Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant

places mentioned

August 14-18: Inverness and the Black Isle

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Passed through Fochabers , a wretched town, close to the castle. Crossed the Spey in a boat, and landed in the county of Murray .

The peasants' houses, which, throughout the shire of Bamff , were very decent, were now become very miserable, being entirely made of turf: the country partly moor, partly cultivated, but in a very slovenly manner.

Between Fochabers and Elgin on the right lies Innes , once the seat of the very antient family of that name, whose annals are marked with great calamities. I shall recite two which strongly paint the manners of the times, and one of them also the manners of that abandoned Statesman the Regent Earl of Morton . I shall deliver the tales in the simple manner they are told by the historian of the house.

This man Alexander Innes 20th heir of the house (though very gallant) had something of particularyty in his temper, was proud and positive in his deportment, and had his lawsuits with severall of his friends, amongst the rest with Innes of Pethnock , which had brought them both to Edinburgh in the yeir 1576, as I take it, qn the laird haveing met his kinsman at the cross, fell in words with him for dareing to give him a citation; in choller either stabed the Gentleman with a degger, or pistoled him (for it was variously reported). when he had done, his stomach would not let him fly but he walked up and doun on the spott as if he had done nothing that could be quareled, his friends lyfe being a thing that he could dispose of without being bound to count for it to any oyn. and yn stayed till the Earle of Mortune who was Regent sent a gaurd and carried him away to the castell, but qn he found truely the danger of his circumstance and yn his proud rash action behooved to cost him his lyfe, he was then free to redeem that at any rate and made ane agreement for a remissione with the regent at the pryce of the barrony of Kilmalemnock which this day extends to 24 thousand marks rent yeirly. the evening after the agreement was made and writt, being merry with his friends at a collatione and talking anent the deirness of the ransome the regent hade made him pay for his lyfe, he waunted that hade his foot once looss he would faine see qt the Earle of Mortune durst come and possess his lands: qch being told to the regent that night, he resolved to play fair game with him, and therefore though qt he spoke was in drink, the very next day he put the sentence of death in executione agt him by causing his head to be struck of in the castle and ya possest his estate.

The other relation, still more extraordinary, is given in the Appendix.

[Plate XXIII appears near here in the 1800 edition.]


Dine at Elgin ,150 a good town, with many of the houses built over piazzas: excepting its great cattle fairs, has little trade; but is remarkable for its ecclesiastical antiquities. The cathedral had been a magnificent pile, but is now in ruins: it was destroyed by reason of the sale of the lead that covered the roof, which was done in i567, by order of council, to support the soldiery of the regent Murray. Jonston , in his Encomia Urbium celebrates the beauty of Elgin , and laments the fate of this noble building.

Arcibus heroum nitidis urbs cingitur, intus
  Plebeii radiant, nobiliumque Lares:
Omnia delectans, veteris sed rudera templi
  Dum spectas, lachrymis
, Scotia tinge genas.

The West door is very elegant, and richly ornamented. The choir very beautiful, and has a fine and light gallery running round it; and at the East end are two rows of narrow windows in an excellent gothic taste. The chapter-house is an octagon, the roof supported by a fine single column, with neat carvings of coats of arms round the capital. There is still a great tower on each side of this cathedral; but that in the centre, with the spire and whole roof, are fallen in, and form most aweful fragments, mixed with the battered monuments of Knights and Prelates. Boethius says that Duncan , who was killed by Macbeth at Inverness , lies buried here. Numbers of modern tomb-stones also crowd the place; a proof how difficult it is to eradicate the opinion of local sanctity, even in a religion that affects to despise it.

The cathedral was founded by Andrew de Moray 151 in 1224, on a piece of land granted by Alexander the II.: and his remains were deposited in the choir under a tomb of blue marble in 1244. The great tower was built principally by John Innes , Bishop of this See, as appears by the inscription cut on one of the great pillars: Hic jacet in Xto Pater et Dominus, Dominus Johannes de Innes hujus ecclesiaæ episcopus—qui hoc notabile opus incepit et per septennium edificavit .152

This town had two convents; one of Dominicans , founded in 1233 or 1244, by Alexander II.; another of Observantines , in 1479, by John Innes .


About a mile from hence is the castle of Spinie ; a large square tower, and a vast quantity of other ruined buildings, still remain, which shews its antient magnificence whilst the residence of the Bishops of Murray : the lake of Spinie almost washes the walls; is about five miles long, and half a mile broad, situated in a flat country. During winter, great numbers of wild swans migrate hither; and I have been told that some have bred here. Boethius 153 says they resort here for the sake of a certain herb called after their name.

