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iollowers. Those who are curious to follow her history further are referred to "The Buchanites from first to last," by Joseph Train, published by the Messrs. Blackwood in 1846, or to notices in Blackie's "The Scottish Nation," and Chambers's "Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotchmen."
Returning to Tillynaught Junction, we pursue the left branch of the Railway to
2| miles from Tillynaught
Portsoy is principally a fishing town, with some sea-going craft, and a population of between 2000 and 3000. The situation is picturesque, on a bluff or headland occupying the inner bend of and projecting into the large bay formed by the promontories of East Head and Redbythe Point.
Between it and Banff, five miles from the latter, is Boyne Bay, and the ruins of Boyne Castle on Craig of Boyne. Boyne was once the property of the Edmondstones and then of the Ogilvies. An older castle stood once upon the sea-shore, of which a few fragments remain. Boyne Castle overlooks a deep ravine which served as a defence to the north-west. On the south is the entrance by a raised causeway across the moat. The gateway is protected by two round towers, and the whole building consisted of a rectangle defended by towers at the angles. The west side, with its hall eighty feet long, was added in the latter part of the 16th century. The ruins are very extensive and exceedingly picturesque. They are well worthy of a visit.
To the west of Portsoy, and about two miles east of Cullen, are the ruins of Findlater Castle, a "miniature Gibraltar." Spence says: — "It is approached by a road leading towards the shore, through the farm-steading of Main of Findlater. Leaving this steading behind us, a few minutes' walk brings us to a narrow strip of pasturage, along the top of the sea braes, and here the first thing that attracts our attention lying right in
front of us, and on the level on which we stand, is an entrenched camp well defined with ditch and rampart, forming three sides of an oblong, having for its base or fourth side the very irregular edge of the cliff on which it lies. Passing the fosse by a roadway across its middle, we enter the entrenchment, and find that its length is about 240 feet, and its average width about 140 feet. There are remains also of masonwork. . . . Approaching the brow of the cliff we look down, and the fragments of the ancient stronghold meet our view, scattered here and there over the surface, and down the sides of a peninsula lying before us at a distance of about a hundred yards. Around and beyond this promontory stretches far and wide at present a summer sea studded with fleets of herring boats, interspersed with an occasional sail of larger dimensions; and were it not for the hills of Caithness, 'that dim and distant rise' on the horizon, we should be inclined to say that the name Findlater, if, as has been fancifully said, derived from the French Jin de la terre, is aptly applied to the rock at our feet. Immediately below us, and occupying the greater part ot the space between us and the castle, is an isthmus, in some parts very narrow, along which ran the roadway to the castle. This roadway, we see from our point of vantage, is cut right across in two places, one almost beneath us, and the other near the peninsula; these cuttings were of course crossed by drawbridges. From our elevated position we now descend the precipitous face of the cliff, and with some difficulty reach the cutting of the outer drawbridge, the depth of which is about 10 feet. On clambering to the summit of the isthmus we walk on for about 80 feet, and are there encountered by the second cutting, which is about 10 feet deep and 12 feet wide, with a scarp of mason-work. The eastern face of the isthmus makes a sheer descent of 50 or 60 feet to the sea-level, while the western, which is not so precipitous, is faced up where necessary with a dead wall, based upon the rock below. The Castle Rock now rises close in front of us, with an elevation considerably above that of the isthmus. On our right we observe indications of two towers, and on our left the vestiges of a tower and rampart. All these commanded the drawbridge, and were, no doubt, the chief inner defences of the castle. The path winds up from the drawbridge, between these towers, and we follow it until we stand in the very centre of the now turf-covered area, on the summit of the rock. The area is of an irregular oval shape, about 180 feet long by 80 feet wide. Standing here and looking seaward, we have in front of us, at the extremity of the promontory, the remains of the outer sea-tower and walls. On our right are several grassy mounds or ridges, marking the sites of towers