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some to be the Eoman Devana. "The traces of the camp are as plainly to be seen as any dyke that had been built but yesterday, and yet it is at least 1700 years since the Romans threw it up. It is a most spacious camp, and would have held many thousand men. The prospect is very fine, and has few matches; and it is to be supposed that many a day in these very old times did the Roman soldier, ere he looked forth from it and saw nothing around him but mighty forests of black pine trees, nothing above him but a grim and scowling sky, think ,with sorrowful heart upon the smiling plains of his own dear native Italy, with its green fields and its marble palaces and bright blue sky, and his own home, under the porch whereof, all hung around with vine trees, sat his wife with his children playing around her."
Near the camp to the east is Maryculter House, on the south side of the river. And opposite it on the north side is the old kirk of Drumoak, or as pronounced locally Dalmaik. The parish is called Peterculter.
2J miles from Culter.
A little to the north-west of the station is Drum Castle, the seat of Alexander Forbes Irvine, Esq., of Drum. The editor has been favoured with the following account of the castle by the present proprietor :—" It is certain that the forest and park of Drum, with numerous other lands on Deeside, were in possession of the Crown in 1247, and in 1318 the enclosure round the park was still maintained.
"In 1324, 4th October, the King Robert Bruce granted a charter of the forest of Drum to William of IREWYN, which will be found in facsimile in Part II., page 28, of "The National Manuscripts of Scotland," published under direction of the Lord Clerk Register, 1867-72.
"The form and construction of the tower, which forms the oldest part of the castle of Drum, its internal arrangements, its situation and materials, as
well as other circumstances local and historical, all point to an early period, and give support to the tradition that it was erected by King William the Lion in the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century.
"Its architecture is of the oldest and simplest description. The well in tho dungeon, the thickness of the walls, the vaulted roofs, the windows few, small, and far from the ground, no entrance lower than the first floor, which was only reached by steps originally removable in times of danger, all show that it was built for security and defence; whilst its position, commanded on the north and west by a contiguous range of rising ground, proves that its strong walls were not intended to withstand cannon.
"The rounded corners of this otherwise square tower, like the round towers at the corner of the curtain walls of more extensive castles and places of defence in the olden time, afforded no salient points for the battering engines to act upon. These are all reasons why this tower may be of so early a date; and one of the arguments against its being of a later era is the useless expense from the great strength of its construction and the inconvenience from so little light being admitted; whilst after the use of cannon, its position rendered it entirely indefensible against ordnance, which, from the adjoining eminence, might fire point-blank on the summit of the tower.
'' In form it is an oblong with rounded corners, the north and south sides 50 feet 6 inches, the east and west 38 feet 6 inches in length. It is without turrets, but surrounded by high battlements rising from a simple and slightly projecting corbel-moulding. The whole height is 60 feet 4 inches. The interior consists of four vaulted chambers, each of which occupies an entire story. A small recess formed in the wall of each of the two highest compartments is the only attempt at any further separate accommodation provided in the original masonry, although it seems probable that wooden platforms, forming additional floors, were supported on the corbel-tables, which project immediately beneath the spring of the arches of the two uppermost stories. One of these floors, in fact, still remained until nearly forty years ago, when the middle story was made into the present library. The lowest and highest compartments are still untouched as when they left the hands of the builders centuries ago.
"The following is the description of Drum as it existed about 1654, when Robert Gordon of Straloch wrote his 'Praefacturarum Aberdonensium Nova Descriptio' for Blaeu's 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum :'—' Drum arx ad miliare unum a flumine, loco aspero et saxoso at sedificiis et novtis egregie instructa; Alexandrum Irvinum Baronem antiqua et illustris pro sapia dominum habet.'—(Collect, for His. of Shires, etc., Spalding Club, p. 25.)
"The remark made in a book published in 1782 with regard to the Tower of Drum is equally applicable to its present state. 'There is neither crack nor crevice in the walls, nor is an inch of it out of plumb.' The same writer also notices that the house makes two sides of a square, and is well sheltered from the north and north-east by a natural wood of pines, oak, and birch. The modern part of it was built in the year 1619, as appears from the date above the windows, but the tower is thought to be some hundreds of years older.—(Douglas's Description of the East Coast of Scotland, p. 255.)
