, laird of Dunnottar. On reaching 
the Castle, we found that it bore a resemblance to Canda- 
craig in beauty, and, I am sorry to add, also in decay. The 
house is a handsome modern mansion, built on the face of a 
brae, a sitiiation rendered rather pretty by planting and 
other improvements. The principal feature of attraction at 
Auchernack to a stranger is the collection of armour, ancient 
and modern. There are steel helmets, used in the days of 
chivalry ; a number of arrows, not very ancient apparently 
by their make, which have been done by very skilful hands ; 
swords, and other implements of warfare belonging to differ- 
ent nations. The house was built by the late General 
Forbes, father of the present proprietor, who amassed an 
enormous fortune in India. He was a strange, eccentric old 
gentleman, and had a strong love for Auchernack and its 
surroundings, as the following anecdote will sufficiently tes- 
tify : The Earl of Fife's factor wrote to him in India, tell- 
ing him that the Earl had bought up all the property near 
Auchernack, and that his little patch was now sitrrounded 
on every side, and he thought it was no use for him to keep 
it longer, for the Earl would give him a good price for it. 
The patriotic old General sent the following characteristic 
reply : " Tell him that I would sooner part with the skin 
of my face." When living at Auchernaok, he never attended 
church, but occupied his time on Sunday in going about with 
an old woman, pruning trees. The woman carried the prim- 
ings on her back. While engaged at this occupation one 
day, the old woman suddenly exclaimed, " Here's the minis- 
ter, laird ! " Quoth the laird, " I wonner fat he wants wi' 
me 1 I'm sure I dinna aften disturb him ! " 



52 

Leaving Auchernack, we trudged onward, for the dim 
twilight was now giving place to the darker and deeper 
shades of night. We passed several small farm steadings 
before we reached Mrs Thane's, better known as " Lucky 
Thane," an old woman, over 90 years of age, who lives at the 
very top of Glennochty, a house well known in the days of 
smuggling, and many are the spirit-stirring tales which old 
Lucky can tell of the daring deeds and hairbreadth escapes 
of those hardy men. We could not wait to hear them, how- 
ever, but once more started forward, and soon entered the 
heather. We had a long climb before us xip the Ladder 
not the best of roads in the dark but the thought of the 
many who had trod that path before us, in, perhaps, worse 
circumstances, cheered us on. It is one of the steepest and 
highest hills in this quarter, rising to a height of about 2000 
feet above the sea. It has been used as a highway to the 
south for hundi'eds of years. The natives of Lochaber and 
Badenoch crossed by this natural pathway when there was 
scarcely a road in the north of Scotland ; and in the days of 
" shearin'," troops of them could be seen, male and female, 
picking their way among the loose stones, or winding by the 
wild corries of Aultnasacht, chanting their native songs, 
relieved at intervals by the bagpipes, whose shrill notes 
made the wild hills reverberate. The few travellers who 
now cross the Ladder are generally natives of Glenlivet or 
Stiathdon, or occasionally some tourists. Thinking on these 
old times, we entered a huge snow wreath which covered 
the whole of dark, swampy Monsack, a very dangerous piece 
of mossy ground, which lies in a hollow of the lull. It was 
the scene of John Milne o' Livet Glen's rhyme, entitled 
" Nochty's Glens in the Mornin'," in which he depicts a 
fight between the smugglers of that glen and a body of 
preventives. The fight seems to have been a stiff one, if we 
ai'e to credit John, who says that fire-arms were used by the 
smugglers, and that one fellow's coat was bored in several 
places by the bullets, though the preventives were ultimately 
driven off. John, zealous of the honour of the Braes of 
Glenlivet, means to say that the smugglers who thrashed 
the gaugers were Brae's men, though there was not a single 
one of them there. The wreath which we had entered taxed 



53 

our strength greatly, but at last we reached the top, and 
turned round and bade adieu to Strathdon and its kind- 
heai-ted inhabitants. We envied them not their lovely 
strath, for I am convinced that a better race could not 
inhabit it than now does. We began to descend, and soon 
reached Ladderfoot. Another half-hour, and we reached 
home, a little footsore and weary, after a walk of 30 miles; 
yet, the remembrance of that walk still gives me pleasure, 
for Strathdon and its inhabitants will ever hold a warm 
place in my breast. 



FROM GLENLIVET TO GLENSUIE, BLACK 
WATER, AND LOWER CABRACH. 



THE clock had just struck six, when we started on our tour 
to Cabrach. The morning was bright and beautiful. The 
mists of night were slowly dispersing before the rays of the 
glorious sun, whose advent was hearlded by a golden glow 
in the east. Everything seemed to favour our purpose. 
Not a breath of wind disturbed the sleep of nature. The 
hills were so calm and peaceful to look upon, that one could 
imagine the fierce tempest would never more ruffle their 
repose. We traversed rapidly the Clashdhu, and soon found 
ourselves in the valley of the Ely. After crossing the stream, 
we were joined by another pilgrim, who was to act as guide 
through the wilds of Glensuie and Blackwater to Cabrach. 
When we had crossed the Bly, we entered on the vast 
moor, known as the " Conven," and which lies between the 
Braes of Glenlivet and Glensuie. A rough mountain track 
traverses the moor, known under the cognomen of the 
" Timmer Road," famous in the local annals of Glenlivet 
as the scene of many smuggling raids in days bygone, when 
the rough mountaineers carried their contraband goods 
through the passes of the hills to the low country, where 
they could be quietly disposed of. The " Timmer Road " 
derives its name from the circumstance that, when many of 
the finest old houses in Huntly were building, the necessary 
wood required for them was drawn by horses all the way 
from Abernethy, and crossed the " Conven " Moor by this 
tract. Wages in those days were not very high. Fancy, 
only eighteen pence being given for a man and ahorse to drag 
a tree from Abernethy all the way to Huntly. The journey 
generally took about three days. Hardships had to be 
endured, such as lying out all night, with perhaps nothing 
but a plaid, if sometimes even that, to shield them from the 



55 

blast and the damp dews of the night, crossing mountains 
and rivers without bridges, and often want of food from 
morning to night. What would the young farmers of the 
present time think, if subjected to such usage ? 

After crossing the Conven, we entered Glensuie, a glen 
that is now deserted by all but a few paupers, a shepherd, 
and two gamekeepers, who guard the entrance to the fine 
deer forest of Glenfiddoch, belonging to his Grace the Duke 
of Richmond and Gordon. We rested on the top of the 
little green height, on which the gamekeepers' houses are 
situated, and glanced backward for a moment at the country 
which we were leaving behind us. The scene was lovely on 
that May morning, the sheep pasturing peacefully, and the 
lambs skipping about in highest glee in the near ground, 
while far away to the southward, sat, as in state, the mighty 
Grampians, with their snow -crowned summits, round 
which the hovering mists of heaven were wreathed in airy 
clouds. Following the track called the " Stapler," we 
wound away north-eastward between two hills, the Cairn- 
ta-Pruar and the Cook's Cairn. Tradition says that on the 
top of that hill the Marquis of Huntly's cook was killed, 
while proceeding with that nobleman to meet Argyle, who 
was advancing from the west. The meeting took place at 
Altochoulachan, on the 3rd October 1594, a short distance 
from where we were standing, when Argyle was defeated 
with the loss of 700 men. When near the top of the hill, 
we came upon a herd of deer, numbering about 50. They 
were a noble lot, with some fine stags amongst them. The 
antlered monarchs stood surveying the intruders into their 
wild domains for a little, and then darted away, disappearing 
in a hollow, and leaving \is to pursue our way unmolested. 

Leaving " Stapler," we soon found ourselves pursuing a 
bridle road leading down to Blackwater Lodge. The glen 
we were now passing through had nothing of beauty about 
it, and very little that was interesting. In fact, it is about 
the most bleak and barren-looking district that we have ever 
seen, with not even a bush to relieve the monotony of the 
scene. Nothing but hills, hills, hills, and hills, too, which 
are simply low, flat, squatty looking hillocks. There is no 
bold, rugged outline that makes a mountain grand ; no rocks, 



56 

no precipices, no yawning abysses to make one shrink with 
horror from the dreadful brink, no foaming and roaring 
cataracts to excite tho imagination and kindle a love for the 
wild and beautiful, but only a barren desert, where no crea- 
ture lives, save the red deer of the mountain, which may pay 
it a visit when they can do no better, and the sneaking, 
poisonous adder, the very idea of whose forked tongue and 
shiny sides makes the blood run cold. Passing through this 
wilderness, we longed to catch a sight of Blackwater 
Lodge, where, our guide said, the scene would change. 
While moving along, we caught a glimpse of a house far 
away up in a gap between two hills, and we wondered if any 
human being could exist in such a forlorn like spot. There, 
we were told, the gamekeeper of Cairnbrawlin lives, and the 
strange looking rocks which appeared on the top of a hill, 
not far from the house, are designated the Scores of the 
Blackwater. 

Moving on a considerable distance further, and we came 
in sight of the long looked for Lodge of Blackwater, a plain, 
substantial-looking country house, built in the l>est situation 
that the whole Glen of Blackwater affords. The appearance 
of the Lodge is much improved by a small plantation of firs 
which rises at the back of the house, and in the centre of 
which are some weather-beaten looking rocks. Close by the 
house is a large vegetable garden, in remarkably good order, 
while at the other end the office-houses rise in plain neatness. 
Blackwater Lodge is truly an oasis in the wilderness, a thing 
*of beauty in a world of waste. Plunging again into the soli- 
tudes of nature, the hills began to assume a more genial 
aspect. The rough heath was beginning to give place to 
green grass and rich pasture land ; while here and there, 
when we reached a height, we could catch a glimpse of a 
farm steading in the distance. This we knew to be Lower 
Cabrach, and we pressed along with renewed vigour, eager 
to reach our journey's end. After most of an hour's tramp- 
ing, we landed at Upper Ardwell, a fine arable and pastoral 
farm, standing on a height overlooking the Deveron, where 
we rested. 

The district of country called Lower Cabrach and the 
people who inhabit it took us altogether by surprise. We 



57 

had been accustomed to hear that the Cabrach was synony- 
mous with all that was rude and uncultivated. How differ- 
ent we found it. There the true spirit of the Scottish people 
is manifested without fuss or affectation. The people are 
canny, warm-hearted, industrious, and brave ; but, above all, 
hospitable to a degree that makes strangers stare. Though 
the elevation is high, the Lower Cabrach has a rich soil, and, 
on the whole, is well adapted for cultivation. Some of the 
best farms in the upper part of Deveronside are situated in 
the Lower Cabrach. The Mains of Lesmurdie stands on 
the left bank of the river, and the heart of man could wish 
for no finer farm. Invercharroch is a pleasant looking pos- 
session ; and Shenval, on the opposite, side of the Blackwater, 
is a beautiful farm, with a large tract of pasture land 
attached to it. 

Standing at Upper Ardwell, we were on a capital point 
for obtaining a view of the district. Spread out in front of 
us was a picturesque country, drained by a rushing river. 
On the right hand lay Upper Cabrach, and on the left were 
the " Glacks o' Balloch," famous as the spot where Roy's 
wife cheated Johnnie, and the road through which leads on 
to Auchindune and Dufftown. Slumbering at our feet was 
a tidy little Church and Manse of the U.P. persuasion, the 
appearance of which would be much enhanced by the plant- 
ing of a few trees. There is also a School near the Church. 
Our contemplation of the beauties of Cabrach were, however, 
interrupted by the voice of one of our companions shouting, 
" It is time we were retracing our steps to Glenlivet." 

As we left Upper Ardwell, we met a traveller going to 
the Lodge of Blackwater, who volunteered to lead us a 
shorter route than that by which we had come. Taking the 
lead, therefore, we turned down the hill to a bend in the 
Blackwater, which we reached in a very short time. Imagine 
our astonishment when landing on the bank of the stream to 
find that there was no bridge, but, as a substitute, two or 
three pieces of rock, with the water rushing, seething, and 
whirling between them, and then plunging into a black 
abyss that foamed below. Seeing that we hesitated, our 
conductor sprung nimbly on to the nearest ledge of rock, 
thence to another, and then wheeled round and beckoned us 



58 

to come, for we could hear nothing but the rush of waters. 
Slowly, and with a fast beating heart, we hazarded the first 
leap, and then the second, but at the third, we suddenly 
found ourselves to the knees amongst the hissing waters, 
while clear above the din rose the merry laugh of our guide. 
Somewhat downcast at our misadventure, we strode sullenly 
on, and soon reached Blackwater Lodge, where we ex- 
perienced a kindly reception from Mr and Miss M'Hardy. 
Leaving the Lodge, we reached home after a smart walk of 
two hours, a little footsore and weary, but withal well 
pleased with our tour to Lower Cabrach. 



59 



HOLIDAYS IN UPPER CABRACH. 



WE had been invited to spend some days in Upper Cabrach. 
Delighted with the prospect, we started one morning lately. 
The sky scowled grimly, and the mist hung in dark masses 
on the hills. The wind swept in gusts down the deep 
ravines of the mountains, and sighed drearily in the wild 
corries as we passed along. It seemed to be a struggle be- 
tween the spirit of the storm and the bright-eyed nymph 
that I'ules the sunshine. Her smile conjured the angry king. 
The mist began to roll away backward and upward towards 
the Grampians, among whose rocky tops and deep glens it 
finds a wild home. We passed rapidly through Glensuie, 
took a glance at the wild rocks of the Kyma, skirted the 
base of Cairn-ta-pruar, where Hainish-an-duem i.e., James 
of the Hill a noted freebooter of the seventeenth century, 
had one of his haunts, and soon found ourselves on the top 
of Craig Roy. Here we rested for a few minutes, gazing at 
the herds of deer that were roaming about, and then turned 
and plunged into the wild Glen of Blackwater. Passing 
musingly along the footpath leading to Blackwater Lodge, 
one of our feet slipped a little, and something came round 
upon our boot with considerable force. Glancing down, 
imagine our consternation and horror when we saw an adder 
writhing about our foot. Our heart gave a great leap, and 
we made a bound forward, letting the adder fall. It wriggled 
in amongst the heather and disappeared. The reptile had 
evidently come out to enjoy the sunshine, and had fallen 
asleep a sleep that was unpleasantly disturbed when we 
unconsciously put our foot upon it. It had the effect of 
making us keep a lookout ahead during the remainder of the 
way to Cabrach. The brave man can die with a huzza upon 
his lips when fighting for his country, but no man can come 
suddenly in contact with a poisonous reptile, whose bite is 



60 

certain death, without feeling a nervous tremour and a shud- 
der passing over his frame, which the frown of death could 
never do. We passed the Lodge of Blackwater, described 
in another page, and pressed along to Cabrach, which we 
soon reached. 

The Cabrach, like most Highland glens, was now look- 
ing its very best. The heather on the hillsides was sending 
forth its purple bloom. The gentle uplands carried a mass 
of waving green, and the pasture lands were sending forth 
their clovery fragrance. We called at Upper Ardwell, in- 
quiring the way, and met a kind reception. With the hos- 
pitality of their country, they pressed upon us to eat, and 
when we did not incline doing so, we received a flowing bowl 
of rich milk, which was relished very much. The road hav- 
ing been pointed out, we again started up the glen. The 
glen began to get narrower as we approached Upper Cabrach, 
and soon came to be a ravine, through which the Deveron 
rolls along its rugged course, and finds its way to the Moray 
Firth. The road wends along the river side, through banks 
and braes of natural birch and hazel that filled the air with 
perfume. We lingered long here, admiring the sweet seclu- 
sion of the spot, and though it could not perhaps be called 
absolutely beautiful, it was, to say the least, a very pretty 
scene. We crossed two good, substantial looking bridges 
one spanning a streamlet, and the other the Deveron. After 
we had crossed the latter, and proceeded on a little further, 
we struck off the main road and turned to the left, climbing 
a steep and narrow road leading to Bank, the farm where 
we were to spend our time in Cabrach. We soon reached 
it, when we found that the inmates were expecting iis. We 
had the pleasure of meeting Dr Gordon, an LL.D. from 
London, and a native of Cabrach ; Mr Gordon, the enter- 
prising farmer of Bank, and the doctor's wife, Mrs Gordon, 
and his daughter, Miss Gordon. 

When we had enjoyed a plentiful repast, and rested 
ourselves thoroughly, we started with Dr Gordon to view 
the remains of a tumulus, situated on the top of a little hill 
called the Drum, where the Doctor had found some remains 
of a cinerary urn. Being an enthusiastic archaeologist, he 
spares no pains in trying to pierce the gloom, and rend the 



61 

dark mist that envelopes the history of our fathers, the men 
that roamed through the primeval forest, and shot those flint 
arrowheads, which were the wonder of succeeding generations, 
down almost to our own time, and were superstitiously 
regarded as elf shot, the weapons of a sort of creature, now 
happily banished to the region of myths, who took a strong 
pleasure in tormenting mankind. As we passed along the 
valley, separating the farm of Bank from the bill of Drum, 
the Doctor talked of many things. Politics, science, and 
literature, formed the chief themes. His political opinions 
were most decided. They were formed after mature delibera- 
tion, and a lifetime's experience, their main object being the 
social and religious improvement of mankind. His talk on 
the sciences of geology and archaeology was very interesting 
and instructive. His knowledge of literature was vast, 
accumulated during his long lifetime. He talked of poets 
and poetry, and examined with a keen critical eye the works 
of our best modern poets, and compared them with the gems 
of Homer and Virgil. He recited with much pathos and 
feeling, Byron's " Isles of Greece." Thus talking, we reached 
the Drum, and having taken a spade with us, we at once 
began to dig. Having removed a considerable quantity of 
heather, and the Doctor having donned his spectacles, we 
went down on our knees, and were soon feeling amongst the 
soft earth for pre-historic remains. We were successful in 
finding some pieces of baked clay, which had once formed the 
rude cinerary urn, containing the ashes of, perhaps, some great 
chief, whose memory has long been buried in the mists of obli- 
vion. Judging by the remains found, the um had been rudely 
ornamented, and was formed of sun dried clay. The tumulus 
at some former period had been broken into, and its contents 
scattered to the winds, but enough still remains to make the 
spot interesting to the archaeologist. Proceeding along the 
ridge of the hill a little further, we came to another spot 
where Dr Gordon had been digging, and which he deemed 
to have been a manufactory for flint implements in those 
long forgotten ages, known as the stone period. He had 
discovered many flint chips, formed of a flint not found in the 
district, among which he found a scraper, and an imperfectly- 
formed arrowhead, which had evidently been under manu- 



62 

facturo, but which had been thrown aside before being 
finished. After searching some time, we picked up a few 
chips, and then walked leisurely homewards. On reaching 
home, we were able to relish and enjoy the excellent tea 
prepared for us, after which, Miss Gordon delighted us with 
her performances on the piano. The shades of night soon 
began to fall, and darkness set in. All soon retired to rest, 
to enjoy the repose that sound health and moderate exercise 
give. 