and chambers along the eastern edge of the rock. But the most unique and interesting part of the structure still remains unnoticed, and we might stand for ever, where we now stand, without discovering it. Take, however, a step or two to the left, and you come upon a hole in the turf, large enough to drop through. You look down and see that there is a chamber below, which, if you wish to enter in a more dignified and less dangerous manner, you have only to move a few paces seaward to another opening. There you will find a stone stair leading down into the bowels of the rock. By this staircase we descend, and find ourselves in a vaulted room of good size, one of a series on the same floor. In one of these we come to another hole, opening into a yet lower story of vaults, hewn to a great extent out of the solid rock, as indeed are also those above. All these rooms are lighted by windows, now ragged, shapeless, and torn, looking to the west, and down the face of the precipice to the sea, which boils and rages in a narrow gorge at its foot. Returning now to upper day, we quit the rock and descend by a winding path to the shore of the inlet at its base. Here we have a veiy striking view of the western face of the peninsula and isthmus, consisting mainly of rock, but partly of wall,
broken here and there with window, loophole, and ruined arch; and while reposing under the shadow of the cliff behind us, can in fancy rebuild its lofty towers, and fill them with 'rugged warriors armed for strife.' Here too, as well as from the entrenchment above, we are forcibly struck with the impregnable character of the fortress. In the olden time it could only have been taken by blockade or surprise, and to accomplish the latter must have been very difficult, if not impossible."
Probably this castle was originally built, along with many others round the northern shores, as defences against the descents of the Scandinavian seakings, previous to the end of the 13th century. There is reason to believe that afterwards it fell into their hands. There is a tradition that it was once a pirate stronghold, and the entrenchment on the rocks above seems to indicate that it was once held in an interest inimical to that of the inhabitants of the country.
In 1578 Leslie describes it as "a castle so fortified by the nature of its situation as to seem impregnable;" and Gordon of Straloch calls it, in 1662, 'deserta arx'—a deserted stronghold. The Norman family of St. Clair obtained it by marriage with Johanna of Findlater, in the reign of David II. It afterwards came into possession of the Ogilvies, who were created Earls of Findlater. The last Earl Findlater died in 1811, and the estates passed to the family which the Earl of Seafield now represents.
The seat of the Earls of Seafield is Cullen House, a handsome castellated mansion, close to Cullen, and charmingly situated on the edge of a picturesque wooded glen. The queen of Robert the Bruce died at Cullen. The church of Cullen was founded by Robert the Bruce, and the bowels of his queen were interred in it. It also contains the fine tomb of Ogilvy of Findlater.
We now leave the northern sections of the railway for the eastern branches, running to Peterhead and Fraserburgh. This branch takes its name from the two districts through which it passes. Aberdeenshire is divided into five districts, representing, perhaps somewhat roughly, the old lordships or earldoms. Dr. Skene Keith says:—"Aberdeenshire at a remote period seems to have composed two distinct counties or earldoms, namely Mar and Buchan; the former comprising the divisions of Mar proper, Garioch, and Strathbogie; the latter including the thanedoms of Formartine and Bclhelvie, which were united in a political connection with the territory and subject to the jurisdiction of the Earls of Buchan. When the feudal system was generally abolished, and when it became expedient to unite several earldoms under the jurisdiction of one sheriff or judge, appointed by the sovereign, all the divisions were included in the general name of the County of Aberdeen. From that period Aberdeenshire has been considered as composed of five divisions, namely Mar, Formartine, Buchan, Garioch, and Strathbogie."
THE FORMARTINE AND BUCHAN RAILWAY.
Dr. Pratt tells us that in a MS. in the Advocates' Library, supposed to have been written by the Lady Anne Drummond, daughter of James Earl of Perth, and Countess of John, twelfth Earl of Erroll, about the year 1680, it is said:—"All that country in old time was called Buchan, which lyeth betwixt the rivers Don and Diveron. . . . But now generally what is betwixt Don and Ythan is called Formartine ; and that only hath the name of Buchan which is found betwixt Ytlmn and Divemn."