'' Besides the date here mentioned are the initials A. I. and M. D., the latter those of Lady Maria Douglas, a daughter of the Earl of Buchan, also a devout legend, as was the custom of these pious times, 'My Trust Is In God.' The later portion of the castle is of the style of architecture now familiarly known as the Scottish Baronial, no doubt originally either Flemish or French, of which a remarkable cluster of examples, the work, probably, of the same body of master masons, are found in Aberdeenshire and neighbouring counties.
"The Tower of Drum, after having
long remained unscathed by time, and unharmed during the private feuds of earlier ages, was in imminent danger of destruction when besieged by General Munro during the Civil War in 1640. Its surrender then, after two of the besieging force had been killed, but before the four mortars and the mining tools were brought into play, saved it at that time; and its convenient position for a garrison, with the great strength of its masonry, afterwards preserved it from the demolition to which it was consigned by the Scottish Parliament."—(Large edition Scottish Acts of Parliament, voL vi, pt. 2, p. 176b.)
"From destruction by fire, either through the carelessness or malice of its intrusive inmates—garrisons of the Covenanter forces — the tower was guaranteed by the absence of timber in its construction, and thus it remains in perfect preservation to afford a theme for discussion as to the probable period of its erection, for there is no notice in the family papers which can assist in fixing the date when it was built."
A history of the various scenes in which the successive owners of this hoary keep were engaged would be a narrative of no ordinary interest. The vaulted hall in the second story has been converted into a handsome library, the groined ceiling of which is adorned with armorial bearings, and the walls with portraits and some fine pictures by the distinguished artist, the brother of the late proprietor.
To the south of the river is Durris House (J. Young, Esq.), and beyond "is a small tower, built in 1825 on a knoll. This tower was built by the Duke of Gordon to commemorate his coming into possession of the estate of Durris, as heir of entail to the Earl of Peterborough, after a protracted litigation with John Innes, Esq. of Laithers. Some will have it that the tower was built to mark the spot in the river where tradition says that a young man of the Earl Marischal family was drowned in an attempt to swim to the south side to escape from the Irvines of Drum. The story goes, that though the Keiths and the Irvines were at feud, yet a lad Keith fell in love with a lady of the Irvine race, and had his love reciprocated; and as would naturally happen in such cases, stolen interviews were indulged in; but unfortunately the Irvines discovered the young man, and gave chase. The youth
Slunged into the stream and swam for is life; but, getting tired, availed himself of a rock in the middle of the river, to which he clung, and on which he was shot by his relentless pursuers. The rock is still there as a proof of the whole story, and still bears the name of the Keith Stone, and the deep water all round it is still called the Keith Pot. The above-mentioned tower looks down upon this rock. The mound called the Castle Hill is about a mile up the river from the Keith Pot, or Kincluny Tower, and upon that hill, now covered with tall firs, once stood the castle of Durris." James Young, LL.D., of the Paraffin Works, is the present proprietor of Durris, having bought it from A. W. Mactear, Esq. Durris is a good locality for some of the rarer plants.
1 mile from Drum.
A little beyond the station—a mile or so—on the river bank, is Park House (Kinloch), the grounds around which are very beautiful. There is a bridge over the Dee here. To the north of the railway, but not in sight, are the Lochs of Park and Drum.
8 miles north is Echt, and near is the Barmekyne, or Barmkin, of Echt, of which Francis Douglas, in his "Description of the East Coast of Scotland," published in 1782, says :—" I crossed the skirt of a high round hill, on the summit of which are the remains of a Pictish camp, over which, if tradition may be believed, many armies were seen, many drums heard, and many an aerial bloodless battle fought, before the troubles in Charles the First's time." It is a conical hill covered with fir-trees, and there are upon it five concentric lines of fortification, of which two are still of some height; these
ramparts are built with great regularity, and are not mere heaps of stones. Probably this is one of the most perfect ancient forts in the North of Scotland. There are several stone circles in the neighbourhood. Dunecht, the seat of Lord Crawford and Balcarres, is near by, and a little further on the old castle of Midmar or Ballogy. "A little south," says Douglas, "of Midmar, in a glen or deep opening between two hills, was fought the battle of Corrichie in the year 1562, in the reign of Queen Mary, between Murray's troops and the Earl of Huntly, where the last was killed. His son, Sir John Gordon, a gallant and very promising youth, was a day or two afterwards beheaded at Aberdeen, where the Queen and Murray then were in their return from Inverness." The old ballad, "The Battle of Corrichie," was first printed in the "Scots Weekly Magazine" for July 1772, and is said to have been written "by one Forbes, schoolmaster at Maryculter, upon Deeside."