Sabbath morning dawned bright and beautiful. The 
rays of the rising sun found their way into our bed-room, 
and flickered on the pillow. We started up and dressed, 
and walked out to take a quiet view of Upper Cabrach. 
The Buck, as it is called, is the most prominent feature in 
the landscape. It is a huge, roundish shaped hill, lising, we 
would calculate, to over 2000 feet in height. Taking the 
Buck as a centre, its limbs, if we may so speak, encircle 
Upper Cabrach, giving it the appearance of a vast basin. 
We will not enter into the geology of Upper Cabrach. 
Suffice it to say that the physical features of the district, like 
some other Highland Glens, are remarkable, and will yet 
form a rich field for the geologist and mineralogist, and a 
source of national wealth. As an agricultural country, it is 
not good. The altitude is too high, and its basin shape with 
hills surrounding it, makes the soil naturally damp, requiring 
a good deal of drainage, and a large supply of artificial 
manures to heat it up, so that crops may come to matimty 
in something like time. This involves a great deal of 
expense and hard work, and the question naturally arises 
with the farmer can I not invest my money in something 
more profitable than in making drains, and sowing artificial 
manures to rear crops which seldom, if ever, reach a proper 
state of maturity, and for which I would receive no adequate 
compensation, should I have occasion to leave my present 
farm ? This question, and many others, make the Cabrach 
farmer anything but an improving one. It must not be 
imagined, however, that while every other district is improv- 
ing that Cabrach alone is lagging behind ; certainly not. I 
know some instances, one in particular, who has doubled the 
arable acreage on his farm, in less than 40 years, and all at 



63 

his own expense. But there are still vast ti-acts of waste 
land, that could easily be made coi*n growing land, but, 
unless a change of circumstances occur, it will remain waste 
land. The Cabrach farmer is therefore a pastoral farmer, 
and turns the waste land on his farm to some account. Some 
of them are very extensive and enterprising cattle dealers. 
Mr Gordon, the farmer at Bank, has about 220 cattle, a mix- 
ture of many breeds, comprising the Highland, the Short- 
horn, the Polled, and Crosses. We observed some very fine 
animals roaming about. One Polled bull especially tixed our 
attention. This quantity of cattle, as may be imagined, cannot 
be kept at home. Grass is taken for them in different parts 
of the country, and only a limited number are kept at home. 
Mr Gordon has also a stock of blackfaced sheep, numbering 
from 500 to 700. Large stocks like this entail a great deal 
of trouble and attention, taking farmers very often from 
home, the consequence being that the Cabrach farmer is very 
shrewd and intelligent. 

While moving about, we received a call to breakfast, 
after which we started to Lower Cabrach to church. We 
entered the little building, and were surprised to find such a 
nice, tastefully got up chvrch. in a country pai'ish. It belongs 
to the U.P. body, and was evidently almost new. It hail all 
the modern improvements a platform, a heating apparatus, 
and a beautiful clock, presented by the Messrs Sheed, two 
young men who had gone abroad, and brothers of Mr Sheed, 
farmer of Upper Ardwell. The clergyman was a stranger to 
us, but well known in Cabrach. He preached a very plain, 
practical sermon, illustrated with some anecdotes. If it had 
any fault, it was that it was too long. Over two hours of 
an address is more than one man can carry away comfort- 
ably, and make practical use of. The walk back from church 
was delightful, through the scented birches, alive with the 
song of birds. Many of our fellow-worshippers passed us, 
all wearing that grave, sedate expression which marks 
the Presbyterians of Scotland in the rural districts on the 
Sabbath clay. The afternoon was spent with Dr Gordon. 
We walked about the (ields, and talked of the power 
which the pulpit exercised over the people of Scotland 
in former times a power which is now lost to a con- 



64 

siderable extent, and gained by another mighty engine 
the press an engine which excites and controls the pas- 
sions of the people at will. The evening was spent 
pleasantly with the doctor, talking about some of the 
scenes which he had witnessed in Continental Europe. On 
Monday, we had to pi-epare for our return journey. The day 
was unusually threatening. All pressed upon us to wait 
another day, but we determined to make the attempt. Be- 
fore taking farewell, however, of our kind entertainers, we 
promised to return in a short time and stay a little longer, 
so that we might be able to form a better idea of Uppei 
Cabrach and its people. Started on the return journey, we 
had not gone far when the loweiing clouds burst, and tor- 
rents of rain fell for a short time, and then ceased. It did not 
clear up, but scowled, threatened, and sputtered occasionally, 
until we had passed Blackwater Lodge, when the mist sud- 
denly descended like a curtain, shutting out from our view 
hill and glen, rock and stream, earth and sky. All around 
was a dim, semi-darkness. We could hear the i*oar of the 
flooded mountain torrent, but could not see it ; and we did 
not know the moment when we might lose the indistinct 
ti-ack and tumble headlong into its boiling surge. We went 
forward as rapidly as possible until we reached the top of 
Craigroy, when we were fain to sit down on a huge boulder 
to rest. Remembering the flask which the care and fore- 
thought of Mrs Gordon had supplied us with, we quaffed 
part of its contents, and soon felt the effect in the revival of 
spirits and the fresh energy it kindled within us. We won 
dered if Sir Wilfrid Lawson had ever been alone on a hill- 
top, far from a human habitation and from creatures of his 
own kind, where he could not see a yard before him for the 
mists of heaven, with his limbs exhausted and wet to the skin, 
if he had felt the influence of a wee drappie Glenlivet whisky. 
After resting for a short time, we started down Craigroy, and 
after half-an-hour's tramping, we got clear of the mist, and 
once again breathed freely the pure air of heaven. Another 
hour's smart walking brought us home, none the worse for 
our tramp among the mist. 

Our second visit to Upper Cabrach took place a week 
afterwards. As we moved over the Clashdhu, we could not 



65 

help remarking the change which so short a time had made. 
Then all was green, now the fields carried a rich mass of 
waving yellow grain, and the hills had burst in their purple 
bloom. Sportsmen roamed over the heathery wilds, bringing 
down the heatbcock from its mountain home, to be trans- 
ported fai away, to feed the millions of London. As we 
passed through Glensuie and Black water, the sportsmen 
were there hunting the red deer in its native haunts. Herds 
were roaming about sniffing the breeze, their instinct teach- 
ing them that man is their foe, and that their proud antlered 
heads is no match for the steel-barrelled gun of the" Sassenach." 
We called at Blackwater Lodge, and experienced the kind 
hospitality of the Misses M 'Hardy, after which, Miss 
M'Hardy showed us through the Lodge. The house is 
plainly furnished, A few pictures adorn the walls. Several 
of them are by Landseer, representing scenes of the chase. 
A splendid portrait of the Duchess of Richmond and 
Gordon hangs in the drawing-room. A few sketches by 
Lord March also hangs on the walls. If his lordship would 
cultivate a taste for painting, it is evident he has no mean 
talent. We also saw some sketches by Miss Lizzie M'Hardy, 
which do that young lady great credit. Leaving the Lodge, 
we soon reached Cabrach, and a short time after arrived at 
the farm of Bank, where a warm reception awaited us. The 
Doctor's talk, and the sweet influence of music soon chased 
our weariness away, and beguiled the remaining hours of the 
evening. When morning dawned, quite a change had come 
over the face of nature. The sun had set on the previous 
night in a glow of golden glory. No one could have pre- 
dicted the tremendous hurricane that burst over the country 
early on Sunday morning. The rich fields of corn, that we 
admired so much while passing the day before, were now a 
mass of waving straw, and the golden seed that made the 
straw droop with its weight was now scattered on the earth 
to rot and die. The fiend of destruction had truly passed 
over the Cabrach. Tempestuous though the day was, we 
determined to visit the Parish Church, which was about a 
mile and a-half distant. We reached it after a hard struggle, 
and were glad to get seated inside. The Parish Church of 
Cabrach, judging by its appearance, had been altered and 



66 

renovated. The box, or " putnphal seats," as they are called, 
so common in rural churches, have all been swept away, and 
the seats now look quite modern, with the pulpit at one 
end. Yet there is something depressing about it. The three 
rows of seats ai'e quite drowned by the height of the ceiling, 
and the long narrow building makes it look like a great 
sepulchre. It must also be very hard on the preacher, 
shouting the whole length of the building. The minister of 
the parish is Mr Smart. On that day, he gave a good 
historical sermon, which we could appreciate. After reach- 
ing home, the afternoon was spent in reading and talking. 

On Monday, though the weather was still very wild and 
tempestuous, we sallied forth with Dr Gordon to see a vein 
of plumbago that had been discovered in Upper Cabrach. 
We had not gone very far when the hurricane returned with 
all the violence of the preceding day, and we were glad to take 
shelter with Mr M'Intosh, merchant, for a time, by whom we 
were kindly received, and experienced his hospitality. After 
resting a little, we again renewed the battle with the tem- 
pest, and eventually reached our destination a rock near 
the base of the Buck. We examined the plumbago care- 
fully, and found the vein a rich one, though not extensive ; 
but, the fact is, that no idea of its extent can be formed 
until the rocks by which it is enclosed are burst, and a little 
digging done. It might then be ascertained if the working 
would pay. The rock on one side of the seam is granite, and 
on the other side the stone has a mixture of iron in it. Tak- 
ing some specimens with us, we turned down the stream, 
which takes the name of Deveron when it runs about two 
miles further down. In the upper districts it is called the 
Rooster, or Red Water. After moving down about half-a- 
mile, we came upon a great mass of serpentine, from which 
we extracted some specimens. We had been pretty well 
sheltered by the valley, but now, ascending a height, we felt 
the full force of the gale, and were glad to take shelter in a 
hut where an old woman lived alone. She eyed us suspi- 
ciously for a time, but at length bade us be seated, and then 
began to question us. " Ha'e ye come far 1 " " We have been 
up seeing the plumbago mine." "Ay, ay; but hae ye come 
far?" "No; not very far." "I's warrant ye'll be gaun 



67 

doonwith ? " We proposed going, and thanking the old 
woman for the shelter of her roof, we made our escape from 
her curiosity. Her last words were " Min' and come in 
fin ye come back." We had not reached the height above 
her hut, when I suddenly clapped my hand on my head, but 
the hat was away. We watched it as it sped onwards, 
clearing valleys at a bound, when it suddenly came to a halt, 
about a mile distant, where we found it settling down among 
the soft mud of a pool. We were glad to reach Poineed, 
where Miss Bain soon prepared an excellent tea for us. Her 
cheese was the finest we have ever seen, and her home-made 
preserves, gathered on the neighbouring hills, were excellent. 
Those who visit Upper Cabrach ought to call at Poineed. 
Leaving our hospitable friends with many good wishes, we 
reached Bank safely, though nearly exhatisted. After staying 
another day, we had at length to take our departure from 
Cabrach. We never spent holidays more pleasantly or profit- 
ably, and it was with regret that we had to bid our friends at 
Bank farewell. The kind-hearted old doctor came almost to 
Blackwater Lodge with us, and then giving us his benediction, 
we parted. As we passed the Lodge, we again experienced 
Miss M 'Hardy's kindness, and then strode homewards. We 
arrived safely in about three hours after, a little wearied, 
but with bright memories of our visit to Cabrach. 



68 



GLENRINNES, ITS ARCHAEOLOGY AND 
AGRICULTURE. 



THE morning of the 21st February 1880 was gloomy and 
threatening, with occasional showers, but towards nine 
o'clock it cleared up sufficiently to warrant us in starting 
for Glenvinnes, a walk that we had been looking forward to 
for some time, with pleasurable anticipations. We accord- 
ingly crossed the stream Cromlie, and skirted the Clashdhu, 
passed Betavochel, and soon reached Polawicht. A slight 
difficulty here impeded our progress for a short time. The 
Livet was considerably swollen with the recent rains, and 
had swept away the bridge. We thought that the only 
course left was to ford the stream, but Mr Grant, Polawicht, 
came down with a long ladder, by which we crossed the 
whirling torrent dry shod. Shouting back thanks, we 
rapidly pursued the path past Auchdregnie, keeping our eye 
fixed in the Cadhu. A short time longer, and we passed 
Cordregnie, and were soon climbing the heathery breast of 
the Cadhu. On reaching the top, we glanced back to see 
black inky-looking clouds gathering behind us, and the mist 
'settling down in the hills, a pretty certain indication that 
rain would follow. Speeding down the back of the hill as 
quickly as possible, we crossed the burn of Cadhu, and in a 
short time was in the battle field of Altachulichan or Glen- 
livet. 

The Battle of Altachulichan was fought on Thursday, 
3rd October 1594. If we can put the slightest reliance on 
local tradition, it was a wild day. The mist capped the hills, 
and was creeping down their sides. The wind shrieked and 
howled down the wild ravine of Altachulichan, and the rain 
beat furiously in the faces of the conflicting foemen. It 
seemed as if nature had put forth her strength to ward off" 
the desperate struggle. But she failed. What can stay the 
desperate impulses of headlong passions of savage men? 



69 

The Battle of Altachulichan was an event of very great 
importance, and tended to consolidate a rising power. The 
scene where it was fought is solemn and wild. The great 
black hills, torn and scarred by many a wintry blast, look 
down in frowning grandeur upon the purling stream, whose 
amber tint, tradition says, was discoloured for three days 
with Scottish blood. Away on that heathery height, the 
gallant chief of the M'Leans withstood the fiery charge of 
Gordon of Auchindune, and the more cautious Earl of Errol, 
while down a little further, on that swelling moor, the 
Highlanders of Argyll were flying before the guns of Capt. 
Gray, and the steady advance of Huntly. It was a grim 
struggle. Many a noble-hearted youth fell to rise no more, 
their well proportioned limbs and handsome features falling 
to the prowling fox, the mountain eagle, and the carrion 
crow. 

Leaving the battlefield, we moved briskly up a little 
height, and had a look at Loch Clay, i.e., Loch of the Sword, 
into which, tradition says, a number of swords were thrown. 
It is simply a small, dark, mossy tarn. A search was at one 
time made by some enthusiasts for swords, but the only 
thing found was an old smuggling pot. Leaving the Loch, 
we marched onward, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing 
Glenrinnes spread out before us. The first farm reached 
was Bedach, where we called, enquiring the nearest way to 
the Manse. Somewhere near this is a spot where the three 
parishes of Inveraven, Mortlach, and Aberlour meet. At 
the same spot, the lands of the Duke of Richmond and Gor- 
don, the laird of Ballindalloch, and the Earl of Fife meet. 
Crossing a small stream below Croftglass, we came upon a 
cairn of stones in the corner of a field, called Lord Auchin- 
dune's Cairn. Tradition tells that at this spot Auchindune 
is buried. There is inconsistency in the very face of this 
tale.* Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindune undoubtedly fell 

*In " Spottiswood's Miscellany." vol. I., page 257, if I remember rightly, 
it ia stated that Anchindune's dead body was carried down to the place where 
the cairn now is, and was left there for some time, until Hnntly's army pro- 
ceeded back to Strathbogie next day, taking Auchindune' s body with them, for 
the purpose of burying it at Strathbogie Castle. This is so much in support 
of local tradition, if it is not drawn from it, which I am inclined to think it is, 
from the fact that the body would have been as easy carried the first day as 
the second. 



70 

in his rash charge against M'Lean, but why he should have 
been taken to this lonely place and buried, or even left for a 
night (see note), is what \ve cannot understand. Had the 
followers of Huntly been defeated, and fled from the field, 
it is very likely that they would have left their dead un- 
buried. But when they were left masters of the situation, 
and had carried Auchindune thus far in the homeward march, 
it is inconceivable that the Earl of Huntly would have 
allowed his uncle to be buried or left within a few miles of 
his own castle. It is very likely that the cairn may com- 
memorate the death of Aucbindune ; we do not believe that 
his remains lie beneath it. But the cairn is there, and will 
transmit the memory of the gallant and good Auchindune to 
posterity, while there is a man in Glenrinnes to speak his 
name.* 

The clouds which were closing behind us in the Cadhu 
were now quite close, and a dull drizzling rain set in. 
Turning face down the glen, quickly we passed the two 
Auchmores, and reached a good road which traversed a 
great part of the glen in the Duke of Richmond and Gordon's 
side. After nearly an hour's tramp, we reached the Manse 
of Glenrinnes, where we met with a warm and hospitable 
reception from Rev. Mr Bruce, whose animated and interest- 
ing conversation soon dispelled thought of weariness or 
fatigue. We walked out in company to view the church and 
churchyard. The church is a plain, unpretentious building, 
in the form of three- wing, commodious, and withal comfort- 
able. The churchyard had been lately acquired, and was 
still in an unfinished state, the walks through it being 
formed, and it is surrounded by a strong substantial wall. 
From the manse we caught a sight of the school, away down 
behind the church, and it seemed from our standpoint a nice 
building, nearly new. The trees and shrubs that surround 
the Manse of Glenrinnes make it in summer as beautiful a 
retreat as the heart of man could wish for, and when the 
fierce tempests of winter sweep down the glen, they form the 
natural protection that every house in the Highlands should 

*It is interesting to know that the great philosopher, Lord Bacon, who 
lived in Queen Elizabeth's reign, had something to do with the Battle of Glen- 
livet. See Lord Bacon's "Life and Letters," by James Spalding, vol. I,, 
pages 212226. 



71 

have. Moving along the walk, our eye lighted on a tree, 
which few would expect to find growing 1000 feet above 
the sea level the beautiful, tapering, prickly Auracaria 
of the South American forest, transplanted from that land 
of the sun, to cold, bleak, sterile Caledonia, and yet it had 
reached the height ot 25 feet. Another Auracaria, which 
Mr Bruce told us was planted at the same time, had only 
reached the height of five or six feet. They seemed strangely 
out of place among the hardy pines and birches, that 
twined their protecting arms round them, as if to shelter 
their slender, fragile forms from the blasts of that storm- 
swept land. In company with Mr Bruce, we visited some 
local places of interest, and discussed points in the early 
history of the district. 

The history of Glenrinnes, dating far back into the 
misty past, is partly written and unwritten. The flint 
arrow point and the stone celt have both been found in 
Glenrinnes, not in such quantities, perhaps, as to indicate a 
thickly peopled district ; but they show unmistakably that 
it was peopled in the stone age. A beautiful little stone celt 
was lately in the possession of Mr M'Kay, Bedach, but was 
given over to Dr Gordon, London. Another stone celt is in 
the possession of Mr Gordon, Rinatin, also, a fine preserved 
arrow point. As far as we could learn, nothing connected 
with the bronze period has been discovered in Glenrinnes. 
This is by no means uncommon, and does not point to Glen- 
rinnes being uninhabited in that period. Bronze was a metal 
of great value, and would not be easily procured by the 
natives of such a district ; and, if procured, it would un- 
doubtedly be taken great care of. But we think that most 
archaeologists will be disposed to allow that the bronze age 
must have been very short in Glenrinnes, and all similar 
districts, removed as they wei'e from centres of popula- 
tion, where man had taken his first and great step in the 
march of civilization. In such centres it is probable that 
the bronze period may have been of vast length ; but in 
Glenrinnes, and all glens in the Scottish Highlands, the 
bronze period may have been only a step a connecting link 
between the great stone period and the age of iron. This, 
combined with the perishable natiire of the metal, would 



72 

account for the scarcity of bronze in such districts. Of bar- 
rows there are none that we could discover, but agricultural 
operations often obliterate these. There is, indeed, one re- 
markable spot in the stackyard of the farm of Reclettich, 
which we visited in company with Mr Bruce. It consists 
of three ponderous stones, each about 10 feet in length, 
rough and unmarked. They lie quite close to each other, 
running north and south and parallel. They are called the 
King's Grave. With our knowledge of archaeology, we could 
not give any decided opinion as to their origin. We cer- 
tainly had ideas, but they were more theoretical than real. 
We, therefore, consulted the opinion of Canon Greenwell, 
M.A., F.S.A., the eminent and accomplished author of 
" British Barrows," a gentleman who has, perhaps, had more 
experience among barrows than any man living, and he, with 
all his experience, could not solve the mystery which en- 
velopes them. Had it not been for the extraordinary size 
of the stones, he would have thought it probable that a stone 
cist might be beneath them ; but, as it is, he is doubtful if it 
is a tumulus at all. If he could have seen them, however, he 
might have formed another opinion, as a description must, 
necessarily, be very imperfect. 

Another object of interest to the antiquarian, near 
Glenrinnes, is the remains of a camp, on the top of a hill 
called Conval, i.e., Blue Hill. This camp is supposed first 
to have been Pictish, and latterly Danish. There is no 
reason to doubt this. The Danes were defeated in its im- 
mediate vicinity by Malcolm II., at the Battle of Mortlach. 
After this " king making victory," which secured the inde- 
pendence of the kingdom of Scotland for a time, it is probable 
that the camp in Conval Hill had been left to its fate. We 
thought it probable that if it had once been a Pictish fort, 
it would have been a vitrified one, but Mr Bruce assured us 
that he had examined the remains, and could find no signs 
of vitrification. 

Coming within the pale of authentic history, we find 
that Glenrinnes was very early occupied by cadets of the 
powerful families of Comyn and Gordon. Of the former 
family, seven generations held sway at Lochterlandoch, 
descendants of the famous Coruyn, whom Bruce, the heroic 



73 

King of Scotland, slew on the altar steps. The Gordons are 
of a later date, but they were in Glenrinnes as early as 1670. 
They were allied to the gi'eat Gordon family, and fought 
under its banner, but space prevents us from going minutely 
into the genealogy of these separate families. 

