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most picturesque scenery we and in the centre of all, the giant especially in those unfrequented and forms of the Stones of Stennis, the remote localities which it was our for- presiding deities of the place, as imtune to explore.
pressive, perhaps, in this bleak and Our northern voyage was stormy, barren waste, as the lofty columns, and presented no feature of interest, whose graceful shafts and sculptured until we got into the boiling tide of capitals still tower over the ruins of the Pentland Firth, and afterwards Balbec, in the brighter landscape of into those smooth and sheltered arms a warmer clime, and under the golden of the sea that wind among the Orca- glow of a southern sky. dian Archipelago. Bebold us at length Those who have a passion for climbanchored in the tranquil waters of the ing, or a fondness for extensive prosBay of Stromness, guarded by the pects of sea and island, may, in the green island of Graemsay, with its long days of summer, take boat from white strand and twin lighthouses, be- Stromness, early in the morning, land yond which towers the lofty Hill of on the island of Hoy, ascend the Hoy. A few hundred yards from our Ward Hill, the highest summit in the anchorage lies the town of Stromness, Orkneys, and return to Stromness the built at the foot of a sloping hill, and same evening. Far in the recesses of presenting a confused assemblage of the mountain, in a gloomy and rock. narrow streets and tall old houses, strewn valley, lies the Dwarfie Stone whose peaked gables face the bay, into a huge mass of rock hollowed out into which juts out a perfect medley of a rude dwelling, which Trolld, a dwarf quays and landing - places, affording celebrated in the northern sagas, is every facility for the encouragement of said to have formed for himself, and the nautical tastes of the inhabi. selected as his favourite residence. tants.
Kirkwall, the capital of the OrkAbout four miles from Stromness is
neys, is about fourteen miles distant an extensive sheet of water, called the from Stromness. The road between the Loch of Stennis, and, close to it, se- two places is excellent, but the scenery parated only by a narrow neck of most dreary, with the exception of the land, through which flows a stream pretty Bay of Firth, and a sheltered connecting the two lakes, lies the valley near it, in which are a handLoch of Harray. Not far from the some modern house and some wellhigh road, and at one extremity of cultivated fields. Between the prothis tongue of land, stands the mag- montories of Inganess and Quanternificent druidical circle of the Stones
ness, protected by the opposite island of Stennis, still earthfast and entire, in of Shapinsay, lies a deep and beautiful spite of the storms of two thousand bay, at the bottom of which stands winters. Close to these stones are several the town of Kirkwall. The Cathedral circular grass-grown tumuli, probably of St. Magnus, built in the twelfth the last resting-places of distinguished century, and still in perfect preservaOrcadian and Norwegian chiefs or tion, is alone well worthy of a voyage princes, not likely to be disturbed, un- to the Orkneys. Its tall, massive form less silly curiosity, or restless craving dominates over the other buildings-fit for distinction, shall induce some pry- type of the relative positions of the ing antiquarian to invade even this re- Church and the laity at the time when mote spot. The Stones of Stennis are it was reared. It is built of a reddish of various sizes, and form a circle of sandstone, and in the heaviest and about four hundred feet in circumfe- earliest style of Gothic architecture. rence; some of them do not rise above The first view of the interior is very four or five feet from the ground, whilst striking. There is no screen between the largest is seventeen feet in height. the nave and choir, no seats or galleTheir aspect, rude, grey, time-worn, ries, nothing to break the uninterrupted but strong and massive, harmonises view from end to end; and the massive admirably with the character of the and unadorned pillars, that for nearly scenery in the midst of which they eight hundred years have supported the stand. Those leaden lakes, their sur- lofty roof, possess an impressive characface unbroken by islands, their shores ter of strength and simplicity. All unfringed by trees; that wide extent around the cathedral there
are passages of level and dreary moor sloping up in the thickness of the walls, whence the in the distance into low, shapeless hills; priests (themselves unseen) could look down on the worshippers below, and lantic, the sea became much calmer. in one place there is a secret chamber Hoy Head is a magnificent promontoin which a chained skeleton was disco- ry, formed by a spur of the lofty Ward vered.