Not far from Elgin is a ruined Chapel and Preceptory, called Maison Dieu . Near it is a large gravelly cliff, from whence is a beautiful view of the town, cathedral, a round hill with the remains of a castle, and beneath is the gentle stream of the Lossie , the Loxia of Ptolemy .


Three miles south is the Priory of Pluscairdin , in a most sequestered place; a beautiful ruin, the arches elegant, the pillars well turned, and the capitals rich.154

Cross the Lossie , ride along the edge of a vale, which has a strange mixture of good corn, and black turberies: on the road-side is a mill-stone quarry.

Arrive in the rich plain of § , fertile in corn. The upper parts of the country produce great numbers of cattle. The view of the Firth of Murray , with a full prospect of the high mountains of Rossshire and Sutherland , and the magnificent entrance into the bay of Cromartie between two lofty hills, form a fine piece of scenery.


Turn about half a mile out of the road to the north, to see Kinloss , an abby of Cistercians , founded by David I. in 1150. Near this place was murdered by thieves Duffus , King of Scotland : on the discovery of his concealed body it was removed to Jona , and interred there with the respect due to his merit. The Prior's chamber, two semicircular arches, the pillars, the couples of several of the roofs afford specimens of the most beautiful gothic architecture, in all the elegance of simplicity, without any of its fantastic ornaments. Near the abby is an orchard of apple and pear trees, at left coeval with the last Monks; numbers lie prostrate; their venerable branches seem to have taken fresh roots, and were loaden with fruit, beyond what could be expected from their antique look.


Near Forres , on the road-side, is a vast column, three feet ten inches broad, and one foot three inches thick: the height above ground is twenty-three feet; below, as it is said, twelve or fifteen. On one side are numbers of rude figures of animals and armed men, with colors flying: some of the men seemed bound like captives. On the opposite side was a cross, included in a circle, and raised a little above the surface of the stone. At the foot of the cross are two gigantic figures, and on one of the sides is some elegant fretwork.

This is called King Sueno's stone; and seems to be, as Mr. Gordon 155 conjectures, erected by the Scots , in memory of the final retreat of the Danes : it is evidently not Danish , as some have asserted; the cross disproves the opinion, for that nation had not then received the light of Christianity.

On a moor not far from Forres , Boethius , and Shakespear from him, places the rencountre of Macbeth and the three wayward sisters or witches. It was my fortune to meet with but one, which was somewhere not remote from the ruins of Kyn-Eden : she was of a species far more dangerous than these, but neither withered, nor wild in her attire , but so fair,

She look'd not like an inhabitant o' th' Earth!

Botthius tells his story admirably well: but entirely confines it to the predictions of the three fatal sisters, which Shakespear has so finely copied in the IVth scene of the 1st act. The Poet, in conformity to the belief of the times, calls them witches; in fact they were the Fates , the Valkyriæ 156 of the northern nations, Gunna, Rota , and Skulda , the handmaids of Odin , the Arctic Mars , and styled the Chusers of the slain , it being their office in battle to mark those devoted to death.

We the reins to slaughter give,
Ours to kill, and ours to spare:
Spite of danger he shall live,
(Weave the crimson web of war).157

Boethius , sensible of part of their business, calls them Parcæ : and Shake/pear introduces them just going upon their employ,

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurly-burly's done,
When the battle's lost or won

But all the fine incantations that succeed, are borrowed from the fanciful Diableries of old times, but sublimed, and purged from all that is ridiculous by the creative genius of the inimitable Poet, of whom Dryden so justly speaks:

But SHAKESPEAR'S magic cou'd not copied be,
Within that circle none durst walk but he.

We laugh at the magic of others; but Shakespear's makes us tremble. The windy caps158 of King Eric , and the vendible knots of wind of the Finland 159 magicians appear infinitely ridiculous; but when our Poet dresses up the same idea, how horrible is the storm he creates!

Though you untie the winds, and let them fight
Against the churches; though the yesty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up;
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down;
Though castles topple on their warder's heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of nature's germins tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
To what I ask.


Lay at Forres , a very neat town, seated under some little hills, which are prettily divided. In the great street is the town-house with a handsome cupplo, and at the end is an arched gateway, which has a good effect. On a hill West of the town are the poor remains of the castle, from whence is a fine view of a rich country, interspersed with groves, the bay of Findorn , a fine bason, almost round, with a narrow strait into it from the sea, and a melancholy prospect of the estate of Cowbin , in the parish of Dyke , now nearly overwhelmed with sand. This strange inundation is still in motion, but mostly in the time of a west wind. It moves along the surface with an even progression, but is stopped by water, after which it forms little hills: its motion is so quick, that a gentleman assured me he had seen an apple-tree so covered with it, in one season, as to leave only a few of the green leaves of the upper branches appearing above the surface. An estate of about 300 l. per ann . has been thus overwhelmed; and it is not long since the chimnies of the principal houses were to be seen: it began about eighty years ago, occasioned by the cutting down the trees, and pulling up the bent, or starwort, which gave occasion at last to the act 15th G . II. to prevent its farther ravages, by prohibiting the destruction of that plant.