Walking down the glen, we found ourselves at Milltown 
of Laggan, tenanted by Mr Glass, who kindly showed us 
some of his " stirks." Mr Glass is a capital cattle rearer, 
and last year a sfcot bred by him, after distinguishing itself 
at various local shows, took the second prize at Smithfield. 
But this is nothing new to Glenrinnes. It will be remembered 
by many that, ten or eleven years ago, a stot reared at 
Achlochrach, and afterwards bought by Mr Bruce, Burnside, 
carried the " blue ribbon " and 100 guinea cup, at Smithfield. 
The Glenrinnes people, notwithstanding the many difficulties 
they have to contend with, are famous as cattle rearers and 
feeders, and can hold their own with the best districts in 
Banffshire. Leaving the Milltown of Laggan, we turned 
northward, and struck across to Reclettach, tenanted by Mr 
Grant, the farm where the King's grave is to be seen. 
Moving on again, we soon reached Lochterlandoch, where 
we called. Reluctantly bidding good-bye to Mr Bruce, and 
leaving Lochterlandoch, we soon reached the boundary of the 
farm of Rinatin, where we struck through the fields and soon 
reached the farm steading. During an hour spent with Mr 
Gordon, we had the opportunity of seeing his stock, and 
receiving particulars of his system of cattle feeding, and 
discussing agriciiltural practice in Glenrinnes. Mr Gordon, 
who, as one of the most experienced farmers in the glen, lays 
it down that at the steading, the houses must be well 
ventilated and kept clean, and the cattle disturbed as seldom 
as possible. In the morning, the stock have straw at seven 
o'clock, at eight they get turnips, at twelve, oilcake or bruised 
corn, as an extra diet, not always given ; again at three 
o'clock, turnips and straw, then stiaw at eight in the evening. 
The greatest punctuality is observed, the stock never being 
left ten or even five minutes past the regular tin.e of feeding. 
With such system, Glenrinnes farmers never sell their two- 
year olds under .-24, and often as high as 30. 

As an agricultural district, Glenrinnes is not good. The 



74 

elevation and its peculiar physical features render the crops 
late, and, consequently, far from sure. Benrinnes, which 
rises in the north side of the glen, to the height of 2745 feet, 
and Corhabbie, in the south side, elevated 2558 feet above 
sea level, may give the reader, not acquainted with the dis- 
trict, some idea of it. These two mountains enclose the 
whole valley, forming a sort of focus, through which tem- 
pests sweep with irresistible force. Were it not the sheer 
force of farming, crops in Glenrinnes would be anything but 
profitable. But the people are thrifty, frugal, and persever- 
ing. Their bleak, storm-swept climate has the effect of 
drawing forth all the energies of their being. Thus we find 
them thriving, pi'osperous, and contented. In the geology 
of the district there is little peculiar. The greater part of 
the valley is composed of mountain limestone, a marine de- 
posit, believed by many geologists to belong to the carboni- 
ferous age, and contemporaneous with the coal measures of 
the South. Benrinnes is crowned with immense granite 
blocks, forming a sort of crest, rising abruptly from its east- 
ern face. There can be little doubt that Corhabbie is also 
mainly composed of granite. 

Ere leaving Rinatin, Mr Gordon showed us a shell, 
picked up among limestone rock near his farm. We recog- 
nised the shell at once as a land shell, known as Helex 
Memerelis Lunl. Quantities of these shells are found in 
various districts. But the evening was closing, and we were 
forced to bid our kind friends good-bye, and t\irning our face 
homewards, we soon entered the Glack of Bregach, a narrow 
pass between two hills, which separates Glenrinnes from the 
Morinsh district. It was now quite dark, but it had cleared 
up a little. We were not quite throxigh the Glack when we 
encountered the farmer of Gowdenknowes, Morinsh, in whose 
company we journeyed for two or three miles. Thereafter, 
a walk of two hours brought us home, to cherish the liveliest 
recollections of Glenrinnes and its kind-hearted inhabitants. 



75 



THE BRAES OF GLENLIVET SIXTY 
YEARS AGO. 

CHAPTER I. 

SIXTY or seventy years ago the Braes of Glenlivet was a dis- 
trict little known to the outsider. Indeed, they are little known 
at the present day by many of the lowland natives of Aber- 
deen, Banff, and Moray, otherwise than by name ; but, if once 
seen, it would not be easy to forget them. The physical fea- 
tures at once strike the eye of the beholder as uncommon and 
peculiar. It is a region isolated, if I may so speak, from the 
neighbouring glens by high, and in many parts, precipitous 
hills, whose rugged aspect gives a wild and barren appearance 
to the whole district. On the east side of the Braes more par- 
ticularly this is the case. A high range of hills a spur of the 
Grampians runs along the whole length of the glen, sepa 
rating the counties of Banff and Aberdeen, and separating 
the Braes of Glenlivet from Glenbucket and Strathdon. On 
the north, again, a chain of the Corhabbie range runs from 
east to west, separating the Braes from Glenrinnes and 
Mortlach ; and on the east and south, a range throws its 
giant arms between the Braes and the Tomintoul district. 
Thus it will appear to the reader that the Braes of Glenlivet 
resemble, in many particitlars, a loch ; or, as some have said, 
a punch-bowl. Their average breadth are, perhaps, four or 
five miles, and their average length about the same distance. 
Although the district is called the Braes, it is, comparatively 
speaking, a level country, and but for its high altitude and 
close proximity to the lofty mountains that surround it, finely 
adapted for agricultural purposes. As a natural consequence 
of lying amongst the hills, the climate is very damp and cold, 
and in many parts the soil, which is naturally good, is very 
marshy. 

G2 



76 

When such is the case at the present day, with all the 
modern advantages of draining and superior cultivation, 
what must it have been sixty years ago ? The Braes were 
then as wild a piece of country as any part of the Highlands 
of Scotland presented, and without even a tree on which the 
eye could rest a moment with pleasure, and inhabited by a 
race of people peculiar in many respects from their nearest 
neighbours a race possessing many of the virtues and fail- 
ings of the ancient Highlander, and in consequence of the 
advancement of civilization, possessing fewer than many 
others of those evils which were the disgrace of feudalism. 
Their nature presented all the features peculiar to the Celtic 
character. They were brave, rash, and impetuous, but kind 
and hospitable to strangers, if they came as friends. Com- 
bined with these, they cherished a thorough contempt and 
abhorrence of law, in whatsoever form it might be adminis- 
tered. Situated as they were within their mountain fast- 
nesses, with no roads, and with little communication with 
the outside world, and bound together with the ties of 
friendship and blood, it was no easy matter, when an offence 
was committed, for the arm of the law to reach them. 

This was seen fifty years ago, when the Government 
had determined to put an end to smuggling, which was then 
the staple occupation of the inhabitants of the Braes of 
Glenlivet. . They went to it with a spirit and energy, which, 
had it been shown in the cultivation of the soil, or any other 
useful industry, the fruits of it would soon have been seen in 
the improvement of the country, and also of the manners 
and customs of the people, which, as may be supposed, were 
not at that time very highly polished. But where smuggling 
was carried on, they were even worse than elsewhere. It 
brought with it many evils and no good. It gave the 
people a lawless spirit, and by the exposure at all times, and 
at all seasons, which the successful carrying on of such an 
occupation necessarily involved, the constitutions of the 
people were undermined, and many of the fruits of that 
exposure, combined with a little dissipation, are to be 
seen in some of their descendants at the present day. 
Otherwise, they were a hardy race of men, men who would 
have shed the last drop of their blood in their country's 



77 

defence, and many of them did so in the Peninsular War, 
where the Highland Regiments so much distinguished them- 
selves. The firm and determined opposition to the servants 
of the law, was strikingly shown some fifty years ago, when 
the preventives for the first time entered the Braes of Glen- 
livet. The people heretofore had smuggled quietly at home, 
but now things had come to such a pass that this could no 
longer be done. They therefore went to the hills with the 
determination to fight to the last for their " stills," and they 
knew that in the hills the preventives could not tell 
one man's bothy from another. In this state of matters, 
they felt themselves to be secure as long as they could keep 
the preventives' hands off them, and they likewise knew that 
the preventives were at a great disadvantage in not knowing 
the hills. They might search for days and not come upon a 
single bothy. Some will even hint that they did not wish 
to find them, that they were afraid to do so. Perhaps this 
might have been the case with some of the preventives, but 
as a rule, they did their duty manfully, some of them doubt- 
less overdoing it, and earning the inveterate hatred of the 
smugglers. 

Many are the tales told by men yet living, of the 
skirmishes which used to take place between the smugglers 
and the preventives, some of them not altogether free from 
bloodshed. It was related to me by an old smuggler, that 
he and several companions (most of whom are still alive), 
were chased one day among the hills by a superior force of 
preventives and gangers with loaded weapons. The smugglers 
had only one gun and some powder but no lead. It was a 
very hard frost, and he, to procure a ball for the gun, in the 
shape of a small stone, knocked the toe from his brogue in 
the attempt. Fortunate it was perhaps for the whole of 
them that the attempt was unsuccessful. 

This little anecdote, from a trustworthy and highly 
respectable old man, will show the spirit with which they 
were possessed, and that they were prepared to go any length 
in defence of what they considered to be their right. And 
with all their perseverance, it only brought them ruin and 
poverty, and it brought them under the lash of the law that 
fell upon them with crushing force. The well known John 



78 

Milne o' Livet Glen wrote a rhyme, and had it printed, in 
which he described a skirmish which took place in the 
neighbouring valley of Glennochty. These ballads were 
sold at 3d. each throughout the neighbouring glens, which 
so irritated the gaugers and preventives that they procured 
some copies and sent them to Edinburgh, with a long com- 
plaint. The consequence was that a body of soldiers made 
their appearance soon after, along with the preventives. 
These gentlemen, finding themselves supported by the red- 
coats, went to work with such a will that they soon reduced 
the smugglers to the last extremity. Yet the soldiers did 
not relish the duty imposed upon them, and some anecdotes 
are told of their disinclination to support the preventives. 
One day the preventives were marching up a hill, with the 
intention of capturing some smugglers who were situated on 
the brow of it. They commenced to hurl down stones upon 
the preventives, partly for amusement and partly to annoy 
them. The preventives, seeing this, shouted loudly to the 
soldiers to come on. They were taking it quite easy a good 
distance in the rear. They advanced, however, to the bottom 
of the hill. The smugglers, on seeing this, desisted, but the 
officer in command of the soldiers shouted in Gaelic to throw 
down more. The smugglers at once obeyed, and with such 
effect that the preventives beat a hasty retreat. 

But this was the last of the smuggling on a large scale. 
The people saw that it would not do. They saw that the 
Government were in earnest. Some of their countrymen 
had lain for many a month in Perth jail, and when any of 
them went away with a cargo of whisky, it was sure to be 
seized, and many of those who were buying it from them 
were not paving them. They therefore resolved to stop it, 
and try something else. Many of the young men left their 
native glen to drive cattle to England. Others settled down 
quietly to till the soil, thinking that the severity of the 
Government had ruined them; but it proved to be the 
greatest blessing that could possibly have come over them. 



79 



CHAPTEK II. 

IN these days of fast travelling, fast living, and fast 
everything, one finds some difficulty in extracting himself 
from the din and bustle around him, and when this is done, 
he can scarcely find time to pause and think, and to glance 
backwards at the doings of our grandfathers sixty years ago. 
Comparing the position which they held in the world, with 
the position which we occupy at the present day, and looking 
at the changes that have taken place since that time, 
changes certainly great throughout the North of Scotland, 
every one is willing to admit that the world is now very 
different from what it was, but the people in the Lowlands of 
Banff, Moray, and Aberdeen, do not often stop to think of 
the vast changes that have taken place in the Highlands of 
the same counties, since the old men amongst us were boys. 
And in no part of the Scottish Highlands have these changes 
been more apparent than in the Braes of Glenlivet. The 
appearance of the countiy is altered altogether. Nothing is 
the same, with the exception of the everlasting liills. 

Sixty years ago, a stranger visiting the Braes of Glen- 
livet would have had some difficulty in finding them without 
a guide. There were no roads leading to them, nothing but 
a rough mountain track along the sides of hills, through 
bleak moorlands stretching far and wide, clad in the garment 
of the north, the tempest defying heather, with here and 
there a green patch scattered along the burnside, that partly 
relieved the monotony of the scene. In fact, there was no 
cultivation worthy of the name. There might have been 
about 1000 acres under cultivation at that time, with a 
population of perhaps about 800. At the present day, there 
are perhaps over 2000 acres cultivated, with a population of 
little more than half that number, or about 500. This was 
a strange state of matters. Still it is a fact. The people 
had no love for cultivation, and their implements were of 
the rudest and most primitive description. Fancy eight or ten 
strong oxen drawing a wooden plough, with scarcely so much 
iron about it as would form the beam of an ordinary plough 
of the present day, and requiring two men to work it, one to 
hold the plough, while the other (the gaudsman, as he was 



80 

called), guided the oxen. These oxen were of the Highland 
breed, shaggy brutes, with tremendous horns. Horses were 
seldom used, unless by the poorer class for ploughing, and 
these yoked a cow or two along with the horse. The horses 
were also of the Highland breed, a size larger than the 
Shetland pony of the present day. Everyone almost had a 
plough, though very many of them wanted the harness. 
It was told to me by an old gentleman, still living in the 
Braes, that there were seven families living in the farm which 
he occupies at present, and they all had ploughs, but he 
never saw them all yoked at one time. The one who 
chanced to be up earliest generally took the liberty of 
supplying himself with his neighbour's harness. Yet they 
got on very agreeably and very well. 

But in those days, when there was no such thing as 
drainage, their ploughing and sowing were very often in 
vain, owing partly to the dampness of the climate, and 
partly to bad cultivation. Their crops were often late, and, 
as a natural consequence, frost came and nipped the grain 
before the grain was nearly ripe for cutting, which is too 
often the case still. And sometimes it was altogether buried 
by heavy falls of snow. This the old people ascribe to bad 
seasons. Perhaps they are right. Be that as it may, it is 
certain that the poor people were often put to very hard 
shifts to obtain the means of sustenance. Had it not been 
for the friendliness of the one to the other, they could not 
have existed at all. The more fortunate helped their neigh- 
bours an example which their successors would do well to 
follow. That is one way of solving the mystery of how they 
lived. But there is another. They believed that a fish from 
the stream, a bird from the air, or a deer from the hills was 
the common right of every man, and they helped themselves 
in those days, almost without let or hindrance. Another 
mode of obtaining a living was the driving of fir, which they 
could dig in abundance from the numerous mosses. They 
drove loads of this to Huntly, a distance of between twenty 
and thirty miles, and even as far as Insch, and received about 
3s. per load, with in addition, perchance, a " bicker o' brose " 
to the bargain. But some of them often received much less 
than this. When they got 3s., they considered they were 



81 

pretty well paid. Pause and think, reader, of digging fir out 
of moss several feet deep, drying it, splitting it, and driving 
it thirty miles for 3s. a load. I fancy that the working men 
of to-day will smile at this, and at the mention of a " bicker 
o' brose," turn up their nose besides. This was the principal 
use that they made of carts. They were scarcely used for 
work at home, such as driving peats or dung. O ! dear no ! 
They had a more ingenious plan for that. A Highland pony 
was furnished with two creels, called callochs. These were 
slung on to the pony's back, one on each side. They had 
slipping bottoms, and when emptying them, the driver had 
to be careful how he removed the bottoms. If he removed 
the one before the other, the full one would slip down and 
cause some trouble. A cord was attached to each of the 
creels. The two cords were pulled at one time, and the bot- 
toms slipped at once. The dung fell out, and the bottoms 
slipped back again. They could drive nearly as much peats 
or manure in that way as they can do yet, if they were not 
far to drive. 

They grew very few turnips in those days, and what 
they did grow were for man's use. The cattle did not 
require them. They were like their masters hardy, and 
could do with very little feeding. They were simply driven 
to the hills in the morning with a herd, and taken home at 
night again. In winter they received an allowance of straw, 
depending greatly on the season's crop in amount. Clover 
was out of the question. I remember of an old man telling 
me that the first clover that came to the Braes, came to a 
farm where there were a few young maidens, who used to 
invite the young men down to see them, and get a smell of 
their clover. It was a wonder in those days. What would 
the model farmers of the present day think of this style of 
farming] What would a farmer from the fertile plains of 
the Lowlands, one who had been accustomed to see bright 
fields of yellow grain waving joyously in the summer breeze, 
what would he have thought on visiting this land of 
" mountain and of flood " sLxty years ago, and finding the 
people living in turf hovels, without a chimney, and some- 
times minus a window 1 It is a fact that there were not over 
five or six chimneys in the Braes of Glenlivet sixty years ago. 



82 

What would such a farmer, as I have mentioned, have 
thought in beholding a man following the plough without a 
stocking or shoe on his feet, and in asking him if his feet 
were cold, to receive the following reply and such a reply 
was actually given that they were " some caul till he got 
them into the last fur." I fancy that that farmer would 
have had some difficulty in convincing himself that he was 
still in Auld Scotia, particularly so when the wild wailing 
of a Gaelic song would fall on his ear. Yet this was the 
case, and within thirty miles of his own trim farm steading. 

The people living in the Highland Glens in those days 
had strange customs. One pai*ticularly strange, was the 
running after a funeral. After they had held the " likewauk," 
and the appointed time for the funeral came, the whole of 
the people in the Braes almost could be seen wending their 
way round the base of the hills, some on foot, and some on 
horseback, to meet the procession. The places of interment 
were a long way from the Braes. Either Kirkmichael, 
Downan, or Inveraven. After the body had been consigned 
to its native earth, the 1'ace commenced, and never halted 
until they had reached home again. Their reason for so run 
ning is a mystery to me, but run they did, as if a host from the 
infernal regions had been pursuing at their heels. Probably 
it was a custom of heathen origin. But if so, the tradition 
for it, if ever there had been any, has been lost in the mists 
of time. 

Another custom was that called cailley, that is, going 
to spend the long winter nights in some of the neighbouring 
houses. The lads and lasses would gather in about the 
latter with their work, knitting and such like. Songs and 
stories would circle round the bright ingle, and wile the 
time away. A pot of red cabbages would be boiled, and 
each would receive a castock. On the whole, the people 
lived happy and contented in those days. No man in the 
Braes was superior to his neighbour. Therefore, no envy or 
jealousy caused bad feelings to exist. They would bring 
vividly before the mind's eye the patriarchal times. They 
were splendid specimens of Highlandmen, mentally and 
physically. They were splendid specimens of the Scottish 
people happy, contented, and free. 



83 



THE PRESENT BRAES OF GLENLIVET. 



IN the former two chapters I have been trying to give some 
idea of the Braes of Glenlivet sixty years ago. I now propose 
to draw a little nearer our own time, and try to depict some 
of the changes that have taken place in agriculture, in 
education, and in the manners and habits of the people. 
It would be tedious to describe minutely every change that 
has taken place within sixty years. I will content myself 
therefore with glancing at the more important of these 
changes. 

After the suppression of the smuggling, the people began 
to look about them for some means of obtaining a livelihood, 
and as nothing presented itself moie agreeable to their tastes 
than tilling the soil, they were forced to submit to a power 
which they could not resist, and work hard and earn their 
bread by the sweat of their brow. They had doubtless great 
difficulties to contend with. Their implements were rude 
and unwieldy. Their ploughs were scarcely strong enough 
to overturn a tough " lea rig." Then they were in a great 
measure shut up from the outer world, and their means of 
communication with more advanced districts were small. 
But even supposing that they had had every facility for 
communication, they, as a rule, had no money to spare, with 
which to buy implements of a better description than their 
own. This state of matters necessarily made the changes 
slower for a few years than they otherwise would have been, 
but step by step they advanced, until about thirty-five years 
ago, when I may say a new era in the history of the Braes of 
Glenlivet began. About that time the old leases were run 
out, and the late Duke of Richmond began to take a greater 
interest in the outlying portions of his estates than he had 
heretofore done. He came personally to Glenfiddoch, and 
re-set the farms, adding some new rules which were unknown 



84 

pi'eviously in this part of the country, among which was the 
stipulation as to farming in the five shift rotation, a system 
which an opinion will be given on below. 

