John Murray (Firm).

Handbook for travellers in Scotland online

. (page 21 of 73)
Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 21 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


old mode of punishment in Scotland,
and especially in Galloway, where
the right of pit and gallows (in Latin
fossa et furcd), that is of inflicting
death either by drowning or hang-
ing, subsisted longer than in other
countries.

WigtoAvn is a pleasant and pic-
turesque little town (1780 inhab.),
having in the middle of its broad
main street a well-shaded howling-
green, the uniformity of which is
broken by a tall cross. The Town-
hall and County Buildings form a
picturesque group.

By following a road on the N.
bank of the Bladenoch for about 3 m.,
the antiquary will find, at Torhousc,
on the right of the road, 3 rude stones,
the'.highest 4 ft. 6 in. high. On the
left of the road, in a field, is a com-
plete circle of 19 stones 60 ft. dia-
meter, the 2 largest about 5 ft. 6 in.
and 5 ft. high. In the centre of the
circle are 2 blocks 5 ft. high.

At 8 m. the Bladenoch is crossed
at the village of the same name,
noted for its whisky, having on the
opposite bank the little quay of Bal-
doon, and the old castle of Balcloon,
belonging to the Earl of Galloway.
This castle was the scene of the
tragedy immortalised by Scott in
' ' The Bride of Lammermoor. " The



lOG



Route 10. — Dumfries to Stranraer. Sect. I.



bride was Janet, eldest daughter of
Sir James Dalrymple, Lord Stair, and
the bridegroom was David Dundas
of Baldoon. They were married
Angust 12th, 1669. She died soon
after, and report asserted, untruly,
that she stabbed her husband in a fit
of the malady under which she sank,

10 m. Kirkness village, to the W.
of which is Barnbarroch ( R. Vans Ag-
new, Esq. , M. P. ) The railroad goes
direct to Whithorn, keeping straight
on by Sorbie, near which is Doiv-
alton Loch, which has been drained,
revealing lake-dwellings similar to
those in Switzerland. No less than
4 artificial islands were found, con-
structed with timber and hurdles
weighted with heavy stones, furnished
with fireplaces, together with a large
quantity of bones of deer, boars, Bos
primogenius, etc. Between Sorbie
and Garlieston is the old Place of
S'orbic, a former residence of the
family of Hannay in James IV. 's
reign.

The Ely. -ftill shortly run on to
Whithorn by the coast to

14 m. Garlieston '{rnns .- Queen's
Arms ; Galloway Arms), a small sea-
port, from whence a steamer runs
three times a month to Liverpool.
Coach to Wigtown. Adjoining the
town is Galloiva]/ IJousc, the seat
of the Earl of Galloway, with ex-
tensive woods surrounding it. The
house and grounds command fine
views of the Cumberland and Man
mountains. Here is an episcopal
Clmpcl. On Eggerness Point, to the
N. of Garlieston, are slight ruins of
Eggerness Castle, and to the S. is
Cruggleton Castle, once an import-
ant fortress belonging to the Comyns,
standing on the sea- coast to the
left.

The foundations of the exterior
wall and a piece of an arch are all
that is left.

21 m. Whithorn or Whithern
{Inn : Grapes), a Pari, borough, con-



sists of one long street, containing
the Town House, Avith its tower and
bells, and separating at its S. end
into two branches, the one on the
left leading to Whithorn Isle, 34 m.,
which serves as seaport to the town.
Pop. 1577.

Whithorn has an historic interest
as the place where the first Christian .
church in Scotland was built, by St.
Ninian, the apostle of the low-
lands, in the 4th centy., according
to Bede. Amongst the antiquities
of Whithorn is, on the right side of
the street, as you enter, an archway
(which led to the Priory) supported
by old pillars, wdth heads decorated
with oak -leaves, and bearing a shield ;
that on the right has a bar saltier,
and that on the left the arms of the
bishops of Galloway.