A little N. E. of the Bay of Findorn , is a piece of land projecting into the sea, called Brugh or Burgh . It appears to have been the landing place of the Danes in their destructive descents on the rich plains of Murray : it is fortified with fosses; and was well adapted to secure either their landing or their retreat.


Cross the Findorn ; land near a friable rock, of whitish stone, much tinged with green, an indication of copper. The stone is burnt for lime. From an adjacent eminence is a picturesque view of Forres . About three miles farther is Tarnaway Castle, the antient seat of the Earls of Murray . The hall, called Randolph's Hall, from its founder Earl Randolph , one of the great supporters of Robert Bruce , is timbered at top like Westminster Hall : its dimensions are 79 feet by 35, 10 inches, and seems a fit resort for Barons and their vassals. In the rooms are some good heads: one of a youth, with a ribband of some order hanging from his neck. Sir William Balfour , with a black body to his vest, and brown sleeves, a gallant commander on the parlement's side in the civil wars; celebrated for his retreat with the body of horse from Lestwithiel in face of the King's army: but justly branded with ingratitude to his master, who by his favor to Sir William in the beginning of his reign, added to the popular discontents then arising. The Fair, or Bonny Earl of Murray , as he is commonly called, who was murdered, as supposed, on account of a jealousy James VI. entertained of a passion the Queen had for him: at lest such was the popular opinion, as appears from the old ballad on the occasion:

He was a braw Gallant,
  And he played at the Gluve;160
And the bonny Earl of Murray ,
  Oh! he was the Queen's Love.

There are besides, the heads of his lady and daughter; all on wood, except that of the Earl. To the south side of the castle are large birch woods, abounding with Stags and Roes.


Continued my journey west to Auldearne . Am now arrived again in the country where the Erse service is performed. Just beneath the church is the place where Montrose obtained a signal victory over the Covenanters, many of whose bodies lie in the church, with an inscription, importing, according to the cant of the time, that they died fighting for their religion and their king. I was told this anecdote of that hero: That he always carried with him a Cæsar's Commentaries, on whose margins were written, in Montrose's own hand, the generous sentiments of his heart, verses out of the Italian Poets, expressing his contempt of every thing but glory.

Have a distant view of Nairn , a small town near the sea, on a river of the same name, the supposed Tuaesis of Ptolemy . Ride through a rich corn country, mixed with deep and black turberies, which shew the original state of the land, before the recent introduction of the improved method of agriculture.


Reach Calder Castle, or Cawdor , as Shakespeare calls it, long the property of its Thanes . The antient part is a great square tower; but there is a large and more modern building annexed, with a drawbridge.

This Thanedom was transferred into the house of the Campbels by the theft of the heiress of Calder , when she was an infant, by the second Earl of Argyle . The Calders raised their clan and endeavoured to bring back the child, but were defeated with great loss. The Earl carried off his prize and married her to Sir John Campbell , his second son, sometime before the year 1510.

All the houses in these parts are castles, or at lest defensible; for till the year 1745, the Highlanders made their inroads, and drove away the cattle of their defenceless neighbors. There are said to exist some very old marriage articles of the daughter of a chieftain, in which the father promises for her portion, 200 Scots marks, and the half of a Michaelmas moon , i. e. half the plunder, when the nights grew dark enough to make their excursions. There is likewise in being a letter from Sir Edwin Cameron to a chief in the neighborhood of the county of Murray , wherein he regrets the mischief that had happened between their people (many having been killed on both sides) as his clan had no intention of falling on the Grants when it left Lochaber, but only to make an incursion into MURRAY-LAND, where every man was free to take his prey . This strange notion seems to have arisen from the county having been for so many ages a Pictish country, and after that under the dominion of the Danes , and during both periods in a state of perpetual warfare with the Scots and western Highlanders , who (long after the change of circumstances) seem quite to have forgot that it was any crime to rob their neighbors of Murray .

Rode into the woods of Calder , in which were very fine birch trees and alders, some oak, great broom, and juniper, which gave shelter to the Roes. Deep rocky glens, darkened with trees, bound each side of the wood: one has a great torrent roaring at its distant bottom, called the Brook of Achneem : it well merits the name of Acheron , being a most fit scene for witches to celebrate their nocturnal rites in.


