Imagens da página

who at one time ruled supremo from Lochaber to Lower Craigellachie.

"The inside of the castle is in keepwith the outside, the relics of far bygone ages being there treasured up, strangely contrasting with the works of modem times. The entrance-hall of the castle may bo called an armoury, for in it are to be seen broadswords and targets wielded by Lairds of Grant, and a musket and bayonet bearing tho date 1434, and an inscription showing that the owner was a Sir John Grant, Sheriff Principal of Inverness, the eighth in descent from Gregory de Grant, who was sheriff of the same county in the reign of Alexander III. in the middle of the 13th century. Tho roof of the hall is adorned by a rosette of spears, not toys or imitations, but the gennine Scottish spear that many a day defied the hosts of England, when,

"' The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood
The moment that he fell.'—Scott.

"This is the kind of spear that ornaments the roof of the entrance-hall of Castle Grant, and well does it become such spears to be there, when Sir John Grant commandod in the right wing of a battalion in the battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, and when his father stood side by side with Wallace, fighting for the independence of his country.

"The paintings in the castle are numerousand valuable. The wallsofthe dining-room, a large and elegant apartment, are covered with family portraits said to be excellent likenesses of tho Lairds of Grant, and of the representatives of various distinguished branches of the clan. Among these is a portrait of Sir Robert Grant of Lurg, surnamcd Stachcan, the Stubborn, a fierce whitebearded fellow with bonnet and plaid; and one cannot but smile at the searching glance of the eye, and tho scientific turn of the hand in drawing his pistol, when we contrast our safety with the coolness with which wo feel ho could have brought down his man. There are many valuable paintings in the house by Vandyke, Guido, Rubens, Poussin, and others; such as, Tho

Virgin presenting her child; The Aged Simeon; The Marriage of Joseph and Mary; The Adoration of tho Wise Men of the East; The Landing of Mneaa in Africa, and Dido fleeing with him from the Storm; but The Death of Patroclus by Hamilton is considered the best in the collection.

"Ascending a flight of 144 stone steps, the roof of the castle is reached. The eye glances over some gently sloping enclosures, enlivened by groups of deer, till passing over the wide-spread woods it sweeps with eagle flight across the wido valley of the Spey, and the endless forest of Abemethy, and rests with joy and a feeling of freedom on the blue chain of the Cairngorm mountains, rising vast and huge above those minor dependent hills that are congregated about their base. Everything within and without denotes the habitation of a chieftain, and brings to remembrance those days in which the head of every tribe was surrounded by his own clan. His castle was their fortress; his approbation was their pride; his protection was both their duty and their interest. In this safety their own fate was involved; in his hall stood the board to which they were always welcome; there he sat with all the feelings of a father in the midst of his children; he acted as their general in the day of battle, their judge in the time of peace, and he was at all times their friend."

"The ancient name of Castle Grant was Freuchie, and the present family, ennobled as the Earls of Seafield and Barons of Strathspey, have held rule since tho 16th century. They are of Norman or Flemish origin. The present peer is twenty-sixth in descent, and by marriage into the family of Blantyre is connected with the ducal families of Sutherland, Argyll, and Leinster. His only son, Ian Charles, Viscount Reidhaven, Master of Grant, was born 7th October 1851.

"The history of the family is a very curious and interesting one, and full of strange incidents. Take this one: 'In a memoir of the family of Grant, written by Mr. James Chapman, minister of Cromdale, in 1729, and preserved in the Advocates' Library, there is a curious anecdote dating about 1540, respecting James the Kavager, 'Shemish nan Creach,' as distinguishing himself in assisting his cousin the Earl of Huntly in revenging the murder of Gordon, Baron of Brackla on Deeside, who was murdered by the countrymen there. The revenge went to such a length that above sixscore orphans were left in the desolate country on Deeside, nobody knowing who their parents were. These miserable orphans were, out of pity and commiseration, carried by the Earl of Huntly into his castle, where they were maintained and fed thus: 'A long trough of wood was made, wherein was put pottage or any other kind of food allowed them. And the young ones, sitting round about the trough, did eat their meat out of it as well as they could. The Laird of Grant visiting the Earl, was, for diversion's sake, brought to see the orphans slabbing at the trough, which comical sight so surprised him rthat he proposed to carry one-half of them to Balchastle, alleging that having had a hand in destroying their parents he was bound in justice to take a share in their preservation and maintenance. Those of them that were brought to Castle Grant are to this day called Stioch Narnor, that is The Posterity of the Trough.' Most qf our readers will know how this story has been amplified by the imagination of Sir Walter Scott."