The whole district comprehended in the two divisions of Formartine and Buchan, and passed through by this branch of the railway, is in a high state of cultivation, and is remarkable for its agricultural character, as well as for many objects of historical and antiquarian interest.
The Formartine and Buchan railway was sanctioned in 1858, and opened to Mintlaw (30 miles) in July 1861, to Peterhead in 1862, and to Fraserburgh in 1865. With the other branches, it was amalgamated with the Great North Railway in August 1866. Its length from Dyce Junction to Peterhead is 38 miles, and the branch from Maud Junction to Fraserburgh is 16 miles, in all 54 miles.
Leaving Dyce, the direction is at first northwards; and after crossing the Don, we reach the first station on the branch at ParkMU.
1J miles from Dyce.
7i „ „ Aberdeen.
The river Don is crossed just before reaching the station, and here to the left, looking up the valley, on a graceful bend of the river, is Goval (Crombie), and beyond on the south bank the woods of Pitmedden (George Thompson, jun.), and on the north bank those of Fintray (Sir William Forbes, Bart., of Craigievar and Fintray). To the right of the line is Parkhill House, the seat of John Gordon Cumming Skene, of Pitluig and Dyce. There is a fine lake within the grounds, which are also skirted on the south by the river Don. Immediately to the east of the park is a small loch called Loch Gowle, or the Bishop's Loch, where of yore the Bishop of Aberdeen had a residence. The "Mannour," as it is called, stood on an island in the loch, and is thus referred to in " The View of the Diocese of Aberdeen" :—" The oldest is that in Loch Goul (now the Bishop's Loch), whereof the ruined walls yet remain. It looks rather like a hermit's cell than a bishop's palace, and yet a great man lived and died here; I mean Bishop Benham." The "Old Statistical Account" says:—"There is a beautiful lake called Bishop's Loch, anciently Loch Goul; within it the bishops of Aberdeen had their lodging before the chanonry was erected. Upon a rising ground within the loch the remains of the building are still to be seen. At the west end is part of a ditch, where the drawbridge was by which they passed to and from the lodging. It is said that the loch was compassed about with tall trees, but none of them remain."
Passing on from Parkhill, we have on the left the woods of Elrick, and on the right North Kinmundy, the birthplace of Robert Gordon of Straloch, the famous geographer, antiquary, and historian (born 1560, died 1661).
The line makes a great curve here ascending Summerhill, and even then only with a gradient of 1 in 74. The property of Rammeshill (Geo. Thompson, jun., of Pitmedden) lies to the right; and to the left, in the hollow, the village of Summerhill or New Machar. When opposite the village, the eminence to the right, with farm buildings, is called Kingseat, and a well immediately on the west of the railway is called the Betteral Well.
The "New Statistical Account" gives us this notice of the origin of these names:—"There is a stone in the courtyard of a farm in the parish, on which, tradition says, one of the early kings of Scotland (Malcolm Canmore) seated himself, being in these parts with his army. Weary with marching and overpowered with thirst, he had
water brought to him from a well in the immediate neighbourhood, which proved so grateful and refreshing to the exhausted energies of the monarch, that he pronounced nature's beverage to be better than ale, or better than ill ale. From this circumstance the property on which the farm is, is called Kingseat, and the said well, the Betteral Well, i.e. the Better Ale Well, to this day."
64. New Machar.
4 miles from Parkhill.
The station is a little way, perhaps half a mile, from the village of Summerhill, immediately to the north of which is the entrance to the grounds of Straloch House (Colonel Ramsay of Barra and Straloch).
From this station there is a very fine view of the Deeside and the Donside hills. Bennachie dominates from all points. West of it is the Milstone Hill, and then Cairn William. Right in front is the conical apex of Morven, steep and sullen-looking; while, far off in the distance, towers the "dark Lochnagar." These are the principal peaks ; but many of the other Dee and Don side hills are also visible from this point-—making a magnificent background to a richly-wooded and wellcultivated district.