The ballad is as follows :—
Murn, ye Heighlands, and murn, ye Laigh" lands,
I trow ye hae meikle need; For the bonnie burn o' Coricbie His run tbis day wi' bleid.
Tbi hopefu' Laird o' Pinliter,
Erie Huntley's gallant son,
His gar't fair Scotland mone.
Hi has broken his ward in Abirdene,
Thru' dreid o' the fause Murry;
An' bis father, auld Huntley.
Fain wid hi tak' our bonny guide quine,
An' beare her awa' wi' him;
And reft him o' life and lim'.
Murry gart rayse thi tardy Merns men,
An' Angus, an' mony ane mair;
And campit at the Hill o' Fare.
Erie Huntley cam' wi' Haddo Gordone,
An' countit ane thousan' men; But Murry had abien twal hnnder,
Wi' sax score horsemen and ten.
They soundit the bougils an' trumpits,
An' marchit on in brave array;
An' than did begin the fray.
The Gordones sae fercely did fecht it,
Withouten terrer or dreid,
And dyit the grund wi' theire bleid.
Then fause Marry feignit to flee them,
An' they pursuit at hia backe;
An' turnit wi' Marry in a crack.
Wi hether in thir bonnets they turnit,
The traitor Haddo o' thir heid;
An' spoilit an' left them for deid.
Then Marry cried to tak' the auld Gordone,
An' mony ane ran wi' apeid;
An' out guahit the fat lurdane's bleid. Then they tuke hia twa sons, quick an' hale,
An' bare them awa' to Abirdene; But sair did our guide quine lament
Thi waefu' chance that they were tane. Erie Murry lost mony a gallant stout loan,
The hopefu' Laird o' Thornitune, Pillara's sons, and Eglis far-fearit laird,
An' mair to me unkend, fell doune. Erie Huntley mist ten score o' his bra' men,
Sum o' heigh an' sura o' laigh degree; Skeenis' young son, the pride o' a' thi clan,
Waa ther fun deid—he widna flee. This bluidy fecht wis fercely faucht,
Octobri's aught and twenty day; Christ's fyfteen hunder threscore year
An' twa, will merk the deidlie fray. But now the day maist waefu cam',
That day the quine did greet hir fill;
Wis heauit on the Heidin hill.
Upon thi samen fatal playne;
An' see her lover an' liges slayne. I wis our quine had better frinds,
I wis our countrie better peice; I wis our lords wid na discord,
I wis our weirs at hame may ceise 1
3 miles from Park.
The neighbourhood of this station is laid out for building, and bids fair to become soon a favourite site.
Of Crathcs Castle (Sir Robert Burnett, Bart, of Leys), on the slope of a wooded height to the right, Robertson says :—"This is a very stately building, and well decorated with turrets, bartizans, weathercocks, and sculpture. It is a very ancient building, and is said by one of its lairds to have been built in the time of the Picts by one of their architects, whose effigies, with a gold-laced coat, a three-cornered cocked hat on his head, and a Spanish rapier by his side, was carved on the top of the castle. But some think that there were neither gold
laced coats nor three-cornered cocked hats nor Spanish rapiers among the Picts, who were a very uncivil, shamefaced, and uncultivated people." The original portion of the castle is the old square tower with turrets, to which various additions have been made from time to time. It has the usual Flemish characteristics of turrets and dormer windows, while the lower stories, for safety's sake, are plain and dark.
Gilbert Burnett, Bishop of Sarum, and author of a History of his Own Times, was a cadet of this family.
On the south side of the river, and about two miles off, is Tilquhillie Castle (J. Sholto Douglas, Esq.) It is a very interesting specimen of the semi-fortified smaller houses of the gentry. It is backed by mountains, of which the most conspicuous is Clochnaben, 1906 feet in height.
