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which has probably been occasioned by the upheaval of the Cone Rock. In the crevices the trees have taken root, and as they ascend one above another, they present a novel and interesting sight. This crag is the lower Craigellachie— the upper is at a distance of 30 miles; and between these is comprehended the country of the Grants. The word is said by some etymologists to mean "The Echoing Crag," and by others, "The Fiery Crag," as that on which an alarm fire might have been kindled. This latter derivation seems to obtain support from the crest of the Grant family, which is a hill with a fire issuing from the top of it; and their slogan or war - cry is, "Stand fast, Craigellachie."
We believe the real Craigellachie is tho one higher up. It is a bold projecting highland dividing Badenoch from Strathspey.
Says John Kuskin—"In one of the loveliest districts of Scotland, where the peat cottages are darkest, just at the western foot of the great mass of the Grampians which encircle the sources of the Spey and tho Dee, the main road which traverses the chain winds round the foot of a broken rock called Crag or Craig Ellachie. There is nothing remarkable in either its height or form; it is darkened with a few scattered pines and birch trees, and touched along the summit with a flush of heather ; but it constitutes a kind of headland or leading promontory in the group of hills to which it belongs—a sort of initial letter of the mountains; and thus stands in the minds of the inhabitants of the district—the Clan Grant—for a type of the country upon themselves. Their sense of this is beautifully indicated in the war-cry of tho clan, 'Stand fast, Craigellachie!' You may think long over these few words without exhausting the deep wells of feeling and thought contained in them—the love of the native land and the assurance of faithfulness to it —you could not but have felt if you passed beneath it at the time when so many of England's dearest children were being defended by the strength of heart of men born at its foot; how
often among the delicate Indian palaces, whose marble was pallid with horror, and whoso vermilion was darkened with blood, the remembrance of its rough gray rocks and purple heaths must have risen before the sight of the Highland soldiers—how often the hailing of the shot and the shrieking of the battle would pass away from his hearing, and leave only the whisper of the old pine branches ; 'Stand fast, Craigellachie!'" (Buskin's Two Paths, quoted in Anderson's Guide.)
We are about to ascend the Spey, now on one side of the river, and now on the other. But who shall attempt to describe its ever - varying course; rapid and devious, between cliffs of gravel or of rock, festooned with birch woods, and these again backed by pines, and larch, and Scotch firs, and all held close together by the uncompromising, wild, bare, heath-clad mountains? It is a wonderful valley.
"In point of magnitude (Elgin Courant) the Spey stands next the Tay; and for volume of water is therefore the second river in Scotland. But it must be borne in mind that the breadth of the streams of different rivers affords a very imperfect measure of the volume of water they discharge into the sea; and hence, in comparing Spey with other Scottish rivers, allowance must be made for the rapidity of its current, which far surpasses that of the Tay, or any other large river north of the Border. Between Loch Spey and the sea the fall is upwards of 1200 feet, which for a direct course of 90 miles gives more than 18 feet to the mile; or, including the windings of the river, and making the length 120 miles, as has been estimated, Spey falls 10 feet per mile. In some British rivers there are falls and rapids, as in the Clyde, for example; but Spey has no falls, nor anything worth the name of a rapid. She is, in fact, one continuous rapid, from her mountain loch to past Fochabers, within four miles of the sea, where she may be said to slacken her course, after a race from the wilds of Badenoch. The saying is, 'There is no standing water in Spey.' Her descent is along a remarkably uniform inclined plane, and the declivity gives a swift current in a narrow bed. The breadth of the river when unflooded varies very little. On an average, below Grantown, it is perhaps mostly confined within 70 or 80 yards, with a depth of about 3 feet. This, of course, is speaking generally, for there are fords on Spey which a man may cross on foot when the water is very low, and pots in the river, such as at Sourden and Oaigellachie Bridge, nearly 30 feet deep. The rapidity of the Spey is best seen in the velocity of a float of wood going down her. It will go ten miles an hour, and while speeding onward, and nearing rooky elbows in the river, it would be dashed in pieces were it not for the strength and dexterity of the raftsmen upon it.