Above Cromdale the railway approaches closely to the river. Passing Congash the valley is narrow, and three miles from Cromdale Station we reach the Bridge of Spey and the Grantown Station. This is not to be confounded with Grantown Station on the Highland Line. There are two Grantown stations, one on the Great North Line, and one on the Highland Line, the village or town of Grantown lying in the angle formed by the two railways, and about equally distant from both, perhaps rather further from the Great North station, from which its direction is north, while from the Highland station it is east or north-east.

The Great North station is close to

the south end of the bridge across the Spey. "This bridge was built by General Wade in his road-making tour to open up the Highlands of Scotland and bring them more thoroughly into subjection to the crown. Had there been no mountain-pass at Grantown there would have been no bridge, but immediately behind Grantown the hills are separated naturally, and still more deeply, by a mountain-stream, and this valley or ravine forms a highway from Strathspey into a valley that leads down to Eorres, having for many miles the hills of Lochindorb on one side, and the hills of Brae Moray on the other. General Wade quickly saw the value of this pass for road-making, and at a more recent period the engineers of the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (now part of the Highland Railway) saw the advantages of it for railwaymaking. The military road-makers in the reign of George II., after the battle of Culloden, constructed a highway from Fort George to Perth, by Erinside (the Findhorn), through the pass at Castle Grant, and bridged the Spey in a substantial form, more than twenty years before one stone had been laid upon another in Grantown. The bridge is built of primitive rock, and is founded upon rock. It consists of three arches, and forms an inclined plane, stretching from the high right to the low left bank of the Spey. The arch next the high right bank is 86 feet span, the centre arch 40 feet, and the low bank arch 20 feet."

We do not see Grantown from the station. It is hid by wooded rising grounds which come in between. The distance from the bridge is about threequarters of a mile. "It stands upon what may be called a table-land or plateau, with a gentle declivity between it and the Spey on the one side, while, on the other, it is separated from the mountains north of it by a hollow, in which a small burn runs to the westward, entering the Spey above the bridge of Grantown. There could not be a more favourable spot for a Highland village. It is sheltered from northern storms by a rampart of mountains partly under cultivation, partly under wood, while the view to the south, east, and wast, captivates every stranger that visits Grantown. Looking south, the grand feature of the landscape is the Cairngorm Mountains, about twelvo or fourteen miles distant in a direct line, while to tho right and left the valley of the Spoy is seen for many miles with all its varied sylvan and romantic scenery. Tho soil on which the town is built is perfectly dry, and facilities for drainage are such as would be a blessing to many cities in the kingdom. This dryness of soil, combined with pure mountain air and shelter from heavy storms, makes Grantown perhaps unrivalled in tho north for healthfulness and for tho longevity of its inhabitants. As a pleasant summer resort nothing could excel it, and tourists and excursionists ought to visit it. There, in tho midst of Highland scenery, every convenience of city life may be obtained—even an inn in which the Queen of Great Britain slept a night, and said in the morning that she had been perfectly delighted with hor accommodation."

It is a wonder that this valley of the Spey is not already more sought after than it is. "To sportsmen, the farfamed Deeside is not superior to it, and to great denizens of large cities, the pure air, the heath-clad mountains, the vast forests, tho green dales, the fertile well-cultivated farms, and the endless variety of river scenery, must ultimately prove much more attractive than many summer residences in the lower countries."

Grantown was commenced in 1766, in which year tho first house was built. Since then it has steadily extended. It is built on a regular plan. Tho town runs parallel with the Spey. In the centre is a spacious square 700 feet by 180, with rows of trees on either side. From each end of the place broad streets extend. Tho houses are good, nearly all slated, many of them two stories in height, all built of granite. The whole town is clean and neat, and most attractive. "The leases, when given in 1766, were for ten nineteens, or one hundred and ninety years. For the first five years the ground

rent was nil, and for some time after that very small. It is now 20s., which is very moderate for feus of such large extent."

There are three churches, several schools, several banks, and various other institutions.

33. Nethy Bridge.

961 miles from Aberdeen.
„ „ Grantown.

