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passengers. The river Shin is crossed,
and a dreary moor is traversed.

8 m. near the mouth of the Cass-
ley is Eosehall, the property of John
Mackay, Esq. , well protected by thick
fir plantations. The Cassley river,
when full of water, is fairly supplied
.with fish below the Falls of Olen-
muich, which no fish can pass. At
the point where the road crosses it
are the ruins of Achness Castle, while
on the other side are those of Castel-
na-Coire, 15 m. I'uitumtarvach, "the
Place of great Slaughter," was in
1400 the scene of a battle between
the M'Leods of Assynt and Lewis

Scotland. Route 67. — Lairg to Loch Inver : Loch Assynt. 427

and the men of Sutherland, in wliich
the M'Leods were defeated. Only
one of their side returned to Lewis,
and he died of his wounds.

15^ m. Oi/kel Bridge Inn, small.
In the garden is an erect slab about
10 ft. high, set up to imitate an old
stone monument, and scratched Avith
modern Fames ! The prettiest part
of Strath Oykel is traversed before
reaching the inn. The slopes on each
side of the road are beautifully wooded
Avith birch, oak, and wycli elm, and
at the bottom is a slip of cultivated
land or pasture, watered by the

[A hill-track here crosses the river
to join the one between Bonar Bridge
and Ullapool, 18 m. From this point
it ascends Glen Einig, passes the
watershed, and descends by Loch
Damph and Loch Auchall to Ulla-

2 m, from Oykel B. Inn is the
shooting-lodge of Lubcroy, an oasis
in the desert, from whence the road
ascends the upper part of Strath
Oykel, bleak and uninteresting.

Altnagalagach Inn is a poor little
place at the N.W. side of Loch Bor-
rolan (30 m.) The origin of this
name, which means the " Cheat's
River," is, that on some occasion a
dispute arose as to the boundary of
the two counties, and some Avitnesses
ha\dng filled their shoes with earth
from Balnagowan, swore that they
were standing on Ross-shire gi'ound.
The road, which ever since leaving
Oykel Bridge has been in Ross-shire,
now re-enters Sutherlandshire. Here
the 3 singular and picturesque moun-
tains of Assynt— Ben :More, Canisp,
and Suilven — come into \dew.

[31 i m. at Ledmore a road on 1. is
given "off to Elphin and Ullapool,
leaving the wild, desolate hills of
Ben More and Coulbeg, and striking
on the coast at Strath Kennort.] A
little farther on is the farm-house of
Ledbeg, near which the marble

quarries of the Ben More district
were worked some years ago ; but
now abandoned- This marble, ac-
cording to Symonds, is the equivalent
of the Silurian limestones of L.

The road passes along the base of
Ben More too closely to allow it to
be seen to advantage.

33 m. On 1. is the little Loch Awe,
with a number of small wooded islets,
upon one of which are the ruins of a
fort. The road now descends by the
side of the Loannan to

38 m. Inchnadamff Inn (comfort-
able ; apt to be full in the shooting
season), standing in a well-sheltered
corner, backed by the precipice of Ben
More at the E. extremity of Loch
Assynt. N. and E. rise the massive
heights of Quinaig, Glasven, and Ben
More (3281 ft.)

Upon the opposite side of the
valley are Couhnore, with its two
heads, and beyond that Coulbeg, with
some minor peaks. The landlord of
the Inn can give the right of fishing
in Loch Assynt, and keeps boats
for the purpose. It contains good
river and sea trout. The rocks in
the neighbourhood of Loch Assynt
belong to the Cambrian age, resting
on the oldest or granitoid gneiss.
" Loch Assynt is a fine sheet of water,
10 m. long ; the scenery is consider-
ably diversified by the nature of the
rocks in which it is set. The upper
end is terminated by the mural
Strom Chrubie, backed by the ma-
jestic Ben More of Assynt and other
mountains. A trap-dyke is seen to
traverse the upper quartz rock of
Ben More, near the summit on the 1.
shoulder ascending from Inchna-
damph." On this mountain Mr.
Selby and Sir William Jardine found
the Arctic ptarmigan ( Tetrao rupes-
tris). The golden eagle still haunts
its crags. The limestone composing
the lower pait of these mountains
forms noble terraces resting upon the
lower quartz rock of Quinaig, and