Half a mile beyond the station we enter the deepest and longest cutting on the line through the hill of Strypes. It is nearly a mile long, and in some places from 40 to 50 feet deep. As you emerge from it a very extensive and beautiful stretch of country opens up to view. The lands of Balnakettle, at the north end of the cutting, belong to the University of Aberdeen. To the right, approaching the station, are TUlycortny (Major Ross) and Tillery (Captain Hunter).
3 miles from New Machar.
This is the station for Udny Castle, (Udny), Pitmedden (Seton), Haddo House (Lord Aberdeen), etc.
Udny Castle is seen rising above the surrounding trees on the left as you approach the station. Till lately it was a mere keep, and uninhabited, but it has been rebuilt as a commodious modern house, in good keeping with the ancient tower, by the present proprietor, J. H. Udny, of Udny. The "View of the Diocese" says of it :—" It is an old castle, and formerly (though now neglected) the seat of the chief of that name. His arms are two greyhounds, with a stag's head above, all betwixt three fleurs de lis; crest, a fleur de lis; supporters, two savages; motto, 'All my hope is in God.'" The building of the original tower is supposed to date from the 13th century. "Story after story was slowly added by each successive laird, until the whole as it stands, with the exception of the present roof, was brought to a close at the same time almost as the finances of the not over-rich lord of the manor." The "Statistical Account" says: — "The walls are thick enough to admit bed-closets within them. The two under stories are vaulted, the upper one of which contains a spacious hall. It is neatly floored, or rather pavemented, with oblong hexagonal granite, very neatly joined. Its height to the top of the arch is about 20 feet." The ceilings are handsomely groined. The height of the tower is upwards of 100 feet. The barony has been long in the possession of the family now represented by J. H. Udny, of Udny. The parish was separated from others in 1597, and named after the proprietor of the barony.
About a mile further on are the very interesting ruins of the Castle of Tolquhon, "a fine specimen of the castellated architecture of the olden time." At one time it belonged to the Prestons, from whom it passed to the Forbeses; ultimately it became, and it now is, the property of the Earls of Aberdeen. "The View of the Diocese," written about 1730, says : "Tolquhon consists of an ancient castle, icalled the Prestons' Tower, from its
first possessors, and of several other buildings (which render it a court), begun, as the inscription on the front shows, by William Forbes of Tolquhon, A.d. 1584, and ended by him A.d. 1589." The inscription is, "Al this warke, excep the auld toor, was begon be William Forbes, 15 Aprile 1584, and endit be him 20 October 1589." The castle is now in a very ruinous condition. The "Statistical Account" says: — "The arched gateway of the court is defended by two towers with loopholes, to enable those within to use firearms or arrows against assailants. Great part of it is now roofless, and its walls are fast sinking into shapeless masses of stones and rubbish. It is nearly surrounded with wood, part of which—especially some fine yews — seems to be coeval with the building itself." One of the inscriptions on the building is, "W. F., 1588; doehter to Lessmore E.G.; and the motto, "Salus per Christum."
Haddo House is a few miles further on in the same direction. This seat of the Earls of Aberdeen stands in a very extensive, varied, and beautiful park. There are two large lakes, a deer park, and some very fine timber. The house is plain but massive. It consists of a square centre with two wings forming a court, and the entrance is in the centre. Two semicircular flights of steps bring you to the level of the second floor, on which are the public rooms. The entrance hall, which is in reality a saloon or morning-room, is graced by a beautiful bust of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, presented by her in memory of her visit to her late Prime Minister in October 1857. The great drawing-room is beyond, and on either side library and dining-room. From the great drawing-room window a noble flight of steps leads down to a large elevated plateau, adorned by beds of flowers. From this, other flights lead down to walks traversing the park in various directions. Straight in front a long avenue lined with noble trees stretches to the upper lake and the gate of the deer park. Beyond the lake it is further seen stretching up the opposite hill, and the long vista, in all a mile, is