Nethy Bridge is tho next station. From Ad vie to Grantown wo were in the county of Inverness. We are now again in Morayshire.

'' For three miles above the bridge of Grantown there is a singular uniformity of scenery on the river-banks. The ground rises gradually from the bed of the Spey, on the cast side to the foot of Craigmore, famous for its fine natural timber. Few farms are seen from the line on this side, but a country studded with knolls and hillocks, that seem to have been water-washed at some period, though now covered with natural grass and birches. While speeding through these birches the traveller will speedily find himself brought close again to the river-side, and on the opposite bank will see the ruins of the church of Inverallan, standing in the churchyard, which is still used as a place of interment." When this church was built seems to be unknown; but in 1230 it, and probably the lands about it, pertained to Walter Moray, Baron of Petty, and son of William, son of Freskyn of Duffus. On the bank overlooking the old ruin is the house of Inverallan, the residence of the factor for tho Earl of Seafield's Strathspey estate, a handsome structure, beautifully situated some 30 or 40 feet above the bed of the Spey.

Onwards we pass through the farm of Achnagonain, and then that of Auchernack. This last is said to have been for 300 years the residence of the chief of the Clan Allan. Three centuries or so ago a James Grant of Auchernack left eight sons, who founded several families that have continued. It is rather a fine old house, lying hid among birches. Passing it, we thread through a thick forest of pines, and then emerge upon a broad haugh in a state of high cultivation. It is occupied by the farms of Ballifurth and Ballimore, and on the opposite side of the Spey is the farm of Ball intomb, and a distillery known by the same name. Bounding it comes in the river Dulnain from the north-west —a river which, next to the Avon, is the largest tributary of the Spey. "It has a course of 45 miles, and is rapid, as may be easily conceived from the fact of its draining the southern face of the .Monagh Lea Mountains, and running the whole length of its course nearly parallel to the Spey, from which it is not at any point more than 6 or 7 miles distant." The range of the Monagh Lea Mountains, now fully in view, forms the watershed between the Dulnain and the Findhorn, both rivers taking their rise in one of the most perfect deserts in the north of Scotland.

The traveller gets a good view of the valley of this river, including, on the brow of the hill, Muckrach Castle, built 1598, now in ruins, the first possession of the Grants of Rothiemurchus.

Proceeding up the Spey, and still on the opposite side of the river from that occupied by our railway, is a long row of cottages called Curr or Skye of Curr, and beyond it another long stretch of holm, which is the Haugh of Tullochgorum.

Tullochgorum !" a word known from Cornwall to John o' Groats, and over the whole world among Scotchmen. Burns said the song of Tullochgorum was ' the best Scotch song that Scotland ever saw.'"

The author of this song was the Rev. John Skinner, for sixty-five years the Episcopal minister of Longside,^ and the author also of many other popular Scotch songs. This song is not only beautifully adapted to the time it lauds, but was also well fitted to accomplish the object for which it was written at first— the calming down of a political dispute. "Mr. Skinner had been visiting at the house of a friend in the village of Ellon, where politics had been discussed more keenly than was agreeable, and to

get her guests restored to good humour and harmony, the lady of the house, Mrs. Montgomery, suggested that Mr. Skinner should give them a song. The thought was as happy as tho result was wonderful. Skinner at once gratified her wishes, and, as Burns says, 'the wishes of every lover of Scotch Song, in this most excellent ballad' — no doubt surprising the political disputants, who were chielly clergymen, when he sang—


'Come, gie's a sang, Montgomery cried,
And lay yotlr disputes all aside;
What signifies't for folks to chide

For what was done before them?
Let Whig and Tory all agree,
Whig and Tory, Whig and Tory,
Whig and Tory all agree

To drop their Whig mig morum;
Let Whig and Tory all agree
To spend the nicht wi' mirth and glee
And cheerfu' sing, alang wi' me,

The Reel o' Tullochgorum.


'01 Tullochgorum's my delight,
It gars us a' in ane unite,
And ony sumph that keeps up spite

In conscience I abhor him;
For blythe and merry we'll be a',
Blythe and merry, blythe and merry,
Blythe and merry we'll be a',

And make a cheerful quorum;
For blythe and merry we'll be a'
As lang as we ha'e breath to draw,
And dance, till we be like to fa',

The Reel o' Tullochgorum.


