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still "The Iron Mill Croft," where in the beginning of the last century the York Buildings Company established ironworks. They -purchased in 1728 £7000 worth of the forest of Abernethy, and continued to work it till 1737. In the Statistical Account, the Kev. Mr. Grant, the minister of the parish, says of them: "They were the most profuso and profligate set that ever were heard of in this corner. Their extravagance of every kind ruined themselves and corrupted others. Their beginning was great indeed, with 120 working horses, saw-mills, iron-mills, and every kind of implement and apparatus of the best and most expensive sorts. They used to display their vanity by bonfires, tar-barrels, and opening hogsheads of brandy to the common people, by which five of them died in one night. They had a commissary for provisions and forage at a handsome salary, and in the end, went off in debt to the proprietors and the country." Notwithstanding all this, they made roads, introduced saw-mills, and taught the people, how to transport wood. They brought iron-ore from the hills of Lecht, near Tomantoul, and smelted it ; but after their break-up, all traces of such work seem to have disappeared. The flood of 1829, however, having scooped out a new channel for itself through the Croft, exposed the framework of a gangway across "the water, with a platform that seemed to have been the foundation of the mill-house. The deep fertile soil had accumulated to a depth of eight feet, and is now a waste of sand, gravel, and stones, and but for the discovery made by the flood, the exact site of the ironworks would in all probability never have been known.
34. Boat of Garten.
101 miles from Aberdeen.
Four miles and three quarters from Nethy Bridge brings us to the end of the Strathspey Railway at its junction with the Highland Railway at Boat of Garten. On leaving Nethy Bridge, the line turns sharply to the north, and once more crosses the Spey, running alongside tho Highland Railway for a considerable distance before the j unction is reached. There is now a small inn here with three beds. "About a mile from the station, the Queen and the late Prince Consort rested a few minutes at the roadside inn (now closed) of Dunmullie in 1860, where 'mine host' still exhibits the glass out of which the Prince drank mountain dew. In August 1872 the ex-empress of the French alighted at this station at one o'clock on a Sunday morning, expecting, as is surmised, to find suitable quarters. The outlandishness of the spot, and difficulty arising from the absence of any accommodation beyond that of the refreshment-rooms, was related in the newspapers as an amusing scene."—(Murray.) Round Boat of Garten the country is flat and uninteresting, but there is always the background of the wild, snow-patched, cloud-capped, Cairngorm Mountains.
The Great North Railway goes no further in this direction, but from this point you can, by the Highland Railway, go south by Athole, the Pass of Killiecrankie, and Dunkeld, to Perth, or north by Forres to Inverness.
We shall retrace our steps to Craigellachie, and explore the line of the Morayshire Railway to Elgin and Lossiemouth.
THE MORAYSHIRE RAILWAY.
f mile from Craigellachie. OS} „ „ Aberdeen.
We have already spoken of the view from Craigellachie, from the bridge above the station buildings. To the left you look up the Spey, spanned by Telford's beautiful iron bridge. To the right you look down the river, spanned here also by another bridge, or viaduct as it is called, carrying the railway to the other side. Looking beyond it, the fine haugh of Dundaleith stretches out to the left, while the grand slope of Ben Aigan to the right is covered with the woods of Arndilly, the mansionhouse itself forming a prominent feature in the foreground. But these objects come in beyond the station.
The viaduct is worthy of a passing notice. '' The viaduct and the embankment together crossing the haugh from bank to bank is about half a mile in length, and the greater part of the embankment is about eight feet high. The viaduct consists of four openings, three of them fifty-seven feet each. These are on the Morayshire side of the river, and over the water there is one span of two hundred feet, beneath which the whole river flows when unflooded. This gives a clear water-way of three hundred and seventy-one feet, sufficient to allow a flood like that of 1829 to pass through the viaduct, for the girders on which the platform rests are at least twenty feet above the ordinary level of the water. The abutments and piers are of solid ashlar masonry, founded in such a way, one
would think, as to make assurance doubly sure. The abutment on the Banffshire side, and also the two piers of the great span, have been founded upon cast-iron cylinders, and the land pier and abutment were founded upon a tkiek bed of concrete, also at a great depth below the bed of the river. These cylinders are each four feet in diameter, and thirteen feet six inches long. They are in two lengths of six feet nine inches each, and are strongly bolted together. Their lower edges were made sharp, so as to penetrate the ground more readily. The main pier was founded upon eighteen of these, the abutment on the Banffshire side upon fifteen, and the small-water pier upon eleven cylinders. They were all placed as close together as their circular form would admit, and were sunk until their bottom edges were fourteen feet below the lower part of the bed of the river, where they rest in gravel and clay. When the cylinders were sunk to their proper depth, all loose earth and stones were carefully removed from them, and they were filled with concrete, and the open spaces between the tops of them were firmly packed in with strong pitching. The lower foundation course of masonry was then laid upon these cylinders, and consisted of broad blocks of stone two feet in thickness, which were so laid that every stone took hold of two or more cylinders, and this course was followed by one of sixteen inches in thickness, breaking joint with the one beneath it.