Observed on a pillar of the door of Calder church, a joug , i.e. an iron yoke, or ring, fastened to a chain; which was, in former times, put round the necks of delinquents against the rules of the church, who were left there exposed to shame during the time of divine service; and was also used as a punishment for defamation, small thefts, &c.: but these penalties are now happily abolished. The clergy of Scotland , the most decent and consistent in their conduct of any set of men I ever met with of their order, are at present much changed from the furious, illiterate, and enthusiastic teachers of the old times, and have taken up the mild method of persuasion, instead of the cruel discipline of corporal punishments. Science almost universally flourishes among them; and their discourse is not less improving than the table they entertain the stranger at is decent and hospitable. Few, very few of them, permit the bewitchery of dissipation to lay hold of them, notwithstanding they allow all the innocent pleasures of others, which, though not criminal in the layman, they know, must bring the taint of levity on the churchman. They never fink their characters by midnight brawls, by mixing with the gaming world, either in cards, cocking, or horseraces, but preserve with a narrow income, a dignity too often lost among their brethren south of the Tweed .161


The Scotch livings are from 40 1. per annum to 150 l. per annum ; a decent house is built for the minister on the glebe, and about six acres of land annexed. The church allows no curate, except in case of sickness or age, when one, under the title of helper, is appointed; or, where the livings are very extensive, a missionary, or assistant is allotted; but sine-cures, or sine-cured preferments, never disgrace the church of our sister kingdom. The widows and children are of late provided for out of a fund established by two acts, 17th and 22d G . II.162 This fund, amounting now to 66,000 1. was formed by the contributions of the clergy, whose widows receive annuities from 10 l. to 25 l. according to what their husbands had advanced.


Cross the Nairn ; the bridge large, but the stream inconsiderable, except in floods. On the West is Kilravoch Castle, and that of Dalcross . Keep due North, along the military road from Perth ; pass along a narrow low piece of land, projecting far into the Firth , called Ardersier , forming a strait scarce a mile over, between this county and that of Cromartie .163 At the end of this point is Fort George , a small but strong and regular fortress, built since 1745, as a place d'armes : it is kept in excellent order, but, by reason of the happy change of the times, seemed almost almost deserted: the barracks are very handsome, and form several regular and good streets.

Lay at Campbeltown , a place consisting of numbers of very mean houses, owing its rise and support to the neighboring fort.


Passed over Culloden Moor , the place that North Britain owes its present prosperity to, by the victory of April 16, 1746. On the side of the Moor , are the great plantations of Culloden House, the seat of the late Duncan Forbes , a warm and active friend to the house of Hanover , who spent great sums in its service, and by his influence, and by his persuasions, diverted numbers from joining in rebellion; at length he met with a cool return, for his attempt to sheath, after victory, the unsatiated sword, But let a veil be flung over a few excesses consequential of a day, productive of so much benefit to the united kingdoms.

The young adventurer lodged here the evening preceding the battle; distracted with the aversion of the common men to discipline, and the dissentions among his officers, even when they were at the brink of destruction, he seemed incapable of acting, could be scarcely persuaded to mount his horse, never came into the action, as might have been expected from a prince who had his last stake to play, but fled ingloriously to the old traitor Lovat ,164 who, I was told, did execrate him to the person who informed him that he was approaching as a fugitive: foreseeing his own ruin as the consequence.165

The Duke of Cumberland , when he found that the barges of the fleet attended near the shore for the safety of his person, in case of a defeat, immediately ordered them away, to convince his men of the resolution he had taken of either conquering or perishing with them.

The battle was fought contrary to the advice of some of the most sensible men in the rebel army, who advised the retiring into the fastnesses beyond the Ness , the breaking down the bridge of Inverness , and defending themselves amidst the mountains. They politically urged that England was engaged in bloody wars foreign and domestic, that it could at that time ill spare its troops; and that the Government might from that consideration, be induced to grant to the insurgents their lives and fortunes, on condition they laid down their arms. They were sensible that their cause was desperate, and that their ally was faithless; yet knew it might be long before they could be entirely subdued; therefore drew hopes from the sad necessity of our affairs at that season: but this rational plan was superseded by the favorite faction in the army, to whose guidance the unfortunate adventurer had resigned himself.