About the time of the set at Glenfiddoch, a young 
Roman Catholic clergyman arrived to take charge of the 
Braes' Mission, and he had no sooner seen the state of the 
country, and made himself at home in it, than he bent the 
energies of his powerful mind to one object, viz., the improve- 
ment of the Braes, and of the Braes' people ; and, as a first 
step, he applied in the proper quarter to have a I'oad con- 
structed through the centre of the Braes. By dint of perse- 
verance and representation he obtained his object, and a 
capital road was at length formed to Chapelton. This opened 
up the Braes, if I may so speak, to the civilized world, and 
was a powerful stimulus to the people. The effect was soon 
seen. They began to trade, and likewise to adopt the cus- 
toms of the low country. They changed the breed of their 
horses and cattle ; and best of all, through the influence of 
the clergyman before-mentioned, they began to educate their 
children, which was previously, with very few exceptions, 
altogether neglected. They were far from that glorious in- 
stitution, the Parish School, an institution which for cen- 
turies held Scotland before the eyes of the world as a country 
where the poorest received a sound education. They were 
far from this institution; but a patriotic countryman, a 
Roman Catholic clergyman, Abbe M'Pherson, who died in 
Rome, had, some time previous to this, left the bulk of his 
fortune for the behoof of his native glen to establish a 
Roman Catholic Chapel, and Schools for males and females, 
which he built and endowed. The schools proved to be of in- 
calculable value when in the hands of a vigorous pastor, who 
obtained good teachers, and induced, I may almost say com- 
pelled, the children to attend. The only chance of education 
which they previously had was availing themselves of the 
services of some stray teacher, who sometimes visited the 
country for a few months in the middle of winter, and con- 
verted some pretty central sheep cote into a school for the 
time being. 

But all had changed. Education now began to spread 
her benign influence abroad, and everything began to advance 



85 

with rapid and gigantic strides in the march of progress. 
Moorlands clad with purple heath were now brought under 
the dominion of the plough, marshes were drained, and 
gentle swelling uplands could now be seen clad with the 
reward of the husbandman's labour, while towering in wild 
magnificence the mighty ramparts of freedom looked clown 
from their vast heights and seemed to smile on the rich 
picture spread out at their feet, and at the efforts of their 
children to convert ban-en wildernesses into nodding corn 
fields, and fields of bright green alive with lowing herds. 
And is it not something to gladden the eye and cheer the 
heart of the patriot to see his country, the country that he 
loves, become the home of a steady, industrious, and persever- 
ing peasantry, reaping the reward of their arduous toil. 

But to return to the subject. The Braes, which fifty or 
sixty years ago were twenty years behind the Lowlands, 
were now close at their heels, and in a few more years were 
alongside of them in the race of improvement. This brings 
us to the present day, when farmers in the Braes are 
endeavouring with all their skill to make the " twa ends 
meet," a task which in these high-lying districts is not so 
easily accomplished as some may imagine. In fact, owing to 
the high rate of wages, and to the insecurity of their corn 
crops, with the cost of artificial manures, farmers, as a rule, 
say that agriculture will not pay. Yet if it does not pay in 
the Braes of Glenlivet, I fail to see how it can pay in any 
other place. They have doubtless difficulties to contend 
with which Lowland farmers know very little about. The 
corn crop, as I said, cannot be depended upon, except on a 
few farms, but then their rents are small in comparison with 
those of the Lowland farmer. It must be said for them, 
however, that now-a-days when expenses are so heavy in 
wages, manures, and every thing the farmer requires, cheap 
rents are of less consequence than formerly. Rent is only a 
small item. The great thing is to get good returns, and 
make more of them in order to meet the increased outlay. 
In the Braes, with crops alone they could scarcely live. A 
most important privilege is that they are allowed to keep 
three sheep for every <! rent. The hills are free pasture to 
them all, and one shepherd is engaged to keep them in the 



86 

hills, and prevent them from coming down and destroying 
the green crops. 

I will place before the reader a small farm in the centre of 
the Braes, containing forty-five acres of arable land, the profits 
and the expenditure of the preceding year, and he can judge 
for himself. Last year, being a good year, he sold 30 
worth of corn, and about 60 worth of cattle and sheep. 
He is unmarried, and is too old to work for himself, and he 
must needs engage servants. A man in a year will cost him 
28 or 29 ; a servant girl, 12 or 13 ; a cattleman, a boy 
during the winter season, will cost 4 ; a herd in summer 
costs 3 ; he will be 4 for extra servants in the harvest 
season ; he will pay 14 or 15 for artificial manures during 
the season ; 5 for carpenter and blacksmith work ; and 20 
of rent ; making a total of 93. This may be an extreme 
case, still it is an authentic one. If farmers in the Braes of 
Glenlivet did not work their farms in a great measure 
within themselves, some of them would lose by them instead 
of gain ; and their present mode of working is bound, in a 
few years, to reduce the soil very materially. The five shift 
system will not do in the Braes of Glenlivet. The soil is 
naturally cold, and, in many parts, is of no great depth. 
For turnips, it requires about four cwt. of artificial manure, 
over and above the home manures. The artificial manures 
generally used are stimulants, and simply force up a crop, 
the natural consequence being that the soil is getting shal- 
lower every year. In some farms where, seven or eight 
years ago, the plough could run a hundred or two hundred 
yards without coming in contact with a single stone of any 
dimensions, and without any appearance of a bottom, it is 
now grating on the bottom, and coming into contact with 
earth-fast stones. What the soil requires is something to 
feed it, or parts of it left in grass for a few years, so that it 
could recover itself. 

Another great grievance with which the Bi-aes' farmers 
have to contend is game. A few years ago, whole clouds 
of grouse could be seen scattered over a single field, 
immediately after it was cut. And the farmers round the 
base of the hills have a still worse foe in the winter season, 
namely, stray deer, who have wandered from their herds in 



87 

the forests of Glenaven and Glenfiddoch. These wild deni- 
zens of the hills, tamed greatly by hunger, descend during 
the night, and play dreadful havoc in a field of turnips before 
morning. 

These, with severe seasons, are the disadvantages which 
the Braes' farmers have to contend with ; yet, on the 
whole, they are pretty comfortable. As a district, the Braes 
are well cultivated. Some farms will compare favourably 
with many of the farms in a better climate, and some of the 
farmers are very good rearers of cattle. But there are many 
improvements which could still be made. A stranger pass- 
ing along the road through the Braes would be apt to ex- 
claim, Where are all the gardens which can be seen even at 
the poorest cottages in the Lowlands 1 In the Braes there 
are not a great many " kail-yards." The people appear, as a 
rule, to have no love for the beauties of nature. As an excuse, 
some of them will say that " flowers winna grow in this caul 
place," but few of them try. They do not know whether they 
will grow or not. Or if they would look at a very few farms 
and other houses they would see that they will grow. The 
Braes' people, like too many others, will not beautify their 
dwellings, simply because they will not pay, and would cost 
some trouble. They do not believe in gazing on beauty being 
a pleasure. At least if they do, they will not put themselves 
to the trouble to beautify in order to gaze on it. They 
believe in more substantial pleasures than fading flowers. 
But we hope to see this evil remedied, for what is more 
beautiful than to see the trim little garden glowing with 
more beauty than the poet can describe 1 There are certainly 
some very beautiful little gardens in the Braes, but why may 
there not be more 1 If the people would employ themselves 
for an hour or two in the summer evenings at gardening, 
they would soon begin to take a pleasure and an interest in 
their little plot, and they would be more on a level with 
other districts. 



88 



THE OLD COLLEGE OF SCALAN, 
BRAES OF GLENLIVET. 



IT is with a strange mixture of feelings that we again turn 
the attention of the reader to the past. There is a something 
in the past life of every one that moves the feelings and 
touches the finest chords of the human heart ; and there is in 
every parish, and in every district, a something to which we 
pay a certain amount of veneration. No matter what it is 
whether it be the fairy knoll, where, of old, those lively 
gentry held their " merry-go-rounds," or the grim old ruined 
tower, with its legends and traditions the feelings are the 
same. There is an amount of melancholy, sadness, and curi- 
osity mingled in these feelings. We try to pierce the gloom 
and the mystery which envelop them, and in doing so, 
the conviction forces itself upon the mind that everything is 
unstable nothing can remain the same. It must either be 
moving forwards or backwards, and for ever changing. The 
changes may be imperceptible for a time, but they will soon 
show themselves. Wander back in imagination through the 
mist of ages, and behold yon mass of ruins in the height of 
its power and splendour, battling with and defying the tem- 
pest's mightiest force, and hurling destruction from its em- 
battled walls on the presumptuous assailants beneath; its 
halls the home of ladies fair and gallant men. Does not the 
heart yearn to know something more about them and their 
doings 1 Yet, if we could scan their hearts and thoughts, we 
would find that they were in a great measure like ourselves ; 
that they also had a something which they venerated in the 
past ; that they had their legends and traditions sung to them 
by their bards which fired their imagination, and perhaps 
roused the same feelings as are roused within us when con- 
templating all that remains of their glory and greatness. 



89 

Yes, reader, it has been the case, in all ages and in all 
countries, to glance backwards with mixed feelings to the 
past. And the Braes of Glenlivet has a something which 
the Braes' people venerate ; and, indeed, a great many 
of the Catholics of Scotland turn their eyes with kindly in- 
terest to the parent of Catholic seminaries in Scotland, after 
the Reformation. When that great event had broken the 
power of the Church of Rome, and the Presbyterian form of 
worship had been consolidated, those who yet adhered to the 
ancient faith, openly, had to fly for persecution has never 
been confined to one Church to the remotest solitudes of 
the country, there to practise the only form of worship they 
believed in, and which they stuck to with that dogged deter- 
mination peculiar to the Scottish people. But a diffused 
education began to break down the ramparts of bigotry and 
mistaken zeal, and the Catholics, seeing that they were not 
so hotly oppressed as formerly, began to entertain, the idea 
of building a college, where a few students could be trained 
to act as missionaries in Scotland. Accordingly, about the 
year 1712, Bishop Gordon pitched upon the Scalan, as being 
a suitable place, and. indeed, one more suitable could scarcely 
have been selected chosen, as it was, for concealment. It 
was at first situated on the western or left bank of the 
stream called the Crombie, at the southern extremity of the 
Braes, and about half-a-mile from the foot of the Ben Aven 
or Cairngorm range of mountains, which form the back- 
ground. Great care had been taken to render it invisible to 
the eyes of strangers. Advantage had been taken so 
minutely of the rises in the ground that it could not be seen 
until you were quite close upon it. 

It was a long, low building, formed mostly of turf, and 
had accommodation for perhaps about eight students. They 
enjoyed a sort of stormy tranquillity for some time after its 
foundation, but there were troubles in store for them. 
" About the year 1726," says Dr Gordon (who gives some 
account of Scalan College in his memoirs of Bishop Hay), 
'' the seminary had a visit from armed soldiers, who dispersed 
the little community, and shut up the house, but." he says, 
" by the influence of the Duke of Gordon (who was a 
Catholic), it was re-opened the following year." He likewise 

H 



90 

adds that " in 1728 the occupants were again twice dispersed 
within the short period of two months, but with little per- 
manent damage to the establishment." From that time up 
to 1746, the students enjoyed peace and tranquillity, but it 
could not be thought that Cumberland, of Culloden notoriety, 
could pass calmly an institution of the kind without letting 
its inmates feel his power. After the defeat of Prince 
Charlie, one night a message from the lower part of the 
Braes dashed in upon the astonished students, with the 
alarming intelligence that a party of soldiers were in search 
of the building, and the poor students had barely time to 
escape to the hills, when the ruffians with loud shouts 
surrounded it, but found, doubtless to their chagrin, that the 
birds had flown. Though thus cheated of their prey, there 
was yet something to do, and the students saw with dismay 
(from their hiding place), in a short time their home enveloped 
in flames. The soldiers had first ransacked the building and 
taken out everything of value, including a great part of the 
library, which was a valuable one, and then set the place on 
fire. Thereafter, they left satisfied with the work which 
they had done, but they had not gone far, when they felt the 
books to be rather burthensome. After some consultation, 
they decided that the best way to get rid of them was to 
burn them, and with stupid ignorance, they at once set about it, 
building them in a pile and then setting them on fire. The 
spot can yet be pointed out where this took place. By some 
mistake, probably a willing one, one of the soldiers still 
retained a book of unusal dimensions. His comrades, how- 
ever, forced him to give it up, and it would doubtless have 
shared the same fate as the rest, had not a poor old woman 
been standing at some distance watching the proceedings. 
They beckoned to her, and coming forward she received the 
book, which turned out to be about the most valuable work 
of which the seminary was possessed. 

We can fancy the feelings of the poor students at this 
juncture, when the soldiers had taken their departure, 
descending from their hiding places to view only the smoking 
ruins of their once happy home. It had been for some time 
previous to this under the superintendence of a priest of the 
name of Duthie, a convert from Protestantism, and a man 



91 

of great natural abilities, indomitable courage, and determina- 
tion. Had it not been for the efforts of this gentleman, the 
disaster we have just related would in all probability have 
put an end to the College at Scalan. He lurked about in 
the neighbourhood for some time after the departure of the 
soldiers in a state of inactivity, but finding that they did not 
return, he, with the assistance of the Braes people, con- 
structed another turf building, which was to give place to a 
better one before long. A Mr John Geddes arrived from 
Rome about this time, and about two years later he was 
appointed to the charge of the Scalan Seminary, which was 
then in a very dilapidated condition. But a brighter day 
seemed to be dawning for Scalan. When Mr Geddes arrived, 
he at once saw the evil and the remedy. He contrived to 
obtain funds from abroad, and a site from the Duke of 
Gordon, and then he commenced his work, a work which 
few would have had the courage to attempt in the face 
of such difficulties. This was the building of a new and 
much larger college, on the opposite, or right bank of the 
stream Crombie, on a beautiful haugli, about sixty or seventy 
yards from the water. When once fairly commenced, the 
work proceeded with considerable rapidity. The building 
was soon finished, but the roofing was a different and a more 
arduous labour, as may be imagined, when the wood had to be 
dragged or carried on ponies' backs all the way from Aber- 
nethy, over rugged hills, through deep ravines, and foaming 
torrents. The work was at length finished, however, and 
the students were transferred from the old turf hovel to a 
new, and, at that time, spacious dwelling. After the build- 
ing was made comfortable within, they deemed it advisable 
to do something for creature comforts, and, consequently, set 
about enclosing a piece of ground, which they accomplished 
with a good deal of labour and ingenuity. They enclosed 
about from fifteen to twenty acres with a wall composed of 
turf and stones, and afterwards planted it thickly on the top 
with juniper. This piece of ground was never altogether 
cultivated they cultivated no more than served their 
necessities. 

After everything was completed, Bishop Hay arrived 
to superintend the College, which was now in a very pro- 

H 2 



92 

sperous condition. This was a gentleman of sterling Christian 
piinciple, and one that has left a name behind him surpassed 
by few in the Romish Church as an author. His works are 
all of a religious nature. They are written with considerable 
depth of thought, and a thorough insight into the nature of 
true Christianity. And they are written, too, in a highly 
cultivated and polished style. He was, moreover, famous as 
a physician, having served in the Rebellion of 1745-6, under 
Prince Charles Stuart, as such, and, in this capacity, his 
talents were of much service to a wide tract of country. 
His fame soon got abroad, and people flocked to him from 
all parts of the country. To hear related some of the cures 
effected by him is truly wonderful, such as casting out devils 
which is still believed by some to have taken place cur- 
ing madness, and such like. Those who have a weakness for 
the marvellous will tell tales like these, with such effect, as 
to make the hair of the degenerate children of the present 
day stand on end. But, apart from this, doubtless his skill 
was of great value in such a country, especially to the poor. 
He never charged anything from any one, but to the poor he 
generally gave something. 

It seemed, however, as if fate was against the Scalan. 
Its troubles were not yet over. The Bishop's fame was very 
likely the reason of this. Be that as it may, it was again 
attacked, and all were nearly captured. The students ran 
here and there, some one way, some another, and escaped. 
The Bishop escaped through a window, and made for the 
hills, leaving his mother the sole occupant of the building. 
She was an old and infirm woman, not able to shift for her- 
self, and the others had had no time to save her. The 
soldiers, after searching every corner of the house in vain, at 
length lighted on the small room where the old woman was 
sitting, and which was the Bishop's bedroom. They interro- 
gated her as to the whereabouts of her son, but receiving no 
satisfactory reply, they commenced stabbing the bed with 
their weapons, thinking, perhaps, that the Bishop might be 
concealed underneath it. Disappointed in this, they would 
have vented their rage on the poor old creature by stabbing 
her, had not the officer in command entered in time to save 
her, to his immortal honour. This officer seems all along to 



93 

have been averse to the duty imposed upon him. Had it 
not been for his ingenuity in retarding the progress of the 
men under him by excuses, the whole inmates must inevit- 
ably have fallen into their hands. By his commands they 
retraced their steps, without doing any damage to the Col- 
lege, further than frightening its inmates, and everything 
soon returned to its former routine. 

This was the last attack which they had from the out- 
side world. Yet it seems if they were to have none from the 
outside, they were to have troubles at home, for soon after this 
the whole building was accidentally set in flames, which soon 
reduced it nearly to a heap of i-uins, in spite of all the efforts 
which were put forth to save it. However, they immedi- 
ately set about repairing the injury as far as possible, and in 
doing so they added another storey to its height, making it 
now two storeys, with a garret above. This was effected 
principally through the exertions of Bishop Hay, who now 
had the students under him in a high state of advancement. 
There are some strange anecdotes told about this Bishop. 
I select one from a few. One day while sitting in his study, 
and finding the time to hang rather heavily on his hands, 
sent the servant girl out to see what time it was. The girl 
had very probably never before seen a sun-dial in her life, as 
the sequel will show. She went round and round it, and 
touched it several times, as she afterwards related, but still 
the thing, as she called it, gave no sign. Not knowing very 
well what to do, she seized it bodily in her arms and dragged 
it with all her strength into the room, and laid it down 
beside the Bishop, interrupting, doubtless, the right reverend 
gentleman in his studies. 

But a brighter day was in store for the Catholics of 
Scotland. The penal laws which heretofore had been so 
hard against them were now slackening, and the students, 
inured to all the hardships of a Highland life at that time, 
were now to enjoy the same liberty and comfort as their 
fellow-countrymen. They wore the Highland dress. It 
would doubtless astonish both the clerical gentlemen and 
others of the present day. to see a Right Reverend Bishop 
stalking in a kilt and tartan hose, but such undoubtedly was 
the case. As I said, howevei', the laws against them were 



94 

now slackening, and were soon to be repealed altogether. 
This induced them to abandon the seminary at Scalau, for 
a more suitable one at Aquhorties, Aberdeenshire, and from 
thence to Blair's College on Deeside. Scalan was abandoned 
in 1799, yet possession was held until 1807, by a priest of 
the name of Sharp, better known as Professor Sharp. This 
gentleman tilled the soil, sowed the corn, and reaped it, but 
at length he left it to the mercy of the everlasting and 
changing winds, which soon made fearful inroads upon it. It 
resembles at the present day a farm house of the better class, 
but rather longer. It is now occupied by Mr M'Grigor, 
farmer, who has repaired it greatly outside, and made many 
improvements upon the interior of it. It gives Mr M'Grigor 
the greatest of pleasure to show the building to visitors, and 
to tell them all he knows concerning it. 