"Such is the substantial foundation upon which the piers of the viaduct were founded. The piers are not perpendicular, but contract towards the top, or have, as a contractor would say, a slight batter, which at once adds to their strength and gives them a light, airy appearance. Each pier has a cutwater facing up the river, and the tops of all the piers and abutments are surmounted with a bold ornamental coping which adds beauty to the masonry. The stones are of various colours and from different quarries, but the whole outside of the piers is built of a strong, dark-coloured freestone from the Middleton quarry near Arbroath, and the interior from Lossiemouth, Spynie, Bishopmill, and other quarries which supplied the rest of the material. - "The bridge consists of malleableiron girders. Plate girders, five feet deep, are used for the three spans of fifty-seven feet, and are placed at a distance of seventeen feet from centre to centre. Malleable-iron cross girders are riveted at four-feet centres to these principal girders, and longitudinal timber balks bolted down to receive the permanent way. The large framing consists of two malleable-iron lattice girders of two hundred feet clear span. These girders are seventeen feet six inches deep, and are placed seventeen feet apart from centre to centre, the railway being carried upon the lower portion of the girder. The permanent way is supported upon malleable-iron cross girders and longitudinal timber balks, as in the small spans. That portion of the girder immediately over the main pier and abutment is rounded off on the top, both for the purpose of saving material and to improve the general appearance. The top and bottom members of the lattice girders consist of plates and angle irons firmly riveted together, the sizes and sections varying according to the position and relative strain of the several parts. The lattice bars are all formed of angle iron, single or double, of varying thickness, according to the strength required, and securely riveted at the intersections. The spaces or lattice-bar openings are about two feet six inches clear, the lattice-bars beinf placed at an angle of forty-five degrees.
The girders are braced together by means of malleable-iron diaphragms of elliptical form on the internal outline; they are placed fifty feet apart, and brace the lattice girders together at the top, bottom, and sides.
"The fifty-seven feet girders and the large lattice girders are securely riveted together at the main pier, thus forming one continuous girder from end to end of the viaduct. The girders rest direct upon granite saddle-blocks at the main piers, and are bolted down firmly with strong bolts, built ten feet into the solid masonry. This is the only point where the girders are permanently fixed; at the remainder of the piers and abutments the girders simply rest on turned rollers encased in a properly secured malleable-iron frame. This arrangement is to allow freedom of expansion and contraction in the iron-work."
Dundaleith is a very fine farm. Further down is another called Dundurcus, and below that again Dipple. Higher up we havd already seen the haugh of Dalvey. There is a rhyme referring to these :—
"Dipple, Dundurcus, Dundaleith, and Dalvey,
Are the four bonniest haughs on the run of the Spey."
2| miles from Dundaleith.
Leaving Dundaleith, the Spey bends to the right and (comes rapidly back to a point on which is situated Arndilly House, long Grant of Arndilly, now his niece's, Mrs. Kinloch Grant. Arndilly was built on a high mound about the middle of the last century, and it has received considerable additions. It contains tsome good pictures. One of the "sculptured stones" is to beimet with here. It is built into the wall of the mansion-house, and being abeut 24 feet on each side it is nearly square. It is figured on plate 15 of vol. i. of "The Sculptured Stones of Scotland." It was taken from the wall of the old church of Artendol, which formerly occupied the site of the mansion, and must have existed in the neighbourhood previously to the erection of that church, which was given to the See of Moray about the beginning of the 16th century. On the stone is a circular ornament which is regarded as a "mirror," with an unknown hieroglyphic, and a figure like the letter Z ornamented at the ends. A little further on we open the vale of Rothes, a name which some derive from a Gaelic word meaning the "blendingof the water," while others trace it to another Gaelic word, meaning the "red water," so called from the red banks of the river.
The village of Rothes lies at the foot of a steep bank rising to our left as we pass towards the sea, while on the right stretches out one of those fertile haughs which are features in Strathspey. This is bounded again a little lower down by the high projecting headland of Aikenway, forming the pass of Sourden. This pass is on the Orton branch of the railway, a branch which, leaving the main line of the Morayshire at Rothes, passes down the west bank of the Spey, and joins the Highland Railway where it crosses the Spey at Boat of Bridge.
At this point of Aikenway the distance from the promontory to the opposite hill is only 237 feet, but through this narrow gorge, the road, the railway, and the river find their way. Here, during the flood of 1829, the river rose twenty feet ten inches above its ordinary level, and fifteen inches above the mark made to record the much-talked-of flood of 1738. The ruins of the ancient castle of Aikenway may still be traced on the top of the rock.
The Glen of Rothes, north from the village, trends away to the north-west, while from this point the Spey keeps to the north-east. Geologists have the idea that this glen at one time formed the bed of the Spey, discharging its waters at Lossiemouth, before the barrier at the pass of Sourden had given way.
We leave the Spey here, our line passing down the Glen of Rothes.
