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we soon arrive at

Oban (Ete. 31).



ROUTE 36.

Oban to Bannavie, by Loch
Linnhe, Appin, Ballachulish
(Glencoe), and Fort -"William.
—Ben Wevis.

Every morning a steamer runs be-
tween Oban and Ballachulish, giving
tourists time to see Glencoe, return-
ing in .'the evening. The sail up
Loch Linnhe is very beautiful, and,
being .so completely landlocked, the
water is seldom very rough. On rt.
the steamer passes Dunolly and Dun-
staff'nage castles (Rte. 31), guarding
the entrance to Loch Etive, which
is crossed by a reef at Conn el Ferry,
and 1. the long Island of Lismore.
On Lismore were once an import-
ant ecclesiastical establishment and
a considerable population. It was
also the locality of the cathedral
ch. of the diocese of Argjdl. " The
cathedral of St. Moluac, the seat of
the bishops of a diocese which was
dismembered from Dunkeld in the
beginning of the 13th cent., is per-
haps the humblest in Britain. The
High ch. of Argyll is less than 60 ft.
in length, by 30 ft. in breadth — it
has no aisles, and seems to have had
neither transejjts nor nave. " — Robert-
son. It is now modernised, and
used as a parish ch. On the N'.W.
coast, on a high rock, are the ruins
of Auclrnvdouni Castle, the ancient
seat of the Bishops of Argjdl. It
is a square of 80 ft. with walls 40
ft. high, the interior being divided
into two portions. It was from this
palace that the Bishops of Argyll
acquired the title of " Episcopi Lis-
morenses," just as the Bishops of
Sodor and Man obtained their title
from the Sudreys, Sodorenses, or
Southern Hebrides, which formed
a portion of the diocese of Ebude.
From the N. end of Lismore there
is a short ferry to Port Appin (a
comfortable inn), where the sports-



W.Scotland. Eoufe 36. — Ohan to Ballachulish : Appin. 239



man may shoot seals, -n-liich are
plentiful along these shores.

[From Oban to Ballachulish a
road i-uns near the coast the whole
way, crossing 3 ferries ; passing 1 m.
Dunolly, and a little farther on 1.
Dunstaffnage Castle. Loch Etive is
crossed at Connel Ferry, 5 m. , where
at certain times the tide rushes with
great fury over a reef of rocks, form-
ing a sort of sea waterfall (Ete. 31).
The scenery is remarkably line.
Ben Cruachan and its giant fellows
form a grand background on the W.
Near the bay of Ardmucknish is a
little rocky eminence called Dun
Macsniochan, or the Fort of the Sons
of Usnoth, surmounted by the re-
mains of a vitrified fort. This is
believed by some antiquaries to be
the site of Bcregonmm, the old
Pictish capital of this district, before
it was occupied by the Scots, The
rock has two peaks, each surmounted
by a vitrified wall ; and a raised way,
called Straidmharagaid, "the mar-
ket street," said to have been the
principal street of the city, but which
was more probably the work of Chris-
tian times, and connected with the
small cemetery at the base of the
cliff". The "Selma" of Ossian also
claims a position on this spot. On
the opposite promontory is Loch-
nell, the residence of D. Campbell,
Esq. The road from Bonawe and
Ardchattan Priory (Rte. 31) falls in
here.

8 m. Barcaldine — a finely situated
old mansion, once a seat of a branch
of the Campbells — is the residence
of Mrs. Cameron. Near it is a small
inn called Nova Zembla. At Shean
Ferry 10 m., where the inlet of Loch
Creran is crossed, the traveller leaves
the district of Lorn and enters that
of Appin, passing 1. Airds (R. j\Iacfie,
Esq.)]

t 14 m. at Port A2)]nn there is a
comfortable little Inn, at which the
steamers to Ballachulish calL



Eilean Stacker (the Island of the
Falconer), a castle standing on a
rock detached from the shore, was
long the residence of the Stewarts
of Appin. It bears the royal arms
over the door, because it was built
for James IV.

Quitting Appin and passing 1. the
Island Shuna, with remains of a
castle, and rt. Appin House (Miss
Downie), the steamer diverges E.
into the narrow Firth of Loch Leven,
and touches at

+ Ballachulish Pier {Hotel .- 5 m,
from Glencoe, described in Rte. 34),
27 m. from Oban.

The steamer next crosses Loch
Linnhe to call off" 'y Ardgour, a cheer-
ful little place with an inn, on the
Morven side of the coast, and below
Con-an Ferry, commanding a mag-
nificent view of the mountains oj^po-
site. Behind the village is a water-
fall, visible at a long distance, and
known as the Ardgour Totoel, it is
presumed from its whiteness. Here
the inlet of Loch Linnhe opens into
Loch Eil, the first of the chain of
lakes belonging to the Great Glen
through which the traveller passes
to Inverness.

