Imágenes de páginas

with the natural grandeur of this temple, evidently not built with mortal hands.

6. We scrambled along one of the causeways which run along each side of the cave, and with difficulty reached the end. It is midway that one of the best views of this grand grotto is obtained, and where the musical sound of the echoing waves is heard to the greatest advantage. A bugle was sounded, and the whole cavern was filled with echoes. The view from the furthest end of the cave, with Iona in the distance, is grand and singular.

7. We landed on the sacred soil of Iona, and found ourselves on a rugged shore, in the midst of ancient ruins


The Cathedral and St. Oran's Chapel, Iona. Mull in the distance.

strewed over many a rood, on a low and lonely isle, surrounded in the distance by misty mountains, shattered cliffs, and a boundless ocean-overshadowed by almost perpetual clouds and fogs—and buffeted on all sides by storms and raging tides.

8. A locality more desolate, dreary, and apart from the world can hardly be imagined; yet here it was that holy men devoted their lives, for more than a thousand years, to the preservation, teaching, and spread of religion among “savage clans and roving barbarians.”

9. We see here the ruins of a monastery, a convent, an abbey or a cathedral, and the “house appointed for all living,” the place of burial. All the petty kings or chieftains, for hundreds of miles around, were ambitious to have their bones deposited in the sacred soil of Iona. At least forty-eight Scottish kings lay entombed beneath

our feet.

10. St. Oran's Chapel is still standing, and his tomb was pointed out to us. Of the three hundred and sixty crosses that once stood on Iona, only two or three remain.-J. Johnson.


1. The ancient division into Highlands and Lowlands is convenient for the study of the physical features of Scotland. The broad undulating valley of Strathmore, the great strath or valley, running from north-east to south-west near the middle of the country, separates these two divisions.1

2. The Highlands are so named because the surface largely consists of hills and mountains; these are disposed in short chains and groups, with narrow glens between, embosoming mountain torrents and lakes. In the glens and along strips by the eastern coast are almost the only cultivated lands. On the mountain sides sheep are pastured and some timber is grown; but large tracts are almost valueless except as affording a shelter to game.

1 Strath is a common name in northern Scotland for a valley. More means great.

3. A chain of lakes, united by the Caledonian Canal and thus forming a waterway between the Moray Firth and the Atlantic, divides the Highlands into two regions. The valley in which these lakes lie is known as the Great Glen or Glenmore, extending from north-east to south-west.

4. In the Northern Highlands no marked range of any length exists; the region is a wild table-land, ridged and dotted with heights, of which Ben Attow, 4000 feet high, is the highest summit.1

5. The Grampians, or Southern Highlands, are higher, bolder, more striking in form, and more picturesque, than the Northern Highlands. Ben Nevis (Nē-vis), an isolated peak near the south-western extremity of the Great Glen, is the highest mountain in Britain, having a height of 4406 feet. From near Ben Nevis the main line of the Grampians may be traced north-eastwards to the North Sea. About midway between the seas is a cluster of heights consisting of Ben Muich Dhui (Mik-dooʻ-ē), Cairntoul (Cairn-towl'), and Cairngorm--all over 4000 feet high.

6. The Lowlands are not only superior to the Highlands in fertility, but they also possess stores of mineral wealth in the shape of coal, iron, and lead. The coal and iron are most abundant in the Plain of the Forth and Clyde, which is remarkable for the great number of towns, mines and manufactures, and for wealth and prosperity. Ranges of hills separate this plain from the fertile Strathmore.

7. A large portion of the Lowlands is hilly, being occupied by ranges running westward from the Cheviots to the Irish Channel, with branches to the north-east and south forming broad river-valleys or dales. There are at least half-a-dozen heights in this district of over 2600 feet.

1 Ben is the common Gaelic name for a mountain.

8. Dollar Law, Broad Law, and Hart Fell are situated near the sources of the Tweed and Clyde, where the range forms a moorland of considerable height as well as extent. The hills are rounded, covered with grass or heather, and bare of trees. Their scenery is soft and rather tame, and forms a great contrast to the craggy peaks, precipices, lakes, and forests of the Grampians.

9. The Plain of Ayr (Air) is enclosed between crescentshaped hills of the southern ranges and the sea. It is fertile, rich in minerals in the north, and studded with manufacturing and mining towns.


HIGHLANDS. 1. What a glorious experience a fine winter's day is to those blessed with well-strung nerves and a healthy eye to the beautiful!

2. For my part, fresh from the tropics, for whose gay colours I have acquired a certain distrust, a snowy landscape and a frosty morning are full of quiet charms.

3. The feet make no noise upon the soft carpet of snow, which, as dry as the sand of the desert, falls like dust from the shoes at every step, and goes flying in tiny showers across the open plains of the lawns and carriage drives. The fresh northern air piles up the white mass against the trunks of trees and roots of shrubs, and scoops out hollows under their shelter.

4. The boughs of the evergreens are loaded down to the ground with their white burdens, and if by chance a blackbird, frightened from his feast of yew-berries by approaching figures, breaks away with a resounding chuckle, he causes a whole heap of glittering pieces to fall from the shaken boughs behind him.

5. But in general everything is very silent; the birds are too much occupied in searching for food to sing, even if they had a cause. In the farmyards the sheep and cows stand knee-deep in snow and straw; their whole attention is taken up with the fragrant hand which is freely dealt out by the closely-clad shepherd. Truly the reign of winter is not without a sweetness of its own!

6. A sharp spin of a couple of miles brought us in sight of a boat-house, nestling among birches at the head of a long streak of pale water. The loch was shut in by high hills on one side, and stretches of flatter ground on the other; the latter was marsh and bog with plenty of deep peat-holes, and crevices broad enough to swallow a Highland cow, like the giant of the fairy tale, “horns and all.”

7. Strange things are found in these steep-sided hollows. I myself drew from one such trap an imprisoned sheep suffering the last stages of starvation.

s. We embarked in a Highland skiff, rowed by the keeper's sturdy arms. In ten minutes we are across the water; Donald shoves the boat between two rocks and scrambles ashore with a rope to make it fast. But at once he crouches down, and we hear the mellow quack of a mallard which rises through the air from a pool within easy shot, but goes away unhurt, as, of course, we are not loaded. 9. A snipe is the first bird to fall to the laird's

I get another, and then we plod along over the crisp herbage, the dog sniffing about ahead. An hour's trudge brings us to the foot of the first sheet of water with four brace of snipe to our credit.


« AnteriorContinuar »