Page images

It is sur


with overhanging trees, others are studded with treeclad islets, and all help to make up the magnificent scenery for which the Scottish Highlands have long been famous.

2. The principal lakes in the Northern Highlands are Lochs Shin and Assynt in Sutherland, and Loch Maree in Ross. Loch Shin is about twenty-four miles long, but only from one to two miles broad. rounded by wild and dreary moorland, destitute of trees, or any sort of cultivation. Loch Assynt, from the irregularity of its outline, and from the grandeur of the inountains which surround it, is, perhaps, the most beautiful of the Sutherland lakes.

3. Loch Maree is surrounded by rugged mountains, the chief of which-Ben Slioch—is nearly 4,000 feet in height. The lake is about twelve miles long, and in the widest part measures a little more than two miles

At this point numerous small, but thicklywooded islands, stud the surface of the water. Isle Maree is the largest and most beautiful of these islands.

4. The lakes in the Vale of Glenmore, which divides the Northern from the Southern Highlands, are Lochs Ness, Lochy, and Eil. The latter is an inlet of the sea, opening into Loch Linnhe. The mountain ranges, which flank this glen of many waters, form rugged, rocky, or heath-clad barriers on either side, whose lower slopes to the margin of the waters are clothed with forest. Loch Ness is about twenty-three miles in length, with a varying breadth of somewhat less than two miles. Its waters, from their great depth, like those of Loch Maree, never freeze.

5. The most important of the many lakes of the Southern Highlands are Lochs Lomond, Awe, Katrine, and Tay.

6. Loch Lomond is the pride of Scottish lakes. It is very irregular in shape, narrowing in the north until it is lost among the dusky mountains, widening towards the south, where it is beautified with

many well-wooded islands of every form and outline that fancy can frame.

[graphic][merged small]

Ben Lomond, with its green summit, adorns the eastern side, while towards the south is a level, fair, and fertile land. This lake is the largest in Great Britain. It is twenty-four miles long, and at its southern extremity five miles wide, and its total area is about 20,000 acres. Near Loch Lomond is the pretty Loch Katrine, made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his finest poem, the “ Lady of the Lake."

7. Loch Awe, the second in size of the Scottish Lakes, is surrounded by lofty mountains, the highest of which—Ben Cruachan-rises to a height of 3,667 feet. It is about twenty-four miles long, and two miles wide. At its eastern end there are numerous wooded islands, and the sloping banks are also well clothed with wood down to the water's edge.

8. Loch Leven is the only important Lowland lake. It lies to the east of the Ochil Hills, in the county of Kinross. On one of its islands are the ruins of Lochleven Castle, where Queen Mary was imprisoned, and from which she escaped in 1568. This lake is celebrated for its trout.

[blocks in formation]

1. It may be said of the rivers of Scotland generally, that they have their sources at great elevations; that they flow through narrow glens and ravines; that they are copiously fed by heavy rains and melting snow, and that, having their birthplaces in the mountains towards the centre of the country, their courses

are short. Hence the rivers are swift and shallow, and broken by rapids and waterfalls; they carry a large volume of water to the sea, and are almost useless for navigation, except in their estuaries. Many of them, however, have splendid salmon-fisheries.

2. The rivers of the Southern Lowlands have their origin in the Lowtler Hills and their spurs, a little to

the south of the centre of this division of the country. The Tweed and the Clyde—the two most famous rivers in Scotland—steal from their sources among the hills which divide the counties of Lanark, Peebles, and Dumfries. Both flow northward for a short distance, separated only by a mountain ridge, and then turn, one to the western, and the other to the eastern sea. From the same hills the Esk, Annan, and Nith flow through fertile dales into the Solway Firth.

3. The Tweed is the river of the Border, and its own beautiful valley, besides that of every stream which joins it in its course, is rich in the song and story which have been made familiar to the world by the great minstrel * in whose ears the ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles was the sweetest and dearest of all natural sounds, Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, is in the valley of the Tweed on the south bank of the river; and Jedburgh Abbey, where he was buried, stands amid the most pleasant combination of water, hill, and woodland


in the south of Scotland. Teviot, the chief tributary of the Tweed, has a winding course through a dale of the greatest richness and fertility. The Tweed is nearly 100 miles long, and in its lower course, for about twenty miles, forms the boundary between England and Scotland. It mingles its waters with those of the German Ocean, near the old Border town of Berwick-on-Tweed.

4. The vales in the basin of the Tweed and its tributaries" are studded with ruined fortresses and solitary towers that have been stormed and sacked, given to the flames, repaired and re-garrisoned, to be stormed again and again in the wild wars that were waged for ages between England and Scotland, and by the Border clans in their fierce domestic feuds."

5. The Clyde, too, is its upper course, is not without its history. It is conuected with the great war of Scottish independence, and especially with Wallace-his hiding-places and his gatherings. From its source to Renfrew, below Glasgow, the Clyde runs through the

• Sir W. Scott.

[graphic][merged small]

county of Lanark. It is a rapid stream, broken by many beautiful cascades, the chief of these being the falls of Corra Linn and Stonebyres. From the latter falls to Bothwell Bridge the river runs through a fine alluvial plain, famous for its fertility and the richness of its orchards. From Glasgow, and on to the Dumbarton, where the river joins the beautiful Firth, the crowded shipping attests the fact that the Clyde is pre-eminent among Scotch rivers in commercial importance.

6. The chief rivers which drain the eastern slopes of the Southern Highlands are the Forth, Tay, Dee, and Don. The Forth rises in Ben Lomond, and its tributary, the Teith, swells its volume with the surplus waters of Loch Katrine. It has a very winding course, through beautiful scenery, until it arrives at Stirling.

« PreviousContinue »