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with St. Boniface, he shared the labours of that saint in the northern regions, and, dying in extreme age, was buried in the church of St. Boniface, Rosemarkie. It is probable that Mortlach was one of the 'chief monasteries of Alba, while Cloveth (Clova) was one of secondary importance, and subject to Mortlach. There may yet be seen the remains of a ruined church at Cloveth (now Clova), and close to it a well called in the district Simmerhiak (St. Moluak), a name which preserves the connection of Cloveth with the mother church of Mortlach."
"Glen Fiddoch has been classed among the most beautiful in Scotland. It is broad, the hills rise gently all around, and by persevering industry the husbandmen have converted all their lower slopes into cornland. Above and beyond the farms 'brown heath and shaggy wood' meet the sky. There seems to be ho escape from the valley but over mountain-tops, the lowest of which seem to be 1000 feet above the bottom of the valley. The Convals on the one side, three dome-shaped hills, with Benrinnes (2750 feet) standing like a giant on their further end, the Hills of Glenfiddoch and Balloch on the other, and Ben Aigan (1582 feet) before us, completely shut in the view, and make us fancy we stand upon a beautiful green oasis surrounded by a desert of heath - clad mountains. — Elgin Courant.
From the top of Benrinnes on a clear day you might see the Grampian Hills to the south, the romantic valley and Hills of Glenavon to the west, the mountains of Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness to the north, and many miles along the shores of Moray and Banff. From Ben Aigan, which lies further out into the low country, and nearer the sea, there is also a very fine view.
From Dufftown Station to Craigellachie Junction the length of the line down the Fiddoch side is nearly four miles. We have the river mostly on our right, though we also cross and recross it. Among the many comfortablelooking houses we pass, Kininvie is conspicuous. We look down upon it from the line, which, in front of it,
occupies a ledge or platform some 30 feet above the water of the river, and winds along the brae-faces that overhang the stream. A more charming spot than Kininvie could scarcely be conceived. "The house stands on a gently rising ground at no great elevation above the water. It has a castellated appearance, and has been built at various times, one part of it being of great antiquity, as is shown by an antique spiral staircase, built perhaps before the Earl of Athole granted a charter to a John Leslie of Kininvie in 1521. The house was enlarged and improved about the year 1840, but it still retains the appearance of an edifice of the olden time." In spring, when the wild cherry-trees, or geans, which surround it, are in full flower, and their rich white blossom shows against the bursting buds of the woods that clotho the hill behind it, the fine old mansion looks most attractive.
Kininvie is said to have been honoured by a visit from that merrie King James who delighted to wander about his dominion in the guise of a "Gaberlunzie man." The story, as handed down, may be shortly told somewhat thus:—
The Beggar Of Kininvie.
On a fine morning during the reign of James V., a caravan of tinkers was suddenly brought to a halt on the banks of the Fiddoch, in consequence of their leading donkey making a determined stand in the middle of the stream. Simultaneously agentleman.well mounted on a beautiful white steed, appeared, making for the same ford, and behind him came a person whose square-built frame and burly appearance might have fitted him for a better and more honourable occupation than begging. Yet beggar he evidently was, down to the unmistakable meal-pock. The bray of the tinker's donkey, and the screams of its owner, frightened the gentleman's horse, which, in spite of all his rider could do to restrain him, turned and began to retrace his steps with rather more speed than he had advanced, and, had not the beggar interfered, would very soon have landed its owner at Balvenie Castle. The beggar man arrested the steed, and led it past the donkeys to the other side of the stream. The gentleman stopped to reward the beggar, who took the opportunity of giving him some advice as to the management of his horse. This the rider resented, saying, that when Balvenie wanted lessons in horsemanship he would seek them elsewhere than from a beggar. "Well, ye are wrang there, Balvenie though you be," replied the beggar, "for advice shud aye be received according to its quality, an' wantin' ony reference to the position o' the giver o't, futher he be king or beggar." This further advice, however, was thrown away upon Balvenie, who had already ridden off for Alnacroich, whither the beggar and the tinker followed, there being a marriage there that day.
Besides these there were many other beggars there, and all seemed to recognise each other except the sturdy beggar, who was welcomed with no kindly greeting. He seemed, however, to care as little for his companions as they did for him, and returned a bold and haughty stare to the inquiring glances that were turned upon him, and defiantly took up his position in the very centre of them, and joked and chatted as freely as if no indication of bad feeling had been exhibited.