The churchyard stands upon the
vaults and cellars of the old Priory.
In the middle is the remnant of the
Priory Ch., which was used as a
parish ch. up to 1822, when the new
one was built close by. This frag-
ment of the old ch. is but the chancel
of one which followed the original
stone ch. of Bede. On the N. of the
high altar are two canopied tombs ;
these have been restored, and one of
tliem is supposed to mark the last
resting-place of St. Ninian. On the
S.W. side is a Norman door, with
handsome mouldings, and a ram's
head on the keystone ; and there is
also a good S.E. door with carved
imposts. The old vault is the bury-
ing-place of the Murrays of Cally,
near Gatehouse. Two fine sculptured
stones of the W. Highland type lie
neglected in the ch. -yd.

Whithorn is the birthplace of John
Ramsay Macculloch, author of the
" Commercial Dictionary," and of
many other valuable works on Poli-
tical Economy, etc.

St. Ninian's Chajyel, one of the
oldest places of Christian Avorship in
Scotland, was a small and rude edi-
fice. St. Ninian, sometimes called
St. Ringan, a Cambrian Briton, and



Route 10. — Dumfries to Stranraer — Ghiiluce. 107



the first bishop of the Southern Picts,
landed in Galloway about the end of
the 4th centy. He preached the
Gospel in these parts, and was buried
in the priory of Whithorn ( = Anglo-
Sax. Hwit-aern, i.e. white dwelling),
otherwise "Candida Casa," because
built of stone. He dedicated it to
his master, St. Martin of Tours, from
whom he had obtained masons to
shape its walls after the Roman
fashion. " In this ' White House '
the body of St. Ninian had its rest,
with the bodies of many other saints,
and for ages the place continued to
be famous, not only in North Britain,
but throughout the Auglo-Saxon
kingdoms, and among the races of
Ireland. Subsequently the ancient
shrine was renowned as a pilgrim-
age, whither kings and princes,
churchmen and warriors, with people
from many realms, came by sea and
land to make their devotions." —
Robertson. James IV. of Scotland
used to make annual pilgrimages to
the shrine of St. Ninian, and some-
times twice in one year, undertaking
the whole jouwiey from Edinburgh
on foot. The geologist will find the
Isle of Whithorn interesting, as foot-
tracks of extinct animals have been
discovered in the Lower Silurian
rocks.

2 m. to the S.W. of the town is
Glasserton, the seat of R. H. J. Stewart,
Esq. A Cave called St. Ninians,
marked by a cross carved on the
rocky walls, exists on the shore
close b)^

A road (not very interesting) runs
all round the coast from Whithorn
to Glenluce, passing

8 m. Port- William, a thriving little
harbour close to Monreith, the seat
of Sir William Maxwell. Near it
is Myrton, where the powerful family
of M'Culloch once had a castle on
the side of Myrton Loch, of which
Boece speaks as "the Great Lake
of Mirton, the one-half whereof doth
freeze by naturall congelation as



other pooles and plashes, but the
other is never scene to beare anie
yce at all, which unto me dooth
seeme to be a greate wonder." It
appears that the M'Cullochs were of
a somewhat piratical character, and
so harassed the unfortunate residents
of the Isle of Man that it became a
common prayer —

" Keep me, my good cows, ray sheep aud
my bullocks.
From Satan, from sin, and those thievish
M'Cullochs."

From here it is 13^ m. on to Glenluce.]
Kewton Stewart to Stranraer. —
Quitting Newton SteAvart, the rly.
jmsses left Mcrton Hall, the seat of
M. S. Boyd, Esq. (a descendant of the
Earl of Kilmarnock who suffered in
the rising of 1745), and runs through
an uninteresting country to

56 ra. Kirkcowan Stid. On right
is Craighlaw (W.C. S.Hamilton, Esq.)
The railway gradually ascends into a
treeless region of heath. This part
of Wigtownshire is bleak and bare,
and far from interesting.

64 m. Glenluce Stat., at the head
of Luce Bay, 11 m. from which, up
the valley of the Luce, are the re-
mains of Luce Abbey, founded by
Roland, Lord of Galloway, in 1190.
When entire it must have been on a
very extensive scale. A mass of
prostrate masonry rises still upon the
site, but a gi-eat part has been re-
moved. The foundations of the nave,
transepts, and choir remain, encum-
bered with rubbish and planted with
trees. The gable of the S. transept
(E.E.) stands erect, with the E.
chapels attached to it. The cloister
square still exists, with a range of
apartments, including the chapter-
house to the E. The latter is vaulted,
and has a central pillar, with good
bosses and some Dec. windows.
Michael Scott, who resided here, is
said to have locked up the plague
in a vault ; and his books are still
buried in the ground. The Luce,
which here flows into the sea, is



108



Route 10. — Castle Kennedy — Stranraer. Sect. I.



formed by two streams, the Main
Water and the Cross Water of Luce,
which join at the village of New
Luce, 4 or 5 m. higher up, where
there is an old rocking-stone called
the Laggan-gun.

