« AnteriorContinuar »
rible. The garden was covered four feet deep with sand; a ravine was cut between the castle and the river bank; the whole shrubbery on the bank was carried away, and one hundred and thirty acres of the finest land dug into holes, or covered with sand and gravel. The flood of 1829 is said to have cost the Laird of Ballindalloch more than £8000."
The present possessor is Sir George Macpherson Grant, M.P. for the counties of Elgin and Nairn, for which he was elected, September 17, 1879. He is the third baronet, and was born in 1839.
The scenery around has been well described by the writer from whom we have already often quoted.
"Nothing in scenery could exceed, we think, the beauty of the situation of the castle before us. The haugh may be compared to a triangle, two sides of which are formed by the Avon and the Spey, and the third by a wooded brae rising high above it. The land is rich; and it is just in such a spot as this that we might expect to find an old baronial mansion, for it was defended, at least in some degree, by a wet ditch on two sides. But the situation had charms as well as defence. Near the castle the scene is at once romantic and sylvan — wood, wood, wood, everywhere around—forest and ornamental trees planted by the hands of man; and the four banks of two rivers clad in arboreal beauty by the hand of nature. Many-coloured foliage meets us everywhere ; and the song of birds is everywhere to be heard. This is all near at hand, close to the banks of the 'clear-winding Avon ;' and when we extend our view, more sombre and grander features in nature meet the eye. South, we see the rugged and partially wooded brow of Cragganmore; eastward is the huge mountain of Cairnocay, linked in close embrace with a twin-brother — Benrinnes. Nature made them one; man gave different names to parts of the same mountain. Benrinnes, taking the Avon as the base of it on one side, is nearly thirty miles in circuit, and, together with the mountains
of Cromdale, the long range, cut only by the Avon, may be said to extend from Aberlour to Grantown. On the north of Spey no such giants as these rear their bald heads and white scurrans to the clouds, cold and bare under a summer sun. The Mannoch Hill behind us, and lying between us and the fair land of Moray, may be travelled over for seven miles without a house being seen, but it is, nevertheless, simply a hill. Nor can Braemoray, the highest land in the county of Moray, be for a single moment compared with the mountains in the vast rampart that extends from Ben Aigan to the Braes of Abernethy, unbroken, unless by the Fiddoch and the Avon. This rampart may be regarded as an offshoot from the highest group of the Grampians. It is from one of these,— the king of them, Ben Macdhui—that the head springs of the Avon descend; and the river, after a rapid course of forty miles, here mingles with the Spey. Railway travellers who know the real Highlands of Scotland, when looking up the valley of Avon, will be carried in imagination to the dark loch that mirrors the crags and snows of Ben Macdhui and Cairngorm, a loch in the deepest solitude, where nature presents her grandest and most rugged forms. Two thousand feet above the level of that loch, and four thousand feet above the level here, the Avon springs from perpetual snow, and the Dee drinks from the same perennial fountain. The scenery on the upper Dee is grand; but no river in Scotland runs through a valley which, for wild and magnificent scenery, can be compared with what is seen in Glen Avon, a glen flanked by mountains 4000 feet high, which enclose a vast wilderness where, in winter, the climate of the Polar regions reigns, and where, in summer, the wild deer is the only inhabitant."
The railway, after crossing the burn of Allionlie or Allt a' Gheallaidh (Ordnance Survey), passes the farm of Delnaport, and then once more gains the south bank of the Spey by the viaduct of Balnellan. It is somewhat like the one at Craigellachie, only it has an arch at each end of the great span of 198 feet between the piers. The roadway is about 20 feet above the water. It is a latticed bridge, with upper girders.
At this point we are about twentyseven miles from the mouth of the Spey at Garmouth, and, by the Ordnance map, 460 feet above the sealevel . A few hundred yards beyond the river is the station of Ballindalloch.
80J miles from Aberdeen.
The station is only a mile and threequarters from Black's Boat, and it is 80 J miles from Aberdeen. The character of the scenery changes here. We leave the cultivated haughs for wood and moorland. The steep, but comparatively smooth, sides of Ben Aigan and Benrinnes are exchanged for mountains with fragments of rock scattered over their sides and lying in masses, apparently resting in their progress downward to the Spey.