428 Route 67. — Lairg to Loch Inver : Loch Assynt. Sect. YII.

overlaid by the upper quartz of Glas-
ven. The botanist may gather many
rare plants and ferns on these Lower
Silurian limestones, the Cloudberry,
the rare Pingukola Alpina, Drycis
octopetala, etc. North of the Loch
Assynt the eye is arrested by precipi-
tous Quinaig, formed of chocolate -
coloured Cambrian rock, etc., and
capped by white quartz of Lower
Silurian age ; while turning W. we
see the rugged cliffs of gneiss.

A little beyond Inchnadamff inn is
Calcla House, or Edderachalda, a
capacious mansion of no gi'eat age,
which one is surprised to see in ruins.
It was built about the end of the
last centy. by one of the M'Kenzies.

On the margin of the loch are the
ruins of Ardvrech Castle, consisting
of part of the old keep and turret,
with a square top. It has 3 storeys,
the lowest one vaulted, and was built
about 1490 by the M'Leods, who in
the middle of the 13th centy. ob-
tained Assynt by marriage. It is
markable as having been the prison
of the Marquis of Montrose, who was
treacherously seized 1650 by the then
Laird of Assynt, Neil M'Leod, after
his defeat at Craigchoynechan, and
confined here till he was taken to
Edinburgh to be tried and hanged.
The castle passed to the M'Kenzies
soon after, and was destroyed by
lightning in 1795. A little farther
on, crossing the Shiag Burn, which
for some distance passes under-
ground through caves in the lime-
stone, a road on rt. is given off to
Unapool and Scourie (Rte 68.)

The traveller now gets a good view
of Quinaig, wdth its long jagged edge,
looking very much like a saw. The
road for the whole distance runs
" through the district of Assynt,
97,000 acres, an alternation of patches
of verdure, rocks, hills, mountains,
and lakes. Nowhere, perhaps, with-
in the same area will you see so many
lakes as here. Every hollow cradles

a sheet of water, nearly all tenanted
by trout. To the S. of the road are
seen the two heads of Suilven or
"Sugar Loaf," 2396 ft. high. As
seen from Loch Inver these two heads
merge into one, and the mountain
from that point of view acquired its
name. From its sudden rise and
vertical sides it has also been called
"the little Matterhorn " {Symonds'
Records of the Rocks) ; its regular hori-
zontal strata were once continuous
with those of Canisp, the intervening
portions having been removed by the
erosion of ice (?). The ascent of Suil-
ven is difficult, but by no means im-
possible. Upon the top is to be
found a small lake.

[A little before reaching Loch In-
ver, a road on rt. is given off to Cul-
kein and Oldany, passing through
the little village of Stoir. At Oldany
a boat may occasionally be obtained
to cross the Kyle Skou to Scourie or
Badcoul.] The river is now crossed
— a roaring, turbulent, little stream,
that has a considerable fall from
Loch Assynt.

52 m. Loch Inver, Hotel, very good
and pleasant quarters, on the margin
of the sea loch, with fine views :
Lewis on the horizon, while inland
rise the four strangely formed moun-
tains already mentioned, which give
a grand character to the scenery
wherever they appear. Steamer
twice a week to Glasgow. The
village consists of a few cottages and
one or two shops, and a summer
lodge of the Duke of Sutherland,
stretched round the head of the loch,
and is one of those places " which
you see with delight, remain at with
pleasure, and leave with regret."
In the summer not only is the inn
full, but every available cottage
where a bed can be procured.