After descending from the Moor, got into a well-cultivated country; and after riding some time under low but pleasant hills, not far from the sea, reach


INVERNESS, finely seated on a plain, between the Firth of Murray , and the river Ness : the first, from the narrow strait of Ardersier , instantly widens into a fine bay, and again as suddenly contracts opposite Inverness , at the ferry of Kessock , the pass into Rossshire . The town is large and well built, very populous, and contains about eleven thousand inhabitants. This being the last of any note in North Britain , is the winter residence of many of the neigboring gentry: and the present emporium , as it was the antient, of the north of Scotland . Ships of five or six hundred tons can ride at the lowest ebb within a mile of the town; and at high tides vessels of 200 tons can come up to the quay. The present imports are chiefly groceries, haberdasheries, hardware, and other necessaries from London : and of late from six to eight hundred hogsheads of porter are annually brought in. The exports are chiefly salmon, those of the Ness being esteemed of more exquisite flavor than any other. Herrings, of an inferior kind, taken in the Firth from August to March . The manufactured exports are considerable in cordage and sacking. Of late years, the linen manufacture of the place saves it above three thousand pounds a year, which used to go into Holland for that article. The commerce of this place was at its height a century or two ago, when it engrossed the exports of corn, salmon, and herrings, and had besides a great trade in cured codfish now lost. and in those times very large fortunes were made here.

The opulence of this town has often made it the object of plunder to the Lords of the Isles and their dependents. It suffered in particular in 1222, from one Gillispie ; in 1429, from Alexander , Lord of the Isles; and, even so late did the antient manners prevale, that a head of a western clan, in the latter end of the last century, threatened the place with fire and sword, if they did not pay a large contribution, and present him with a scarlet suit laced; all which was complied with.

On the North stood Oliver's fort, a pentagon, whose form remains to be traced only by the ditches and banks. He formed it with stones purloined from the neighboring religious houses. At present there is a very considerable rope-walk near it.


On an eminence south of the town is old Fort St. George , which, was taken and blown up by the rebels in 1746. It had been the antient castle converted by General Wade into barracks. According to Boethius, Duncan was murdered here by Macbeth : but according to Fordun , near Elgin .166 This castle used to be the residence of the court, whenever the Scottish Princes were called to quell the insurrections of the turbulent clans. Old people still remember magnificent apartments embellished with stucco busts and paintings. The view from hence is charming of the Firth , the passage of Kessock , the river Ness , the strange-shaped hill of Tommanbeurich , and various groupes of distant mountains.


The Tomman is of an oblong form, broad at the base, and sloping on all sides towards the top; so that it looks like a ship with its keel upwards. Its sides, and part of the neighboring plains are planted, so it is both an agreeable walk and a fine object. It is perfectly detached from any other hill; and if it was not for its great size might pass167 for a work of art. The view from it is such, that no traveller will think his labor lost, after gaining the summit.


At Inverness , and I believe at other towns in Scotland , is an officer, called Dean of the Guild , who, assisted by a council, superintends the markets, regulates the price168 of provisions; and if any house falls down, and the owner lets it lie in ruins for three years, the Dean can absolutely dispose of the ground to the best bidder.

In this town was a house of Dominicans , founded in 1233 by Alexander II.: and in Dalrymple's collection there is mention of a nunnery.


In the Church Street is a hospital with a capital of 3000 l. the interest of which is distributed among the indigent inhabitants of the town. In this house is a library of 1400 volumes of both antient and modern books. The founder was Mr. Robert Baillie , a minister in this town: but the principal benefactor was Doctor James Fraser , secretary to the Chelsea hospital.

Cross the Ness on a bridge of seven arches, above which the tide flows for about a mile. A small toll is collected here, which brings to the town about 60 l. a year.

Proceed North; have a fine view of the Firth, which now widens again from Kessock into a large bay some miles in length. The hills slope down to the water-side, and are finely cultivated; but the distant prospect is of rugged mountains of a stupendous height; as if created as guards to the rest of the island from the fury of the boisterous North.

Ride close to the water-edge thro' woods of alder: pass near several houses of the Frasers , and reach


Castle Dunie , the site of the house of their chieftain Lord Lovat . The barony from which he took his title came into the family by the marriage of Sir Simon Fraser , a little before the year 1300, with the heiress of Lord Bisset , a nobleman of great possession in these parts.

The old house, which was very mean, was burnt down in 1746; but a neat box, the residence of the hospitable factor, is built in its stead on a high bank well wooded, over the pretty river Bewley , or Beaulieu . The country, for a certain circuit, is fertile, well cultivated, and smiling. The bulk of Lord Lovat's estate was in these parts; the rest, to the amount of 500 l. per annum , in Stratherick . He was a potent chieftain, and could raise about 1000 men: but I found his neighbors spoke as unfavorably of him, as his enemies did in the most distant parts of the kingdom. Legislature has given the most honorable testimony to the merit of the son, by restoring, in 1774, the forfeited fortunes of the father. No patent for nobility conveyed greater glory to any one, than the preamble to the act has done to this gentleman. His father's property had been one of the annexed estates, i.e. settled unalienably on the crown, as all the forfeited fortunes in the Highlands are: the whole value of which brought in at that time about 6000 l. per annum , and those in the Lowlands about the same sum; so that the power and interest of a poor twelve thousand per annum , terrified and nearly subverted the constitution of these powerful kingdoms.