3 miles from Crathes.
Banchory is a long and rather straggling village, or rather two villages— Arbeadie and Banchory, on the banks of the Dee. It is a favourite summer resort, being beautifully situated and possessing a fine climate. It is increasing rapidly. The Burnett Arms Hotel and many private houses and lodgings afford comfortable accommodation for the numerous summer visitors.
The river Feugh, called higher up the Water of Dye, joins the Dee from the Kincardineshire side at Banchory. "The Bridge of Fcugh (Robertson) is also considered a great curiosity, and a sight well worth seeing—the water here tumbling and toiling among the rocks in a very extraordinary manner. The best sight of it may be had from a foghouse, built on a rock" a little way down the water-side, on the north sida of the Bridge."
Immediately beyond the station, which is on the east side of the village, is Banchory Lodge (BurnettRamsay) ; and on the south, side of the river Blackhall (Campbell), and between the line and the stream Inclimarlo (D. Davidson, Esq.)
After passing Banchory, the line of railway leaves the Dee, and sweeps in a more northerly direction, by Glassel and Torphins, to Lumphanan, where it turns almost directly south again, till it reaches Aboyne, and once more strikes the Dee, whose course it follows to the terminus at Ballater.
4J miles from Banchory. 21£ „ „ Aberdeen.
To the right of the station is Glassel House, and further on, upon the south slope of the Hill of Fare, Campfield (Miss Scott). Half-way between this station and the next is Craigmyle House (Gordon).
2J miles from Glassel.
Between the station of Glassel and Torphins the line runs through a very level meadow alongside the Burn of Beltie. This burn drains an extensive country, and though usually small, in rains it floods violently, often overflowing and causing great damage to the railway. It has recently been improved at very considerable expense, so as to render the occurrence of overflow less likely.
Torphins is becoming a considerable village. It is the property of Colonel Innes of Learney, whose house of Learney lies directly north of the station, on the line of level of 700 feet above the sea.
As already said, the Railway here has left for a long way the course of the Dee and the line of the old road, and so we are out of sight of the Bridge of Potarch, and the village of Kincardine O'Neil, but they are worth a visit. There is a good inn at each place. South from the Bridge of Potarch diverge two roads, the westmost going to Ballogie (Dyce Nicol), Balfour (Cochran), and to Birse, also by Cutties hillock across the Cairn O'Month, by Fettercain to Brechin; the other or eastmost going to Mid-Strath and Finzean. A few yards above the Bridge the river Dee is much narrower than in
any other part of its course between Aberdeen and the Linn, being here at one part no more than 15 to 20 feet broad; the water-line is 17 feet deep. Immediately above is one of the finest prospects on the Dee. "Below you is the longest reach of the river, in a straight line of equal breadth ; on the right and left the rising hills, rich with various plantations; immediately in front the house of Desswood (Alex. Davidson, Esq.) stands in beauty fronting the morning sun; and in the background the summits of the distant mountains."
From Torphins, still keeping northwards, we pass Pitmurchie on the left and Findrack and Glenmillan on the right, and reach Lumphanan, where we turn to the south again.
3 miles from Torphinsj 27 „ „ Aberdeen.
A pretty little village picturesquely situated on a wood-covered slope, from among the trees of which the Free Church and Manse look quietly down on the houses below. A little to the north, on the brow of the hill, is a cairn called Macbeth's Cairn, "where, as is said, Macbeth was killed in the year 1056. There is a very particular account of this given in Wyntoun's chronicle, of how—
'*' O'er the Mounth they chased him there Intil the wood of Lumphanan,
* * * *
This Macbeth slew they there
"The King Malcolm Canmore remained at Kincardine O'Neil, while they thus chased Macbeth till they came up with him where Macbeth's Cairn now is, when they slew him outright, and having cut off his head, carried it to King Malcolm at Kincardine. The rest of the body was buried under the cairn, which—such is the lamentable disposition of some people—has been greatly dilapidated, having been carried away to build park-dykes, byres, stables, and the like (pitiful to see such acts done in a civilised country), but is now enclosed by a fence."