"The Spey is not only the most rapid, but also the wildest and most capricious among all the large rivers of Scotland. The cause of this is easily explained. The river drains 1300 square miles of mountains, many of whose bases are more than a thousand feet above the level of the sea. The Dulnain, draining the southern part of the Monagh Lea Mountains, runs more than forty miles before entering Spey; and the Avon, with a course as long, brings down the waters of Glenavon, which lies between the most majestic mountains in Britain. Besides these great tributaries, the Spey has the Traim, the Trommie, the Feshie, the Fiddoch, and other affluents, swelling her volume with the rapidly-descending waters of a mountainous country.
"But neither the fall of Spey nor her sudden alternations of 'flood and emptiness' would have formed any serious obstacle to the construction of a railway from Craigellachie to Grantown if her strath or dale had been like that of other large rivers of Scotland. They generally have broad dales varying from a mile to three or four in breadth; but Nature has forced the Spey to thread her course round the bases of mountains, and often, for miles together, she is confined by precipitous banks, which she washes on both sides when she is flooded, and which, in many cases, are so close, tortuous, and steep, that on looking at
them a spectator would pronounce a railway along them impossible. This is seen at the tunnel above Craigellachie and between Knockando House and Black's Boat. In fact, the engineering difficulties of the line between Aberlour and Ballindalloch have been great, causing a metal bridge to be thrown across the Spey at Carron, and another at Balnellan beyond the confluence of the Avon. It was at one time proposed, we believe, to carry the line to the eastward of the Drum of Carron, which would have freed it from the windings and banks of the Spey for seven miles or more, but steep gradients prevented this, and the crossing of the broad valley of the Avon stood as a most serious obstaclo in the way. There was therefore no help for it but to follow the river's course, upon the right bank (i.e. the east) up to Carron, then cross the river, and after running six miles or thereby on the left bank re-cross beyond the mouth of the Avon. This deviation, if it may be called so, has occasioned the expense of two metal bridges, and some heavy viaducts across the mouths of burns—very wild ones that descend from the hills of Knockando—and have cut deep ravines in the precipitous banks along which the line has to pass."
Previous to 1815, the year when the elegant iron bridge across the Spey, already referred to, was built, there was hardly a village at Craigellachie. Now it is a central postal station, and, though from the railway invisible, there is a small village.
Passing it, the railway runs along the haugh of Collargreen for about half a mile, on an embankment six or eight feet in height, when a tunnel is reached. "Here the Spey strikes the face of an almost perpendicular rock, which rises some hundred feet above the bed of the river. At this height the Speyside turnpike road has been cut out, and the steep bank continues to rise above it to a still greater elevation. This rock is known on Speyside by the name of Taminurie or 'The Fairies' Crag.' It is a sister crag to the great one that rises over the Bridge of Craigellachie on the other side of the Spey, and at the feet of both the river has scooped out pools of great depth. Before the tunnel was made it was fearful to stand upon the edge of the turnpike road and look down the rugged face of Taminurie to the rapid, now dashing against the opposing rock, then recoiling as if indignant; foaming, boiling, and whirling in a pool of pitchy blackness sufficient to float a vessel of war (?). The railway works have made the place, if possible, still more terrific, for, at each end of the tunnel, there is now a sheer precipice descending from the very edge of the turnpike road to the line, and the trees, which appeared to afford some hope in the event of an accident, have nearly all disappeared, leaving travellers on the top of Taminurie to pray that neither man nor beast may stumble, as there is nothing but an open, fragile paling between them and eternity.
The tunnel is considerably below the road. It is about sixty-five yards in length. At the upper end the scene is wild in the extreme. "On the left hand the rock has been cut to the height of nearly 100 feet, and rises up in a mural wall to the turnpike road, close to which a tree may be seen here and there, with roots half exposed, and firmly grasping the bare and fractured strata. On the right hand there is a gap in the rocky wall, through which the Spey is seen, and one almost becomes giddy in looking down upon the river, which, at this very spot, strikes a projecting ledge of rock, and breathes her anger in foam, that spreads itself in long streaks over the surface of the agitated pool below—a pool, the excavation of which has been the work of many centuries to the river, that has here torn away thousands of tons of primitive rock and rolled it away in polished pebbles to the sea. The rock is gneiss, the same as that on the opposite side of the Spey at the bridge of Craigellachie, and, strange as the idea may seem, it is possible that these rocks may have been at one time united, and that the material filling the whole space now between them may have been carried down by the action of the river."—Elgin Courant.