5 m. S. of Loch Inver, near Loch
Fewn, are the Falls of Xirkaig, which
are worth seeing. The walk thither

Scotland. Boute Q^. — Lairg to Durness: Scouric.


is of the highest interest, and no one
should fail to take it. The salmon-
fishing on the Kirkaig, which begins
in April, can be obtained of the
landlord at Loch Inver, but no charge
is made for brown trout fishing.
The supply of fish is not good, owing
to the fall, which no salmon can
pass. The Inver is hardly good till

Loch Inver to Scourie and Durness.
A waggonette or dog-cart can be
hired at Loch Inver. The road is
retraced along Loch Assynt as far as
Shiag Bridge (IO4 m.), where it turns
N., and passing between Quinaig
andGlasven descends on Loch Cairn-
bawn [see Rte. 68), p. 430.


Lairg to Durness, by Loch Shin;
Scourie to Loch Inver.

Mail carriage 3 times a week.

From Lairg (Rte. 65) the road to
Scom-ie keeps in a N.W. direction
by the side of Loch Shin, which
is 20 m. in length. As the hills
which surround it are low, the
scenery is not grand, although to-
wards the highest portion views are
obtained of the more distant moun-
tains of Ben More, Ben Leod, and
Ben Hee, 3358 ft. Here Montrose
sought refuge after his defeat near
Invercarron, but was discovered and
sent prisoner to Edinburgh.

The brown moors N. of Loch Shin are
the scene of the experimental eff'orts
of the Duke of Sutherland to convert
a wilderness into arable land by the
aid of the steam-plough, 1874-5. The
huge ploughshare, attached b}" a wire
rope to two engines, turns up peat
to a depth of 8 or 10 ft., avoiding
small stones, and where blocks of
large size intervene they are shattered
to pieces by dynamite.

The district becomes much wilder
at the end of the lake (good fishing

quarters. Inn comfortable), and the
road, which is delightfully fringed
with wood of dwarf birch, is carried
in succession along the banks of Lochs
Griam, j\Ierkland, More, and Stack,
on the S. side of which Ben Stack
rises suddenly to the heightof 2364 ft.,
composed of Laurentian gneiss capped
with Cambrian conglomerate. To
the IST. is Arkle mountain, and farther
back is Foinhabhen, one of the loftiest
of Sutherland m ountains. Westward
from Loch Stack runs the Laxforcl,
a river which received its name,
meaning "Salmon Creek," in Scan-
dinavian times, from the abundance of
its fish, which reputation it maintains
to this day. The Laxford, as well
as Loch Stack (which abounds with
Sahno ferox and trout), is rented
by Lord Dudley, who is the tenant
of the whole of the Eeay forest,
through which the tourist will soon
pass. One of the lodges is at Stack
and the second at Gobernuisgach, and
the country abounds in deer, to which
the skill and experience of the for-
esters has not a little contributed.

48 m. Laxford Bridge. Here the
road branches N. to Durness, and S.
to Scourie, catching a glimpse in its
way of Loch Laxford, a salt-water

Scourie, a considerable village
round the edge of the bay. (Inn, com-
fortable ; food better than apartments;
charges moderate). Upon the 1. is the
house of the Duke's agent, and at the
beginning of the village is the Inn.

The great attraction of Scourie
is the island of *IIanda, which is
Avorth a visit, for its own grandeur
and for the immense number of
wild-fowl that breed on it. The
island is formed of red sandstone,
and on the N". W. side of it is a range
of precipitous cliffs, rising to the
height of 400 feet above the sea, and
varied with every degi'ee of indent-
ation and irregularity, while in other
places the rock descends to the water

430 Pile. eS.—IsIe of Handa ; Kyle Skou. Sect. VII.

like a wall. The emerald -water in
the caves contrasts beautifully with
the warm red cliifs. "When the sea
is smooth, a small boat may be taken
close in.

The best landing-place in the
island is at the S. On the narrow
ledges of these cliffs, and upon every
peak and point, during the breeding
season from May to July, are myriads
of guillemots, puffins, and razorbills
sitting on their eggs ; they are re-
markably tame and apathetic, and
though they are disturbed by the
report of a gun, they will soon resume
their places. The smell from the
birds is strong.

