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spicuous object on the cliffs to the south of the town, was dedicated to that lady.
After this we did not see much of the land, owing to the curve of the coast-line, until we approached the Ferne and Staple Isles, and Lindisfarn, or Holy Island. The weather was so favourable that we sailed between the former and the shore. We passed within half-a-mile of St. Abb’s Head just at sunset, and the sight of this fine headland alone, we felt, would have repaid us for coming by sea. The rock is a dark red colour, but, in the more sloping places, was covered with vegetation which, in the declining rays of the sun, appeared an unusually bright green; while here and there were patches of yellow lichen, and all the sheltered ledges were white with gulls, hundreds of which were flying about.
It was quite dark when we reached Tantallon Castle and the Bass Rock. We arrived at Leith at 11 o'clock the same night.
After staying a conple of days in Edinburgh and seeing a few of the lions,” including the charming Botanical Gardens, said to be the finest in Europe for their size, we took a steamer from Granton Pier to Stirling. The scenery on each side of the Forth is said to be very lovely, but as we were favoured with a Scotch mist and a little rain, we are not in a position to pass an opinion upon it. The numerous windings of the river between Alloa and Stirling, known as the "Links of Forth,” are very remarkable.
We spent an hour or two looking over the Castle, which was for a long time a favourite residence of the Scottish kings, but is now used as a barrack, and a regiment of Highlanders were then stationed in it, who, in their kilts, added greatly to the picturesqueness of the scene.
It is situated on a hill, and which rises gradually from the east, but terminates abruptly in a precipice, below which is a large expanse of level country. The Wallace monument, a memorial tower now in construction on a lofty hill on the opposite side of the river, forms a conspicuous object in the landscape.
lu the afternoon, we took the train on to Forfar, which we had determined to make our headquarters for a few days, for although it is in itself a very dull, uninviting town, there are several very interesting places within easy access. Our first excursion was to the famed coves and caves of Forfarshire, for which we took the train to Arbroath, where are the ruins of a fine Abbey founded by William the Lion, in 1178, who was afterwards buried in it; it was dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket. It was chiefly built in the early English or first pointed style of Gothic architecture. The church was 269 feet long, the Dave and side aisles 65 feet broad, and about 67 feet high. Portions only of the nave and choir, the east and west ends, and of the south transept, now remain, but they exhibit some beautiful mouldings and details. The abbey gateway, upwards of sixty feet long, which was only unroofed at the commencement of the present century, is of rather a later date, and shows a dawning of the decorated or second pointed style. The chapter house, the most perfectly preserved portion of the building, is of two storeys, with a short spire at the southwest angle, and is now used as a museum for any relics found among the ruins.
About twelve miles S. by E. out to sea from Arbroath is the Bell Rock Lighthouse, built under the superintendence of Mr. Robert Stephenson, on a range of rocks that rise four feet above low water at spring tides; the outer casing is of Aberdeen granite, and its height 115 feet. It was commenced in 1807, and finished in 1811.
It derives its name from the circumstance of one of the abbots of Arbroath having had a bell fixed on it to warn mariners. This was wantonly cut down by a Dutch pirate, who was afterwards, it is said, wrecked upon it, in just retribution for his misdeed.
We walked along the cliffs to Auchmithie, a small fishing village about five miles to the north. The cliffs, here composed of old red sandstone, are extremely picturesque, being much indented and broken up by the action of the sea and weather, leaving here and there insulated rocks, and containing numerous caverns which penetrate in many places through projecting portions of the cliffs. Many of the caves are occupied by the sea at all times, others at high tide only, and some are altogether out of the reach of the water. One is called the Mason's Cave, from the appearance of the rocks at its entrance, which look at a short distance as though they had been built up artifically; another the Green Cave, from the luxuriant manner in which the Hart's Tongue fern, Scolopendrium vulgare, grows in it. We also found in this cavern a few stunted plants of the Sea-spleenwort, Asplenium marinum.
On Friday we confined ourselves to the immediate neighbourhood of Forfar, in order to see the ruins of Restennet Priory, situated about a mile to the east of the town. We passed on our way the source of the Lunan, a stream that originates at the head of Restennet marshes. It flows into the sea in Lunan Bay, a few miles south of Montrose, forming in its course Roscobie and Balyaries Lochs. Till the latter end of last century it also formed a loch where the Restennet marshes are now, and which was drained for the valuable marl it contained. The ruins of the priory of Restennet, or Rostinoth
as it was originally spelt, are situated upon a small eminence in the marsh formerly an island in the loch.
The greater part of the walls of the church are almost entire, including the tower, which is surmounted by an octagunal spire. They have lately been repaired by the proprietor. The south-east and west walls of the cloisters are in a ruinous condition. The whole building appears to have been in the first pointed style of architecture, or that which prevailed in Scotland during the thirteenth century. It is believed to have been erected on the site of the old church of Rostinoth, founded by St. Boniface when he came into Scotland in the beginning of the seventh century. Growing in these marshes, near to Clocksbriggs station, we found the Marsh fern, Lastrea thelypteris.
We walked round Loch Feithie on our return to Forfar, a charming little lake entirely surrounded by woods, about half a mile to the south of Restennet; but it is much choked up by the soldier-weed. This loch contains no deposits of marl, "which," says Sir Charles Lyell, “is owing to there being no springs in it.” It is only where a stream enters a lake, or where it is fed by springs, which may introduce a fresh supply of calcareous matter, that shells accumulate and help to form marl. For otherwise, the thin shells of one generation of mollusks in decomposing only afford sufficient nutriment to the succeeding races.