On the promontory of the " Rhinns
of Gallowaj^" which can be visited
from Glenluce, are various remains
of Celtic antiquity, and in the parish
of Stoneykirk, two stones, bearing in-
scriptions in characters of the 4th
centy., to commemorate the death of
3 saints — Florentius, Macarius, and
Vincentius — now form the gate-posts
of the deserted ch. -yd. of Kirk-
maiden.

Crossing the Luce by a lofty v^ia-
duct, an extensive view is obtained
of the bay, the Mull of Galloway,
the lighthouse, and the Cumberland
Mountains ; on left of the rly. is
Castle of Park, the former seat of the
Hay family, built in 1590 from the
spoils of Glenluce Abbey. It is a
good type of the Scotch mansion of
the period, and over the entrance we
read, " Blessit be the name of the
Lord — This verk was begun the first
day of March, 159C, be Thomas Hay
of Park and Janet MacDouei, his
spouse." It is now tenanted by
farm servants. There is a fine view
of Glenluce Bay from it.

673 ^^- Dunragit Stat., on right
of which is Dunragit, the seat of
Sir J. Dalrymple Hay, and on left
Genoch (C. M'Douall of Logan).

On the banks of Soulseat Loch,
1., are slight remains of the Abbey
of Soulseat, or " Sedes Animae,"
founded by Fergus, Lord of Gallo-
way, in the 12th centy.

70 m. Castle Kennedy Stat., rt.
Within a mile of this stat. is Loch
Inch Castle, the noble residence of
the Earl of Stair, erected 1870 by
the 10th Earl, in the Scotch Gothic
style, on a site commanding the two
picturesque lochs which form the
chief feature of the domain in view
of the old castle.



In front, on a peninsula, between
the Lakes, rise the ivy-clad ruins of

Castle, Kennedy, built in the time
of James VI., destroyed by fire 1715,
long a seat of the Earls of Cassilis. It
passed to the Stair family in the 17th
cent. The gardens and grounds are
liberally open to the public on Wed-
nesday and Saturday, and are the most
beautiful in this part of the country.
The Pinctum especially is the finest
in Scotland. This most successful
examj)le of landscape-gardening has
been created since 1847, by Lord
Stair and his skilful gardener Mr.
Fowler. A curious range of terraces,
part of a former garden, and the ivy-
clad ruins of the castle, form inte-
resting objects, around which all the
newest and most elegant pines have
been arranged in groups and groves
and avenues with excellent effect. The
result is that the Araucaria, Deodar,
Pinus nobilis, Insignis Nordmanni-
ana, Webbiana, and the Cupressus
macrocarpa, and many more, grow
liere in full vigour and large masses,
whereas in most other places they
occur only as single specimens.

Passing left Culhorn, a small
seat of the Earl of Stair, the train
arrives at

72^ m. Stranraer Stat. {Inns :
King's Arms ; George ; Meikle's
Hotel ; Commercial), a flourishing
seaport and Pari, borough (pop.
5941), placed on the strand at the
head of the expansive bay of Loch
Ryan, and possessing a considerable
trade with the north of Ireland and
Belfast, with which city it is con-
nected by fine Steamers running
daily to Larne, a sea-passage of less
than 3 hrs. There is a convenient
Pier communicating with the rly.
In the heart of the town, opposite
tlie King's Arms, is a Castle or tower
built by the Kennedies. A pretty
view of the town and Loch Ryan
may be obtained from the heights
above the cemetery — Gallows Hill
and Spring Bank. Coach to Girvau



S. Scotland. Route lOa.— Castle-Douglas to KirJxudhrirjld. 109



Stat. ; Steamers, Glasgow (Ayr), and
since 1872, daily, first-class steamers,
warranted 16 m. an lir., to Larne,
whence rly. to Belfast.