Handa is sufficiently far from the
coast to obtain magnificent views of
the panorama of mountains. " The
most striking looking from this
quarter is Stack, the terminal aspect
of which is that of an enormous
pyramid, rising to a perfect point.
Suilven appears under quite a new
character, the two summits being far
removed, and it shows itself to be in
reality a long mountain, instead of
the sugar-loaf figure from which it is
so well known. To the S. a detached
pillar of rock, at the point of Ehu
Stoir, from 200 to 300 ft. high, looks
in the distance exactly like a large
ship under studding-sails." — Ander-

[From Scour ie it is 29^ m. to Loch
Inver. 1 m. 1. a good view is ob-
tained of the sugar-loaf cone of Stack,
and soon after, on the opposite side,
the kirk of Edi-achillis and the village
of Badcoul come in sight. At Bad-
coul, where Salmon, the product of
the sea fishery, is packed in quan-
tities, fish may often be purchased.
From the top of the hill a good view
is obtained of the three principal
heads of Quinaig.

2| m. there is a charming prospect
at Badcoul, on rt. of the bay, and its
2i islets, bounded on the S.W. by
the distant line of coast, which ends

in the Stoir Point. After passing
through a narrow glen, through
which a stream falls into Kyle
Skou, the road ascends a steep hill,
and the valley begins to open out
and admit views of some of the more
distant mountains. Quinaig (2245) is
prominent on rt, and Glasven (2543)
on 1. But the general character of
the country remains the same, the
chief features being gneiss eminences,
partially covered with heather and
common grass. These stand among
a number of small lochs, whose dark
still waters give them, perhaps un-
truly, the appearance of great depth.
A long hill leads down to

11 m. Strome Ferry, ^ m. across.
(Xot to be confounded with Strome
Ferry in Eoss-shire.) On a little pro-
montory, which at high water is an
island, are the remains of an old dune,
about 8 ft. high, composed of unce-
mented masonry. Mixed with the
stones have been found human bones
of rather small size. How or why
they got into such a position is a ques-
tion which has puzzled antiquaries. S.
of the ferry is Unapool Inn, a small
public-house, but clean. Kjde Skou,
otherwise called Loch Cairnbawn,
divides at its head into two branches,
Loch Glendhu on the IST. and Loch
Glencoul on the S. The scenery
in both is wild and gloomy. Glen-
coul consists of three divisions ; upon
its N. side is a waterfall. The road
now passes between Glasven on 1.
and Quinaig on rt. A fine view
of this mountain is obtained from the
road, the countrj'- on each side being
boggy peat moss, of a flat and tame

16 J m. From the top of the hill a
view is obtained of Loch Assynt
(Ete. Q7). A short distance may be
saved by descending tiie road a little,
so as to clear Quinaig, and then
taking to the moor on the rt. ; the
ground is rough, but not very wet.
17^ m., on the shore of Loch Assynt,
the tourist joins the road from Oykel
Bridge to Loch Inver (Ete. 67).]

Scotland. Es. 68, 69. — Ben Spionn ; Durness; GoUpic. 431

From Laxford Bridge to Durness
the road keeps due northward, pass-
ing through an exceedingly rough
country, too much encumbered by
ponderous masses of granite to afford
many views of the more distant parts.
It winds continually, however, and
at every turn discloses some fresh
feature. On the rt. is Arkle (2578),
with its finely tapering form and in-
dependent position ; and farther on
is Foinhahhen, a more bulky and less
picturesque eminence.

At the head of the fiord of Loch
Inchard is

51 m. RMconich Inn (small, but
passable). Thence the Achriesgill
road is followed, although the burn
itself is sometimes invisible from
the immense fragments of rock
which have closed it up. Near the
summit of the Gualin road is a pretty
waterfall on 1., a pleasant relief
amidst the desolate scenery around.
3 m. farther on is a small reservoir,
with a stone put over it in 1832, to
commemorate the kindness shown to
Mr. Lawson, the engineer of these
roads, by the inhabitants of Durness
and Edi-achillis. The Gualin, through
which the road is carried, is a wide
valley, producing nothing but peat
and heather, and supporting only a
few sheep. It is bounded on each
side by mountains ; those on the W.
are of no great height, but those on
the E. are very imposing, and the
view of Ben Spionn is the best that
can be got anywhere of that moun-
tain of quartzite. It has two heads,
and throws out a spur towards the
W. I'hrough the Gualin the wind
occasionally blows with terrific vio-
lence, and in the winter its force is
irresistible ; so that, as upon the
Moin (Rte. 73), the Duke has had
a house of refuge built for the safety
of travellers. Upon the gable end
is a slab with inscription, but this,
owing to its exposure, is nearly
illegible. When nearly opposite
Glasven (25i3 ft), the road crosses