Hill, which heredips down into the ocean Kirkwall possesses another interest- a sheer precipice, five hundred feet in ing relic of the past, in Earl Patrick's height, protracted to the southward Palace. At present it is in a filthy for miles, an iron wall of rock-bound statė, being used as a place for keep- coast, gradually diminishing in height. ing geese and poultry of all kinds. At a short distance from Hoy Head, We heard, however, that there was and a little in front of the cliffs, an an intention of repairing or rebuilding isolated rock, called the “ Old Man of it for a town house. If so, it is to be Hoy,” rises abruptly from the sea, hoped that the repairs will exhibit sometimes seeming to blend with the better taste than those which have precipices behind; at other times been perpetrated upon St. Magnus' standing out in strong relief. Cathedral, where some of the pinna- During the whole day we had light cles of the modern restorers are per- and variable winds, with occasional feetly hideous, resembling chimney calms, though there was a good deal cans, with inverted flowerpots placed of sea on, till we had quite closed in on the top of them; and yet they might with the land ; in consequence of easily have copied the original pinna- which we did not reach our anchorage, eles, which still remain, and are very a sheltered bay in Loch Erribol, about beautiful. Well, indeed, might Sir sixty miles distant from Stromness, Walter Scott observe, whilst describ- until late in the night. The view of ing the earl's and bishop's palaces at the mountains on the coast, and in the Kirkwall :" Several of these ruinous interior, as we approached the land, buildings might be selected (under was exceedingly striking. In Caithness suitable modifications) as the model of we saw Morven, and in Sutherland. a Gothic mansion, provided architects shire Ben Griam-more, Klibrick, Ben would be contented rather to imitate Laoghal, Ben Hope, and many other what is really beautiful in that species lofty summits, whose names we did of building, than to make a medley of not kno The entrance to the Kyles the caprices of the order, confounding of Tongue, to the eastward of Loch the military, ecelesiastical, and domes- Erribol, is very picturesque. In the tic styles of all ages at random, with opening of this arm of the sea lie numeadditional fantasies and combinations rous small islands, behind which is a of their own device, all formed out of safe anchorage, and beyond tower the the builder's brain."
lofty and serrated peaks of Ben LaEarly on a fine July morning we oghal, the most conspicuous object in got under way, and left the Bay of the landscape. We were much imStromness, bound for Loch Erribol, pressed by the grandeur of the white on the north coast of Scotland. The cliffs on our left, as we entered Loch wind was light; but on getting into Erribol; lofty, pointed, and precithe Roost of Brackness, as the narrow pitous, they form an admirable landchannel between the Island of Hoy mark for the storm-tossed mariner, and the mainland of Orkney is termed, and point out the entrance to aquiet we found ourselves all at once in the haven. midst of a tremendous sea, pitching On emerging from our berths in the bowsprit under, and the spray flying morning, we were delighted with the over our deck. We had started with beauty of the landscape in the vicinity the ebb tide, and there had been a of our anchorage—a deep bay, at the westerly breeze for some days, and it foot of a steep range of hills, covered was the meeting of the westerly swell with the greenest pasture, broken up with the tide, which runs nine miles an here and there by grey rocks. A narrow hour in the narrow channel of the neck of land, terminating in a grassy Roost, that caused the commotion promontory, lay between us and the sea; which so much astonished us. How- on this stood a solitary house, called Hie. ever, as soon as we had rounded Hoy Jam Inn, occupied by a canny Celt namHead, and got fairly out into the At- ed Hector M.Lean, exercising the joint
See “ Pirate."
trades of ferryman and innkeeper, On reaching the yacht I found that whose hereditary caution and shrewd. her owner, who had parted from me on ness in driving a bargain have been the banks of the Hope, to find his way wonderfully sharpened by many years round by the shore of Loch Erribol, of traffic with the crews of the nume- had not yet returned, nor did he make rous storm-bound vessels that find re- his appearance for some time. He fuge in Loch Erribol. Towards the had lost his way, got involved amongst head of the Loch, an island, green as bogs and precipices, and at length aran emerald, with a narrow strip of the rived thoroughly tired, and intensely whitest sand marking the boundary disgusted with the state of the foot. between the verdure and the water, paths in this part of Sutherlandshire. seemed to stretch almost across the Next day the weather still continued lake; a little beyond, on the eastern bright and fair, but a perfect hurri. shore, a bold headland, half green and cane of wind was blowing from the half rocky, rose abruptly from the south-west. I walked across the hills strand; behind it stretched a level to Loch Hope, not without considertract of barren moorland, whilst the able difficulty from the violence of the distance was closed in by a lofty chain storm. Loch Hope fills up a narrow of bleak and sterile mountains. The ravine, about six miles in length, and upper part of these mountains is lite- at its southern extremity is a deep rally "herbless granite," strewed with gorge hemmed in by mountains of picdetached masses of rock, which have turesque and varied forms. Down been torn off by the winter storms. this gorge, and along the narrow Of vegetation there is not a trace ; channel of the Loch, the wind was but
rushing in heavy gusts, with a noise "All is lonely, silent, rude ,
like thunder, raising the water in coA stern yet glorious solitude."