Castle Kennedy and the grounds
of Loch Inch are 3 m. distant (ad-
mission Wed. and Sat.)

6 m. to the N.Yf., between Loch
Ryan and tlie Channel, is Loclmaic
Castle, the ancient seat of the old
family of Agnew, which held the
office of hereditary sheriff of Gallo-
way down to the abolition of heri-
table jurisdictions, 1747. The monu-
ment on the hill is to the late Sir
Andrew A. [A road to the S. leads to
the Mull of Galloicay, passing 3^ m.
Garthland Tower, once the seat of
the M'Doualls, Lords of Galloway.
5 m. the village of Stoneykirk, 7 m.
Balgreggan, 10 m. Ardwell House
(Mrs. Ommaney M'Taggart), Logan
(J. M'Douall, Esq. ), where under the
cliffs is a singular sea- fish preserve
or pond accessible to the tides, and
filled with great cod and other fi^h,
some of them so tame as to come at
the keeper's call and receive food out
of the hand ; and 1 5 m. Kirkmaiden.
Near Ardwell is Killeser, formerly
belonging to the M 'Cullochs, skirting
the shore of Luce Bay to Drummore,
where is a little Inn, 3 m. from the
lighthouse- The sea cliffs are 150
to 200 ft. high. From the point of
the Mull, upon which is the light-
house (5 m. beyond), a good view
may be obtained of the coasts of
England and Ireland on the left and
right, and the hills of the Isle of Man
in front.]

80 m. Portpatrick, formerly called
Port Montgomerie. The town is a
poor little place, but is the nearest
point on the Scottish coast to Ireland
— only 21 m. distant. The harbour
and pier were constructed by Kennie
at a cost of £200,000, but, not prov-
ing convenient, the mail service
between Portpatrick and Donag-
hadee has been discontinued. From
Portpatrick the submarine telegraph



wire is carried across the channel. 1
m. to the S. are the ruins of Dunskei/
Castle, standing on a rocky cliff
pierced with many caves, which pro-
jects into the sea. There is fine
rugged cliff scenery along the coast
line near this.



ROUTE 10a.

Castle-Douglas to Kirkcudbright
— Dundrennan Abbey — Gate-
house of Fleet— Anwoth.

Castle- Douglas is in Ete. 10.

Railway to Kirkcudbright, 10 m.,
trains daily in 4 hr., crossing the
Dee near Threave Bridge, to

Bridge of Dee Stat. The country
is very picturesque, though it can-
not be said to exhibit any striking
features.

8 m. ( Tarff Stat. ) At Tongueland
the river Dee is crossed by an old
bridge of 2 arches, and a little lower
down by another bridge of 1 arch of
112 ft. span, built of Arran freestone,
from plans by Telford. The view from
Tongueland Hill is very charming,
embracing the towns of Kirkcud-
bright, St. Mary's Isle, the island
Little Ross, with the Irish Channel,
and, on a clear day, the hills of the
Isle of Man. Near Tongueland Ch. is
the site of the Abbey founded by
Fergus, Lord of Gallowa}^, in the 12th
centy. Below the bridge the Dee is
joined by the Tarff, at the confluence
of which is Compstone House (S.
Maitland, Esq.) and the old Castle of
Compstone, where the poet Mont-
gomery once resided. The Dee rises
in Loch Dee, in the W, of the
county of Kirkcudbright, and flows
E. to join the Ken at the S. end of
Loch Ken, between Castle-Douglas
and New Galloway. From this point
the two rivers merge in the Dee,
which now flows to the S., and
assumes all the wild beauty of a
Highland stream. It is a good fish-
ing-river, though it L'3 somewhat



110



Route 1 Oa. — Kirkcudbright.



Sect. I.



difficult to obtain leave from the
various proprietors. The neighbour-
ing lochs abound in trout, pike, and
perch.