I have just learned what may seem a thing of no 
importance to many, namely, that one of the shelves of the 
library now supports a hide or two of leather for a shoemaker. 
Doubtless you will be inclined to say that that is necessary, 
and so it is ; but think for a little, and I imagine, reader, 
that you will agree with me. If we may venture to bring 
down the saying of "How are the mighty fallen," from persons 
to things, it would be applicable in this case. That shelf 
once supported the brain work of the greatest men that ever 
graced this world statesmen, philosophers, poets, and sages 
of the once mighty empires of Greece and Rome. But such 
is the fate, of men and nations, as well as of the most 
insignificant things to-day great, to-rnorrow poor, and in a 
short time sinking into oblivion to give place to something 
new. All, all is changing, and all must pass away. 



95 



INVERAVEN AND LOWER GLENLIVET. 



IT was twenty minutes to ten a.ra. in the end of April when 
I stepped into a carnage at Keith Station. I had scarcely 
seated myself when the whistle sounded, and the train glided 
away from the station. A few moments brought us to 
Earlsmill, where there was a short bustle, and then we 
moved rapidly up the valley of the Isla. We passed the 
fine modern Castle of Drummuir, and were soon whirling 
past Loch Park, where long- necked swans and speckled wild 
ducks were sporting in the sunlit waters. On went the 
snorting horse of iron, and soon the hoary walls of Bal- 
venie's ancient stronghold frowned down upon us from amid 
the " evergreen pines " that shelter its shattered strength 
from the tempests that rage in our northern land. Halting 
for a short time at Dufftown, I gazed down at the new 
Castle of Balvenie, a plain, square block of building, that is 
going fast to decay. Rushing on again down the beautiful 
Vale of Fiddoch, we pass Kininvie, the ancestral seat of the 
Leslies. Soon we are among the rocks and deep ravines of 
Craigellachie. Changing carriages here, we are soon rushing 
along Sti-athspey. Gazing abroad as we speed onwards at 
the far-famed Strath, and contemplating its varied beauties, 
I caught a look of Craigellachie Bridge, a structure that was 
deemed when built a triumph of engineering skill. There is 
another Craigellachie, far up the Spey. which of old gave 
the Clan Grant its war-cry of " Stand fast, Craigellachie." 
Lower Craigellachie had also connection with the war-cry in 
this way. The whole of Strathspey between the two Craigel- 
lachies once belonged to the Grants, and does so still in a 
great measure. When danger was apprehended, a beacon 
fire was lit on the two Craigellachie rocks, hence the name 
" Rock of Alarm." The bearer of the fiery cross was at 
once despatched from both ends, and in a few hours the 
whole of the powerful clan would be astir. Gazing out at 



96 

the carriage window, I could picture the excited Highlander 
speeding along by height and hollow rousing his kinsman, 
when the dream was suddenly dispelled. The train entered 
a tunnel with a rushing noise a female gave a loud shriek 
and we were in darkness, but only for a minute. Daylight 
rapidly appeared, and in a short time we drew up at the 
beautiful little village of Aberlour. Near this is Aberlour 
House, the seat of Dr Proctor since the death of his relative, 
Miss M'Pherson Grant. Leaving Aberlour, with its dark 
woods and beautiful Parish Church, where Dr Sellar minis- 
ters to the people, we are again tearing along to Carron. 
where there is another mansion, inhabited by the Laird of 
Carron. On we went again to Blacksboat and Ballindalloch. 
When nearing the latter station, a tine view is got of the 
Parish Church and Manse of Inveraven, situated on a little 
height overlooking the Spey. The church outside has an 
ancient appearance, but the interior has been modernised and 
beautifully fitted up. Improvements have also been made in 
the churchyard. Mr M'Lauchlan is minister of Inveraven; 
an excellent preacher, and a favourite of the people. The 
train is moving slowly across the tine bridge that spans the 
Spey here, and in a short time stops at Ballindalloch. I 
step out, and hand my ticket to the clever-looking official 
who is waiting for it, exchange greetings with Mr Mackie, 
the popular station agent, then saunter away to have a look 
around. 

Leaving the station by the road leading into the country, 
I observed a branch, or rather continuation, of the same road 
which leads into Cragganmore Distillery, a name that is 
familiar to many Scotchmen, not only on account of the 
excellent quality of the dew that is distilled there, but on 
account of Mr Smith, the enterprising proprietor. Mi- 
Smith in eai'ly life had many difficulties to contend with, 
but through force of character and indomitable perseverance 
he surmounted them all, and now occupies a very influential 
position in Inveraven, and carries on an extensive trade. 
Moving on for more than half-a-mile the district is not very 
attractive, but by and bye the woods of Ballindalloch are 
seen on the left. Advancing, the scene gets more beautiful. 
The song of birds is heard, the slight breeze rustles among the 



97 

trees, and in a small opening the Castle of Ballindalloch, the 
seat of Sir George M'Phersou Grant, Bart, and M.P. for the 
combined Counties of Moray and Nairn, is seen peeping 
through. Soon the fine farm of Lagmore is reached, which 
Sir George farms himself. On a little further, and there is 
the remains of a circle of standing-stones. If there had ever 
been a mound in the centre, it is all away. A short distance 
further, and I pass a beautiful little female school which 
Lady M'Pherson Grant erected. A little way further, and 
the Post Office of Ballindalloch is reached, where there ai'e a 
number of houses inhabited by interesting local men. 
Among them is Mr Ferguson, a man of varied talents, and a 
worshipper of the muses. Moving down a steep brae here, 
and I halt on the Bridge of Aven. It is a long, narrow 
bridge,* shaded by lai'ge and graceful trees. Looking over 
the bridge, one feels a strange creeping steal over the frame 
as they gaze into the dark pool beneath. The great depth 
makes it dark, inky looking. The Aven is one of the 
clearest and brightest streams in Britain, or in the world. 
Crossing the bridge, we reach the porter's lodge, a turreted 
building, two storeys in height, built apparently to resist 
intruders. The gateway forms an arch. One side is founded 
on a rock. Above the arch is the Ballindalloch coat of arms 
quartered, consisting of a ship and shield, with stars re- 
peated. These are guarded by two men almost nude, bearing 
the motto, " Touch not the Cat but a glove." Entering 
the archway, we proceed along the winding drive to the 
castle. 

Ballindalloch Castle is a structure combining the past 
and the present the castellated stronghold, and the modern 
mansion. It is said to be one of the best specimens of 
Scottish castellated architecture. Over the doorway is a 
Scriptural quotation, " Ye Lord shall preserve thy going out 
and thy coming in." On one side is "Erected 1546," and 
on the other " Restored 1850." Within there are many fine 
paintings by eminent artists, including some by Juan de 

* This bridge was built by the late General Grant in the year 1800. One was 
erected two years before on the same site, bat was carried away by a flood. 
The present one withstood the fall force of the flood of 1829. There is a stone 
in it which states that the water rose to the height of nearly four feet above the 
arches. 



98 

Castillo and Sir H. Raeburn. In the lobby there is a col- 
lection of arms, ancient and modern, from many lands. It 
has, of course, like all buildings of the kind, its legend and 
supernatural visitor. At Ballindalloch this visitor assumes 
the form of a lady, dressed in green, hence the name of " the 
green room," that is applied to one of the rooms. Tradition 
does not state why this lady visits the castle, and the green 
room in particular; but it is inferred that when no "devilish 
can traps " are played, she must be watching over the welfare 
of the inmates. The Ballindalloch family have from the 
earliest times been staunch patriots, loving their country, 
and sticking by the people when sovereigns of the " divine 
right " school threatened their liberties. This made the 
Marquis of Montrose pay Ballindalloch a visit not exceed- 
ingly friendly in its way, when it is understood that he was 
carrying out the Royal command to relieve him, and all 
others that cherished similar notions, of " goods, gear, and 
haill biggin." But those troublous times have fled, and the 
kilted Highlander, grizzled and grim, is a creature of the 
imagination. The woods of Ballindalloch near the castle 
alone point to the past as something tangible, something that 
the practical mind can comprehend, showing as they do that 
our fathers, though rude, had an eye for the beautiful, and at 
the same time an eye for the profitable, when they planted 
some of the tine trees about Ballindalloch. 

The present proprietor, Sir George, is what is called a 
popular laird. A farmer himself, and a highly successful 
breeder of the celebrated Polled cattle, he has made himself 
known, not only to farmers in this country, but also to every 
eminent agriculturist in Europe and America. Encouraged 
by his example, many of the Inveraven farmers have also 
become rearers of cattle. Mr Robertson, Burnside, haa been 
amongst the most successful. 

Leaving Ballindalloch Castle, we struck into a footpath 
leading into the wood. Pursuing it for a considerable dis- 
tance, the high road was at length gained immediately below 
Delnashaugh Inn. Entering this thriving establishment, we 
had some refreshment, ere proceeding tip the country. While 
enjoying a quiet smoke, and taking a look of the beautiful 
valley of the Aven, near Delnashaugh, I was joined by another 



99 

pedestrian, who would accompany me almost to the Braes of 
Glenlivet. This was indeed agreeable news, more especially 
when he was intelligent, and could crack a joke with zest. 
He was no other than Mr James Turner, Auchnarrow, a 
gentleman known by everybody between the Clash and the 
Craggan, and a great deal further. Our spirits rose at the 
prospect of a journey together, and bidding Mr Strathdee 
and his son, Alick, goodbye, we sallied forth from the inn as 
gay and light hearted a couple as ever trod the heathei'. It 
was a long walk, but we pursued it rapidly, pausing now 
and then to gaze on some scene of beauty. Passing the 
Bridge of Tommore, we recalled an incident mentioned in 
the old " Statistical Account of Scotland " regarding the fate 
of the first bridge built over this burn. General Grant, 
proprietor of Ballindalloch, built a very fine bridge of two 
arches, from eight to twelve feet wide, for the convenience of 
the Morinsh tenantry. But in 1762, the burn, swelled to 
an enormous size by heavy rains, swept the bridge clean 
away, together with the meal mill of Tommore and all its 
implements. This disaster is now forgotten. The bridge 
now looks an old one, and seems likely to weather many a 
tempest; and the mills of Tommore are now thriving in the 
hands of the enterprising tenant, Mr Peter Grant, We soon 
passed Delherroch, tenanted by Mr Hay, Inspector of Poor 
in the Parish of Inveraven. Moving on, the scene spread 
out on the right surpasses description. Nature is pre- 
dominant. Woods crown picturesque heights, with here and 
there a cultivated field, and in the background the bold, 
dark, heathery hills. It is a land of light and shadow. 
Juniper bushes, clumps of birch, and great grey boulders are 
strangely intermingled. On the opposite side of the Aven 
from where we were gazing stands Kilmachlie, on a little 
height, overlooking a level plain between it and the Aven. 
The situation is very pleasant. The Aven sweeps along 
through the alluvial haughs in front of the house, and a 
birch-clad hill rises behind it, guarding it from the tempest. 
Kilmachlie was at one time an estate, and was owned by a 
relation of the Ballindalloch family. The district of Morinsh 
was usually rented by the occupier of Kilmachlie from the 
laird of Ballindalloch. Near Kilmachlie, at a farm called 



100 

Chapelton, there was once a Roman Catholic chapel and 
burying ground, but all traces of them have long since been 
obliterated. We have been so much occupied in describing 
the scene on the right hand, that the one on the left was 
nearly forgotten. After leaving the Bridge of Tom more, the 
hill of Cairnokay, rugged and bare, and covered with gigantic 
boulders, runs along the whole way for a distance of four or 
five miles. General Grant, who built the unfortunate Bridge 
of Tommore, also constructed a road over this hill to Morinsh, 
to facilitate communication with the tenantry of that district. 
Moving on again, we soon reach the Free Church of Inver- 
aven, situated at Craggan. It is a good, substantial looking 
building of moderate size. Near it is the manse, a plain, 
unpretentious building, with a neat little garden in front of 
the house. A little above this there are two large stones, 
whose histoiy is closely connected with the church. One is 
marked Moderator's seat, April 1846, and the other " Clerk's 
Table." The reader will at once understand that these stones 
refer to the time of the Disruption in the Church of Scot- 
land, 1843. The Free Church party in Inveraven, like 
many more of their brethren, had no suitable house wherein 
to conduct public worship, consequently they were forced to 
take the hillside, with the great dome of Heaven for a 
canopy. It was here where the Free Presbytery of Aberlour 
met in 1846, and a wooden church was erected soon after. 
These troublous times have passed away, but their con- 
sequences still remain, though softened to a considerable 
extent. Let us cherish the hope that the day is not far 
distant when the parts of a great Church, now separated, 
may be gathered together, united in mind and in strength. 
When that happy day comes, and it will come, Scotchmen 
will be able to look back to the Disruption in the National 
Church as a crisis that did a vast amount of good, and they 
will be able to look to the future with confidence. 

Leaving the Free Church of Craggan, we began to climb 
a birch -clad height, nature's boundary between the districts 
of Glenlivet and Inveraven proper. Standing on this natural 
rampart, we gaze up the Strath, and the eye at once alights 
on Drumin, beautiful, smiling Drumin, the lovely residence 
of Mr Skinner, factor for the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. 



101 

Nearer our standpoint is the Dune of Delmore, a picturesque 
eminence, signifying mound. These dunes are pretty numer- 
ous in the Highlands, many of them being artificial, and 
crowned with ruins of vast antiquity. The Dune of Del- 
more has, if we mistake not, the remains of a circle of 
standing stones. Tradition states that there was once a 
burying ground on it. We do not doubt this. Standing 
stones are generally supposed by archaeologists to mark 
places of sepulchre, the fabulous Druidical circle, with all its 
interesting and romantic associations, being now unscrupu- 
lously banished as mythical. But we doubt very much if 
ever there had been a burying ground in the dune in the 
ages of Christianity. Still nearer our standpoint are the 
Haughs of Delmore, a beautiful piece of wavy land. Moving 
down from the height of Craggan, we traverse rapidly the 
intervening space between us and the road leading to 
Drumin. We strike off the main road here, and walk across 
to Drumin. We cross the Livet by a fine wooden bridge 
erected some years ago, when the piece of new road was 
made leading past Drumin away to Strathaven. Following 
this road a little way, we are soon in front of Drumin, where 
Mr Phimister, in the absence of Mr Skinner, received us 
with the greatest kindness and courtesy. After showing us 
the rich garden, and the new wing lately added to the 
mansion, we wandered away to have a look at the old Castle 
of Drumin. 

The origin of the old Castle of Drumin is shrouded in 
mystery, and all our efforts to learn much of its early history 
have failed. The ruin, though considerable, is insufficient to 
give any adequate knowledge of its architecture ; but if any- 
thing can be guessed from the style, we would say that it 
dates from about the end of the eleventh or beginning of the 
twelfth century. There is a legend connected with its origin 
which I have gathered, but it is simply a legend. It runs 
thus. Far away back in the misty past there lived in Strath- 
aven or Glenlivet, I am not sure which, a powerful chief 
called .Roderick. In all the neighbouring glens and straths 
there was no man could handle a bow or lead a foray like 
Roderick. All men looked up to him with reverential fear, 
and he was universally acknowledged as the lord of Strath- 



102 

aven and Glenlivet. He resolved to build a castle, and build 
it so strong that no foe in this world, or in the spirit land, 
should be able to wrest it from him. The castle was begun, 
and nearly finished, when one day the master mason, who 
had conceived a dislike for Roderick, and knowing his love 
for the bow, determined, if possible, to effect his ruin by his 
favourite weapon at the earliest opportunity. He had not to 
wait long. One day he espied a small bird perched on the 
top of a tree, at a distance which he thought it would be 
impossible to touch it. He proposed to Roderick that if he 
shot the bird, the building of the castle would cost him 
nothing, and if he missed the bird, the castle should become 
his. The reckless chief at once accepted the challenge, and 
drawing an arrow, he fitted it into the bow. Taking steady 
aim, he let go the string, and the arrow sped onward, and 
brought down the bird. Roderick glanced ti*iumphantly at 
the mason, and shouted it is dead, though it were the king. 
The mason said nothing, but next morning he was nowhere 
to be found. Roderick cared not. He had won the wager, 
and he meant to stick by it, knowing well that the mason 
could not prevent him. Alas for Roderick's dream of 
security. One night, a few months after the disappearance 
of the mason, Roderick was holding high wassail, when a 
henchman rushed into the room, conveying the startling 
intelligence that the castle was surrounded by the King's 
forces, and that Roderick was charged with threatening the 
King's life. The mason had represented to the King that 
when Roderick shot the bird he shouted " I wish it were the 
King." Roderick had to escape by a secret passage, and flee 
to the hills. When the castle had been searched, and 
Roderick could not be found, the army returned, leaving 
Roderick's eldest son in possession of Drumin, after making 
him swear that he would never admit his father within the 
walls. When Roderick returned, his son would not allow 
him to enter, but hounded him away. He then went to 
Kilmachlie, where his second son lived, who received him 
with open arms, and gave him shelter. Roderick called him 
" Kin' Michaely," Michael being his name, and ever after 
this place was known as Kinmachlie. Such is the legend of 
Drumin Castle. As to the name Kilmachlie, I suspect it 



103 

has been got in another way. Scotch was not spoken in 
Glenlivet in those days. Gaelic was the only language 
spoken, and it is within the past sixty years that it has died 
in the upper part ot the district. 1 am of opinion that Kil- 
machlie is a corruption of Kyle Michael, meaning in English 
Michael's wood. 

What is left of the old Castle of Drumin is in an excel- 
lent state of preservation. It consists of one strong tower of 
solid masonry, and the ivy that is slowly creeping up the 
walls gives it a hoary appearance. The position is striking 
and beautiful, and the ruins of the grim old castle give an 
additional enchantment to the scene. It is a link between 
the past and the present ; between the barbarous feudal times 
and the enlightened institutions of the nineteenth century. 
It points with stony finger to the days when might was right, 
and law was the broad claymore. It requires no stretch of 
imagination to picture the half naked Highlander, pushing 
through the tangled brake, or creeping stealthily along the 
bleak hillside, hunting the red deer or watching the fox. 
What a change from the Drumin of that day, and the 
Drumin of to-day ! Then all was rude, and the beautiful 
haughs were uncultivated. Then the red deer, and the wild 
boar, and the bison bounded through field and forest, and 
bathed their panting sides in the clear, cool waters of the 
Aven or the Livet. Now Drumin is one of the finest farms 
in Banffshire. The land is cultivated in the best manner 
known, and the sleek-sided Polled cattle browse on the rich 
fields, and bathe in the flashing streams ; and the song of 
birds, intermingled with the hoarse cry of the crow of 
which Drumin is a favourite rendezvous cheers the merry 
ploughman as he whistles over the lea. Such is the present 
Drumin. Mr Skinner is an enterprising farmer, and his 
herd of Polled cattle is rivalled by few in Britain. Cattle 
from Drumin and Ballindalloch have entered the lists in 
many lands, and conquered. This is so well known, and is 
so well described by abler authors, that it need not be re- 
peated by me; but who could pass Drumin, and say nothing 
about its cattle ? Drumin was also the residence of the 
famous Marshall, the composer of so many well-known strath- 
speys. It was also at Drumin where Argyle camped with 



104 

his army the night before he suffered the crushing defeat at 
Altachulichan, at the hands of Huntly. But the sun hath 
passed meridian, and we must hasten into other scenes of 
interest. Ere leaving, we gave another look at the grim old 
tower where " Dark Roderick of Drumin " lived, and then 
turned away. 

