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faster and further than desirable, this Hadean chimney.
"On a high rock jutting out into the sea stand the ruins of the old Castle of Slains. North of it is a fine bay, with a beautiful sandy beach; but within a few yards of the shore of (this beach numerous sunken reefs and rocks, just raising their ridges above the surface of the water, render the navigation of the coast very dangerous.
"Here I was rather disagreeably made acquainted with a peculiar feature, often met with on this coast. Looking from the castle towards the little bay, the dry white sand of whose shore was glittering in the sun, you see first of all a pretty steep grassy descent, ridged diagonally and horizontally with the tracks made by sheep and cattle grazing. Beneath this, rather more than two-thirds down the slope, stretches out a broad grassy platform, level, and greener than the rest. Beyond, again, the slope descends as before till it meets the beach. I had lingered at the castle to sketch, and my friend was far in advance. Seeing such an apparently smooth field before me, and expecting to have the impetus of my first descent checked by the broad green patch before I had to make the second descent to the water, I began to run down the slope, bounding over the cattle paths, and acquiring considerable speed, when all at once, as I reached the middle ground, I found I had plunged into a deep morass. I got out with all haste, and no detriment beyond being well covered with mud about the legs, but had to make a considerable detour before I reached the beach. The clay had formed a ridge by the beating up of the sea. This ridge had accumulated water from the numerous springs which abound in the rocks above, and also the dtbris of vegetable matter, till soil was formed; so that at last there was a natural water-meadow hanging midway down this steep brae face. These occur frequently, almost wherever there is a beach, and are carefully preserved by the people. A very little labour with the spade would drain any one of them; but as they afford the richest pasture to be met with near their ex
tension is fostered, rather than prevented.
"Not far from this point, still northward, is a very extensive cave, called the Dripping Cave. It differs from the last I mentioned in that it occurs in limestone, and is filled with stalactites and stalagmite. At one time some of the stalactites were continuous from roof to floor, and were very beautiful. I am sorry to say, however, that the most of them have been taken away and used for lime. I searched in vain for this cave. It seems that the overhanging clay, which is continuous all along the cliffs, had fallen in mass over the entrance and closed it. I examined all the brae, and climbed down to the sea-line and examined the rocks below. Much did I see that was interesting, but not the cave. A stream of water strongly charged with calcareous matter was falling over the cliffs, and covering the rocks with a limy incrustation. The water was actually percolating through the cave; but so completely was it at that time closed, that though, as I afterwards learned, I must have passed and repassed the spot where it was, it yet remained undiscovered. I am informed that it is again accessible, and I hope in the course of the ensuing summer to examine it. In this neighbourhood, where the clay reaches the edge of the cliffs, it is fringed with tall grass. When the culms have withered and fallen over the cliff, the water from the high ground runs along them, dropping from their points, and, such is the vertical character of the cliffs, it falls 100 to 150 feet into the water below.
"As I have already stated, the principal rocks met with on this part of the coast are gneiss and mica slate. — To these may be added various porphyritic combinations, and basalt.
"The next parish, Cruden, carries on the coast - line seven miles further. The gneiss and mica slate extend part of this way, after which there is a broad sandy beach, called the Ward of Cruden. The south end of this beach is marked by a remarkable reef of sunken rocks running far out into the sea, called the Scars of Cruden, and many a gallant ship has been wrecked upon them. Northward the bay is terminated by precipitous cliffs of red granite, which extend from this point onward beyond Peterhead.
"There is little to be told of this part of the coast beyond a few descriptive remarks to exemplify how it has been disrupted and torn, and heaved into the most rugged and frowning coastline exhibited almost anywhere,—indicating a 'turgidvm mare,' and forcibly reminding us of Horace's 'infamies scopalos acroceraunia.'
"On the first granite headland after passing the Ward of Cruden stands the modern Slains Castle, the seat of the Earls of Erroll. It is almost insulated, a strip of sea running round to the north, and trending so far west as to leave only a narrow isthmus by which to obtain access to the castle. This arm of the sea is called the Langhaven, and is quite narrow; it is, in fact, a mere rent or fissure on a large scale. It contains deep water, and its sides are so pei-pendicular and so high that, in looking up from below, the eye does not perceive a much greater breadth of sky than, looking down, it perceives breadth of water. Seaward the cliffs are equally high and equally precipitous. It is said that from the library or drawing - room windows a stone dropped falls directly into the water. A carriago-way formerly ran round the castle, but this has now disappeared, owing to the fall of a large portion of rock. Looking from these windows, nothing is to bo seen but sea and sky.