lumns of spray, fifteen or twenty feet About a mile distant from Loch Er. high, and whirling them with immense ribol across the hills, or a couple of velocity from end to end of the lake, miles by the road, lies Loch Hope ; so that when the sun occasionally shone between the two runs the river Hope, out on them, it seemed as if fragments which has a broad, full current, but a of a rainbow were drifting along the course not much exceeding a mile in waters. length. It is celebrated as a first-rate By far the grandest feature in the salmon river. On inquiring, we found landscape is the magnificent solitary that the fishings were let; however, as mountain of Ben Hope, which rears there was no means of procuring per- its lofty form, scarred and furrowed mission without sending a long distance by storms and torrents, 3,500 feet for it, I determined to walk across
above the lake. Its shape and geneand fish, until I was stopped by the ral appearance reminded me forcibly keeper, taking only a small trouting- of that most beautiful of isolated moun. rod, and light tackle. The day was tains, Arrigal, in the north-west of a most unfavourable one for my pur- Ireland. But the quiet lakes which lie pose-bright and warm, with scarcely a sleeping at its base, and the wooded breath of air. I soon, however, caught,
and fertile domain of Dunlui, are cerin Loch Hope, a couple of fine sea tainly more attractive than the wild trout, and afterwards, in the river shores of Loch Hope. below, a grilse, four pounds weight, Close to our anchorage and almost when my sport was for some time in. on the edge of the water, stood the terrupted by a fine salmon, which rose ruins of a small church; the gables to a sea-trout fly, and succeeded, after only remain entire, and the interior is a struggle of ten minutes, in breaking choked up with a thick growth of fern. my flimsy tackle, and making off down All over Sutherlandshire the ruins of stream. On refitting, I again set to small hamlets and scattered cottages work, and soon succeeded in getting a are to be found ; and a melancholy weighty basketful of sea trout, with sight it is, to meet in the recesses of which I trudged back to the yacht. the mountain valleys with sbattered From what I saw, I have no doubt that walls and green patches here and there the Hope fully deserves its reputa- appearing
amongst the heather, showtion, and can believe that 10,000 lbs. ing that cultivation and life had once of salmon were taken out of it in a existed where now are only the grouse single season.
and the red deer. The cause of all this was the introduction of the sheep. At some distance inwards from the enfarming system into the county, to trance, a small stream falls through a make room for which the small farmers rift in the rocky roof of the cavern, and cotters who occupied the straths and forms a deep, still pool in its bo. and valleys, were ejected from their som, more than seventy feet below. holdings and compelled to emigrate. This basin is thirty yards across, very The population is at present very deep, and is separated from a smaller much smaller than formerly; and it and outer pool by a low, narrow ledge has, in consequence, been found ex- of rock, over which those who desire ceedingly difficult to procure a suffi. to penetrate into the recesses of the cient number of able-bodied men to cave, must get a boat listed and placed fill up the ranks of the Sutherlandshire in the inner pool. On crossing this, militia.
they will find themselves at the enWe were detained for five days in trance of a low-browed narrow archLoch Erribol, and were twice driven way, not above three feet in height, back in attempting to beat round through which they must pass lying Cape Wrath. Our supplies of bread flat in the boat. From this they ran short, and we found, to our dis- emerge under a lofty vault covered may, that the nearest baker lived with stalactites, overbanging a second thirty miles off_rather a long distance dark, still pool, nearly as extensive as to send for hot rolls. In other re- that which they have just left ; and, if spects we bad nothing to complain of. inclined to penetrate still further, they We bought half a sheep from Mr. may then walk on to the termination Clarke of Erribol, an extensive sheep of the cave, about a hundred feet befarmer, deservedly famed for his hos- yond the further extremity of this pitality to strangers-a virtue almost innermost lake. There is a spot, s universal in Sutherlandshire. For eggs few yards distant from the high road, we paid fourpence a dozen, and for where you may stand upon the roof of cream fourpence a pint-prices that the cavern, a deep chasm on either would rather astonish a Londoner. A side ; through one of those chasms the week might be passed here most plea- stream that supplies the silent, sunless santly; devoting one day to Loch pools below, leaps into the cave. Hope and the ascent of Ben Hope, At last the weather perniitted us to from which, in clear weather, may leave our snug anchorage in Loch Erbe seen the island of Lewis to tbe ribol. For some time after starting west, the Orkneys to the north-east, the wind was favourable, but when and the principal mountains of Caith- we had rounded the noble promontory ness and Sutherland. Another day of Far-out-Head, it became light and might be spent in a visit to the Kyles baffling, and for several hours we lay of Tongue and to Tongue House, a tossing on the long swell, and making seat of the Duke of Sutherland's; a little or no way. We had taken the third in exploring the wild mountains precaution of getting a good offing, at the head of Loch Erribol; and a and were, consequently, pretty much fourth in a fishing excursion to Loch out of the influence of the strong Maddie, famed for the number and tides that prevail near Cape Wrath; excellence of its trout. Whiten Head, but we saw a large brig in shore of us with the fine caves close to it, would swept helplessly back by the current occupy a fifth; and a visit to the for miles to the eastward. The coast Smowe Cave, a short distance to the line of cliffs near Whiten Head, Farwestward of Loch Erribol, would fill out-Head, and Cape Wrath, is magup the sixth. Our last day was spent nificent. Many of the precipices are in an examination of this singular na- two hundred feet perpendicular, and tural curiosity. The cave may be some of them as much as seven hunreached either by a pathway leading dred. From the Kyles of Durness an from the high road, or by the sea, iron face of rugged rock overhangs the from which the approach is by a nar- sea, gradually increasing in height and row creek, between precipitous walls grandeur until it attains its culminatof rock. The entrance is under a ing point in the bold headland of Cape lofty arch, like the portal of some im. Wrath, whose stern aspect we had mense Gothic cathedral, and within ample opportunities for admiring; as the cave expands to a height and however we lay within sight of it for breadth of nearly one hundred feet. nearly a whole day, our admiration was · werged in disgust, and we heartily were, therefore, obliged to hire a boat wished ourselves out of sight of this from a man of the name of M•Lean, cape of storms.