11 m. Kirkcudbright Stat., pro-
nounced Kircoobrie (Inns : Royal,
good ; Commercial), Pop. 2464. A
Pari, borough and clean town of wide
streets, on the Dee, here crossed by
an irpn bridge, and accessible for
sea-going steamers. The " Kirk of
Cuthbert," so called because that
saint's bones reposed here for a time
during their wanderings, is a pleasant
little town, and the head of the
Stewartry. The kirk from which it
takes its name was founded in the
8th centy. At the end of the prin-
cipal street are the ivy-covered ruins
of the old Castle of the M'Lellans,
barons of Kirkcudbright, built in
1582. It is very plain and square,
and of no beauty in itself, but looks
well as the termination of the street.
The Establislied Ch. is a handsome
building. The old ch. was pulled
down, with the exception of a frag-
ment that contains a monument to
a Lord Kirkcudbriglit, which title
has been extinct since 1832. A
Court-house for county business was
built in 1867.

About Ih m. to the S. is St. Mary's
Isle, now no longer an island, but a
peninsula, stretching into the estuary
of the Dee, and occupied by the
grounds and dark Avoods of the Earl
of Selkirk, Through green vistas of
beech trees fine views of the sea appear.
Here is an old herom-y containing
many hundred birds, which are care-
fully guarded from intrusion. Paul
Jones' Point, at the end of the tongue
of land, commemorates a raid made
b)'' that daring pirate, 1778, in the
hope of carrying off the Earl, who
was, luckily for himself, away from
home. The pirate, however, looted
the plate ; and a silver teapot, which
was returned by him on the remon-
strance of Benjamin Franklin, is still
in possession of the family. His



father was gardener at the Isle. A
nunnery was founded here in the
reign of David I., and some portions
of it are embodied in the plain sash-
windowed modern house. The
grounds contain a cut-leaved alder,
the finest in the country, and good
Conifers.

An agreeable excursion may be
made to Dundrennan Abbey, 6 m.
to the E., and about 2 m. from the
coast. The road thither passes a
Roman camp, and the site of Bombie
Castle, ^the early residence of the
M'Lellans. A part of the way is
lined by hawthorn hedges, which
grow most luxuriantly here, and
gave to the place the name of ' ' Dun-
drinnan" (hill of thorns). The
Abbey stands at the head of a pretty
valley 1 m. long, running down from
the village of Dundrennan to the sea.
It has a humble Bin, with one clean
bedroom, and a Gothic kirk, built
1865, Dundrennan Abbey was the
last place at which Mary Queen of
Scots slept before her embarkation
for England. She wrote a letter to
Queen Elizabeth hence, May 15th,
1568. Indeed, the very spot where
she took boat is pointed out, and to
this day goes by the name of Port
Mary. The district of Rerwick is
bold and rock}'^, and supplied the
scenery of " Ellangowan," in Sir
Walter Scott's " Guy Mannering."

The abbey was built in 1142, by
King David, or, as some say, by
Fergus, Lord of Galloway, for Cis-
tercian monks, brought from Rie-
vaulx, in Yorkshire.

On entering the W. door, which
is early pointed, it will be seen
that the AVhole of the nave and
choir (E. wall) have disappeared,
together with the tower, the clois-
ters, and almost all the chapter-
house. The materials have been re-
moved to build the village, and
several of the stones may be recog-
nised in the houses, and particularly
in the Manse. Further dilapidations



S. Scotland. Boute 10a. — Dundrennan Ahhey ; Calhj.



Ill



are now arrested by the Commis-
sioners of AVoods. On the W. are
the cellars, and the garden entrance.
The present remains of the church,
built of picturesque grey stone, con-
sist of the N. and S. transepts, each
with a roofless aisle, on the E. side,
and the N. and S. walls of the
chancel. The arches of the S. tran-
sept stand perfect and are pointed,
while the windows of the chancel,
and those of the clerestoiy in the
transept, are circular. The most
beautiful fragment is upon the S.
side of the ch. This was the en-
trance to the chapter-house, and
consists of a pointed Gothic door-
way, flanked on each side by a double
window. Within this entrance are
the stumps of 4 pillars which sup-
ported the roof.

In the aisle of tha N. transept is
the monument of Alan, Lord of Gal-
loway, grandson of the reputed
founder, and Constable of Scotland
in 1233. The figure is clothed in
mail, the legs have long ago dis-
appeared.

From the high gi'ound above the
Abbey a fine view is obtained. On the
1. is a range of hills, the highest peak
of which is Cairn Skreel, 1425 feet,
ending in Cairn hill, so called from
the cairn on its summit. To the S.,
across the water, is seen the coast
of Cumberland, with Skiddaw and
Helvellyn in the background ; and
on the extreme right are the dark-
blue hills of the Isle of J^Ian.