Re-crossing the Livet, we moved up the road as rapidly 
as possible, passing several houses on the left side, among 
which was a fine new cottage inhabited by Mr Phimister, and 
another by Mr Grant, forester. We soon reached Downan, 
where another road strikes across the Livet, away to Min- 
more, past the school of Croftness. We went and had a look 
at the bridge, which we were told had a narrow escape when 
it was all but finished, by the sudden rising of the stream. 
Immediately below the bridge is the Linn of Livet. The 
linn was destroyed by the Braes people many years ago, to 
allow salmon to get up the stream. We turned back to the 
main road. At this point is the ancient burying ground of 
Downan, one of the most beautiful and best situated burying 
grounds that it has been my fortune to see. It is a little 
sequestered nook close by the banks of the Livet, and is 
enclosed by a substantial stone wall. Inside the living 
shrubs weep over the graves of the dead, and the spectral 
looking headstones peep from among them, telling the 
stranger who rests beneath. In one corner within the 
enclosure can still be traced the last remnants of a Roman 
Catholic chapel, said to have been destroyed by the troops of 
Argyle when on the march to meet Huntly at the Battle of 
Glenlivet. It is probable that the little church was rebuilt 
after the defeat of Argyle, when the blood-stained Cumber- 
land rested his gloating eyes upon its quiet, unpretentious 
beauty. Whether it was rebuilt or not, the ruffian soldiery 
demolished what was left of it. A legend still lingers in the 
district to the effect that when Sir John M'Lean, the gallant 
and powerful chief of the M'Leans, lay mortally wounded at 
the Battle of Glenlivet, he expressed a wish to those who 
stood near him that his body might be taken and buried at 
the chapel of Downan, where there would never be a word 
of English spoken above him. Poor M'Lean. He loved the 
Celtic race, and the language of his fathers, much more than 



105 

the men of Glenlivet. Three centuries have not elapsed since 
those words were supposed to have been uttered, and at the 
present day it is nearly as rare to hear a word of Gaelic 
the mysterious and poetic tongue of the mountains as it 
would have been then to hear a word of English. Leaving 

o o 

Downan, we moved on to Bridgend, where there are several 
houses. We called on Mr W. Dawson, clothier, and experi- 
enced his hospitality. Bridgend is one of the most beautiful 
spots in Glenlivet. The name is taken from an old hunch- 
backed bridge of two arches, that is said locally to have been 
built by Marshal Wade. This is a mistake. It might have 
served as a model for Wade, but I am doubtful if he built it. 
The old " Statistical Account " states rather vaguely that it 
was built by some of the Marquises of Huntly. Moving on 
again, we pass the large farm of Deskie, tenanted by Mr 
Bennet ; and on the opposite side of the stream Tervie, is the 
farm of Tombreakachie, tenanted by Mr Stables. This fine 
farm was very much improved and enlarged by the late 
Captain Grant, Auchorachan. About three quarters of a 
mile further up the Tervie stands the meal mill of Tom- 
breakachie, a place of considerable antiquity for a mill. After 
the Battle of Altachulichan, it is said that the mill stream 
ran red with blood for twenty-four hours, and some say for 
three clays. Striking off the main road there, we crossed the 
Livet to have a look at Minmore, where the far-famed Glen- 
livet whisky is manufactured. 

The Glenlivet Distillery was commenced shortly after 
the suppression of smuggling by the present proprietor's 
father, and has successfully maintained the prestige of the 
name which the smuggling gave it. The name of Glenlivet 
whisky is known wherever the English language is spoken, 
and is steadily making way in many lands. There is little use 
to attempt to eulogize the quality of Glenlivet whisky ; its 
qualities are so well known, that such an attempt seems to 
me to be superfluous ; but the spot where the whisky is made 
is perhaps not quite so well known. Situated on an incline, it 
commands a wide view of mountain, vale, and wood, a situa- 
tion that is truly Highland. Under the enterprising 
management of the proprietor, Major Smith, it is ever being 
added to, and the business extended, The trade is something 



106 

enormous, the demand being at all times greater than can be 
supplied. Such an industrial work must necessarily affect 
the district. The number of labourers required to carry on 
the work makes the lower part of Glenlivet at least destitute 
of men out of employment. Consequently the influence of 
Major Smith is felt, not only in Glenlivet, but in the sur- 
rounding districts. In the work, Major Smith is most ably 
supported by Mr M'Conachie, the manager, a gentleman of 
great business capacity, and a universal favourite wherever 
he is known. To the distillery is attached one of the largest 
and finest farms in Glenlivet. I am not aware if Major 
Smith enters the list as a cattle breeder ; but if he does not, 
the reason is not far to seek, when his mind is so much 
occupied otherwise. To rear a herd of cattle of any breed, 
if it is pure, requires, as most people know, a great deal of 
time and attention. Ere leaving Minmore, we had a look of 
an additional store that is being erected. We found it to be 
a store which I thought would be sufficient in itself to hold 
all the whisky which could be manufactured at the Glenlivet 
Distillery for a twelvemonth, being a hundred feet square. 
My opinion was received with a smile. 

Leaving the far-famed Glenlivet Distillery, after having 
tasted its waters, we strode away to see the old Castle of 
Blairfindy, situated a few minutes' walk southward from Min- 
more. We found the old house rapidly going to decay. The 
situation is prominent enough, but unlike Drumin, is not 
attractive. It was probably built by some of the Marquises 
of Huntly as a shooting seat. One thing is certain, it has 
never been a strongly fortified tower, nor is it very ancient, 
as can be seen by a stone in the wall bearing the date 1565. 
The chief event in its history was the lodging for one night 
of the second Marquis of Huntly. He was captured at 
Delnabo, near Tomintoul, and was carried prisoner to the 
Tower of Blairfindy, for adherence to the cause of Charles I. 
From Blairfindy he was conveyed to Edinburgh, where he 
soon after suffered the same fate as his royal master. Leaving 
the shattered old ruin, we turned down, and recrossed the 
Livet, and after a short walk reached Auchbreck, where the 
Parish Church and Manse are situated. The church has 
lately been renovated and enlarged, and the ground around 



107 

it planted with trees and shrubs. In a few years these trees 
and shrubs will beautify and adorn a spot which, without 
them, would look cold and uninviting. It is evident that 
the church has been built more for convenience that is to 
accommodate all the districts of the parish than for beauty 
of situation. The object has been fairly well attained. 
Auchbreck is about the centre of the lower part of 
Glenlivet, and is by no means a great distance from 
the furthest outlying parts of Morinsh. Morinsh is a 
district lying between Glenrinnes and Glenlivet. As 
before mentioned, it belongs to the Ballindalloch estates. 
Morinsh has some very good farms, and the people are 
credited with being energetic. In the cattle trade Mr 8mith, 
Mullochard, has given his native Morinsh a name among 
dealers. The high road from Dufftown to Tomintoul 
traverses Glenrinnes and Morinsh, and joins the Ballin 
dalloch road at Auchbreck. This road was first constructed 
by one of the Dukes of Gordon at his own expense. Near 
the junction is the Post Office, kept by Mr Grant. Mr 
Tindal is minister of Glenlivet. His name will be re- 
membered long after he will have been gathered to his 
fathers for his connection with the improvements of the 
Parish Church. Internally it is said to be the handsomest 
church in the Presbytery. Leaving Auchbreck, we moved up 
the glen, passing Auchoi'achan on the left hand, a large and 
beautiful farm tenanted by Captain Grant, who is also agent 
for the North of Scotland Bank in Glenlivet. Capt. Grant 
has a fine herd of Polled cattle. On a little further and we 
passed Nevie, another magnificent farm, tenanted by Mi- 
Gordon. Between Auchorachan and Nevie is a small stream 
called the Burn of N evie. Many years ago, before the repeal 
of the penal statutes against Roman Catholics, there was a 
small chapel hid somewhere about this burn, called Chaj)el 
Christ, where mass was said at twelve o'clock at night. The 
site cannot now be discovered. Almost immediately below 
this, close by the Li vet, is the picturesque haugh where the 
Glenlivet Games are held ; while on the opposite side of the 
valley is the fine farm of Blairfindy, tenanted by Mr Grant. 
Moving on again, we soon reached Tomnavoulin, where a 
road strikes awav from the main one leading up Livet side 

i -2 



108 

to the Chapel of Tornbea, and from thence, following the 
course of the stream, it enters the Braes of Glenlivet. 
This is the most beautiful road in upper Glenlivet. For 
more than two miles it is like an avenue, being lined on 
both sides with natural birches, whose branches in some parts 
almost kiss the flashing waters of the Livet. On a summer 
evening a walk on this road is delightful. The buzz of in- 
sects, the song of bird??, the murmuring of the stream, and the 
perfume of the birches induce a feeling of calm tranquillity 
and repose. About half way between Tomnavoulin and the 
Braes is the R.C. Chapel and farm of Tombea. The situation 
of the chapel is pleasant, and is fitted up inside with great 
taste and elegance. It contains a very fine painting presented 
by the late Earl of Fife. A school is kept here, taught by a 
female, for training the Catholic youth in the lower part of 
Glenlivet. Close beside the chapel is the burying ground, 
enclosed by a substantial stone wall. It contains some good 
headstones. If an improvement might be suggested, I would 
say that a few shrubs would give additional enchantment to 
a spot that nature has done so much for. A little above the 
chapel is the farm of Tombea, tenanted by the clergyman, 
the Rev. Charles M'Donald. Mr M'Donald, though a 
clergyman, is an advanced agriculturist, and rears some of 
the best crops and some of the best cattle in Glenlivet. Near 
this the stream Crombie, which drains a large portion of the 
Braes, and is an excellent trout stream, falls into the Livet. 
About a mile above Toinbea can still be traced part of the 
foundation of the old R.C. Chapel of Candakyle, which long 
served as a place of worship to all the Catholics in Glenlivet. 
Now, however, there are two, one in the Braes and another 
at Tombea. 

Having mentioned the most interesting spots in this 
part of Glenlivet, we must now turn back to Tomnavoulin, 
and move up the Tomintoul road. Crossing a bridge which 
spans the Livet, we move up a steep brae and reach the farm 
of Tomnavoulin, tenanted by Mr Grant, an enterprising 
farmer. There is a legend connected with this farm which 
I may mention. Hamish an-duem, i.e., James of the Hill, 
a noted freebooter of the seventeenth century, had been 
captured and sent to Edinburgh jail. Gazing through the 



109 

bars of his prison window one day, he saw Grant of Tomna- 
voulin passing by. He shouted to Grant, " What news from 
Strathspey ?" Grant replied rather curtly, " Nothing in 
particular; but we are all glad to be rid of you." Hamish 
replied, " Pei'haps we may meet again." He kept his word. 
Having escaped by means of a rope which his wife sent him 
hid in a cask of butter, he soon found his way to his native 
hills. Calling at Tomnavoulin, he reminded Grant of their 
short conversation in Edinburgh. Grant affected to laugh 
at it, and invited Hamish to stay all night with him. 
Hamish declined, but proposed that Grant and his son 
should accompany him a little way. This they consented 
to do, and started. They had not gone far when the robber 
chief suddenly drew his claymore, and, with two sweeps of 
it, decapitated father and son. Lifting the gory heads, he 
wrapped them in his plaid and strode back to Tomnavoulin, 
and, with a fiendish laugh, tossed them into Mrs Grant's 
lap, and shouted, " I have my revenge," and left the house. 
Moving upwards from Tomnavoulin, we pass the Public 
School, on one side of the road, taught by Mr Hunter, and 
Mr Stuart's, clothier, on the other ; then pass through a deep 
moss pursuing our way onward. The road here begins to 
rise, and the country assumes another aspect. Great masses 
of hills are seen rearing their storm-swept summits to the 
blast. On one side, cultivation almost ceases, and the 
country is devoid of trees. On the other side, the swelling 
fields of the farm of Croftbain, tenanted by Mr Grant, gives 
the country an agricultural aspect. Looking beyond the 
fields, a magnificent view is obtained of the Livet ere it 
reaches Tombea, twisting along between two great hills, 
whose birch-clad bases shelter the flashing stream, that seems 
like a huge serpent dropped from heaven, with the dark 
heather-clad hills rising beyond, makes the scene a beautiful 
one. Passing Croftbain, the country gets more rugged and 
wild. The road winds along the side of a hill, and below a 
steep, rugged brae reaches down to a small mountain stream 
that gurgles along its difficult course, finding its way to the 
Livet. Soon, however, the eye alights on the green fields of 
Auchnarrow. By-and-bye, we reach Knockandhu, a strag- 
gling hamlet composed mainly of crofts. In Knockandhu is 



110 

the Pole Inii, kept by Mr M'Hardy, where the traveller will 
nnd the ' real Glenlivet," unpolluted by vicious drugs, or 
anything else that will harm the human system. In the 
same building is a shop kept by Mr M' Hardy's son. A few 
yards from the Inn, the road leading to the Braes of Glen- 
livet strikes away from the Tomintoul road. This being our 
road, we move along it. A hill is on one side, and the farms 
of Knockandhu and Auchnarrow on the other. The former 
is tenanted by Mr Gordon, and the latter by Mr Turner. 
Mr Turner has made himself famous as a rearer of Highland 
sheep. His tups have carried many pi'izes, and are eagerly 
sought after by judges of the breed. The farm is one of the 
largest in the upper district, and its broad and highly-culti- 
vated fields are pleasant to the eye of the agriculturist. 
Auchnarrow produced some gallant soldiers, among whom 
was Major Grant, a soldier of great daring, who lost one of 
his legs in the Peninsular War. In Highland legend it is 
also famous, as being a favourite residence of the far-famed 
Highland witch, Meg Mulloch. Many weird tales are told 
of this remarkable woman, whose name has come down to 
posterity. I may just cite one, as showing the particular fancy 
which she had for the Grants of Auchnarrow. One day some 
unexpected visitors arrived at Auchnarrow. The goodwife 
busied herself in preparing refreshment for them. With 
Highland hospitality, she gave the best that the house 
afforded. She lamented to the servant girl that she had 
no cheese. No sooner had she said so than two large 
" kebboks " came rolling to her feet, and a voice sung out, 
" Anything more." The servant got frightened, but her 
mistress simply remarked that they came from her friend 
Maggie. Moving on, we passed in a short time the school 
of Auchnarrow, taught by Miss Cameron ; and soon entered 
the Braes of Glenlivet a vast amphitheatre, wherein live 
bonnie lasses and gallant men. 



Ill 



THE MOSSES OF GLENLIVET. 

Moss is a matter of the highest iioportance to most of the 
dwellers in Highland glens, for to them it is almost essential 
to their existence, and their rapid consumption will soon 
make them a matter of even greater importance than they 
now are. But mosses are a very interesting subject to more 
than the consumers of peat fuel. They afford a rich field for 
the study of such men as the botanist, the naturalist, the 
geologist, and the antiquarian ; and through their researches 
a faint glimmer of light has been thrown on the unwritten 
history of our country in those periods when the inhabitants 
of these islands had not learned the art of writing. 

Glance for a moment at that busy workman toiling 
away, with the sweat running down his furrowed and 
weather-beaten cheek. Suddenly his spade strikes against 
something, and on turning it out he finds it to be the re- 
mains of what had once been an immense flat horn. He 
looks at it curiously for a moment, then throws it aside. 
By and bye the antiquarian hears about it, and, with the aid 
of his friend the naturalist, he tells the astonished workman 
that that horn once ornamented the noble head of Cervus 
Alces, a species of deer now extinct in Great Britain ; but 
which then bounded in security through the dark and silent 
avenues of the primeval forest.* Yes, a light has been 
thrown on ages far beyond the time when the Roman eagles 
had stooped to conquer a light which dashes to pieces some 
theories which, fifty years ago, it would have been deemed 
sacrilege to doubt. 

But to the subject. When Britain was an archipelago 
of wintry islands, as Hugh Miller and others have it (that is 

* This is no fancy sketch. Such a horn was actually found in the moss of 
Vautuck, and is in the possession of Eev. J. Glennie, B.C. clergyman, Inverarie. 
It was identified by Canon Greenwell, Durham, who informs me that he only 
knows of another instance where a similar horn has been found in Scotland. 



112 

long before Moses was born), there certainly was no moss, 
and when the parts which are mossy (that is the hollows or 
flats), were sunk in the depths of ocean, there was no vegeta- 
tion. Yet, I am of opinion that, when these islands formed 
part of the ocean's bed, a foundation was being laid for a soil 
on which in future ages the moss was to rest. The action of 
glaciers is well known to geologists ; how they tear along, 
grinding rocks to powder in their crushing march. This 
powder settled down to the bottom of the sea, and was 
whirled by the action of the water into the hollows and on 
to the flats, forming the stiff boulder clay which underlies all 
the mosses in Glenlivet. 

"With regard to the 1 formation of moss itself, all 
authorities are agreed that stagnant water forms its first 
beginning, either from some obstruction to the natural 
drainage of the country or otherwise. Stagnant water 
nourishes a species of aqxiatic plants called Hyprum Flustans, 
which float about without any basis of support. When these 
Spfutgna come to maturity the lower parts decay, and the 
whole sink to the bottom, giving place to others, and so on, 
until what was once water becomes a sort of quaking bog, 
and in time consolidates into firm moss. I am of opinion 
that the low-lying mosses of Glenlivet took their origin in 
this way. At present, on the broad flats on the top of the 
high range of hills on the east side of the Braes, Tricliostomum 
Lanuginosum, or the woolly fringe moss, is growingextensively. 
These opinions will help to show why mosses are generally 
found in hollows or on flats. Peat accumulating in the 
brow or slopes of hills, it will be found that the beginning 
has been washed from the flats above. Once a beginning is 
made, moss will grow readily. 

Some low-lying mosses are of very great depth. One 
in the Braes of Glenlivet, Vautuck, was originally at least 
thirty feet deep, and in many parts more. It has been 
" casten " over three times already, taking from eight to ten 
feet each time. This of course cannot continue long, and 
the Braes people will find very soon that they will not get 
their fuel so easily. From the moss above-mentioned there 
are on an average 120,000 barrowfuls dug yearly. Many of 
these peats are mixed with sulphur, which when burning 



113 

send forth a bluish flame, the smell of which is anything but 
agreeable. It is observed that sulphur when found is 
generally near the foundation of the inoss. 

There is another very interesting subject about mosses 
which strikes the attention of all who come in contact with 
them : that is the buried trees. Mosses and trees are 
inseparable, for in many parts decayed trees form no incon- 
siderable portion of the peat ; and to the Highlander in 
bygone days these forest remains afforded the only light 
that he was possessed of in the shape of a " fir can'le." This 
was before the introduction of oil or paraffin ; and the pine 
torch was no mean light. The wood was so extremely rich 
that it would send forth an astonishing blaze. And there 
was food for the thoughtful in sitting beside a light that was 
growing beneath the sun that was shining a thousand years 
ago. Perhaps under the very tree that is burning in some 
labourer's cottage in our civilized days, the Druid priest 
may have offered up his bloody victim, or consulted that 
victim's interior, before his tribe went forth in their war 
paint to join the host of Gaigacus, who was defending his 
native forests inch by inch against the Roman invader. 
But these trees afforded more advantages to the Highlander 
than light and heat : they also gave him shelter. In the 
Glenlivet mosses, these buried trees were so innumerable and 
so easily taken out, that the natives roofed their houses with 
them. These roofs were primitive and simple, no doubt ; 
but still they were roofs, and served the same purpose to the 
hardy Highlander as the elegant roofs of the present day. 
Some of the trees were of enormous size. One was dug up 
above Scalan (and it was only the centre of the tree), which, 
when split up, roofed a house altogether, or, in the language 
of the district, afforded " cabers " for the house. I have not 
been able to obtain the exact dimensions of this enormous 
trunk ; but the fact above stated will help the reader to form 
an idea of it. 

Some years ago, a tree was dug up in the Moss of Tomna- 
voulin, which measured 84 in length, and 3 feet in diameter 
at its smallest end. This tree was bought by a former priest 
of Tombea, to be a bridge over the Aven but, after it was 
dug, the difficulty was to get it to the spot where the bridge 



114 

was to be. The following plan was tried. They lifted the 
body of a number of carts off their axles, and lashed them 
together. Having got the tree on to the axles, and a num- 
ber of horses yoked, they started forward on the Tomintoul 
road, and got on pretty well for two or three miles, when, 
passing through the Faemussach, the wheels began to sink, 
and it was with great difficulty that they could make any 
progress. However, they were moving on slowly, when two 
or three of the axles broke, which at once put an end to the 
laborious journey. A sawpit was erected soon after, and 
this giant fir was sawed into several pieces ; yet, one of the 
pieces served as a foot, bridge over the Aven, which is by no 
means a small stream. The remains of one was dug up 
lately in Vautuck. It can be seen at any time. I measured 
it myself, and found its length to be 49 feet inches, and its 
circumference at the small end 30 inches, the diameter at the 
thick end being 18 inches. This must have been a noble 
tree when growing, for, in reality, we see but a small portion 
of the tree. Think of a tree being uprooted by a tempest, 
and left lying till the fall of grass, leaves, and other matter 
would cover it up, and form solid moss above it ! It would 
take at least an ordinary lifetime before this could be accom- 
plished. The tree must have undergone a considerable 
amount of decay in that period. Of course, after it was 
altogether covered with consolidated moss it would decay 
very little, for moss is an excellent preserver. 