"Not far from the castle there is a cave of peculiar construction. It opens to the sea below water-mark, runs horizontally for a considerable distance into the rock, and then rises till it comes to the surface in a field some way from the edge of the cliff. From the rolling of the waves into tho cavern below, an atmospheric current is created sufficiently strong to blow into the air any light article thrown into the upper aperture of tho cave ; and when there is a gale from the east a column of spray rises continuously from it. This cave, as well as the one formerly noticed, has received the name
of 'Hell-lum ;'1 indeed every cave of similar form obtains this designation all over this coast.
'' Many insulated rocks, of nearly equal altitude with the main line of coast, are scattered all along at various distances from the shore. One of the most famous of these is called the Dun Buy. Although Dr. Johnson, in his 'Tour to the Hebrides,' says of it, in reference to the urgent request of Lady Erroll that he should not leave Slains without seeing the Dun Buy, that there is nothing about it to detain attention, it is nevertheless to those who see it a very striking object, standing isolated and bare, majestic and unmoved, amid the buffetings of northern storms. Description can convey no idea of the peculiar feelings of awe and wonder created by the sight of such effects (of forces, with whose operations we are now unacquainted. This rock has, moreover, been rendered classical by Sir Walter Scott's introduction of it into his story of 'The Antiquary.' 'Are ye mad?' said the mendicant; 'Francie o' Fowl'sheugh, and he was the best craigsman that ever speeled a heugh (mair by token, he brak his neck on the Dun Buy of Slains), wad na hae ventured upon the Halkethead craigs after sundown.'
"My favourite rock is one which the oftener I see it strikes me the more. It is some two or three hundred yards in length, surrounded by the sea, but lying in the mouth of one of these rifled fissures with vertical sides. On the side towards the land it presents a smooth surface of red granite, apparently as smooth as if dressed with a chisel, and in the centre it is perforated with a triangular hole of gigantic dimensions. The upper surface is covered with grass and sea flowers, Galium vemum, Statice armeria (thrift), Silene maritima (catchfly), saxifrages, eto. etc., and it is the secure breeding-placo of thousands of sea-fowl. When the sun shines brilliantly on this rock, lighting up its reflection in deep emerald water, it is a sight to gaze at for hours together.
1 "!um," Scottice for chimney.
"The famous open cave called the Bullers of Buchan, or in the local dialect Birs Buchan, is in this locality. On the north side of a little creek, presenting the usual perpendicular walls of immense height, the rocks jut out some way into the sea. In this promontory, a huge circular pot has been scooped out. Its sides present perpendicular walls of rock, and towards the sea they are of inconsiderable thickness, at one point, on the upper edge, not more than one or two yards, narrowing even to less for a very little way. It is reckoned a feat to walk round, and a story is told of a man who, in a drunken fit, took a wager that he would gallop round on horseback. He accomplished the feat, but, on becoming sober, was so startled by the risk he had run that he died of fright. The sea flows in by a natural arch. In stormy weather, with an easterly wind, the dashing of the waves through this narrow aperture, and the recoil they make against the sides of the chasm, resemble the boiling of a huge caldron; and hence the name. I visited it once (among many visits) on a beautifully calm day. Taking boat, we rowed round .the point, and found the entrance not much wider than admitted an ordinary-sized four-oared fishing boat. Even in the smoothest weather there is inside a peculiar roll in the water; and as the rock is caverned out in all directions, and to great depths, there is a hollow roar, which adds greatly to the impressiveness of the strange scene. In the pompous language of Dr. Johnson, which is, however, well adapted for such a description as this, 'We found ourselves in a place which, though we could not think ourselves in danger, we could scarcely survey without some recoil of the mind. The basin in which we floated was nearly circular, perhaps thirty yards in diameter. We were enclosed by a natural wall, rising steep on every side to a height which produced the idea of insurmountable confinement. The interception of all lateral light caused a dismal gloom. Round us was a perpendicular rock, above us the distant sky, and below us
an unknown profundity of water.' He adds, with a naivete perhaps still more descriptive of the characteristic 'awesomeness' of the place, 'If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red Sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller Buchan.'