On Saturday we walked to the vitrified forts, situated a little to the west of the village of Aberlemno, on the north brow of the Finhaven hills, and five miles N. E. from Forfar. These hills form the southern boundary of the vale of Strathmore, above which they rise to the height of 600 feet, and so the fort occupies a most commanding situation. The origin of these vitrified forts, of which there are several in the country, though this one is the most extensive, goes so far back into antiquity, that not only the names, but even the races of their builders are unknown. The Finhaven fort is in shape a parallelogram, having its corners rounded off. It declines with the hill to the W., in length from E. to W., 476 feet, at the E. end its breadth is 83 feet, and at the W. 125 feet; the wall is from three to ten feet in height, but is supposed at one time to have been much higher. Great quantities of the stone have been carted away for mending the roads. In the west end of the fort there was a well, but this is now filled up. The fort is built of several kinds of stone, chiefly sandstone and gneiss, which have been fused together by the action of fire, a good substitute for cement. It must have required an iminense amount of wood to vitrify such a large fort, but in those days that could easily have been obtained, for the whole of this district was once covered by forest, as is shown by the quantities of old
wood that are found in the mossy and marshy grounds. In some of the hilly parts of Tartary and India, the nations still vitrify their forts instead of using cement.
We saw on our road several stone and “slate" quarries, in which we found several tails, spines, and teeth of fossil fish, but were not so fortunate as to obtain a specimen in anything like a perfect condition. The upper beds of the old red sandstone formation are very compact, and having good cleavage planes, are used as roofing-slates in the neighbourhood.
Near one of these quarries some soil had recently been removed, laying bare the surface of the rock, on which were well-defined glacial markings, and which, from their direction, had evidently been made by a glacier coming from Glens Prosen and Clova. In a field near Aberlemno are two of those curious sculptured stones, of which a good many exist in this part of Scotland, and concerning which volumes of theories have been written, conclusively proving that nothing whatever is known about them, neither by whom or for what purpose they were erected. They had figures of horses and men, and an ornament like a pair of spectacles, amongst other symbols, carved on them.
On the commencement of the following week we went by rail to Kirriemuir, a small town, six miles W. by N. from Forfar, and then drove to the Den of Airlie, twelve miles further. The Den is a most beautiful ravine, formed by the Airlie river, which flows down it. In some parts the sides are quite perpendicular, and over 400 feet in height, while in others they slope more gradually. The valley is well wooded, and in the shade and moisture many species of ferns abound, the most noteworthy of which is the Green Spleenwort, Asplenium viride.
We walked up the valley from Airlie Castle to the Reeky Linn, a magnificent waterfall
, sixty feet in height. It is said to be one of the finest in Scotland. We returned to Kirriemuir by way of Lentrathan Loch and through Kingoldrum.
Kirriemuir is within an easy walk of Clova; and if any of our readers are in search of a place whereat to spend the holidays, we strongly recommend to their notice the latter; and to a lover of
a lover of botany it is extremely attractive, for in few localities of equal size in the British isles have so many rare plants been noticed. And last, but not least, there is a very comfortable hotel, where the charges are very moderate, for at present this district has not been overrun by tourists.
ORIGIN OF THE CHEDDAR CLIFFS.
BY D. MACKINTOSH, F.G.S. The Mendip range of hills, in Somersetshire, presents a striking instance of a truncated anticlinal fold or axis. According to Professor Ramsay, a mass of strata nearly a mile in thickness has been cut off from the summit by denudation, exposing the old red sandstone in the middle, with the carboniferous, or mountain limestone, dipping away on both sides. The outcrop of the limestone, under the old red, has been shaped into steep escarpments, with cliffs at intervals. A very remarkable line of upland cliffs runs from the Shuteshelve pass (between Sidcot and Axbridge) to Longbottom pass, and some distance beyond. It is here and there indented by cliff-bound ravines which, were they to become partially submerged, would differ very little in shape from inlets of the sea. Nearly on a level with the summit of this line of cliffs, there is an approximately horizontal table-land, which few geologists would hesitate to regard as a "plane of marine denudation.” Beyond Longbottom pass, in a south-easterly direction, this table-land becomes irregular, and its south-west escarpment, facing the Cheddar plain, is indented with combes which are more or less cliffy, especially at their inner termination. A formation of Permian conglomerate, which in most places may be found fringing the base of the Mendip Hills, runs into these combes, proving that they must have been mainly excavated before or during the Permian period. The trumpet-shaped mouth of the Cheddar ravine might be classed among these combes, were it not that it must have been formed at a subsequent period, for its floor, as well as sides, consists of carboniferous limestone. This ravine, at first sight, suggests the idea (not confirmed by farther inspection) of the limestone ridge through which it passes, having been "rent in twain” from the top to the bottom.
The Cheddar ravine, though long celebrated, deserves something more in the way of description than the very brief notices that have hitherto appeared. In the preface to a legendary article in a late number of the Gentleman's Magazine, it is justly regarded as “one of the most gorgeous specimens of rocky scenery to be found in Europe. grows accustomed to Switzerland, but Cheddar is a continual surprise.”* The object of the present paper is to give some
In the Penny Cyclopædia it is alluded to as follows :-". the defile of Cheddar cliffs, with its long line of stupendous mural precipices, certainly among the most magnificent objects of this kind in Britain.