The profits of these estates are lodged in the hands of Trustees, who apply their revenue for the founding of schools for the instruction of children in spinning; wheels are given away to poor families, and flax-seed to farmers. Some money is given in aid of the roads, and towards building bridges over the torrents; by which means a ready intercourse is made to parts before inaccessible to strangers.169 And in 1753, a large sum was spent on an Utopian project of establishing colonies (on the forfeited estates) of disbanded soldiers and sailors: comfortable houses were built for them, land and money given, and some lent; but the success by no means answered the intentions of the projectors.


Ford the Bewley , where a salmon fishery, belonging to the Lovat estate, rents at 120 l. per annum . The Erse name of this river is Farar , and the vale it runs through, Glen-strath-farar . It is probable that this was its antient name, and that the Varar Æstuarium of Ptolemy was derived from it, the F being changed into V . The country on this side the river is called Leirnamonach ,170 or the Monk's land, having formerly been the property of the priory of Bewley ; and the opposite side bears the name of Airds , or the Heights. Pass by some excellent farms, well inclosed, improved, and planted: the land produces wheat and other corn. Much cattle are bred in these parts, and there are several linnen manufactures.


Ford the Conan to Castle Braan , the seat of the Earl of Seaforth ; a good house, pleasantly situated on the side of a hill; commands a view of a large plain, and to the West a wild prospect of broken and lofty mountains.

There is here a fine full length of Mary Stuart , with this inscription: Maria D. G. Scotia piissima regina . Franciæ Dotaria. Anno Ætatis Regni 38. 1580. Her dress is black, with a ruff, cap, handkerchief, and a white veil down to the ground, beads and prayer-book, and a cross hanging from her neck; her hair dark brown, her face handsome, and considering the difference of years, so much resembling her portrait by Zucchero , in Chiswick House, as to leave little doubt as to the originality of the last.

A small half-length on wood, of Henry Darnly , inscribed Henricus Stuardus Dominus Darnly Æt. IX. M.D.LV. dressed in black; with a sword. It is the figure of a pretty boy.

A fine portrait of Cardinal Richelieu . General Monk , in a buff coat. Head of Sir George Mackenzie . The Earl of Seaforth , called from his size, Kenneth More . Frances Countess of Seaforth , daughter of William Marquiss of Powis , in her robes, with a tawny moor offering her a coronet. Roger Palmer Earl of Castlemaine ; distinguished by his lady, Barbara Dutchess of Cleveland ; and by his simple embassy to a discerning Pope from that bigotted Prince James II.

Near the house are some very fine oaks and horse-chesnuts: in the garden, Turkey apricots, orange nectarines, and a small soft peach, ripe; other peaches, nectarines, and green gages, far from ripe.


Pass through Dingwall , a small town, the capital of Rossshire , situated near the head of the Firth of Cromartie ; the Highlanders call it Inner-Feorain , Feoran being the name of the river that runs near it into the Firth. An antient cross, and an obelisk over the burying place of the Earls of Cromartie 's family, were all I saw remarkable in it. In the year 1400, Dingwall had its castle, subject to Donald , Lord of the Isles, and Earl of Ross . After that regulus was weakened by the battle of Harlaw , his territories were invaded; and this castle reduced to the power of the crown of Scotland , by the Duke of Albany .


Ride along a very good road cut on the side of a hill, with the country very well cultivated above and below, with several small woods interspersed near the water's edge. There is a fine view of almost the whole bay, the most capacious and secure of any in Great Britain ; its whole navy might lay there with ease, and ships of two hundred tuns may sail up above two-thirds of its length, which extends near thirty English miles from the Sutters of Cromartie 171 to a small distance beyond Dingwall : the entrance is narrow; the projecting hills defend this fine bay from all winds; so it justly merits the name given it of Portus salutis .


FOULES, the seat of Sir Henry Monro , lies about a mile from the Firth , near vast plantations on the flats, as well as on the hills. Those on the hills are six miles in length, and in a very flourishing state. On the back of these are extensive vallies full of oats, bounded by mountains, which here, as well as in the Highlands in general, run from East to West. Sir Henry holds a forest from the crown by a very whimsical tenure, that of delivering a snow-ball on any day of the year that it is demanded; and he seems to be in no danger of forfeiting his right by failure of the quit-rent: for snow lies in form of a glaciere in the chasms of Benwewish , a neighboring mountain, throughout the year.