Dinner over, came the "scran" or scrimmage for the broken meat thrown out to the crowd assembled outside. Every one seized what he could, in which process our beggar was so successful that a number of the others set upon him with their cudgels. He defended himself, knocking several of his assailants down, till his staff was broken and he was obliged to save himself further injury by flight . He crossed the Fiddoch, and was proceeding along the haugh below the old castle, on the Kininvie side, when he was overtaken by a heavy shower, which drove him to take shelter under the branches of a wide-spreading tree. Sitting here, he soon saw a cripple, a beggar like himself, running as fast as his limp would let him. "Where are ye gaen at sic a
rate, man, in sic a mcht as this?" "To Alnacroich," replied the cripple, "an' I'm feart I'll be ahin the marriage." "0, an' that be it, ye needna be in siccan a hurry; for, gin they dinna be kinder to you than they war to me, ye'l l be better to be deeing wi' me till the shower gang o'er, an' I'se gie ye a share o' fat I got, though it cost me sair banes to get it."
The cripple sat down; the beggar handed him one of two fowls he had secured, and they proceeded to eat in silence, till the cripple made a sudden exclamation at seeing a piece of gold in his fowl. This led to an altercation, our beggar claiming it as his. From words to blows, and the cripple got a good thrashing, but was allowed to keep the gold. The cripple went on to the marriage, and our beggar to Kininvie. His personal appearance had not been improved by the two scuffles he had come through, so that when he reached Kininvie House, entered the kitchen, and drawing a chair near to the fire, sat coolly down, it was no wonder that the big fat cook was irritated at his impudence. . She shook her spit in his face, and at the top of her masculine voice ordered him, "for an ugly thief, to be gone wi' him, for there was no room for him there." A fierce altercation in words ensued, the beggar having the best of it, till at last the cook went and informed the laird of what was going on. "Tuts," said the laird, "see, here's a penny to him, and take breath, Meggy, and then tell him quietly to gang awa' ; the wind, I think, is some doon now."
When Meggy came back to the kitchen she found the beggar seated fairly in front of the fire, with his legs stretched out on either side, so that she could not get near it. This incensed her so much that she broke out worse than before, and the new altercation ended in another appeal to the laird, who this time returned with her to the kitchen. '' My housekeeper and you dinna seem to agree, man," said the laird. "Na, awyte wi' dinna that, and I dinna winner at it, for she is the ugliest and warst-tongued hizzie ever I saw. I kenna how ye can pit up wi' her ava." Inviting the beggar to follow him, the laird led the way to the door, but our friend positively refused to go out in such a night alone.
Now it had so happened that a few months before this time a brother of Gordon of Edinglassie's had committed some crime, but had contrived under cover of his brother's protection to elude justice, and so it occurred to Leslie that the beggar was probably some one in search of the criminal, for he hardly expected a common beggar to conduct himself as he had done, and so, at once altering his demeanour towards him, he said, "Well then, friend, I suppose you will require to come and keep Mrs. Leslie and me in company since you are so determined, for Meggy and you, I see, cannot agree;" and he accordingly led the way to his parlour, where they met with but a surly reception from the lady, who felt insulted by the appearance of her guest. But as the conversation went on, it soon became apparent that, whether he was beggar or not, he possessed far more information and manners than is usually to be found among the class to which he professed to belong; and, as this served to confirm the laird's suspicions, a sumptuous supper was soon provided, and before night the greatest of fun and fellowship existed among them. Early next moming, the beggar appeared in a new character; he was clad in a green hunting dress and all the fashionable equipments of the period, and most politely requested Kininvie to get a letter sent to Gordon of Edinglassie. This, of course, gave force to his former suspicions, and he readily found a messenger, sending his most confidential servant off, with orders to hasten with all possible speed. The messenger arrived before Gordon had got out of bed, and, as he had given orders that he was not to be disturbed before a certain hour, and that hour was not yet come, none of his servants would venture to arouse him, for fear of the halter which he was in the habit of using on very little provocation. At last an old and privileged housekeeper was prevailed upon to enter his bedroom with the despatch, and dreadful
were the imprecations and threats with which he assailed her, until he had broken the seal and seen who was his correspondent, when he suddenly sat up and ordered that the bearer should be instantly sent into his presence. Before ho had well entered, Gordon demanded "where he had gotten this." "Frae Kininvie, sir." "Aye, you've had strangers last night?" "Na, deil ane had we." "Tuts, man, mind yourself I" "Na, fint ane ; for we war a' awa' at Alnacroich at the marriage, except the laird and the lady, and the fat auld gimmer o' a cook." "None of your nonsense with me," roared out Gordon; "whom had you in the house last night? How many were there of them?" "I tell you, Gordon," replied the man, "that we had nae ane but them I've mentioned, unless an auld foul carle o' a beggar that had quarrelled wi' our ill-natured housekeeper, an' had to be ta'en ben wi' the laird an' the leddy, to haud them frae fechtin." "Ay, man! And that's it. I wish that beggar had come and stayed wi' me! But ride you home as fast as horse can carry you, and say to Kininvie I will follow with all possible speed.''