the Grudie or Dionard, and descends
by its side to the Kyle of Durness,
crossing the promontory to the village

64 m. Durness (Durine : Inn good).
Very fair fishing may be had from
the landlord, in the river which
runs into the Kyle, when the water
is in order, and the sea-trout {Salmo
alha) are running (Rte. 73).

The road bence to Tongue, 24 m.
{see Rte. 73), makes a great detour
round the S. end of Loch Eriboll,
but 10 m. of this may be saved by
crossing the ferry, 1^ m. broad, to
Heilim Inn. It is not available for
carriages, which must go round.

Another ferry must be crossed
over Loch Hope by a chained boat,
and a third across the Kyle of


Golspie to Thurso and "Wick, by

Railway made chiefly by the Duke
of Sutherland, 1870-71, and 1874. 2
trains daily in 3 hrs. 40 min. The
rly. keeps along the sea-shore for the
most part as far as Helmsdale.

Golspie Stat. {Inn : * Sutherland
Arms, very good indeed) consists of
one long and cheerful street, at the
farther end (N.) of which is the
hotel. A pleasant walk of about a
mile up the pretty glen at the back
of the Inn, through the beautiful
park, leads to Dunrohin Castle (Duke
of Sutherland), the most magnificent
residence N. of Inverness. Admis-
sion is given to the house when the
family are not there, and at all
times to the Dunrobin grounds. It
was built by Robert, 2d Earl of
Sutherland, in 1275, and called after
him DunRobin. It stands on a
natural terrace close to the sea,
which here permits free growth of
trees and foliage nearly to its margin.
It consists of a rather plain square
old castle, with bartizan turrets at


BmiU 69. — Golsjne ; DimroUn ; Brora. Sect. VII.

the angles, to which the skill and
taste of Sir Ch. Barry, architect,
1856, added a new Aving and front,
with towers and turrets and extin-
guisher roofs, produciug on the whole
a picturesque effect, and preserving
the national character of a Scottish
chieftain's castellated mansion.

Through the entrance-hall a noble
staircase is reached, lined with white
marbles, hung with banners, etc.

On the side next the sea are the
Queen's apartments, prepared for her
from the first, but Avhich she was
prevented occupying until 1872.

In 1866 the Prince and Princess
of Wales honoured Dunrobin with
a visit. There are some curious
portraits of the Sutherland family ;
among them of Lady Jane Gordon,
wife of James, Earl of Bothwell, but
divorced by him to enable him to
marry JMary Queen of Scots. She
afterwards married an Earl of Suther-
land. The house contains a very
interesting Museum of northern an-
tiquities, for the most part of objects
dug up in the Duke's domain.

The burn of Golspie is very pic-
turesque, with many pretty walks
made through it to the waterfall.

On the bridge over the little
stream at the end of the town of
Golspie is a Gaelic inscription con-
cerning the exploits of " JMorphear
Chatt," which is the name borne by
the head of the Sutherlands amongst
the Gaelic population of these parts.
Some say that the name " Chatt " is
derived from the "Catti," a Teu-
tonic tribe that settled in these
parts, and left their name in " Caith-
ness. " The crest of the family is a
cat. At whatever date the castle
was begun, it is not probable that
the earldom existed before 1228,
about which time Caithness and
Sutherland were Avrested from the
Norwegian Jarls by Alexander IL
Tlie 9th Earl left an only daughter,
who married Adam Gordon, 2d son
of George, 2d Earl of Huntly ; and
again William, the ISth Earl, left

an only daughter, who married the
Marquis of Stafford. The Scotcli
property came to the Gordons by this
marriage of Elizabeth, Duchess-Coun-
tess of Sutherland and Cromarty.