A coach goes twice a day from
Kirkcudbright to (8 m.) Gateliousc-of-
Fleet {Inn : * Murray Arms, very
good). A prettily situated town,
which rose into a brief prosperity
owing to a cotton-mill being estab-
lished here at the end of last centy.,
but which stopped in 1858, and the
town subsided into torpidity. Its
nucleus was the old inn at the end
of the avenue leading to Cally, seat
of H. G. ilurray Stewart, Esq., and
hence its name.



Cally is a stately mansion of
granite, with a portico of columns,
each a single shaft. The lofty Hall,
lined with pi-ecious marbles, cost
£50,000 alone. Cally is approached
through shady groves and avenues of
lofty beech, and is backed by gardens
and grounds of great beauty. Many
rare pines (C. Lambertiana, 40 ft.
high). It is one of the finest places
in these parts. Strangers can see
the grounds Tuesday and Thursday.
Extensive views from Gatehouse Hill
and the Bar Hill.

On the opposite side of the Fleet
water is Anivoth Ch., field of the
ministry of the Rev, Saml. Euther-
ford — to whose memory the granite
obelisk was erected 1842 on the hill.

"Rutherford's Walk" is the scene
of the memorable interview between
him and Archbp, Usher, who came
over from Ireland to see him, (See
Dean Stanley s "Scottish Church,")!

The tourist may rejoin the r\j. at
Creetown by following the coast
road, a very pleasant one, from
Gatehouse, commanding good views
of the opposite coast of Wigtown,
The distance is 12 m, Anwoth Ch,
and monument lie on right, Car-
doness Castle and house (Sir W.
Maxwell) are passed. At PMvenshaM,
about half-way, there is a roadside
inn with fair accommodation. The
coast is bold and rocky, and con-
tains some interesting caverns. The
largest of them is supposed to have
given Sir W. Scott the substance of
his description of Dirk Hatteraick's
cave. It can only be reached by a
rough walk along the rocky shore,
and entered only at low water. Within
is a large apartment, the sides of
which are hollowed out into "bins "
for the storing of spiiits and contra-
band goods, Not far from Ravens-
hall is Carslouth Castle, a ruin
picturesquely placed on the edge of
the cliff, from whence a flight of
steps descends to the water. Its
features correspond to the description
of EUangowan in " Guy Maunering."



112



Route 11. — Stranraer to Ayr,



Sect. I.



Sir Walter Scott derived his know-
ledge of this district from Mr. Train,
a very intelligent revenue officer re-
siding at ISTewton Stewart. Over-
looking a narrow stream is Kirkdale
House (Major F. Rainsford-Hannay).
Granite quarries are opened on the
shore, and are provided with a pier
for shipment of the stone about 1 m.
S. of Creetown. A steep ascent of
rather more than a mile leads to
Creetown Stat. (Rte. 20).



EOUTE 11.

Stranraer to Ayr, by Ballantrae,
Girvan, and Maybole.

A coach leaves Stranraer every day
for Girvan, 30 m. Thence to Ayr,
22 m., Railway ; trains in 1 hr.

The coast scenery from Glen App
to Ballantrae and Girvan is remark-
ably fine.

For the first 10 m. the road skirts
the eastern shores of Loeh Pi,yan,
running at the foot of a plateau of
bleak moors. It was the Rericonius
Sinus of the Romans, the presumed
station of Rericonium being passed
at 2 1 m. from Stranraer. Earth-
works visible at this spot are called
the Mote. On the bank overlooking
it are the ruins of Craigcaffic Castle,
the fortress of the Nelsons in the
13th centy. The foundation-stones
are said to have been laid on bags of
wool on account of the boggy nature
of the ground.

6^ m. on the W. shore of the
Loch, opposite Cairn Ryan, whose
shales yield graptolites, are the vil-
lage of Kirkcolm and the grounds of
Corsewall (J. Carrick-Moore, Esq.)
The ruins of the ancient castle of
Corseivall lie 4 m. to the N.W., near
Corsewall Point (Lighthouse). Close



Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 21 of 73)