These are some specimens of what our ancient forests 
were composed of. Of the trunks only I have spoken ; the 
roots are even more remarkable. One root is at present to 
be seen in Vautuck, from which seven loads have already 
been taken, and it is not yet exhausted. Think of seven 
loads being taken out of the root of a tree ! Few trees are 
growing at the present day in this quarter whose roots would 
afford so much wood. They must have been stately trees in 
those days. I have been informed that boys a hundred years 
ago, in the Braes of Glenlivet, would be amusing themselves 
springing from the top of one root to another. I cannot 
vouch for the truth of this, but there seems no great reason 
to doubt it, especially if we are to credit a legend prevalent 
iu the Braes, that a cat could walk on the top of the trees 



115 

from the Clash to the Craggan, a distance of eleven or twelve 
miles. If that be the case, which is a little doubtful, there 
must have been two, if not three, distinct forest periods in 
Scotland. My opinion is in favour of this theory, for the 
roots that are being dug up at present are nearly on a level 
about seven feet from the bed of clay, and about twenty-three 
from the original surface. This is when the moss lies in 
hollows. 

It is strange that, where the moss and the edge of the 
clay meet, the tree roots disappear. That is, when the tree 
roots are seven feet from the bed of clay in the centre of the 
hollow, the moss running from the centre gets shallower and 
shallower until both edges meet, and there the tree roots end. 
Some are found partly imbedded in the moss and partly in 
the clay, but I have not heard of any that were found 
imbedded in the clay alone. 

It is a very difficult matter to get at the exact time 
when these trees were growing. I do not think that these 
roots are those of the Caledonian forest, which was found to 
extend over a great part of Scotland at the time of the 
Roman invasion. On the contrary, I think that they must 
have existed long before that date ; but if they did exist 
before that date, the Braes of Glenlivet must have been clear 
of wood at that time, for, as I previously stated, there must 
have been at least two distinct periods of forest in the Glen- 
livet mosses. It has indeed been found sometimes that one 
root is placed immediately above another ; but these cases 
are exceptional, and will not be found to interfere with either 
of the periods. 

It is generally a very difficult matter to extract these 
roots from their native bed. It is not uncommon to see 
twenty or thirty men digging away at one root, and they 
will generally have to work a considerable time ere they 
succeed in laying bare all the limbs. But fifty years hence 
I fear there will be found few roots to dig at, for within the 
past seventy or eighty years the amount of moss that has 
been consumed is enormous. Whole acres have been laid 
bare and brought under cultivation, and many parts have 
been bared that are not fit to be cultivated. But what has 
been cultivated has told a remarkable tale. After twenty 



116 

or thirty feet of solid moss has been removed, and the sub- 
soil ploughed and cropped for a number of years, the plough- 
men will often pick up those flint arrow-heads, which in 
these parts are the most numerous representatives of the 
stone period. This fact proves that man existed in Glenlivet 
long before moss had begun to grow, and as far as traces go 
ere a tree lifted its head above the bleak and barren waste. 
In short, that he roamed wild and free over as bare a track 
as the Braes present to the eye at the present day. 

How he existed or was sheltered from the fierce blasts 
of winter will for ever remain a mystery to us, however 
anxious we may be to solve it. But, in imagination, we can 
see him clad in the skin of some wild animal, eagerly climb- 
ing the hills in pursuit of the deer, the wolf, or the wild ox. 
Alas ! his chance of bringing these animals to the ground is 
small, for he only carries with him his bow, made of the rib- 
bone of an animal, and the string of the bow made from the 
sinews of the same beast. He has his few arrows with the 
flint heads, with, perchance, a stone celt slung on his back. 
Ready for action, see, he stands for a moment, and looking 
earnestly, as if measuring the distance, he raises the bow, 
and with brawny arm pulls the string. The arrow whistles 
through the air, and a moment after quivers in the breast of 
the victim. He has been successful, and a few meals have 
been supplied to his family. Or we can see the opposing 
tribes drawn up in order of battle, under their respective 
chiefs. Their looks are fierce, and huge stripes of paint 
deform their otherwise noble and interesting countenances. 
They raise the wild war shout and dash to the conflict. 
Soon many a gallant form is laid low, and many a dauntless 
heart beats no more, and the proud and manly blue eye that 
dared the frown of death is closed for ever. They were 
gallant fellows those savages. Peace to their ashes ! They 
were the first inhabitants of our native land, and the same 
blood that impelled them to deeds of valour yet flows in our 
veins. In more peaceful and luxurious times may we never 
disgrace such noble fathers. 



POETRY. 



LAND OF THE BRAVE. 

SCOTLAND ! I love thee, thou land of the mountain, 
Land of the heather bell, rock, and deep cave, 

Land of the cataract, land of the fountain ; 

I love thee my country, thou land of the brave. 

Your glens may be bleak when the wintry winds whistle, 
And dreary thy hills when the wild tempests rave ; 

But there's kind hearts and true in the land of the thistle, 
And arms to shield thee, thou land of the brave. 

The voice of the tyrant ne'er ruled o'er thy valleys, 

Though Rome's conquering legions swept over the wave 

With bright shining eagles, and gold bedecked galleys 
They fought, but they fell, in the land of the brave. 

And England's fierce Edward with all his proud power, 
Rushed over the border your sons to enslave ; 

But your valiant and strong made him rue the dark hour 
That e'er he set foot in the land of the brave. 

And when Gaul's gloating eagle, with pinions all gory, 
Soared over Hispania and no one to save ; 

Not the last in the cause of bright freedom and glory 
Were the sons of Auld Scotia, the land of the brave. 

Then who would not love thee, when each hill and corrie 
Are cradles of freedom, to tyrants a grave ; 

When your bright deeds of fame writ in legend and story, 
Hath sealed thy proud name as the land of the brave. 

Then hey for the land of the mist and the blue bell, 
The land that ne'er crouched, nor for mercy would crave ; 

Land of the flashing stream, land of the flowery dell, 
Land of the strong and true, land of the brave. 



120 



DREAMING. 

To M. J. G. L. 

BLOW soft, rude winds of the north, blow soft, 

A northern maid lies dreaming; 
And the monarch bird that soars aloft 

Looks down with his proud eye beaming. 

Sweetly she sleeps by the rippling stream ; 

A smile parts her lips so fair ; 
And the sun darts a ray of dazzling sheen, 

And flits on her floAving hair. 

The birds, the wind, and the brook sing on, 
While she sleeps 'neath the pine tree hoar ; 

Can it be that she dreams of bright days gone ? 
Gone, fled, and for evermore ! 

Sleep on, too soon will thy young heart wake ; 

Too soon will the vision fly ; 
And the cherished hopes of thy love will break, 

And the flower itself will die. 

Ha ! I once loved with a heart like thine, 

In days of the golden past 
Loved and prayed at a maiden's shrine, 

And the prayer was heard at last ; 

And the weeks rolled on, and we loved in trust 

That the fates had willed it so, 
Till slander's tongue, with a venomed thrust, 

Laid the hopes of my fond heart low ; 

And the deep wound bled, till it bled a cure, 
And I laughed at the frowns of fate ; 

And the love that once was so firm and sure, 
In the end had turned to hate ; 



121 



And I laughed at your sex with a scornful heart, 

And sneered at the love of men ; 
Yet, seeing thee now, unadorned with art> 

I almost could love again. 

But I will not disturb thy deep, sweet sleep, 

To ask thee to smile on me ; 
J will live alone alone and weep, 

But my heart shall dwell with thee. 

The thought of thy bright angelic smile 

The thought of thy matchless form, 
Will light my path, and my cares beguile, 

As a ray through the gathering storm. 

Send forth your perfume, flowers of the wild ; 
Ye birds, pipe your sweetest song ; 

And the woods, and the wind wild nature's child- 
Will join with the choral throng, 

And soothe thy sleep 'neath the giant pine, 

And cheer thy woes when waking, 
And bid love again thy heart entwine, 

To heal mine own that's breaking. 

The laughing nymph of the brook will make 

A wreath to twine around ye ; 
The fairy queen will her halls forsake, 

And the queen of beauty crown thee. 



IN MEMORY OF BELLA. 

WEARY, sad, and sorrowful the morning dawned on me, 
Though bright the gorgeous sun arose in splendour o'er the sea, 
And nature donned her fairest robes of flowers and living 

green, 

While all around was cheerfulness, no sorrow could be seen, 

K 



122 

The little birdies warbled sweet among the leafy trees, 
And, rich with perfume, o'er them swept the balmy southern 

breeze ; 
While high above the mighty arch of Heaven's boundless 

blue 
Shone clear and fair, without a speck to mar the gazer's view. 

And soft the murmuring streamlet plied along its pebbled bed, 
As through its ponds the sportive trout in tiny squadrons 

fled; 

While on its banks the waving grass in rich luxuriance grew, 
And far the Bochel's towering crest its shadows o'er them 

threw. 

All, all was decked in loveliness, as Nature's hand could 

paint, 

Nothing seemed sad or sorrowful, yet I was sick and faint, 
The cherished idol of my heart was gone, and gone aye, 
The fair, the bright, the beautiful, O ! beautiful as day. 

The brightest star that ever shone far in the azure sky 
Would pale before the matchless glance and beauty of her eye ; 
No bold and wanton eye was hers, it meek and modest shone, 
The mirror of her guileless soul, the seat of virtue's throne ! 

The graceful fawn that lightly skips along the grassy wold 
Is clumsy, when compared to her light symmetry of mould ; 
The mavis' song, so passing sweet, beneath the birchen tree, 
Resembles, in its sweetest notes, the songs she sang to me. 

Oh ! had I but the power of him who sang his Nannie's grace, 
I'd paint, in colours ne'er to fade, the beauty of her face ; 
The beauty of the tender flower bedecked with pearly dew, 
All pure, to kiss the morning sun, no fairer was to view. 

No wonder though my heart be sad, and filled with bitter 

woe, 

No wonder though my memory turn to scenes of long ago, 
No wonder though I lonely mourn, when all around is gay, 
The ever bright and beautiful is gone, and gone for aye ! 



123 
A RETROSPECT. 

IN the silence of twilight I sat in the greenwood, 

No creature was near me, I sat all alone, 
While I silently mused on the days of my childhood, 

On memories departed, and pleasures now gone. 

Then the sun of my hopes rode high in his splendour, 
No cloud marred his glory or hid him from view, 

When I roved by yon catai*act roaring in grandeur, 
And pulled the wild daisies, O ! Willie, with you. 

Ah ! sweet were those moments of innocent gladness, 

When, with hearts light and buoyant, we roamed o'er the 
lea; 

No cares to harass us, no sorrow, no sadness, 

Our cheeks all aglow, and our step light and free. 

But soon, soon, alas ! those bright moments faded, 

And cares then unknown, round my pathway have grown, 

And when lost in the labyrinth, no helping hand aided, 
Now I moui'n o'er those joys that for ever have flown. 

Yet though darkness and tempest around me have gathered, 
And friends keep aloof from my bark in the gale, 

Yet my pulse will beat higher when the tempest is weathered, 
Than if friends held the rudder, or had furled the sail. 

If we knew of the trials that are lying before us, 

When fighting a world as false as 'tis fair, 
We'd fly for a shelter e'er the storm broke o'er us, 

Or shrink from the conflict, and die in despair. 

Yet one moment's sorrow makes the next moment sweeter ; 

If the cup were not mixed we'd lose sight of the goal, 
And driftdown pleasure's current, while the moments fly fleeter, 

That are hastening us on to the land of the soul. 

Then stand by your colours through trials and sorrow, 
Let hope be your watchword, let faith be your shield ; 

And the clouds will disperse with the dawn of to-morrow, 
Then you'll jov in the thought that you forced them to yield. 

K2 



124 
TO ANNIE. 

GENTLE maiden, budding fair, 
In the spring time of thy bloom ; 

Lightly falls thy flowing hair, 

Clear thy eye from cloud and glooin. 

Cast in nature's finest mould 
Is thy lithe and graceful form ; 

Unfit to battle with the bold, 

Or brave life's fierce and withering storm. 

Modest, unassuming, mild, 

Untutored in the ways of art, 
Lightsome as a mountain child, 

Happy in thy guileless heart. 

Is there none among the swains 

That round thee bend obedient knee ; 

Say is there none from lowland plains, 
Whose sighs have ne'er affected thee. 

Happy he whose ardent love 

Finds response within thy breast, 

And by a life's devotion prove 

That loving thee hath made him blest. 

Oh ! would to fate it were my lot 
To win so rare and pure a gem ; 

Content, I'd cherish in a cot, 
My jewel from nature's diadem. 

O ! smile again the sunny smile 

That first threw light athwart my sky ; 

It banishes my cares awhile 

To bask beneath thy glorious eye. 

And bid me hope ! Nay, do not frown, 
A frown would fix my lonely doom ; 

But smile content, and be my own, 
My guiding star to gild the gloom, 



125 
BLIGHTED HOPE. 



I STOOD alone, and the wild wind sighed 

A dirge o'er the snow clad lea ; 
And a bursting wail from my heart replied, 

In a chorus of misery- 
Gone ! gone ! is that dream, and all so fast ; 
Like a flash it came, like a shade went past. 

Yes ! gone for aye, and a settled gloom 

A cloud over my life hath cast ; 
And the hope that burst in the richest bloom 

Was killed by the wintry blast, 
That swept so fierce o'er my shivering frame, 
Arid it bloomed not again, though the summer came. 

Though the summer came, and the sunbeams played, 

(Yet winter remained with me) ; 
Though the song birds sang in the birchen glade, 

And the red deer bounded free ; 
And the streamlets flashed with a crystal sheen, 
And wild flowers grew on the meadows green. 

But the weird wind sobs, and my lone heart sighs 

In harmony sad and low ; 
And the threat' ning lower of the gloomy skies 

Makes me laugh in my bitterest woe ; 
For my spirit lifts when in might dart forth 
The lightnings red from the stormy north ; 

And the thunders roll, and the houses shake, 
And the timorous shrink with dread, 

And the giant firs on the mountains break, 
And the bolts fly fast o'erhead : 

Then my bosom heaves with a pleasing glow, 

And I feel as I felt in the long ago. 

I once was happy, and I fondly dreamed 

That my bliss would last for aye ; 
But the star of hope, that so brightly beamed, 

Grew dark in a single day ; 



126 

Then, blighted and lone, with a heart forlorn, 
I wandered away far away to mourn. 

And I'm mourning still, with no cheering beam 

To shine on my dreaiy path ; 
Yet fancy betimes, with a sudden gleam, 

Wafts me back to my native strath- 
To a strath that the mavis makes glad with its song, 
Where the waters of Isla flow gently along. 



FORSAKEN. 

MAIDEN, thy voice in my ear yet is sounding, 
Though faint be its tone as the echo of years ; 

And my heart yet unchanged at memory leaps bounding, 
As when first thy soft glance raised my hope and my fears. 

Deep, deep in my bosom thy image engraved 

Shall live, though misfortune's worst frowns be in store : 

Its frowns I despise, the worst will be braved, 

Though my best hopes have faded, and love is no more. 

I tried to efface from my mind, when we parted, 
The last lingering look of thy soft azure eye ; 

And the sobs that I heaved, and the big tears that started, 
Were witnessed by all the bright stars in the sky. 

And the last fond embrace Ah ! how could I tear it 
From out of the record in my memory's page, 

When thy loving lips falteringly told me to bear it, 
And murmured that time would my sorrow assuage. 

Ah ! little you fancied the depth of devotion 

That was living, though dormant, within my young breast 
A love as enduring, and deep as the ocean, 

And pure as the dew on the laverock's soft crest. 



.127 

But thy love Ah ! Lucy, why did you deceive me, 

When you knew the fond heart that was laid at thy feet ? 

You said that you loved me, and whispered " Believe me, 
My heart ne'er shall change, till it ceases to beat." 

Thy love, it changed like the mist on the mountain, 
When chased by the tempest careering in might ; 

It was false as the sunbeam that flits o'er the fountain, 
Or a dream that takes wing with the shadows of night. 

But I heed not. An eye like a Venus in brightness 
Still beams on me fondly, and banishes care 

An eye that's aye sparkling in beauty and lightness, 
O'erhung by a mantle of soft, sunny hair. 

Then go, Lucy, go, and may fortune attend thee, 
Your love I despise, it is false as the shade ; 

A day is at hand when kind fate will send me 
A fairer, and better, my own Highland maid. 



AN ODE TO NATURE. 

I LOVE "not the din of a city life, 

Striving and jostling with the crowd, 

Or dwelling : mid scenes of brawling strife, 
The nightly debauch and revel loud, 

Where crime and vice their sceptres sway 

O'er wretches in premature decay. 

I love not to gaze on the image of God, 
Pale and haggard, passing by, 

Or hovering near the vile abode 

With hollow cheek and sunken eye ; 

No, no ! such scenes are not for me, 

I love the heathery moorland free. 



128 

Free from the tint of polluted air, 
Free as the warblers in the woods, 

Free as the bounding mountain hare, 
Far in the dusky solitudes, 

There let my home be, there, there ! 

To dwell in peace and free from care. 

There nature teaches the pine to grow, 
And teaches the linnet her song to sing ; 

There, pure and white as the crystal snow, 
The daisies bloom by the sparkling spring ; 

All, all is fair where man's rough hand 

Comes not to tear the smiling land. 

Oh ! I love to stand on yon rocky steep 
(In ancient time the eagle's home), 

And gaze below on the whirling deep 
Boiling itself to a sheet of foam, 
Then bickering down with hasty speed, 

When it finds itself from its prison freed. 

And I love to hear the tempest loud 
Howling around the rocks so hoar, 

When bursts in wrath the thunder cloud, 
With deafening crack and sullen roar, 

And far and wide the lightnings gleam, 

Then nature reigns and reigns supreme. 

How tame, O mail, are thy greatest deeds, 

And tamer yet thy wordy skill, 
Wrangling o'er knotty points of creed, 

Far from the stream, the glen, the hill ; 
I would go where stately forests nod, 
And worship with Nature, Nature's God. 

I would go to a land where the setting sun 

Cradles himself in a fiery bed 
At eve, when his brilliant course is run, 

And night descends in her sable shade ; 
I would go to a land o'er the western wave, 
Where wild flowers bloom on the Indian's grave. 



129 
AN ADDRESS TO THE WIND. 

WHO, or what art thou, O wind 
(Fit theme for rhythm), 

That has moved since the birth of ages, 
Unmarked by time ? 

Art thou the breath of the great Supreme, 

Whose mighty hand 
Grasps and rules the universe, and lives 

In every land 1 

Or art thou a weapon in the hand of fiends, 

To scourge the earth, 
And hurl into ruin the works of men, 

And scatter death ! 

Where is thy home, O king of elements, 

On whose wings ride 
The tempests that wage eternal war 

With the heaving tide ? 

Is it in the bright and sunny lands 

Where summer reigns, 
Where vine and orange groves bedeck 

The swelling plains 1 

Or is it in the cold and stormy North, 

Where winter's lord, 
Where barren earth will scarce its flocks 

Sustenance afford ] 

Answer, thou king of gods, 

Imperial Jove, 
Is it in the east, west, north, south, 

Or up above ? 

Where dwells the whirlwind, 

Whose mighty wrath 
Hurls gigantic trees, crags, and stones, 

To strew its path 1 



130 

Still it heeds not my voice but shrieking along, 

in the pride of its glory and might, 
And gods in their cars ride past on its wings, 

But their forms are hid from my sight. 

Yet I fancy they ride on the breath of the gale, 

Triumphant when elements war, 
When thunders are pealing and lightnings are flashing, 

Majestic in splendour afar. 