Distances of Golspie from — Lairg,
17 m. ; Brora, 5i ; Helmsdale, 18 ;
Dornoch, 10^ ; Bonar Bridge. 26.

Conveyances. — JMail cart to Tongue
every Monday and Thursday ; Eail
to Helmsdale, Wick, Thurso, and

6 m. Brora Stat, (fair Inn) is
picturesquely situated on the edge
of a high bank, overlooking a turbu-
lent little stream, well stocked witli
salmon. Loch Brora, from which
it emerges, is about 2 m. to the 1.

Brora has produced considerable
quantities of coal. A shaft was long
ago sunk to the depth of 300 ft.
below the bed of the river. The
worksj after having been long dis-
continued, were renewed, 1872, by
the erection of a steam-engine at
Strath Stephen on the sea-shore, and
sinking a fresh shaft. The coal is
not bituminous of the true coal for-
mation, but is a brown coal or lignite
of unusually good qUidit}'. It occurs
in beds of the Lower Oolite, and
bears a very strong resemblance to
the coal of the E. moot'lands of York-
shire. A narrow border of oolite runs
all along the sea-shore from Golspie
to Helmsdale. " A coal formation,
probably coeval with the latter, or
belonging to some of the lower divi-
sions of the oolitic period, has been
mined extensively for a century or
more. It affords the thickest stratum
of pure vegetable matter hitherto
detected in any secondary rock in
England. One seam of coal, of good
quality, has been Avorked, 3^ ft.
thick \ and there are several feet
more of pyritous coal resting upon
it." — Lyell.

From the abundance of its oolitic
fossils, Brora offers a very tempting
field of exploration to the geologist.


FiOute G9. — Helmsdale Railway.


In early days it seems to have been
a place of importance ; and it is said
to have been made a burgh of barony
by David II. in 1345.

[For the antiquary the road on 1.
affords an interesting excursion up
Strathbrora to Cole Castle. On the
S, side of Loch Brora is Carral Rock
(4 m. from the village), precipitous
for nearly 400 ft., and ojiposite it is
Killin, where was once a chapel
dedicated to St. Columba. To the
same origin may be attributed the
name of (6 ni.) Kilcolmkil, or Carral,
which belonged to a branch of the
Gordons descended from Adam Gor-
don, Dean of Caithness, whose
nephew. Lord Aboyne, married
Elizabeth, sole child and heiress of
the 14th Earl of Sutherland. There
is a fine Fall, or rather a succession
of Falls, in the burn behind Carral.

8 m. Cole Castle stands on a rock
overhanging the river Blackwater,
and is an old circular tower built
without mortar, and with walls 14 ft.
thick. Like others of the same kind,
its date, purpose, and builder, are a
standing puzzle to the antiquary.
What remains of it is 11 ft. high and
54 yards in circumference.

See Introduction, Sect. II.]

At KintradweU, beyond Brora,
several remains of early dwellings
have been discovered by excavations
made by the Piev. ]\Ir. Joass, of
Edderton, including a fort and some
domed chambers.

33 m. Cross Loth Water to Loth
Stat., ch. and village. A road on 1.
runs up Ghii Loth, in which, about
the year 1700, the last Scotch wolf
was killed.

37 m. Port Goicer, a neat little
village, with a comfortable Inn.

39 m. Helmsdale Stat. {Inris :
Eoss's ; M'Kays) is during the her-
ring season a busy fishing village,
situated at the bottom of a long glen,
through which a stream carries olf'
the waters of a few small lakes in the

interior. The village has grown up
entirely during the present centy., as
a H suit of the nimierous improve-
ments eff'ected by the removal of the
inhabitants from the moors and glens
of the interior, where they had got
an unconquerable habit of starving,
to the sea-coast, where they maintain
themsel ves and multiply. The glen,
which extends as far as the eye can see
to the 1., has a fine wild, though bare,
appearance. Upon the rt. are the ruins

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