AUG. 18.

Continue my journey along the low country, which is rich and well cultivated.

Pass near Invergordon ,172 a handsome house, amidst fine plantations. Near it is the narrowest part of the Firth, and a ferry into the shire of Cromartie , now a country almost destitute of trees; yet, in the time of James V. was covered with timber, and over-run with wolves.173


Near the summit of the hill, between the Firths of Cromartie and Dornoch , is Ballinagouan , the seat of a Gentleman, who has most successfully converted his sword into a ploughshare; who, after a series of disinterested services to his country, by clearing the seas of privateers, the most unprofitable of captures, has applied himself to arts not less deserving of its thanks. He is the best farmer and the greatest planter in the country: his wheat and his turneps shew the one, his plantations of a million of pines each year the other.174 It was with great satisfaction that I observed characters of this kind very frequent in North Britain ; for during the interval of peace, every officer of any patrimony was fond of retiring to it, assumed the farmer without flinging off the gentleman, enjoyed rural quiet; yet ready to undergo the fatigues of war the moment his country clamed his services.


About two miles below Ballinagouan is a melancholy instance of a reverse of conduct: the ruins of New Tarbat , once the magnificent seat of an unhappy nobleman, who plunged into a most ungrateful rebellion, destructive to himself and family. The tenants, who seem to inhabit it gratis , are forced to shelter themselves from the weather in the very lowest apartments, while swallows make their nests in the bold stucco of some of the upper.

While I was in this county, I heard a singular but well-attested relation of a woman disordered in her health, who fasted for a supernatural space of time; but the length of the narrative obliges me to fling it into the Appendix.

Ride along a tedious black moor to Tain , a small town on the Firth of Dornoch ; distinguished for nothing but its large square tower, decorated with five small spires. Here was also a collegiate church, founded in 1481 by Thomas , Bishop of Ross . Captain Richard Franks , an honest Cavalier , who during the usurpation made an angling peregrination from the banks of the Trent to John a Groat's house, calls Tain

as exemplary as any place for justice, that never uses gibbet or halter to hang a man, but sacks all their malefactors, so swims them to their graves.175

The place appeared very gay at this time; for all the gaudy finery of a little fair was displayed in the shew of hard ware, printed linnens, and ribbands. Kept along the shore for about two miles through an open corn country; and crossing the great ferry, in breadth near two miles, thro' a rapid tide, and in a bad boat, land in the county of Sutherland , Cattu of the Highlanders; and in less than an hour reach its capital

150 Celtice Belle ville. In the Appendix is a full and accurate account not only of Elgin , but of several parts of the county of Murray , by the venerable Mr. Shaw , Minister of Elgin , aged ninety, and eminent for his knowlege of the antiquities of his country.

151 Keith's Bishops of Scotland . 81.

152 M. S. Hist, of the Innes family.

153 Scotorum Regni Defer, ix.

154 As I was informed, for I did not see this celebrated abby.

155 Itin. Septentr . 158.

156 From Walur , signifying the slaughter in battle, and Kyria to obtain by choice: for their office, besides selecting out those that were to die in battle, was to conduct them to Valhalla , the Paradise of the brave, the Hall of Odin . Their numbers are different, some make them three, others twelve, others fourteen; are described as being very beautiful, covered with the feathers of swans, and armed with spear and helmet. Vide Bartholinus de caus. Contempt. mortis . 553, 554, & notæ vet. Stephanii in Sax. Gramm . 88. & Torfæus. p. 36.

157 Gray .

158 King Eric was a great magician, who by turning his cap, caused the wind to blow according to his mind.

159 Solebant aliquando Finni , negotiatoribus in eorum littoribus contraria ventorum tempestate impeditis, ventum venalem exhibere, mercedeque oblata, tres nodos magicos non cassioticos loro constrictos eisdem reddere, eo servato moderamine et ubi primum dissolverint , ventos haberent placidos; ubi alterum, vehementiores; at ubi tertium laxaverint ita sævas tempestates se passuros, &c. Olaus Magnus de Gent. Sept. 97.

160 For Glaive , an old word for a sword.

Then furth he drew his trusty Glaive ,
Quhyle thousands all arround,
Drawn frae their slieaths glanst in the sun,
And loud the Bougills sound.

                                                Hardyknute .