Follow he did, and when he arrived at Kininvie, he met Leslie, the beggar or stranger, and his bupther, and immediately springing from his saddle, he fell upon his knee, and did homage to his sovereign, the King of Scotland.
Kininvie and the younger Gordon seemed paralysed, and could not utter a word; but the good-natured monarch took each by the hand, and, first addressing Gordon, gave him a free pardon, and good advice to behave more wisely for the future; then, turning to Kininvie, he said, " Leslie of Kin-in-vie —Kind-in-the-way—kind have you been to me, and Kind in the way, or Kininvie you shall be." He then wound a blast of his horn, and presently a troop of horsemen appeared, with a groom leading a spare horse for the monarch. Leslie he permitted to assist him to the saddle, and then, extending his hand, each of the three was privileged to kiss it, after which ho rapidly rode off, leaving the trio to remember and bless The Beggar of Kininvie.
A little further on the ruins of the old castle of Gauldwell seem to watch over the egress of the glen. They are on the lowest slope of Ben Aigan and close to the Fiddoch. Formerly this tower was called the Castle of Bucharin (Boharm), and it belonged to the family of De Moravia of Duffus. Its chapel or oratory is mentioned in a charter by William, the son of William Freslcyn (De Moravia), between 1203 and 1222. Little of it remains, and that little the trees hide from us as we pass.
"We are now two miles from Dufftown station, and enter upon scenery entirely different from that wo are leaving behind us. The Fiddoch, in proceeding along the course at first marked out for her by nature, comes here (at Newton of Boharm) to a spot where the waters must have been checked and a lake formed, covering a part at least of the valley of Mortlach, through which we have been travelling. Ben Aigan was before the Fiddoch ; she was hemmed in on the two sides by high ground, and her rising waters at last found a channel in the direction of the Spey. The Fiddoch has cut a gorge two miles long between Newton of Boharm and the Spey. This gorge, with an average depth of perhaps not less than 150 ieet, and its banks rising in many places to 200, is not at any spot more than three hundred yards across, while in some nooks it is scarcely as many feet. Through this gorge or ravine the railway had to be made, and a heavy piece of work it was.