Not far from Ballindalloch Station, on the farm of Lagmore, the ruins of two so-called Druidical temples may be seen in a very entire state ; the circles of stones in both cases being very perfect. One of the "sculptured stones" was found, it is said, under the foundation of the old church, and it lies in the churchyard of Inveravon. It is rather more than six feet long, and half as broad. On the upper part is the usual so-called "looking-glass" symbol, below it the figure of a bird, in front of which is a diminutive representation of the "looking-glass and comb."
miles from Aberdeen.
Advie was once a parish, but was added to Cromdale. It was a barony in the year 1389, in the reign of Robert III. Before that, according to Shaw, it was part of the estate of Macduff, Earl of Fife, and was given away by an Isabel Duff to King Robert, along with the bai onies of Cromdale and others in
the counties of Aberdeen, Perth, and Banff.
On the opposite side of the Spey the burn of Altquoich joins from the Tulchan Hills, and on its bank is Tulchan Lodge, the seat of Mr. Bass, M. P., the great brewer of Burton, whose guest Mr. John Bright, M. P., often is. Five and a quarter miles beyond Advie we come to Cromdale.
miles from Aberdeen.
It is stated that "Cromdale" signifies the '' crooked plain," and takes its name from the sweep the Spey makes here.
Between the last station, Advie, and this, where the river in one of its bends strikes the base of the hill of Knockfrink, lies the last of the
"Four bonniest haughs on the run of the Spey"—
that of Dalvey, "long a separate property belonging to the family of Ballindalloch, who sold it to James Grant, of Gartenbeg. In 1688 he was created a baronet. He died without issue, and the property ultimately fell into the hands of the Laird of Grant. Dalvey is a pretty spot, the beauty of it being certainly enhanced by the sterile country around it. It is simply a green haugh by the river-side, all within the boundaries of one farm. There is an object here worthy of special notice—the remains of an 'intack' of an old meal mill, the only one perhaps ever built to be driven by the water of the Spey. The bottom of the intack is now several feet above the level of the river, showing that the river has deepened its bed since corn was ground with its waters. To build a mill close by Spey would be something like building a house near the crater of Vesuvius, for miller and mill might both disappear some misty night, and perhaps be found at Garmouth the following morning. There is here also an ancient dovecot with the dato 1672, built probably about the time that the property was sold by the Ballindalloch
On the south bank of the river, and also to the south of the railway, is the hill of Tominaird. "This hill presented a singular phenomenon during the floods of 1829. At a point about seventy yards above the road, while the late Mr. Grant of Culquoich was passing on the Tuesday of the terrible flood, he was startled by finding a shaking of the ground under his feet. He had scarcely time to be afraid when an immense column of water burst through the face of the hill, 'spouting,' says Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, 'into the air, and tossing round large stones and great quantities of gravel. Sometimes it ceased altogether, and nothing was heard but the rush of a considerable river. Again it would burst forth like a geyser with renewed energy, tearing up whole banks of earth, and projecting them to a distance of three hundred yards.' Mr. Grant was soon joined by the late Mr. Gordon of Ballintomb, and thus the prodigy was seen by two eyewitnesses, two of the most influential and intelligent men of the district, who related what they had seen to Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, shortly after it occurred. Sir Thomas went to the spot with Mr. Jardine, civil engineer, and found that the ravine opened had given out a quantity of solid matter equal to 7000 cubic yards. A small rill of water was running in the bottom of it, which soon afterwards dried up. Sir Thomas thought it was the bursting of a subterranean reservoir that had become surcharged with the heavy rains upon the hill."