701 miles from Aberdeen.
Proceeding up the Spey, we have, on the right across the river, Easter Elchies, and on the left on this side, Aberlour House, lately the possession of Miss Macpherson Grant of Aberlour. It now belongs to Dr. Proctor. Easter Elchies is the residence of the Hon. George Grant of Grant, brother of the Earl of Seafield. The House, finely shaded by old trees, is about 175 years old. "It was built by one of the Grant family, and was the residence of Lord Elchies, a distinguished judge of the Court of Session, who took his title from this property, which now belongs to the Earl of Seafield. It is a separate barony, and was in the possession of a separate branch of the Seafield family for nearly two centuries. It forms a part of what was once the parish of Macallan, the churchyard of which is only a few stone-casts down the slope from the mansion-house. Within the walls of this old churchyard the ruins of the parish church of Macallan are still to be seen. This parish is now united to Knockando. Close by the 'lone churchyard' is the distillery of Macallan."
Further on, on the same N.W. side of the river, though beyond the station, is the castle of Wester Elchies—"a fine old edifice of Gothic architecture, with wings and battlements, and a high Gothic tower in the centre. Mr. Grant was a great astronomer. Having spent an active life in India, he devoted himself on his return to his native country to astronomical pursuits. The Astronomer-Royal of Scotland said of him :—
"'There also, after noble though peaceful services performed for his country in foreign climes—after no less than forty - four years' continued residence in Bengal—has returned one of the sons of the valley, rich in years and honours, in the peace of a religious and philosophic mind, and the calm of a well-spent life. And no sooner was he returned to the dearly-remembered scene, with official duties no longer harassing him, than he determined again to prosecute that study of the starry heavens which he had already commenced with much success, though inferior instrumental means, in the brilliant climate of India. At his maturer order, therefore, it was, and to subserve his future and astronomical pursuits on the old patrimonial estate, that that giant telescope, the trophy now, it may fairly be claimed, of the Exhibition of 1851, had grown into existence; for, though then hardly known to scientific circles, he understood the majesty of the science he was approaching; and, though all untitled amidst a rich landed, aristocracy, there was no one whose ideas were more thoroughly grand, and worthy of all that one is inclined to respect among the leaders of men.'"
Mr. Grant's observatory, with the famous telescope, stands close to the house. Two sphinxes guard the doorway, and over it is the motto,
"He made the stars also."
Aberlour House looks across the river to the two Elchies. Naturally the spot is lovely, and all that art can add to make it more so has been done. The house is modern, extensive, forming a great quadrangle, and GrecianDoric in its architecture. "There is in front a magnificent portico, supported on four fluted columns, and the door is guarded by lions couchant, and surmounted by the family arms. The interior is in a style of princely grandeur. Paintings, statuary, furnishings, — everything that art can supply to make a truly splendid mansion is here to be found, showing a richness of embellishment and refinement of taste not surpassed in any mansion-house of its size in Scotland. The garden is in keeping with the house, extensive, and rich in the rarest of plants. The grounds and policies, like the gardens, are worthy of the mansion. All that landscape - gardening can do to give beauty and variety haSjbeen brought to bear on this delightful spot. Roads have been cut, bridges and embankments have been made, lodges havo been erected, and wherever the stranger turns, among avenues of trees and
shrubs, he finds vases of flowers and fine sculpture meeting him at every step, while between the house and the Spey his attention will be arrested by a lofty and beautiful column of polished granite surmounted by a globe marked with the parallels of latitude and longitude."
Aberlour belonged to the late Miss Macpherson Grant, to whose time the above-quoted description applies. There is now no adequate income from the estate to keep up the house and grounds, which were built and maintained from resources other than the estate, which resources at Miss Macpherson Grant's death passed to other possessors, leaving the lands, burdened with this expensive house, to the present owner.