"We have just passed a slope on our left hand, rising 110 feet above the line, and now find ourselves standing on a bridge that crosses the Fiddoch at the very entrance of the gorge. This bridge is of threo arches, and is built of Elgin freestone. The piers rise about thirty feet above the stream. The descent from Duffown station to Craigellachie is nearly 300 feet. Having crossed tho bridge we are on the right bank of the Fiddoch, and looking forward cannot for the life of us see how a railway can be carried through the narrow rock-sided gorge before us. On Speysido there has been some room in most places to go and come upon in the
railway works, but here there seem3 to be none, for deep cuttings through rock at the end of short, high embankments, alternate without a single straight inch of rails. On Speyside the curves are long, here they are so shortor sharp that guardrails have been in many places laid down for greater safety. At no spot can we see a hundred yards before us. Everywhere as we proceed the rails are lost within a stone cast or so behind rocks, which they curve round or through in one of the most impracticable places for a railway that fancy can picture. A geologist would say the rocks are primary; a quarrier would call them whinstone. Dykes of white quartz are seen in them, and the strata nave been crushed to pieces. How narrow and tortuous this gorge is! Down there, some thirty feet beneath us, the Fiddoch murmurs as she moves on through pebbles and boulders, and the low bass of the moving water mingles with the song of birds on the steep wooded banks which rise from the top of precipices on the right hand and on the left. The rocks near the level of the stream have been polished by waterborne stones carried down in floods, and the process of erosion carried on for innumerable ages has, as it were, sawn a channel out of the solid rock, leaving the wreck on both sides behind. Who could describe this place? "Who could paint it? At every step the scene changes, yet its bold outlines remain the same. We continue to see woods above and rocks below, gray crags here, a green spot there, but the deep pathway for the Fiddoch never getting a yard broader as we walk along. We have reached a high projecting mass of rock, called the Corbie's Crag, and a small corner of a green field belonging to some neighbouring farmer puts us in mind that there is cultivation near. The spot has probably never been under the plough, but it is pasture land. Here the Fiddoch is turned sharply by the Corbie's Crag, the stream forming an elbow, but now a thirty-feet embankment covers the spot where tho stream ran, and a new bed has been cut for it. The line is carved through the very centre of the Corbie's Crag, and on one sido the cutting is at least 50 to 60 feet deep. As we move onwards the line presents the same character, —curve after curve comes in view, cuttings through rocks and high earth embankments follow each other, telling us the immense labour that has been spent in making the line."
Passing the Popine Mills, the gorge opens, and a new scene presents itself. "Here we have a bridge for a road thrown over the line, and certainly no building of the kind could have more substantial abutments, for it spans a rock cutting, and on one side the rock stands instead of masonry up to the spring of the arch. A hundred yards brings us to a bridge across the Fiddoch, similar to the one at Newton of Boharm. Another bridge, the old bridge of Fiddoch, is before us, and was no doubt reckoned a great work in its day. It is gray with age, but still pretty, as the stone arch will nevor lose its beauty, and when weeping birches and wild flowers are to be seen near a single arch crossing a stream, we linger to look both at the one and at the other."
Where the Fiddoch flows into the Spey, the Morayshire line joins the Strathspey, and we are at Craigellachie.
6S miles from Aberdeen.
This is a mere station, where to the right the Morayshire Railway turns off to cross the Spey, and find its way to Elgin and Lossiemouth. Wo pursue the main line, which a few yards beyond the station buildings sweeps away to the left toward the village of Craigellachie, where there is a bridge over the Spey.
From the station the traveller should go up to the bridge by which tho Boharm road crosses the railway, and from it he will get a view of this part of the valley of the Spey, which he will probably admit to be unsurpassed for beauty anywhere. "The Spey—broad,
dark, and deep—carrying a thousand mountain streams in one to the sea, rolls at our feet. On the further side of the river a broad belt of holm land is seen spreading out upon the right hand and extending downwards past Rothes to the Pass of Sourden. Rothes itself lies nestled in the nook of this rich and highly cultivated plain, which has all the appearance of having been the bottom of a lake until the river cut a way for itself through the rocks at Sourden. The broadest part of the haugh is perhaps not less than a mile, and it seems almost completely encircled by hills, whose sides are covered with woods far up, leaving here and there a green spot presenting villas and farms half concealed among trees. We are standing at the southern base of Ben Aigan, around which the Fiddoch, as we have seen, has found her way among broken rocks ; and the mountain, 1600 feet in height, with its heathcovered crown where hardy pine will not grow, overlooks the Spey, which has been nibbling at its huge base for ages, and has left tokens of her work in steep, sandy, and rocky banks that appear red in the distance."
In front is Dundaleith (Marshall) on the opposite bank, and a little further down on this side Arndilly (Grant).
Before us are two bridges over the Spey—one of them carrying the Morayshire Railway, to which we shall revert; the other is the bridge for the post road.
Craigellachie Bridge is the oldest and one of the most graceful and romantic iron bridges in Scotland. It is 150 feet in span, and was erected in 1815, at an expense of £8200, after designs by Telford; the contractor being Mr. Simpson of Shrewsbury. It has a round embattled tower at each corner, and is a structure of great elegance. It abuts upon a precipitous rock called the Cone Rock, of upwards of 150 feet in height, along the face of which, on the north or west side of the river, the road is cut. "The rock (Dr. Longmuir) will be found on examination to consist of gneiss, but so much fractured as to present the appearance of a trouble.