Rounding the base of Tominaird, at a spot called the Craig of Pollowick, the railway enters the Haughs of Cromdale, or the Crooked Plain. On the left is a broad valley bounded by Tominaird and the Cromdale Hills, and away in the angle or neuk formed by them is Lethendry Castle, and on the lands of Lethendry the battle of Cromdale was fought. Before you are the church and manse of Cromdale. Beyond them is Upper Craigellachie— "the bold, wooded hill rising above the rock,—the rock famed among clansmen for many generations, and seen to
the present day emblazoned on the banners of Clan Grant, with the motto 'Stand fast!' Upon that rock many a beacon, fire has blazed to rouse the men of Strathspey, when their chief, the Laird of Grant, was going forth to feudal war; and the traveller who wishes to obtain the most splendid view of Speyside scenery should not rest satisfied till he goes to the top of the rock of Upper Craigellachie, which separates Strathspey from the wilds of Badenoch. But this is only one hill. Many others are in view. We see to the eastward of Upper Craigellachie, and much nearer, the hill of Craigrevack, wooded to the top, and the fine house and farm of Revack, standing upon the face of it like a lawn in an immense forest. Over the east shoulder of this hill blue mountains are seen in the distance called the Hills of Tulloch, the highest summit in the range in view being Craigowrie. It, however, high though it be, is like a pigmy standing before a giant, for oyer the Tulloch Hills the snow-spotted Crest of Cairngorm rises to the clouds, presenting an everlasting winter in the centre of Scotland. This is the first time, in going up Spey, that a view of Cairngorm is obtained, ana the distance from this spot to its summit would perhaps be about twenty miles. Looking from Cromdale, Ben Macdhui, twin brother to Cairngorm, is not seen. This may seem strange, when a man could walk from the top of the one mountain to the top of the other in an hour ; but it is explained by the fact that Cairngorm lies exactly in the line of view."
Immediately in front of us, nortli from the station, is the church of Cromdale. It is embosomed among trees, but there is one outstanding tree, a venerable beech, in the churchyard, which is worthy of notice. Under its shade, thousands of worshippers assemble on Communion occasions, for at such times the church has not accommodation for the multitudes who gather together from great distances. And here the same language is spoken as was in use when the Romans were forming the road we have to cross in coming from the station to the church, and which lies alongside of the railway for a considerable distance—the road from Cromdale to Forres. "In the track of tho Tenth Iter, as it runs between Varis and Tucssis, from Forres to the ford at Cromdale, there has been long known a road of very ancient construction, leading along the course of tho Iter for several miles through tho hills, and pointing to Cromdale, where the Romans must have forded the Spey. Tho tradition of the country ascribes the construction of this very ancient road to the Comyns of the 13th and 14th centuries ; but, as Chalmers well observes, that powerful family were otherwise engaged during times when the making of roads was contrary to the policy of the age.
'' There is a portion of a road that may be seen at the Craig of Pollowick, about four miles below tho bridge over the Spey, which is regarded as of Roman origin. The oldest men in the neighbourhood state that their grandfathers entertained this opinion. Going back a few generations, tho only roads required were bridle-roads, as the mode of transporting merchandise was by creel or curroch slung on each sido of the horse; and in more recent times the roads of the district were barely the breadth of a cart. Now the antiquity of this road therefore becomes apparent, when it is found to be eighteen feet broad, which exceeds the breadth of many of our highways of tho present day. About half a milo of it, from the Cairn Bruich to the schoolhouse, is entire, but portions of it may bo found for two miles, till it meets the public road at the point already indicated. In some parts it is laid with middling-sized undressed stones. There was a stone bridge over the burn of Cromdale at its junction with the Spey, but every vestige of it was swept away by a flood in 1846."—(Longmuir).