The village lies at the foot of one of those high banks which suggest that
they were once washed by an arm of the sea, which probably filled this valley long ago. The town began to bo laid out in 1766, on land belonging to the Earl of Seafield. Its principal industry is the Glen Grant Distillery, commenced in 1840 by Messrs. J. and J. Grant, and situated on the side of Glen Grant burn, near the north end of the village. This distillery is capable of turning out 1600 gallons of whisky weekly.
In the immediate vicinity of the village are the ruins of the fortalice of Rothes, one of the most ancient castles in the country, though the period of its erection is uncertain. In 1238, Eva de Mortach, daughter of Muriol de Poloc, was Domina de Rothes, and in that capacity, she in 1263 bestowed the lands of Inverlochtie on the Cathedral of Moray. Bothes Castle stands on the top of a round and precipitousfaced hill on the north-west side of the vale, and the neck of land that connects its site with the fields, had been cut by a ditch, and crossed by a drawbridge. The keep of the castle was several stories high, and vaulted to the top. A number of lower buildings had been connected with it, and the whole enclosed by a lofty wall,—a portion of which is the only remnant now standing of the ancient castle. It was burned down by the country people early in this century to prevent thieves from harbouring in it. From Polocs or Pollocks it descended to Leslies, whose chief had the title at one time of Duke of Rothes ; then to Grant of Elchies, Earl of Findlater, and it is now the property of the Earl of Seafield.
"A little to the west rises the Conerock, a considerable hill covered with fir trees. It is principally composed of quartz, variously streaked, and containing angular fragments of other rocks, if they are not sections of crystals of quartz. In the crevices or drusy cavities of loose masses scattered over the hill may be seen numerous small crystals. On climbing to the highest point the labour will be fully recompensed by the splendour of the view. Below lies the village, calmly reposing amid its cultivated fields, stretching to the side of the river, that steals along the opposite side of the valley, at the foot of the well-wooded Ben Aigan,—now lost behind a clump of trees, now 'shining in the silver beams!' Looking northward, we have a striking view of the Pass of Sourden, and smile at the supposed difficulty of the Spey finding her way through the glen ; beyond we can see like a snowwhite thread the suspension bridge, uniting the counties of Moray and Banff, close by the railway viaduct (at Boat-o'-Brig), and the diminishing hills closing the distant view. To the #rest of the Conerock stretches a wild uncultivated moor, that gives rise to the streams that cross the streets of the village. One of these streams has cut its channel so deeply as to givo the rugged ravino a gloomy aspect, which bears the name of Doony, and in its day has had the honour of being the haunt of fairies."—(Longmuir.)
G% miles from Rothes.
Passing on down the Vale of Rothes, we reach, in six and three-quarter miles, the station of Longmorn; and in three miles more reach Elgin.
3 miles from Longmorn. I2! » » Craigellachie. 80| ,, „ Aberdeen.
We must refer to local guide-books for a particular description of this handsome and flourishing town.
"Elgin was a toon,
The name is supposed to have been derived from Helgy, a victorious general who overran the country about the year 927, and possibly made a settlement at Elgin. At any rate, the word "Helgyn" is still used in the inscription on the Corporation seal. It was a royal burgh in the reign of David I.; and in the reign of Alexander II. (who granted a royal charter in favour of the burgh, which is still carefully pre
served) the Episcopal See was translated from Spynie to Elgin.
The town is built upon a rising ground to the north of the station ; the Louie flowing at a short distance further on. The castle is at the west end of the main street; and the ruins of tho cathedral are at the north-east side of the town, or city as it claims to be called. Its population is 7340. The climate being very salubrious, the natural advantages of the situation great, and educational facilities valuable, it has becomo a great centre for tho residence of people of independent means, whose '' suburban villas, with their tastefully-kept gardens surrounded by tall poplars or shady beeches, denote the affluence and cultivated taste of the inhabitants."
The great feature, however, of Elgin, is the ruined Cathedral, a description of which we quote in abstract from "Morayshire Described," and from Black's Guide. Elgin Cathedral, the church of tho Holy Trinity, was founded in 1224 by Bishop Andrew Murray, on a beautiful spot on the side of the river Lossie, the ground being granted by Alexander II. This was during the popedom of Honorius, and it is said that the sito was that of a formerly existing church. It is stated to have been completed in eighteen years, under this bishop's despatch. In the days of its pristine grandeur it was no less the glory of Elgin than the boast of Moray and the pride of tho north. Like most buildings of its kind, it suffered both from accident and violence. In 1390 it was burned by the "Wolf of liadenoch," a natural son of Robert II., in revenge for a sentence of excommunication issued against him. The rebuilding was in progress in 1414, and completed some time after, in a style inferior to few buildings of that age, in tho form of a Jerusalem Cross, ornamented with five towers, two of which were at the west end, two at the east, and one in the centre. The church remained entire till 1506, when the great steeple fell down. The stately edifice escaped the violenco of the mob at the Reformation, only to be dilapidated in a more deliberate manner.