But I know that One Hand grasps the whole in its might, 

For oceans and seas own His sway, 
And proud waving forests bow lowly their heads, 

And acknowledge the God they obey. 



A DREAM. 



I SLEPT and I dreamed of a bright, bright land, 

Far in the east away, 

Where a cloudless sky met my raptured eye, 
And the music of birds that sang on high, 

Made me think it eternal day. 

Methought as I lay on a bed of flowers 

All wet with the scented dew, 
That a goddess bright all robed in white, 
And her hair as dark as the brow of night, 

Then met my astonished view. 

And a chain of gold hung around her neck, 

That shone with a radiance rare, 
And an emerald band clasped her snow-white hand 
That gently was waving an airy wand, 

And her eye what a light shone there ? 



l :>> t 

She spoke, and her voice so silvery sweet, 

Like music thrilled my soul ; 
Stranger, said she, from whence come ye ? 
Have you travelled by land or the rolling sea 

To reach this happy goal ? 

Fair Queen ! I replied, and I knelt as I spoke, 

I come from a distant laud, 
Where tempests rave, and the men are brave, 
And their home is girt by the bounding wave, 

And there known as the ocean band. 

And I soared aloft on the wings of the wind, 

That thundered fierce and loud, 
And I steered my flight through the realm of night, 
And my guide was a star that twinkled bright 

O'er the brim of a fleecy cloud. 

Then she gracefully lifted her conjuring wand, 

And thrice she waved it on high, 
And a vision rare of maidens fair, 
With rosy cheeks and golden hail*, 

Like sunshine pass me by. 

And a zephyr sighed through the wild woods green, 

And played with their flowing hair, 
And a heavenly strain woke the dewy plain, 
And the echo was caught by an angel train 

That hovei*ed in middle air. 

But a dark cloud dropped, and the transient scene 

Like a shadow passed away, 
And a rustling sound swept o'er the ground 
I started up and I looked around, 

And found it another day. 

For the sun rode high on his heavenly course, 

And he darted a glorious beam 
O'er stream and tree, o'er hill and sea, 
And dancing delighted it shone on me, 

And roused me from my dream. 



132 
LINES TO A LADY. 



OH ! could I love as I have loved, 

When smiling youth first dawned on me, 

If through my heart the goddess roved, 
My love would fondly light on thee ; 

Thou fairest of the human race 

In mind, in figure, and in face. 

I gaze into thine eyes and think 
I yet could love, but for the blow 

That drove me to destruction's brink, 
And made thy kind my bitter foe ; 

Still there's a something in me yet 

I never, never can forget. 

Forget ! ah no, there are some things 
That memory loves to dwell upon, 

Which soften sorrow's potent stings, 
When softer feelings long have flown ; 

There is a joy in glancing back 

Along life's varied, rugged tract. 

A something shining bright and fair 
Amid the wastes of storm and cloud, 

A well-spring in the desert bare, 

By tempests tossed but not subdued ; 

A something of a heavenly birth 

Untouched, unstained by aught of earth. 

'Tis love, first love, that tender flame 
Which animates youth's generous heart, 

'Tis modest virtue's diadem, 

Free from pollution, free from art ; 

A passion pure, whose living glow 

Is felt but once on earth below. 

Tis not the madness of a day, 

That raving coxcombs would call love, 



133 

When kindled once it lasts for aye, 

A foretaste of the bliss above ; 
This is the feeling rich and rare, 
That fights and baffles dull despair. 

In. keenest pangs, it is a balm 

To conjure up some long-lost form ; 

'Tis like a momentary calm 

Amid the battle's raging storm ; 

It is a treasure vast, whose store 

Supplies an unconsuming ore. 

This is the love, sweet maid, whose power 
Defies the turns of fortune's wheel, 

And cheers the gloomiest, darkest hour, 
A love which I for you would feel ; 

And bid my weary being live, 

If yet a heart T had to give. 

Though few my years, yet I have known 
The blackest frowns of adverse fate, 

E'er manhood's bloom my cheek had shown, 
I'd earned imperishable hate ; 

Which made my life a flickering flame, 

My strongest passion but a name. 

Yet I admire thy sparkling eye, 
And sun myself beneath its glow ; 

When summer winds sigh softly by, 
And breathe upon thy breast of snow. 

And when thy voice my feelings move, 

I fancy that I yet could love. 

And if such love as this again, 

Should burn within my breast anew, 

Oh say, sweet maid, would it be vain 
If it were centred all in you ; 

Could heart like thine such love e'er spurn, 

Would such a love meet no retiirn ? 



134 
MOURNING. 

(A tribute to the memory of JAMBS GBANT, Esq., late Editor 
of the Morning Advertiser.) 

THE lone wind sigheth low, so low, 
And the light from the stars hath fled, 

And the murmuring brook in its flow, deep flow, 
Sings a requiem for the dead ; 

For the loved, the revered, and the honoured one, 

Whose bright eye closed when his course was run. 

But it closed in a blaze of fame, bright fame, 

And the nations weep for thee, 
And hang on the sound of thy name, loved name ; 

While thy spirit, pure and free, 
Hath soared far away o'er the starry dome, 
To the flowery land, its own loved home. 

And the angels, clad in white, pure white, 

Rush on to the golden gate, 
Where Gabriel stands with a light, rare light, 

And seraph minstrels wait 
With glittering .harps, poised on airy wings, 
Ready to strike, and the anthem sing. 

They strike, and lo ! from the halls, arched halls, 

Fresh echoing bursts are given ; 
And see afar on the walls, high walls, 

That encircle the fields of heaven, 
Gay banners float in the laughing breeze 
That murmurs soft thrcmgh the singing trees. 

All, all above is glad, so glad 

That the spirit hath left the clay ; 
And all below is sad, so sad 

That the soul hath fled for aye ; 
That the manly voice that charmed of yore 
Is hushed and still, and for evermore. 



135 

And the lone mist weepeth wild, so wild, 

As it wreathes its tortured form ; 
And Scotia weeps for her child, dear child, 

And her voice, like the rising storm, 
Is heard afar, and the nations quake, 
The forests nod, and the mountains shake. 

And the oceans weep, and their roar, wild roar, 

Is heard by the naiads deep 
As the billows moan on the shore, loved shore, 

Where the ashes of the wept-for sleep ; 
And they too weep in their coral caves, 
And mingle their voice with the sounding waves. 

And the wild flowers weep on thy grave, lone grave. 

And the birds sing notes of woe ; 
And I, too, weep, yes, weep and rave, 

For the friend of the long ago. 
All weep in vain, you have passed away, 
And reached your home in eternal day. 



AN APPEAL. 

AND is it so 1 Can a form so fair 

Conceal a heart of stone ? 
Can a meek request no pardon share 

No words of mine atone ? 
For the fault of an hoxir, an hour of woe, 
An hour which the thoughtless ne'er can know. 

Think well ; though bright be thy maiden eye, 

It yet may shed a tear ; 
Though the past may be fair as the summer sky, 

And the present doubly dear, 
The mists of the future conceal a dart 
That may pierce thy breast, and reach thy heart. 



136 

It is summer now. and the wild birds aing, 

And the daisies deck the lea ; 
The green woods all with glad echoes ring, 

And the busy, humming bee, 
On glistening wing, sips the scented flower 
To nourish its young in the gloomy hour. 

All nature is glad, and the sunbeams kiss 

The rippling wavelets' breast ; 
And the lusty trout enjoys the bliss, 

And suns itself to rest 
In streams that ever onward roll 
To the mighty deep, their boundless goal. 

But the winter will come, with its snow and showers, 

And blight the daisies' bloom ; 
And the humming bee in its nest will cower 

When the fire-flies lit the gloom, 
And the song birds chirp 'mong the woodlands sere, 
O'er the hoary rocks, and the moorlands drear. 

And the flashing stream will be frozen o'er, 

And the shivering trout will shrink 
As the wind sweeps past with sullen roar, 

And snow wi'eaths heap the brink. 
Thus beauty lives like a fleeting ray 
That is flashed from the eye of the golden day. 

And thine will fade, and thy speaking eye 

Will dim as time sweeps on ; 
And thy graceful form, so stately high, 

Will bend when the summer is gone ; 
Then, then you will think of the merciless blow 
That laid the young hopes of a true heart low. 

And the wind and the rain, the frost and the snow 

Will beat on thy withering cheek ; 
And the sprightly step of the long ago 

Will be changed for the slow and weak ; 
Then, then will you think of the bard, and the hour 
When depression grim ruled with tyrant power. 



137 



Then think, maiden, think, ere the dying day 

Is lost, and for ever gone ; 
Let thy proud eye flash one pitying ray 

On the path of the weary and lone ; 
'Tis the task of beauty to soothe and heal, 
Then listen, O listen to a last appeal. 



TO THE RISING SUN. 

GLORIOUS orb of the eastern sky, 
Pouring thy rich and golden light 

On fields, and meadows, and mountains high, 
Chasing the dreary sullen night, 

Waking the lark on the dewy lea, 

Where, O where can thy bright home be ? 

Darting thy rays through the dark recess, 
Flashing along o'er the ocean vast, 

Deeper dyeing the daisy's dress, 

Kissing the brooklet wimpling past, 

Dancing in beauty gay and free, 

Where, O where can thy bright home be] 

Waking the life of the slumbering town, 
Catching a smile from the maiden's eye, 

Telling the hare on the lonely down 

That the sportsman's dog is hovering nigh, 

Chasing dark shadows from stream and sea, 

Where, O where can thy bright home be ? 

Calling glad songs from the speckled thrush, 
While it mocks the tones of the passer by, 

Halting the stag on his onward rush, 
To gaze with his soft and dewy eye, 

Rousing the hum of the labouring bee, 

Where, O where can thy bright home be 1 



Piercing the clouds with a fiery dart, 

As they lazily sail through the summer sky, 

And the spotted trout from the waters start 
To catch the buzzing, glittering fly, 

Gilding the top of the greenwood tree, 

Where, O where can thy bright home be ? 

All nature is glad with thy beaming smile, 
And life starts fresh from thy magic hand, 

How I long to stay with thee awhile, 
Away, far away in thy happy land, 

Where my cares may cease and my sorrows flee, 

Then say, O say, can I dwell with thee. 

Answers the lord of the golden day, 
My home is fixed in the starry sky, 

My yellow light is a borrowed ray 

From One who reigns and rules on high 

From One who bled and died for thee, 

Now say, O say, will you dwell with me. 

Go, O go where the bright flowers bloom, 
Where the waters glide o'er the golden sand. 

But first you must pass through the lonely tomb 
Ere you reach that soft and smiling land, 

Then turn. O turn away from me 

To Him who longs and looks for thee. 



TWO MEETINGS. 

TO J. G. C. G. 

FIRST, where brilliant lamps are swinging, 

And the sparkling jewels shine, 
And the clash of music ringing 

Through the clustering wreaths of pine : 
Where bright yoiith and maiden blushing, 

Ply the dance with nimble feet, 
And the breath from red lips gushing, 

Fills the air with stifling heat. 



139 

There I saw her like a faiiy 

Dropped from out the starry sky, 
Robed in white, so light and airy, 

Like a sunbeam pass me by. 
Transfixed I stood for full one minute. 

Gazing, wondering, doubting when 
The music ceased, and all was silent 

Save the whispering of the men. 

Then I watched her gliding lightly, 

Like a bird with pinions spread, 
And her dark eye flashing brightly 

In her gi-aceful, poised head. 
Oft I thought on that fair vision, 

Sometimes sleeping, oft awake ; 
Though I had but little reason, 

Yet I thought mv heart would break. 



1 stood beside a castle hoary, 

Sinking 'neath the weight of years. 
Pondering o'er the ancient story, 

Lo ! the vision there appears. 
Like a flash of glory streaming 

From the radiant summer sky, 
Health and love and beauty beaming 

[n her dark and glorious eye. 

And the sunbeams lightly kissed her : 

Laverocks carolled anthems sweet ; 
Angels hovered near and blessed her : 

Gowans blossomed at her feet. 
And the spirit of the mountains, 

And the nymph among the trees. 
And the naiad of the fountains, 

Borne in the stmimer breeze. 



uo 

Joined in one glad welcome greeting, 

Cue glad song to nature's queen ; 
This was all the second meeting 

On the dewy castle green ; 
Only that she smiled and bowing, 

Said good morning passing by, 
And I felt my bosom glowing 

With a file that cannot die. 

I wondered oft that if, when parting 

She observed my eager eye, 
Or the tell-tale blood that starting, 

Flushed my cheek as she passed by. 
Yes, she saw it, but she never, 

Never smiled on me again : 
And the fire that lives forever 

Only lives to live in vain. 



PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. 

DIM shadows, dark shadows are creeping 
O'er mountain, o'er moorland, and tree, 

Aye steadily, stealthily creeping 
Away o'er the heaving sea, 

Shutting out the gleam of the sunshine. 
And the love of the past from me. 

A light betimes of glimmering sheen 
Glints through from the days of yore, 

And throws a ray on the gulf between, 
Where the mists lie evermore, 

And with shaded eyes and stretched neck 
I peer at the other shore, 

And clutch ; but a spectre waves me back, 
And points through the gloom below, 

Tracing a shadowy twilight track, 
As the mists wreath to and fro ; 

Yet there's spots of white in that bloated track, 
That were left long, long ago. 



Hi 

Ha ! laugh, false friends ! they were made by me 

Ere that yawning gulf was crossed ; 
But I met a demon worse than thee ; 

'Twas then that the white was lost ; 
And the sun, the moon, and the stars grew dark 

When that fiend was loved the most. 

Then mock me not. It was it, not I, 

That blasted the budding flower. 
It was it that glanced at the sunlit sky 

When the clouds began to lower ; 
And the past grew dim, and the shadows fell, 

When I fell in the demon's power. 

And the pangs. Oh ! the pang that wrung my heart, 

As the darkness shrouded me ; 
And I pulled in vain at the venomed dart, 

Then laughed with a maniac's glee ; 
But the hour, the hour came all too soon, 

And I wept that it set me free. 

There is a joy in the wild, wide heath, 

Though the sky be dark above, 
When the smothered sigh and the balmy breath 

Of those that we fondly love 
Are breathed. Ah ! blessed angel hours 

That the world knows not of. 

But they're false, yes, false, and the heated brain 

Grows weary at the sight ; 
But the day will come when the truth again 

In might will assert its right, 
And the sun will burst through the gathering gloom 

In a gleam of eternal light. 

Then, then will the fame of the high-souled one 

Sound loud o'er the floods of day ; 
And the bard wild sing, when the false are gone, 

That the true heart won the fray, 
And that love and genius smiled on it, 

A smile that will last for aye. 



142 
TO L 1 X Z 1 E. 

LADY, I have often loved, aud felt its tyrant sway ; 

But when the magic chain had snapped, and all had passed 

away, 

I thought a gentle maiden's smile, with all its witching art, 
Could never more disturb my peace, or agitate my heart. 

How vain the thought ! 1 love again far deeper than before 
A love, dear maid, that burned itself into my bosom's core ; 
I tried to quench the living spark ere yet it reached a flame, 
Alas, these humble verses tell my efforts were in vain. 

I love thee with a love, sweet one, no words could ere 

express ; 

My other loves fled like a dream, and left no deep impress ; 
But thou art fairer, lovelier, far than all the rest combined, 
The brightest flower on Livet's banks, the gem of womankind. 

Thy dark and glorious eye, sweet Liz., that beams so soft and 

bright, 

I've often watched, unseen by you, with feelings of delight ; 
In dreams thy ripe and dewy lips have oft by me been prest, 
And, sighing, clasped thy lovely form with rapture to my 

breast. 

If I had lands or glittering gold, I'd lay them at thy shrine ; 
But I have nothing but a heart a heart that's wholly thine. 
Say, could you love me, darling one ? Smile soft, and 

answer yes, 
And make the present happiness, the future shine with bliss. 

My heart is throbbing like to burst O ! do not say me nay. 
I've often braved the frowns of fate in many a gloomy day ; 
But, O ! I could not stand a frown shot from the hazel eye 
That I love better than my life, or aught beneath the sky. 

My nerv'less hand hath dropped the pen, and utterance now 

hath fled, 
One word alone escapes my lips, all other thoughts are dead ; 



143 

That word I'll sing, though I should roam o'er many a land 

and sea, 
And murmur with my latest breath, I love but thee, but 

thee. 



THE FLOWER OF FIDDOCHSIDE. 

AWAKE, awake, my slumbering muse, 
Why would'st thou idly dream 

When Maggie's charms remain unsung. 
And love's the gentle theme 1 

Awake, and sing one flowing verse, 
And strike the chords with pride, 

For Maggie was the brightest flower- 
E'er bloomed on Fiddochside. 

The splendour of her matchless eye, 

So lovely and divine, 
Would dim the brightest star that shines. 

Or diamond from the mine. 

Her dewy lips, so ripe and red, 
Oh ! could I press them now, 

And clasp her gently to my breast. 
And breathe again the vow 

That last I whispered in yon glen, 

Then sighed a sad farewell : 
And that that vow hath aye been kept 

My aching heart can tell. 

And though she's wandered far away, 
And crossed the foaming tide ; 

Yet still my heart for Maggie beats. 
The flower of Fiddochside. 



144 
A BATTLE FI ELD. 

HARK ! do you hear that dismal boom, 

Like peals of distant thunder ! 
It comes with the speed of a lightning flash 

When rocks are rent asunder. 

Nearer it comes, and nearer still, 
Hark, hark ! to the maddening cry ; 

Now all is silent again it bursts 
In sounds that rend the sky. 

See, see ! advancing across the plain 

A dark red mass of men, 
And look ! on the left, with the speed of the wind, 

Comes the fleet artillery train. 

But who are they on the distant heights, 

Sullenly drawing back 1 
'Tis the foreign foe that hath felt the force 

Of the British rifle's ci~ack. 

But another sight meets the startled gaze ; 

Look on the crimsoned ground 
Where the mangled bodies of friends and foes 

Are thickly strewn around, 

Who, an hour before, were full of life, 

And patriot's hopes were high, 
With a deathless name on the page of fame, 

Ne'er thinking death was nigh. 

The tyrant grim, with his iron grasp. 

Seized each one in his turn, 
Leaving the fatherless child to weep, 

The widowed mother to mourn. 

And this is the pomp and pride of war, 

This the reward of the brave, 
Who have followed the fleeting phantom Fame, 

To find in the end a grave. 



145 
LIFE. 

LIFE is a fitful fevered dream, 
A bubble in time's mighty stream 

That moves but for a day, 
Then bursts and mingles with the waves, 
And nought remains but silent graves, 

Containing shapeless clay. 

The mightiest minds e'er known to fame, 
Where are they now ? there's but a name 

Last mark of all their pride 
That bubbles brighter than the rest, 
Had skimmed awhile the ocean's breast, 

Then sank beneath the tide. 

The highest honours, wealth, and power, 
Are but the pleasures of an hour, 

And all the earth can give, 
Like morning vapours melt away, 
When rises bright the orb of day 

The soul can only live. 

Men's titles, be they e'er so high, 
Or yet the glance of beauty's eye, 

Cannot avert the thrust ; 
When the destroyer 'gins to ride 
He sti'ikes the mightiest in their pride, 

And bids the heartstrings burst. 

Then what is Life, if noiight but this, 
An hour of woe, an hour of bliss, 

Then in oblivion rest ; 
If higher hopes had ne'er been given, 
Of vast eternity in heaven, 

What thoughts would fill our breast ? 

When all the empires of the past 
Shall wake when thrills the trumpet's blast, 
With trembling and with fear, 



146 

And through the air red meteors roll, 
That shake the earth from pole to pole- 
Then, then, man's doom is near. 

And Time itself shall fade away, 
And yet the soul know no decay 

In happiness or woe ; 
The anthems of the just shall rise, 
And echo through the trembling skies 

When time hath ceased to flow. 

Then gaze beyond this transient shade, 
Where happiness but blooms to fade, 

And pleasures ever fly, 
And fix upon the distant goal, 
The home of the immortal soul, 

And be prepared to die. 



THE END. 






University of California 

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which It was borrowed. 












Form L9- 



3 1158 00238 2462 




A 000994217