The Haughs of Cromdale arc locally famous, as giving tho title to a wellknown ballad of those parts, which celebrates one of tho Jacobite fights of 1690. "Tho Scotch, ever loyal to the Royal Stuarts," stood by tho foolish
King James VII. to the last. The death of Viscount Dundee in the battle of Killiecrankic, in 1689, was a heavy blow to the Jacobites. A fragment of the 'Rebel Army,' as it was of course called, returned, as historians say, into Lochabcr, some months after the battle of Killiecrankic. Sir Ewen Cameron would not yield, and Colonel Buchan, as resolved, collected about 1500 men—Macleans, Macdonalds, Macphersons, Camorons, and (J rants of Glenmoriston, and made a raid from tho Highlands, plundering Strathspey as he went along. Ho proceeded towards Strathbogie, burned the house of Edinglassie; and Mr. Gordon, by way of reprisal, took the opportunity of hanging eighteen of his men on trees in his garden. Sir Thomas Livingston, in command of King William's troops, was at Inverness, and lost no time in directing his march to Strathspey. Buchan's troops, hearing of this, returned towards the Highlands, and had reached Cromdale on the 30th April 1690. That night they wero sleeping at Lethendio, or as it is now called Lethendry, and had outposts at tho Kirk of Cromdale watching to prevent a surprise During that night or preceding afternoon, Livingston arrived at Derraid, near Castlo Grant, and, being made.aware whero his enemy was encamped, he directed his march down the valley of Auchnarrow, which wo now see opposite tho church and manse of Cromdale. Tho rebel scouts saw some of the dragoons near the Kirk of Cromdale, and instantly running back to Lethendry, nearly a mile, gave the alarm. They wero followed hard by a powerful body of horsemen, the infantry meanwhile fording the Spey, and advancing in hot haste to support the cavalry. The Highlanders were in bed, and were literally caught napping. They wero thrown into utter confusion. They had been discovered by their fires, and Livingston had advanced secretly across Spey close to the spot where they wero encamped. It was scarcely a battle: it was rather a rout. It continued only a few minutes, during which time, as Captain Carleton says, the two Highland commanders, Cameron and Balfour, must have fought naked, for they escaped naked up the hill. Buchan's host, originally numbering about 1500, had been reduced to about 1000 men, and were no match for 'a battalion of foot, six troops of dragoons, and two of horse,' before which they ran helterskelter up the hill of Cromdale, when they were lost in a fog, leaving Livingston in possession of the field of battle. The victory was easily won, but to this day no one can tell the loss on either side, some saying the Highlanders lost 160 of their number—100 killed, and 60 taken prisoners—others saying that about 300 of them were killed out of the 1000 engaged, which favours the idea of a desperate battle having been fought. * Livingston is said to have lost about 100 men."
"The Haughs of Cromdale" says—
"Out of twenty thousand Englishmen
But Hogg says in his "Jacobite Relics," that this song jumbled together two fights that were forty-five years apart, namely, the battle of Auldearn, gained by Montrose in 1645, and that on the Haughs of Cromdale in which the opposite party were successful in 1690. The verses applicable to the battle actually fought on the Haughs of Cromdale are these :—
As I came in by Auchindoun,
I met a man in tartan trews,
"We were in bed, sir, every man,
The English horse—they were so rude,
'But, alas I we could no longer stay,
Cromdale was the birthplace of Sir James M'Gregor (born 9th April 1771; died London, 2d April 1868), who presided over the medical department of the army for thirty-six years, and did good service by his medical writings. Sir James was a great favourite with the Duke of Wellington, with whom he went through the Peninsular war from beginning to end. He was several times chosen Lord Rector of Marischal College, Aberdeen, by the vote of the students, and a very fine obelisk seventy-two feet in height, of highly polished Peterhead or red granite, has been erected to his memory in the quadrangle of that college. A slab of gray granite in the pedestal records the principal events of fifty-seven years of active service.
91f miles from Aberdeen.
Soon after leaving Cromdale Station we come in sight of Castle Grant, one of the seats of the Earls of Seafield, looking down on us from the midst of a dense forest on the opposite or north bank of the river. It is about 2 miles in a direct line from the railway, and about the same from the village of Grantown. "The castle, though built on the front of a high terrace, is so concealed amid deep forests of pine, oak, elm, and chestnut, that only the upper part of the tower, and the flag waving from the summit, can be seen by the tourist while passing in the train. The general appearance of the castle, with its forest of windows and crow - stepped gables, is that of a massive quadrangular building. The principal entrance is on the north side; tut the south front, rising to the height of four stories, is the most modern part, while the picturesque tower that bears the name of the Comyn is probably the only original part of the building. It was standing there perhaps more than five hundred years ago, when the Grants became Lords of Strathspey, and took the place of the Comyns,