161                                                 THE A P O L O G Y.

FRIEND. YOU, you in fiery purgat'ry must stay,
Till gall and ink and dirt of scribbling day
In purifying flames are purg'd away.
TRAVELLER. "O trust me dear D * * * I ne'er would offend
"One pious divine, one virtuous friend,
"From nature alone are my characters drawn,
"From little Bob Jerom to bishops in lawn;
O trust me dear Friend I never did think on
The Holies who dwell near th' O'erlooker of Lincoln
Not a prelate or priest did e'er haunt my slumber,
Who instructively teach betwixt Tweeda and Humber ;
Nor in South, East, or West do I stigmatise any
Who stick to their texts, and those are the MANY.
But when crossing and jostling come queer men of G-d,
In rusty brown coats and waistcoats of plaid;
With greasy cropt hair, and hats cut to the quick,
Tight white leathern breeches, and smart little stick;
Clear of all that is sacred from bowsprit to poop, sir;
Who prophane like a pagan, and swear like a trooper;
Who shine in the cock-pit, on turf and in stable,
And are the prime bucks and arch wags of each table;
Who if they e'er deign to thump drum ecclesiastic,
Spout new fangled doctrine enough to make man sick;
And lay down as gospel, but not from their Bibles,
That good-natur'd vices are nothing but foibles;
And vice are refining till vice is no more,
From taking a bottle to taking a * * * * *.
Then if in these days such apostates appear,
(For such I am told are found there and here)
O pardon dear Friend a well-meaning zeal,
Too unguardedly telling the scandal I feel:
It touches not you, let the galled jades winch,
Sound in morals and doctrine you never will flinch.
O Friend of past youth, let me think of the fable
Oft told with chaste mirth at your innocent table,
When instructively kind, wisdom's rules you run o'er,
Reluctant I leave you, insatiate for more;
So, blest be the day, that my joys will restore.

162 An account of the government of the church of Scotland was communicated to me by the Reverend Mr. Brodie , the late worthy minister of Calder . Vide Appendix.

163 Between which plies a ferry-boat.

164 His Lordship was at that time expecting the event of the battle, when a person came in and informed him, that he saw the Prince riding full speed, and alone.

165 Regard to impartiality obliges me to give the following account very recently communicated to me, relating to the station of the chief on this important day; and that by an eye-witness.

The Scotch army was drawn up in a single line; behind, at about 500 paces distance, was a corps de reserve , with which was the Adventurer, a place of seeming security, from whence he issued his orders. His usual dress was that of the Highlands, but this day he appeared in a brown coat, with a loose great coat over it, and an ordinary hat, such as countrymen wear, on his head. Remote as this place was from the spot where the trifling action was, a servant of his was killed by an accidental shot. It is well known how short the conflict was: and the moment he saw his right wing give way, he fled with the utmost precipitation, and without a single attendant, till he was joined by a few other fugitives.

166 Annals of Scotland . I.

167 Its length at top about 300 yards; I neglected measuring the base or the height, which are both considerable; the breadth of the top only 20 yards.

168 Beef, (22 ounces to the pound) 2 d. to 4 d. Mutton, 2 d. to 3 d. Veal, 3 d. to 5 d. Pork, 2 d. to 3 d. Chickens, 3 d. to 4 d. a couple. Fowl, 4 d. to 6 d. apiece. Goose, 12 d. to 14 d. Ducks, 1 s. a couple. Eggs, seven a penny. Salmon, of which there are several great fisheries, 1 d. and 1 d. halfpenny per pound.

169 The factors, or agents of these estates, are also allowed all the money they expend in planting.

170 Lèir , or Lether , land that lies on the side of a river or branch of the sea, and Monach , a monk.

171 Sutters , or Shooters, two hills that form its entrance, projecting considerably into the water.

172 At Culraen , three miles from this place, is found, two feet beneath the surface, a stratum of white soapy marle filled with shells, and is much used as a manure.

173 These animals have been long extinct in North Britain , notwithstanding M. de Busson asserts the contrary. There are many antient laws for their extirpation: that of James I. parlem . 7. is the most remarkable: "The Schiriffs & Barons suld hunt the wolf four or thrie times in the Zear, betwixt St. Marks day & Lambes , quhich is the time of their quhelpes, and all tenents sall rise with them under paine of ane wadder."

174 Pine, or Scotch fir seed, as it is called, sells from four to six shillings per pound. Rents are payed here in kind: the landlord either contracts to supply the forts with the produce of the land, or sells it to the merchant, who comes for it. The price of labor is 6 d. per day to the men, 3 d. to the women.

175 Northern Memoirs, &c. by Richard Franks, Philanthropus. London , 1694.

Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland 1769 (London: Benjamin White, 1776)

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