The property formerly belonged to a family of Gordons, "who seem to have been trusty Jacobites and staunch supporters of Prince Charles; for in the old mansion-house, which still stands, a letter was found, dated at Dalnacardoch in August 1745, and addressed to James Gordon, Esq., of Aberlour. Charles addresses his trusty friend in the following style:—
'"My dear Gordon—I am to be at * * * and trust to see you there, with as many men as you can raise, to rally round the Royal Standard. —I am y/rars faithfully, Chas. E. Stuart.'"
Skirting the park of Aberlour, we reach the village or small town of Charlestown of Aberlour, a long, straggling village, the main street of which is more than half a mile in length. There are somo good new buildings in it. It is built on the estate of Wester Elchies. The parish used to be called "Skirdustan," and in the churchyard, by the side of the burn of Ruthrie, may still be seen the ruins of the old church. Near these, a naked stone arch spans the burn, built, it is said, by General Wade, famous in the North for his capacity as a roadmaker—
"If you had seen this road
"The arch is narrow, and one wonders, when looking from the present highway, how a road should have been made where the bridge stands. A short way up the bum there is a cataract about 30 feet in height, called the Linn of Ruthrie, a sight of which is well worth a mile's travel to such as delight to be among wild scenery. The walls of rock down the burn from the linn show the work that a mountain stream can perform in the course of time. The deep gorge is almost hid beneath overhanging trees, under which wc hear the ceaseless sound of falling waters. The noise of the linn may at all times be heard a good way off, but when the head springs of the stream are fed by heavy clouds bursting on Benrinnes, the roar of the Linn of Ruthrie is heard far and wide, a great volume of water being precipitated over a precipice, and dashed into foam and spray by projecting rocks before it reaches the caldron below, which
"'Foams and boils in endless torture.'"
Near this station a heart-rending incident occurred in the great flood of 1829:—"Charles Cruickshank had some wood lying on the bank of the river, and seeing the Spey coming down in flood, he was anxious to save it. He and a number of others ran down to the river-side for this purpose; but the rising waters soon alarmed Cruickshank's companions, who ran back to the higher ground for safety. More daring than the rest, and having more at stake, the unfortunate man wrought with his wood until a current broke in between him and the higher ground, and rose unobserved while he was busy, till there was no hope of wading through it. He immediately set about constructing a raft on which to float himself to a place of safety. Being a powerful and active man, he soon succeeded in making a raft, with the eyes of hundreds of anxious spectators fixed upon him, but no one able to render him the least assistance. Pushing away his raft to cross the stream, and using his sting with the dexterity of a floater, all hearts rose with hope that he would soon be in safety. While straining every muscle in wielding his sting to send the raft in the proper direction, the sting was
wrenched from his hand by the force of the current, and ho was thus left perfectly helpless at the mercy of the stream, which bore the raft rapidly along. It came near a tree that stood like a pillar in the midst of the rolling flood. Cruickshank, with the agility of a cragsman, on losing his rope, sprang from the raft and caught a bough, to which he clung with the desperation of despair. In an instant the raft was whirled into the main body of the Spey, and had not descended many yards when it was dashed into pieces. The crowd of spectators continued to increase in the midst of a terrific storm of wind and rain. A boat was procured and speedily manned. It could only proceed a short way out into the stream, and frequently did so, but every attempt to reach poor Cruickshank was foiled by the terrible current that rolled between the tree and the less rapid waters upon the haugh, where the boat was manageable. From the lifeboat—for we may call it such—frequent attempts were made to throw a rope to the tree, but this also failed, and when night came on there was no alternative but to leave the unfortunate man in his dreadful and perilous condition. His cries were heard rising above the roar of the waters around him, but about eleven o'clock in the evening they ceased, and in the darkness none could tell whether the tree was standing or not. It had been swept away, for when morning dawned it had disappeared—the broad rolling ocean almost leaving it doubtful where it had stood. The body of the drowned man was found upon the Haugh of Dundaleith, three miles down the river; and his watch newly wound up, and standing at a quarter past eleven, showed that he had hope and extraordinary composure of mind till the very moment he was plunged into the angry flood."—Elgin Courant.
73:f miles from Aberdeen.
Leaving Aberlour, we pass along a steep wooded bank, below which some 40 or 50 feet runs tho Spey. Then through a cutting 300 or 400 yards