Ardgour House is the residence of
A. M'Lean, Esq.

From Ardgour an excursion may
be made to Lochs Sunart and Moidart
(Rte. 36a).

As you ascend Loch Eil (rt.) Ben
Nevis comes in sight before the vessel
reaches the pier of

t Maryburgh, \ m. distant from the
straggling and dirty little town of

Fort- William {Inn : Chevalier,
near the pier, Caledonian — tolerable),
which takes its name from ?ifort on
the S.E. side, originally built by
General Monk, afterwards enlarged
and strengthened by William III.,
chiefly with the view of keeping in
check the turbulent clan Cameron,
but now sold by Government to Camp-
bell of Monzie. It was beseiged, with-
out success, by the rebels in 1746.



240 Bimte o6. — Ohan to Fort-William : Bannavie. Sect. III.



At Kilmally, near Bannavie, is a
mommient erected to Col. Cameron,
of the 92d Highlanders, killed at
Quatre Bras [see Rte. 37).

Distances. — Ballachulish, 12^ ni. ;
Glencoe, by the Devil's Staircase,
20 ; Bannavie, 3 ; Inverlochy, li ;
Spean Bridge, 9^ ; Bridge of Roy, 13 ;
Loch Laggan, 32 ; Prince Charles's
Monnment, 18 ; Kinloch Aylort, 28;
Arisaig, 38 ; Gairlochy, 11.]

1^ m. 1., between Fort- William
and Bannavie, on the 1. bank of the
Lochy, just below the suspension
bridge, is the Castle of Inverlochy, a
quadrangular building flanked by
round towers at the 4 corners. It
is possible that tliis was erected by
Edward I. for the purpose of check-
ing the unrul}^ mountaineers, as Fort-
William was built about 4 centuries
after. Under its walls, in 1645, the
Covenanters under Argyle were sur-
prised by Montrose, and defeated
with the loss of 1500 men. Argyle
himself retired on board ship at the
beginning of the action. There is a
beautiful picture of Inverlochy Castle
— one of Macculloch's finest — in the
National Gallery at Edinburgh.

The road from Fort- William (having
first crossed the Nevis) is carried
over the broad stream of the Lorchy
by a suspension bridge, on which is
a heavy toll of 2s. for a carriage to
Bannavie.

The sea steamer halts at t Corimch,
close to the mouth of the Caledonian
Canal and Neptune's Staircase. Om-
nibus conveys passengers 1 m. to

Bannavie Inn : Lochiel Arms,
good, but very expensive, 1 874. Post-
horses and Traps. Inns at Fort-
William more moderate ; its situa-
tion is fine, and it commands per-
haps the best view of Ben Nevis ;
and it is convenient for tourists
going to Inverness by the morning's
steamer {sec Rte. 39).

Distances to — Fort- William, 3 m. ;
Inverlochy Castle, 1^ ; Spean Bridge,



9 ; Bridge of Roy, ] 2 ; Base of Ben
Nevis, 2 ; to the summit, 8 ; Glencoe,
by the Devil's Staircase, 23 ; Loch
Laggan, 31 ; Kingussie, 53 ; Kin-
loch Aylort, 25 ; Glenfinnan, 15 ;
Arisaig, 36.

[The excursion, j^a?- excellence, from
Bannavie and Fort- William is that
up Ben Nevis (4368 ft.), the highest
mountain in Scotland, and indeed in
Great Britain, which stands at the
back and to the E. of Fort- William,
and opposite the hotel at Bannavie,
from whence an admirable view is
obtained of its massive proportions.
The first impression of Ben Nevis is
disappointing, for it is anything but a
gi-aceful mountain, and, from the
absence of peak or cone, it takes some
little time to realise its great height
and gigantic mass. One of its cha-
racteristic features is the almost con-
stant presence of snow in the gi'eat .
precij)ices facing the N. E. , even in the
hottest summer — a fortunate occur-
rence for Cameron of Glen Nevis,
who, it is said, holds his land by the
tenure of an unfailing snowball when
demanded.

Ben Nevis belongs to a large and
important range of mountains, though
separated from them liy deep ravines
on the E. and W., that on the W.
Glen Nevis being strongly marked.
The N. face, which is the best for
the ascent, consists of two portions,
the lower a broad, almost square
basement, upon which stands the
steep black head that forms the difii-
cult part of the ascent. The charge
for a guide is from 8s. to 10s. The
necessity for taking him depends
entirely on the weather, and on the
tourist's acquaintance with moun-
tains. For some a compass and a
map are all that is necessary ; but
the greater number will be all the
safer for a guide, as Beu' Nevis is
famous for mists, and the precipices
on the N. E. side are very dangerous.
Ladies may easily ride as far as the
lake, which is 1700 ft. above the sea.



W. Scotland. Route 36. — Ascent of Ben Nevis.



241



The ascent was made by the Empress
Eugenie, August 1872.

From Banuavie to the summit is a
walk of about 8 m., which will take 3i
hrs. ; the descent may be made in 2 hrs.

Crossing the Loehy by the suspen-
sion bridge, a path strikes up from
the Distillery along the 1. bank of
the burn, which descends from a
mountain tarn 1700 feet above the
sea. Keeping this on the 1. you
skirt its upper extremity, and turn
1. up the face of the mountain.
Skirt the edge of this till opposite
the face of the mountain, and
then strike across the valley and
commence the ascent. This part of
Ben Nevis appears to be one gigantic
heap of stones, and the members of
a party should keep in line, as in
shooting, since the stones are liable
to be displaced and fall down. The
summit of Ben Nevis consists of 3
great ridges, nearly parallel. The 2
outside ones are grey granite, very
much of equal height, while the
middle is of red porpliyry, not much
lower. The one to the S. soon nar-
rows into a sharp-edged ridge, so
narrow that ' ' a single block of
granite may split into two parts, of
which one would roll crashing down
the steep slope into the valley on the
1., while the other would leap to the
bottom of the glen on the rt. In
this sharp form the ridge divides,
one arm sweeping round the head of
the glen on the N.E. side, while
the other circles westward to the
shoulders of Ben Nevis. "^ — Geikie.

If the atmosphere is clear, the for-
tunate tourist will see a panorama
about 100 m. in diameter, extending
from sea to sea, and embracing
nearly every lofty mountain in Scot-
land. ' ' In no other place is the
general and varied character of the
Highlands better illustrated, and
from none can the geologist, whose
eye is open to the changes wrought
by sub-aerial waste on the surface of
the country, gain a more vivid in-
[Scotland.]



sight into their reality and magni-
tude. It is easy to recognise the
more marked heights. To the S.,
away down Loch Linnhe, he can see
the hills of Mull and the Paps of
Jura, closing in the horizon — Loch
Eil seems to be at his feet, winding
up into the lonely mountains.

"Far over the hills, beyond the
head of the loch, he looks across
Arisaig, and can see the cliffs of the
Isle of Eigg, and the dark peaks of
Bum, with the Atlantic gleaming
below them. Farther to the N. W.
the blue range of the Coolins rises
along the sky-line, and then sweep-
ing over all the intermediate ground,
through Arisaig, and Knoj^dart, and
Clanranald's country (where the Pre-
tender landed, whence also he de-
parted), mountain rises beyond moun-
tain, ridge beyond ridge, cut through
by dark glens, and varied here and
there with the sheen of lake and
tarn . N orth ward runs th e mysterious
straight line of the Great Glen, with
its chain of lochs. Thence to E. and
S. the same billowy sea of mountain
tops stretches out as far as the eye
can follow it — the hills and glens of
Lochaber, the wide green strath of
Spean, the grey corries of Glen Treig
and Glen Nevis, the distant sweep of
the mountains of Brae Lyon and the
Perthshire Highlands, the spires of
Glencoe, and thence round again to
the blue waters of Loch Linnhe." —
Geikie.

Ben Cruachan, Ben Lomond, Ben
More, Ben Screel, Ben Lawers, Schie-
hallion. Cairngorm, Ben Wyvis —
giants all — are plainly visible in this
remarkable scene.

The descent is more dangerous,
though not so laborious as the ascent,
and great care should be taken. The
whole journey from the hotel and
back again will occupy nearly 6 hours.

The top of Ben ^ Nevis may be
reached from Fort- WiViam, by as-
cending Glen Nevis, some way be-
yond the farm of Achartre, and then
turning 1, up the shoulder of the hill,



242 Rs. 36a, Ardgour. — 37, Bannavie to Arisaig. Sect. III.



Avliicli will bring you in sight of the
tarn mentioned al30ve.

Glen Nevis is one of the grandest
glens in Scotland, and an excursion
may be made up to its very head,
visiting on the way Dunjardil, a fine
vitrified fort, and a rocking-stone.

There can hardly be a more plea-
sant Excursion than that to Arisaig
(Rte. 37), where the Inn, though
small, is comfortable and moderate.

Conveyances from Fort- William. —
Coach daily to Glencoe and the head of
Loch Lomond, with branch to Oban.

Coach every morning to Kingussie
(50 m. Rte. 38) to meet the mail
train. Steamers daily to Oban an



Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 40 of 73)