"Beyond Cruden, the coast-line extends about five miles through the parish of Peterhead, commencing a little to the south of , the point of Buchan-ness, and reaching beyond the town of Peterhead, to the mouth of the river Ugie. 'Between the parish of Cruden,'—I quote from the Statistical Report,—'and the fishing village of Boddam, in this parish, the sea is bounded by high cliffs of granite and other primary rock, forming mural precipices: and this part of the coast is indented with many chasms, fissures, and caves, and these in some cases divide the granite from the trap rock. From Boddam to the Bay of Sandford the coast is low and rocky. The Bay of Sandford, extending some distance inland, is bounded by a flat sandy shore, intermixed with pebbles.' Between the point of Salt House Head and Keith-point, on which the town of Peterhead is built, the Bay of Peterhead extends about a mile inland. Its shores are flat and rocky, terminating in sand and pebbles at its innermost bound. All this coast, from Boddam to Peterhead, although low towards the sea, the rocks scarcely appearing above high water, except where the heads run out, and a flat sandy beach extending most of the way, is nevertheless abutted upon by cliffs of clay of considerable height, so that the general outline of the coast appears high. From Keith-point, which is the most easterly nook of Scotland, the coast recedes till the mouth of the Ugie is reached, preserving the same character of a rock bottom, a sandy beach, and steep diluvial cliffs abutting on the sands.
'' 'The whole of the parish of Peterhead' (I quote again from the Statistical Report) 'is upon primitive rock. In the Stirling Hill, Black Hill, and Hill of Cowsrieve, the granite 01 syenite rises to the surface. Along the coast, and in other parts of the parish, it is covered with clay, supposed to be diluvial, and other matters, to a greater or less depth. Upon the Stirling Hill the granite rises to the surface, or nearly so, over an extent of from 100 to 150 acres. In every place where the syenite or granite is laid bare, embedded masses, veins, or dikes of primitive trap, gneiss, quartz, and compact felspar alternate with and run through it. In some cases one-half of a block is granite and the other primitive trap, in complete cohesion, and often passing into each other. At the old Castle of Boddam the rock is separated by a fissure or chasm, one side of which is granite and the other primitive trap. This chasm runs east and west, the granite being on the south and the trap on the north, with a considerable angle to the horizon. Near the Buchan-ness Lighthouse there is a pretty extensive bed of hornstone porphyry. The rock along the coast, from Buchan-ness to the mouth of the Ugie, may be seen at low-water mark, and consists of granite, primitive trap, syenite, gneiss, compact felspar, felspar porphyry, and quartz, variously associated with each other. The Meet-hill is covered with a deep mass of diluvial clay. At the Brickwork, which is about fifty yards from the beach, and where the clay has been cut to the depth of from thirty to forty feet, it exhibits various strata, which appear to have been deposited at different times, from their differences in quality and colour: some of the deposits are not above an inch in depth, while others are several feet. The skeleton of a bird was (in 1837) dug out of the clay here, at the depth of twenty-five feet from the surface, and about fifteen or twenty feet above the level of the sea.' This clay, mixed in some places with rounded pebbles, covers a very considerable part of the parish."
The neighbourhood of the Ward of Cruden was in the year 1012 the site of a bloody and final battle, in which the Danes were totally defeated by the Scots. At the north end of the bay a lofty headland, called the Hawklaw,
commands a magnificent view of the German Ocean, and of the coast from the Girdleness on the south point of the Bay of Aberdeen, to Buchan-ness Lighthouse, a sweep of some 30 miles. It looks down on the beautiful sands of the Ward, the thriving village of Port Erroll, with its commodious harbour, just (1880) completed at great cost by the most enterprising and noble owner, the Earl of Erroll, whose castle of Slains, towering over the cliffs, is a prominent object in the sea-view. In the immediate vicinity of the Hawklaw are the remains of a vitrified wall, and there are similar remains on two other eminences close by. Near these among the sandhills is a well, known as St. Olave's Well—a very copious spring bubbling strongly up from among the sand, and so famous once as to have been a point of pilgrimage. It did not escape the notice of the famous Rhymer:—
"St. Olave's Well, low by the sea, Where pest uor plague shall ever be."