and on repairing to his house on the Early on the morning of a bright banks of the river we found him waitJuly day we were off the Point of ing for us; we accordingly followed Store, some thirty miles south of Cape his guidance, and embarked in the Wrath, with the wind still light; but craft which belonged to him. Both about ten o'clock a fine breeze from man and boat were of the same build, the north-west sprang up, and carried the former broad in the beam as a us along at a great rate, all sails set, Dutchman, and the latter a heavy, and everything drawing. About four clumsy affair, strong enough to navio'clock, after a fine run, we entered gate the Pentland Firth instead of the Loch Ewe, and came to anchor near
calm waters of an inland sea. We the beautiful village of Pool Ewe, at rowed up the Ewe for some distance the head of the loch.
before entering the lake, having on If the reader will take the trouble our right fine grey crags, thickly to look at the map of Scotland, he will clothed with natural wood, and on our see that an almost uninterrupted range lest, a comparatively tame shore. The of mountains extends along the coast entrance to Loch Maree is very impresfrom Ben Dearg, south of Cape Wrath, sive; on one side is a steep and lofty to Loch Ewe. That mountain chain mountain, on the other precipitous is more varied in outline, and more rocks partially wooded - the lake bestriking and picturesque in appearance, tween being narrow and deep. Furthan any other in Great Britain. The ther on it expands into a spacious summits vary in height from two thou. sheet of water, apparently closed in by sand to three thousand five hundred a cluster of wooded islands, separated feet--the highest is Ben More in As by a number of narrow winding chansynt; the most singular Slivean, or nels. The wood on one of these islets the Sugar-Loaf. Winding, amongst has nearly disappeared, owing to some these mountains, and extending up to excisemen having set fire to it whilst the openings of the narrow valleys that engaged in destroying an illicit still. divide them, and afford a channel for As we advanced, a magnificent valley, their waters, are a multitude of arms terminated by a noble range of serof the sea, many of them of great rated peaks, gradually opened up on beauty, and affording to the yachtsman the south-west shore of the loch, a choice of safe and convenient har- whilst, on the opposite bank, the gibours. From one of these salt-water gantic form of Sliobach towered above lochs, Loch Glen Dhu, £30,000 worth the neighbouring mountains. of herrings were taken in a single year. We landed on the Island of St.
Close to the shore, and a little way Maree, which is thickly clothed with south of Loch Laxford, lies the singular birch and the common and smoothisland of Handa, in many respects leaved holly. In the centre of a thicket, more wonderful than Staffa. On the are a few mossed and mouldering tombnorth-west side it presents stupendous stones, bearing the symbol of the cliffs, six hundred feet perpendicular, cross; under one of these slumber the the haunts of myriads of sea fowl. ashes of a Duke of Norway. Here, as at Stafla, may be seen ba- Loch Maree is about twenty-four saltic columns, but those of Handa are miles in length, but we did not pro. peculiar to it, being arranged in hori. ceed above half way to Kinloch-Ewe, zontal layers, and presenting an ap. where it terminates, and where its dark pearance as if built by the hand of man. and narrow waters seem almost over
At Loch Ewe we were more within hung by precipitous mountains. The the beaten track of tourists than we weather was beautiful during the whole had been since leaving the Moray day, clear, bright, and warm, so that Firth. Our first care was, of course, we saw Loch Maree to the best advanto make arrangements for visit to tage; but we both agreed, judging the far-famed Loch Maree, by many from what we had seen, that, though a deemed the queen of Scottish lakes. noble sheet of water, studded with is. The short course of the River Ewe is lands and surrounded by mountains, it too much broken by shallows and ra. is inferior in grandeur to the head of pids to adınit of boats being pulled up Loch Awe, and in picturesque beauty from the sea to Loch Maree. We to Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine.