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for the building of Kunthj Lodge,
occupied by the late Duchess of Gor-
don, the gardens of which are very
pretty, and are open on Wednesdays.
The visitor should notice the Gordon
schools, erected in 1851 to the mem-
ory of the fifth and last duke.

The Deveron is crossed by a bridge
of 5 arches near.

45^ m. Rothiemay Stat. The line
now approaches the boundary be-
tween the counties of Aberdeen
and Banff, and crosses it at

Grange Junct. Stat., where the
line to Banlf (Rte. 55b) branches
N. E. under Knock Hill.

53^ Keith Junct. Stat. {Inn : Gor-
don Arms). Keith consists of a
group of 4 small towns on the Isla,
the chief of them of modern origin,
consisting of 5 straight streets crossed
by others at right angles. It has 4
great cattle and horse fairs in the
year. The Roman Catholic Clmiiel
is elaborately ornamented, and con-
tains an altarpiece, the Incredulity

of St. Thomas, presented by Charles
X., King of France.

The trains of Gt. X. of Scotland
Rly. go round from Keith to Craig-
ellachie, and thence up the Spey to
Boat of Garten, on Highland line.

Quitting Kcitli, the main line
skirts the boundary of Banflf and
Moray shires, to

58^ m. Mulhen Stat., and passes
through a prettily wooded defile to
the valley of the Spey, which is
crossed not only by the rly. Viaduct
of 6 arches 2-30 ft.'long, but also by
a suspension bridge, which has super-
seded the old ferry, from which the
place is still called the "'Boat o'
Brig." The geologist will notice
the sections of Avealden-clay and
drift on the banks of the Spey, which
may be traced down below Fochabers.

62. OiiTOX Stat.

Passing rt. Orton, the seat of A.
T. ^Miarton-Duff", Esq., and travers-
ing for 3 m. the woods of the Duke
of Richmond, the line reaches

65 m. Fochabers Stat., the town,
which is visible from the railway,
being about 3.^ m. to the rt, on the
opposite bank of the Spey, here
crossed by a fine bridge. (Inn : Gor-
don Arms. ) It is a neat little place,
built upon a regular plan, with a
handsome square in the centre. At
the E. end is an Educational Institu-
tion, founded by Alexander ]\lilne, a
native of Fochabers, who made a
large fortune as a merchant at N^ew

Close to the town is the entrance
to Gordon C'aiT^Zg (Duke of Eichmond),
1 J m. distant, standing in a spacious
park of 1300 acres, which was form-
erly a marsh, called the Bog of
Gight, but is now well covered with
trees. The Castle — the seat of the
Dukes of Gordon till their title be-
came extinct, and their property


Eoute 55. — Gordon Castle; Elgin Ctdhedral. Sect. Y.

passed in 1836 to the Duke of Eicli-
mond — is considered the great place
in tliis part of the kingdom. Its ex-
terior measures 600 ft. in length, and
it has four storeys, the whole being
faced with freestone and 'surmounted
by battlements. Behind the centre
rises a ponderous square tower of the
11th centy., 90 ft. high. With the
exception of this tower the whole is
modern, and there is no grandeur
about it except as regards size. The
gardens are well laid out, and occupy
an area of 12 acres. In the interior
are good family portraits, some copies
of the old masters, and some statuary.
The fishery of the Spey is part of
the property, and has realised as
much as £15,000 per annum. The
duke's landed estate in county of
Aberdeen amounts to 69,660 acres.

It is about 3 m. from Fochabers
to the mouth of the river at Gar-
mouth, where it is of considerable
breadth. At Kingston Charles II.
landed 1650, and was at once com-
pelled to sign the Covenant. The
Spey and the Findhoru are both no-
torious for their sudden floods, or
"sjjates," during which the smallest
burns become roaring torrents, cre-
ating terrible havoc in their course.
In consequence, the river bed and
delta at its mouth are constantly
changing, from the shifting of sand-

At Port-Gordon, 4 m. N.W., is a
small harbour formed by the Duke
of Richmond.

The rly. now turns to the 1. to

68 4 m. Lhanhryde Stat., whence
the traveller obtains on a clear day
a distant vieAv of the Inverness and
Koss-shire mountains, among which
Ben Wyvis is conspicuous.

Passing 1. Coxton Tower {see
below), we reach

714 m. Elgin Jund. Stat. {±nn :
Gordon Arms, in the market-place).
There is no comfortable inn (1874).

Elgin is a neat and somewhat busy
town and Pari. Burgh of 7340 inhab.,
built on the winding banks of a deep
but sluggish stream, the Lossie, and
celebrated for the most splendid
ecclesiastical- ruin in JST. Scotland.
The centre of the town is a long and
broad market-place, at one end of
which stands the High Kirk, faced
with a Grecian portico, and at the
side the ancient Tolbooth. The
Cathedral is situated about f m.
from the Stat, at the E. end of the
town. On the way to it you pass
the High Kirk, the County Buildings
(modern Gothic), and the Museum —
a praisewortlw collection of local
antiquities, geology, fossils, etc.

^ Elgin Cathedral (Holy Trinity)
was founded about 1224 by Bishop
Andreas de Moravia. It does not
appear to have been completed by
the end of the century, but in 1390
it was given to the flames on the
Feast of St. Botolph, by the Wolf of
Badenoch, King Kobert III.'s half-
brother, at the head of a band of
wild highlanders. It was rebuilt
with a steeple, which fell in 1506,
but was raised again in 1538 to a
height of 198 ft. Much of the ex-
isting remains, however, precede in
date the catastroplie of 1390. They
consist of 2 stately W. towers, 84
ft. high, seen far and near, flanking
a very handsome pointed portal,
deeply recessed with vigorous and
beautiful mouldings — indeed all the
car \'ed work is excellent — surmounted
inside by a pointed arcade, over
which stood a large window, long
since emptied of its tracery. Of the
nave, of 6 bays with double aisles,
nothing remains but the stumps of
some of the piers. The central
tower and part of the transept are
quite gone. The beginning of this
destruction was an order of Privy
Council (156S) to strip the roof of
its lead. A heavier blow was dealt
(1640) by the General Assembly
ordering the demolition of the in-
terior, including a veiy perfect and

Scotland. Route 55. — Elgin; Pluscardine.


beautiful rood screen richly adorned,
painted with. Bible subjects. This
work was effectually carried out by
the minister of Elgin (Gilbert Eoss),
and the Lairds Innes, Brodie, and

The Chancel, raised on 2 steps,
is lighted by 2 windows on each
side. The choir was flanked by
side chapels, and the main arches
surmounted by an elegant clerestory
of pointed windows in 2's and .3's.
The high altar was lighted on each
side by a pair of tall windows. The
total length of the building was 264
ft. The two best bits of the church
date from the 13th cent}^, the best
period of Gothic, and escaped the
conflagration by ' ' the Wolf. " They
are the facade of the S. transept,
showing a line bold doorway, with a
sort of toothed moulding, surmounted
by a jDointed oval, the round arch
appearing in the windows above the
pointed and the E. end of the choir.
"The E. end wall is virtually one
great window of 2 rows of 5 lancets
each, but having piers between them
instead of mullions, and a wheel at
the top. Its details are exquisite,
and the whole design rich and beauti-
ful. " — Fergusson.

The best preserved part of the
building is the octagonal Chapter-
liouse, entered from the S. choir aisle,
retaining still its elegant central pier
and finely -groined roof, not unworthy
to be compared with some of those
of England. It dates from the first
quarter of the loth centy., and de-
serves to be taken care of. Of late,
indeed, the ruins have been pre-
served by Government, and some
money laid out in repairs.

Of the Monuments the best is an
armed effigy of Hay of Lochloy

The S. choir aisle, wdiich retains
its stone vault, is set apart as a
burial-place for the Gordon family :
here rests the last duke. In the nave
is placed an antique block of granite,
carved on one side with a Cross, on

the arms of which are the symbols
of the four Evangelists ; on the other
side are figures of a knight carrying
his hawk, the spectacle ornament,
the broken mace (Z), and the half-
moon. It dates probably from 9th
or 10th centy., and deserves notice.
It was dug up in the town 1823.

On the N.W. of the cathedral^
within the wall of the college, are
the remains of the Bishop^ s Palace,
and the Greyfriai^s Church, a long
narrow building of the loth centy. ;
also of the Dean's house.

^ m. E. of the town is Ander-
son's Institution, for the maintenance
of 10 old people and the education
of about 300 children. Its founder.
General Anderson, H. E. I. C. S.,
was an orphan, who, according to the
story, was reared in the lavatory of
the Abbey Chapter-house. The build-
ing has a Doric portico, supporting a
pediment, on which are 3 sculptured
figures representing the founder of
the institution aud its objects.

Upon Lady Hill, among the ruins
of an old castle, is a monument to
the last Duke of Gordon, who died
in 1836.

The geologist may visit the
Museum, which contains a good
collection of fossils of the district,
including fossil fish from Lossie-
mouth, etc.

pMilways to Inverness, 35 1 m. ;
Lossiemouth, 5 ; Rothes, 14 ; Aber-
deen, 71.^ ; Banff, 36.

Excursions — a. Coxton ; h. Plus-
cardine Abbey, 6 m. ; c. Spynie and
Lossiemouth, 5 ; d. Kinloss and
Forres, 12^ ; e. Fochabers, 64-

a. 2 m. from Elgin, at the side of
the rly. to Fochabers, is Coxton, a
good specimen of the old Peel
tower. It is completely fire-
proof, and has no access what-
ever to the entrance save by a

Boute 56. — Pluscardine ; Sjjynie ; Aires. Sect. Y

b. The ecclesiologist should make
an excursion to '* Pluscardine Ahhcy,
6 m. S.W. from Elgin. The road
(good, though rather circuitous)
passes by Anderson's Institution.
Take the first road to rt. and after-
wards that to 1., and at 5 m. turn to
1. and cross a burn, after Avhich
the abbey becomes visible upon the
rt., in a charming situation, furnish-
ing plentiful subjects for the artist.

Protected from the chilling blasts
of the Northern Ocean by a long and
high ridge of hills, now thickly
planted with fir, the abbey stands at
the narrowest point of a valley which
expands towards the E. and "W. in
a long vista of luxuriant fertility.
The very perfect remains have been
well cared for, and, surrounded as
they are by a high wall enclosing
about 10 acres, approached by a
nicely-shaven lawn, neat garden,
and well-pruned trees, convey a
vivid ijnpression of mediaeval civi-
lisation and monastic repose. The
church itself was cruciform, with a
square central tower. Pluscardine
Priory was founded in the year 1230,
and dedicated to St. Andrew. The
monks were Cistercians of the rule
of St. Benedict. The architecture
is chiefly Early Pointed, retaining,
as usual, the circular arch in its
doorways. The nave is gone, all
but a fragment of wall ; the choir of
3 bays, -sAdthout aisles, is 56 ft. long.
The Chapter -house, about 30 ft.
square, shows remarkably delicate
mouldings, and, like that of Elgin,
is supported by a single central pier.
The N. transept is a fine composition,
and had a large round window in the
gable. The old groined roof is still
standing on the aisles of the transept
and also on a small chapel at the N.
of the choir.

On the N. Avail of the choir is a
credence table, on which 2 angels are
represented as supporting a casket,
and with their other hands squeezing
a bunch of grapes. A flight of steps
leads from the ch. up to the dormi-

tory, upon which a substantial roof
has been set. The Refectory has
been fitted up as a chapel ; the old
]Hilpit of Elgin Cath. is placed in it.
The buildings are luxuriantly over-
grown, and there are some fine old
trees in the grounds.

[About the same distance from
Elgin, to the AV. of the Rothes road,
is the old Kirk of Birnie, which was
the oldest bishop's ch. in the diocese
of Moray, and which still preserves
its nave and chancel entire. There
is no E. window, the church being
lighted by round-headed windows of
Norm. date. In the interior is a
copper bell, said to have been made
in Rome. To be buried in Birnie
kirkyard is the ambition of many of
the country people, who consider its
soil as peculiarly sacred.

c. 1^ m. N. of Elgin, on 1. of the
Lossiemouth Branch Rly., are the
ruins of Spynie, the old residence of
the bishop. The Loch below it has
been drained. It was made the head-
quarters of the see by a papal bull
in 1203.

At the destruction of the religious
establishments it was granted to
Alexander Lindsay, who was created
Lord Spynie, and was afterwards
killed in a street skirmish at Edin-
burgh. The castle originally con-
sisted of 1 large square tower of 6
storeys, with turreted angles on the
roof. A court was subsequently added,
protected at the other 3 angles by
towers, and on the S. and E. sides
by a moat. Over the main entrance
the crozier is still seen, and on theS.
side the chapel can be identified.

Lossiemouth is 5 m. from Elgin,
of which it serves as the port.
A harbour was built here in 1839
with 2 basins.]

Quitting Elgin, the line crosses
the Lossie at Palmers Bridge, a
name betokening its association with
Pluscardine and Elgin, and passes
under the Knock of Alves, a hill, on
the summit of which is a tower, to

Moray. Boute 55. — Forres; Swends Sk

Findhorn. 365

77 ra. Alves Jund. Stat, [whence
there is a branch rly. to the small
port of Burghead, 5 m. Traces of
ramparts and earthworks across the
promontory on which it is situated
bear out the tradition that Burghead
was a Danish fort, although some
antiquaries have considered it to have
been the site of the Roman "ultima
Pteroton " (?). In 1864 some mounds
were examined at Bennett Hill, when
kists were found with complete ske-
letons and flint arrowheads.

Pluscardinc Abbey is 4 m. S.
preceding page). ;


81 m. Kinloss Junct. Stat., close
to which is Kinloss Abbey, one of the
most magnificent foundations of
David I. The abbot was mitred and
had a seat in Parliament, and the
brethren were of the Cistercian order.
At the Pieformation it was sold, and
for centuries the building served as
a quarry for all the houses and walls
in the neighbourhood ; now it is re-
duced to 2 fine round-headed arch-
Avays and a few vaults. King Ed-
Avard I. in 1303, and King Edward
III. in 1336, lodged in the Abbey.
To the 1. of the stat. are the ruins of
BiLrgie Castle, the history of which
is unknown, except that it once be-
longed to Kinloss Abbey, and that
Alexander Dunbar, a judge of the
Court of Session, acquired it by his
marriage with the niece of the last

[A short branch rail on rt. is given
off from Kinloss to Findhorn, a vil-
lage at the entrance of the Findhorn
Loch, which, owing to the devasta-
tions caused by the sea, is the third
village of its name. ' ' The first stood
about a mile W. of the bar, the point
at which tlie river originally entered
the Firth, before the eastward pro-
gress of the moving sand drove it
into the channel it now occupies.
The second village was planted a
little to the N. of the present one,

but it too has been swept aAvay. Nor
does it appear that the existing town
is free from the risk of being over-
taken, partially at least, by a similar
catastrophe. " — Geikic. ]

84 m, at Forres Stat, {buffet) a
Junction is formed with the Highland
Rly. to Perth (Rte. 48), and with the
railways to Inverness and Aber-
deen. {Inns: Royal Hotel at the
Stat., clean and good ; Station Hotel ;
Edgar's, in the town). It is a clean
little town, pop. 3959, believed by
some to have been a Roman station,
and the Varis of Ptolemy. On an
elevated platform, at the W. end of
High-st. nearest the station, stood
the Castle, whose site is marked by
a tall granite Obelisk to the memory
of Dr. Thomson, a native, w^hose de-
votion to the troops in the Crimea is
gratefully remembered. S. of the
town rises the wooded Hill of Cluny,
whose summit, crowned by a Tower,
raised as a monument to Nelson, and
accessible by winding paths, may be
reached by following the street at the
side of the ToAvn Hall. On the slope
of this hill is a magnificent Hydro-
pathic establishment, to which an
omnibus conveys passengers from
the rly.

About a mile W. of Forres the
Findhorn is crossed by a Suspension
Bridge, replacing a stone bridge
swept away by the floods, 1829.

Forres is in summer a cheerful
place, from which several very inte-
resting Excursions may be made.

The most interesting antiquarian
remain in the neighbourhood is
*Siveno's Stone, a narrow shaft of
sandstone, standing in a field at the
side of the road leading to Kinloss,
1 m. E. of the Town Hall, just be-
yond the old turnpike. It is 23 ft.
high, and is carved with figures of
warriors and animals. " These
figures are arranged closely in five
divisions, forming, as it were, so
many passages of the story. As far
as can be discovered by ordinary ex-


Route 55. — Belugas ; Diilsle Bridge. Sect. V.

amination, these, in the order from
the top, are — -Ist and 2d panels, men
and animals in two rows ; 3d panel,
two rows of warlike figures, with in-
struments of music, entering a gate-
Avay as if in triumpli ; 4th panel, four
warriors with spears, driving before
them animals with human heads ;
5th panel, men as if in consultation."
— Muir.

It is asserted that the stone was
erected by Malcolm II. or Macbeth (?)
to commemorate the expulsion of the
Danes. Between Sweno's Stone and
Forres is a mass of granite riveted
with iron, which marks the spot
where witches used to be burnt.

[One of the finest and most com-
pensating Excursions in ISIorayshire
is along the rt. bank of the Find-
horn above Forres. Follow the road
to Grantown, through the fine forest
of Altyre (Sir Wm. Gordon Gum-
ming, Bart.), turning rt. opposite
his lodge, reach the river side, com-
manding splendid views, and enter
Ld. Moray's grounds at the Lodge of
Sluie. Here admittance is given
(and a small fee paid to the gate-
keeper) to a beautiful footj->ath through
the woods looking down upon Find-
horn, 100 or 200 ft. below. The
bends and twists of the river, as it
forces its way through grooves in the
rock at the base of pink precipices of
granite, are extraordinary. The path
commands a new view of a fresh
reach or bend at every 100 yards, as
the water, brown as porter, settles in
dark pools or eddies over shelving
rocks. The carriage should be sent
round from Sluie to Logic farm-house
and the Burnt Mill — a distance of 3
m., which may be reached by the
pedestrian keeping always the rt.
hand footpath. Having rejoined the
road at the mill, a mile farther you
reach Eelugas (Mrs. Geo. E. Smith),
over the bridge of the Divie, close
to which a wicket-gate rt. leads down
the 1. bank of Divie to its junction
with the Findhorn. At this point,

and a little above it, these rivers at-
tain the climax of beauty. The
Findhorn writhes and tumbles
through and over grand masses of
granite fissured in all dii-ections, and
rushing through narrow chinks, one
of which, called Randolph's Leap, is
said to have been cleared at a bound
— though the whole river passes
through the gap. At various spots
inscriptions mark the height of the
river during the terrible floods of
August 1829, which devastated the
grounds of Eelugas, planted and laid
out with so much care and taste by
Sir Thomas Dick-Lauder, their for-
mer owner.

The pedestrian may return to
Forres by ascending the exquisite
stream of the Divie, passing Dun-
phail (Ete. 48) (Lord Thurlow), and
rejoining the railroad at Dunphail
Stat., where he may take the train
to Forres. Following up the Find-
horn, some of the gi-andest scenery
is met with at Ferness, where the
river runs in a very deep chasm,
forming a series of cataracts, well
seen from a path made in the rock.
From Glenferness, seat of the Earl
of Leven and JMelville, it is 2 m. to
Didsie Bridge (Ete. 48), where the
traveller can bait, and, if he choose,
can visit the Streens, or proceed direct
to Nairn and Inverness.

A little before reaching Dulsie
Bridge the river runs through the
extraordinary narrow granite gorge
called the " Streens." " What spot
on earth can exceed in beauty the
landscape comprising the Old Bridge
of Dulsie, spanning with its lofty
arch the deep dark pool, shut in by
grey and fantastic rocks, surmounted
with the greenest of gi-eenswards,
with clumps of ancient weeping
birches, backed by the dark pine-
trees." — St. John. A branch road
has been made to Cawdor, 6 m.
At Comjhorough Bridge a junction
is formed with the Highland road
from Sloch-na-muich, and the Find-


Route 55. — Darnawaij ; N'airn.


horn is crossed, the Strathdearn road
keeping up the 1. bank. Although
very wild and desolate, the scenery
is not remarkable except at Dalma-
gavie Dell, where the glen becomes
much contracted. The road finally
ends at Coignafearn, a shooting-box
of Mackintosh of Mackintosh. ]

Distances from Forres to Eelugas
7 ra ; Keith, 29^ m. ; Elgin, 12i ;
Kinloss, 3 ; Dulsie Bridge, 12 ;
Dunphail, 5| ; Grantown, 23 ;
Nairn, 9| m.

The Cathedral of Elgin is best
visited from Forres, as there is no
good inn at Elgin.

Bail. Forres to Inverness crosses
the Findhorn, which is one of the
most rapid and dangerous streams
in Scotland, by a closed iron plate

The mouth of the Findhorn is
bounded on N.W. by the Sands
of Ciilben, a broad range of mov-
ing hills and sand-drifts, which,
since the latter part of the 17th
century, have overwhelmed and
destroyed a tract of 3600 acres,
once known as the Garden of Moray.
The rly. passes rt. Dalvey (iST.
M'Leod, Esq.\ famous for its gar-
dens (the finest in Morayshire), and
arrives at

87.| m. BrocUe Stat., to rt. of
which is the House of Brodie, one
of the stateliest in Morayshire, in
the midst of well-grown fir-woods,
seat of the ancient family of Brodie.
It then passes (1.) Hardmoor, a wide
and blasted heath, supposed to be
that on which Macbeth and Banquo
met the witches. A clump of fir-
trees, visible from the train, was left
by the Laird of Brodie to mark the
spot when the forest was cut
down. On 1. are Boath House (Sir
J. Dunbar), and the ruins of Inchoch
Tower, once the seat of the Hays of

The village of Auldearn is the
scene of one of Montrose's most
brilliant victories, gained on the 9th
May 1645, in which, with 1500 foot
and 200 horse, he routed the Coven-
anters, under General Urry, with
great slaughter.

About 3 m. from Forres, and 2 m.
S. of Brodie, is seen (1.) the entrance-
gate, decorated w'ith 4 colossal earl's
coronets, of Darnaivay Castle (Earl
of Moray), on the W. side of the
Findhorn. The extensive w^alks
through the woods on the river
banks afford views little inferior to
those on the opposite side {see page
366). It is shown on Tues., Thurs. ,
and Sat. Part of an old castle is
included in the modern Italian edifice.
Earl Randolph's Hall, 100 ft. long,
with roof of oak, carved with pend-
ants, is very magnificent. The castle
is embosomed in a forest of oak and

93^ m. Nairn Stat. [Inn : Ma-
rine, very comfortable and moder-
ate ; a Pari. Burgh ; Pop. 3735) is a
favourite watering - place, having
good sands, and easily accessible.
There is a large Sicimming Bath,
roofed with glass, near the shore,
into which sea-water is pumped.
Swimming lessons are given. Nairn
is on the boundary between the
highlands and the lowlands ; and
until within a few years, both English
and Gaelic were spoken here. The
town has increased by the building
of many villas and lodging-houses.

Episcopal Cliurcli here.

Excursions. — Same as from Forres
The banks of the Findhorn — for
a picturesque and charming Excur-
sion take road to Forres, by Brodie,
cross suspension bridge to Sluie,
walk up river banks to Logic farm-
house, where carriage may meet you.

[5 m. to the S."\V., overlooking


rioiite 55. — Fort-George; Cidloden.

Sect. V

the ISTairn river, is Cawdor Castle
(Earl of Cawdor). It is a well pre-
served and picturesque castellated
building of grey stone, from one
corner of which springs a square
tower, with small turrets at the
angles. It is approached by a
draAvbridge over the fosse, and is
shown when the family are not
living in it. Its chief interest lies
in the belief that ]\Iacbeth, who, it

Online LibraryJohn Murray (Firm)Handbook for travellers in Scotland → online text (page 57 of 73)