'There needs na be sae great a fraise
Wi' dringing dull Italian lays;
I wadna gie our am strathspeys

For half a hunder score o' them;
They're dowf and dowie at the best,
Dowf and dowie, dowf and dowie,
Dowf and dowie at the best,

Wi' a' their variorum.
They're dowf and dowie at the best,
Their allegros and a' the rest;
They canna please a Scottish taste

Compared wi' Tullochgorum.


'Let warldly worms their minds oppress
Wi' fears o' want and double cess,
And silly souls themsells distress

Wi' keeping up decorum:
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Sour and sulky, sour and sulky,
Sour and sulky shall we sit,

Like old philosophorum?
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Wi' neither sense nor mirth nor wit,
Nor ever try to shake a fit

To the Reel o' Tullochgorum?

'May choicest blessings aye attend
Each honest, open-hearted friend,
And calm and quiet be his end,

And a' that's good watch o'er him!
May peace and plenty be his lot,
Peace and plenty, peace and plenty,
Peace and plenty he his lot,

And dainties a great storo o' them!
May peace and plenty be his lot,
Unstained by any vicious spot;
And may he never want a groat

That's fond o' Tullochgorum.


'But for the base unfeeling fool,
That loves to be oppression's tool,
May envy gnaw his rotten soul,

And discontent devour him.
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow,
Dool and sorrow be his chance.

And nane say wae's me for him 1
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
Wi' a' the ills that come frae France,
Whae'er he be that winna dance

The Reel o' Tullochgorum.'"

As we approach Nethy Station, there is seen an old ruin on the left—the ruins of Castle Roy, once one of the strongholds of the Comyns when they were Lords of Badenoch. No vestiges of windows are to be seen in the massive walls. There appear to have been round turrets at the corners of the eastle, which may have been inhabited temporarily, but the area within the walls is evidently too great to make it probable that ever thero was a roof above it. Most likely it was a strong place in which retainers could take refuge with their cattle when powerful reivers were expected.

Near Castle Roy is the parish church of Abernethy, and a little beyond it lies the manse. Further on to the right are Coulnakyle and Birchfield, and presently, after passing these, wo reach what was the original terminus of the line, the Bridge of Nethy. From the bridge over the Nethy a good view is obtained of the surrounding scenery. The Nethy is not a large stream, but an extensive beach of white water-washed stones on either side of it shows that it is wild and powerful when in flood. These stones have been torn from its banks in its progress downwards from the Cairngorm Mountains, and have been accumulated here on the level

haugh until they seem to be higher than the ground on either side. The name of the Nethy signifies "The impetuous washingriver." And itcertainly is impetuous, for in its course, which is not perhaps more than ten or twelve miles in length, it falls upwards of 2000 feet. Its source is on the east side of Cairngorm, within about half a mile of Loch Avon, but on a considerably higher level. Leaving Loch Avon at a right angle, it falls into one of the wildest and most romantic mountain passes in Scotland, the Garvault, a rocky burn which separates Cairngorm from the Ben Baynacs. To one who delights in alpine scenery of the most rugged form, the sight of the Garvault would be an ample reward for a day's journey. Cairngorm and Ben Baynac seem to have been sawn asunder by the Nethy, leaving sheer precipices on both sides of about a thousand feet in height. Linns of Dee or Ben Nevis burns cannot be compared for a moment with the chasm at the bottom of which the Nethy roars through huge fragments of granite that have fallen from the beetling precipices that rise on both sides of the stream. In tumbling through this terrible pass, the Nethy carries with it the melted snows as well as the springs of Cairngorm. Numberless streamlets rush down the face of the precipices in perpetual foam, like threads of crystal on the moss-covered rocks that overhang the gulf below. Fed by these countless rills, the Nethy emerges from the gorge a considerable burn, and becomes useful to the industry of the district. From Cairngorm to the Spey the Nethy runs through forests, and the rock-bound channel is often so narrow as to admit of the river being easily dammed up until a considerable lake has accumulated. Felled trees are dragged to the streams beneath these dams, which are opened, and the pent-up water carries the wood with it down to the Spey, where it is formed into rafts, and floated to some of the railway stations, or to Garmcuth, where it is used for shipbuilding, or transported.

A little below the junction of the Nethy with the Spey is the spot called

« AnteriorContinuar »