Forsyth, in his "Beauties of Scotland," mentions the ruins of a castle near this place. Speaking of the battle already referred to, -he says,—" The armies met about a mile to the west of the present Slains Castle, upon a plain in the bottom of the bay of Ardendraught, near which the Danes then had a castle, the ruins of which are still to be seen." There are no traces of any ruins how, except the vitrified remains just mentioned. But that a town had been there once is proved, for the old charters say:— "Totas et Integras Terras de Ardendraught, cum Turre et Fortalicio earundem."
The great battle of Cruden seems to have extended over some four miles, and relics in the shape of battle-axes, mortuary urns, neck chains, jet beads, etc. etc., have been collected over all that space. Dr. Abercromby (quoted by Pratt) gives the following account of this engagement:—"Sueno was heartily vexed at the repeated losses he had sustained in Scotland; but his great spirit was not to be curbed by adversity. He once more resolved to fit out a powerful fleet and to raise a new army, in order to the prosecution of the Scottish war; and to show he was in earnest he gave the command of both to his own son Canute, that afterwards mighty king of England, Denmark, Norway, and part of Swedland,—a king so fortunate and so great that his flatterers styled him 'Lord of the earth and seas.' This same Canute landed at the head of his formidable army in Buchan, whither King Malcolm, to prevent the ordinary devastations committed by the barbarous enemy, marched with all imaginable expedition, but thought it not fit, with his newly-raised forces, to hazard a decisive battle. He contented himself to harass the invaders by brisk and frequent skirmishes, and to intercept the means of their subsistence, hoping thereby to fatigue and starve them into a necessity of returning to their ships. But this did not content the minds of his impetuous subjects. They were like to mutiny against him, and swore they would fight of themselves, unless he would instantly lead em on to death or victory. Thus e king, though contrary to his first design, was willingly constrained to humour the ardour of his men. He sought out, and found the enemy as desirous, because of the scarcity of provisions, to fight as himself. The battle iwas as the former ones, most terrible—most of the nobility and officers on both sides being killed. The Scots had the victory; but it was such as occasioned more grief than joy in the camp. They did not pursue the flying Danes for two reasons: the first, they could not for lassitude and weariness, their spirits being spent in the heat of action: the second, because so few of the vanquished survived that it was scarcely worth while to overtake the remainder. The night succeeding the battle, both parties—for they could no longer be called armies, their numbers being so vastly diminished—lay sad and melancholy at some distance from one another, and the next day's light presented them with the most dismal spectacle their eyes had ever beheld—the confused carcases of almost
all their numbers. This blunted the edge of their resentment, and their inclinations turned in an instant from war to peace. By this time many of the Danes and Norwegians had become Christians, among these Canute himself; so that the priests and religious, whom, by reason of their character, both nations respected, had an opportunity of mediating a peace; which being so necessary was soon concluded on the following terms :—1st, That the Danes and Norwegians should withdraw their persons and effects from Scotland, and within a set time evacuate those places they had in Murray and Buchan. 2d, That during the lives of both kings, Malcolm and 6ueno, neither of the nations should attempt hostility against the other, nor be assisting to such as would. 3d, That the field of battle should be consecrated after the rites then in use, and made a cemetery or burying-place for the dead. 4th, That the Danes, as well as Scots, should be decently and honourably interred.
"Malcolm and Canute swore to the observation of these articles, and both performed their respective obligations. Canute, with all his countrymen, left Scotland; and Malcolm not only caused to bury the dead bodies of the Danes with honour and decency, but also commanded a chapel to be built on the spot, which, to perpetuate the memory of the thing, he dedicated to Olaus, the tutelar saint or patron both of Denmark and of Norway. Some vestiges of that old chapel were to be seen in the days of Boethius; but it being in a great measure overlaid and drowned by the sands, which on that coast the winds frequently raise, and are blown in a tempestuous manner over houses and fields, another was erected in a more convenient place, and is still to be seen; as are also the huge and almost gigantic bones of those who fell in the battle of Croju-Dane, or Crudane (for so is the village near to which it was fought called to this very day), that is, the death or slaughter of the Danes."
Take the following from Uncle Ned on the Danes and the Spanish Armada in " The Crookit Meg: "—