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in this region of volcanic upheaval, ance of so many leviathan whales gloom, and desolation, fail to real- partially buried in the ground, and ise the vividness of the next de- turned into stone. At the farther scription :
end of Coruisg lake the river had “Seems that primeval earthquake's
to be waded, and here, albeit the sway
evening is gathering in, let us Hath rent a strange and shattered stay a moment and try to recall way
something of the weird picture Through the rude bosom of the hill, which the poet-artist painted for And that each naked precipice,
us at or near about this very spot. Sable ravine, and dark abyss, Tells of the outrage still."
There, to the left, is the short
reach of rapid river, which conBut now, rest we a few minutes nects the far-famed fresh-water and look around from the crest of lake with the sea (Scavaig Bay), this Scaur"na Mhadaidh.” A splen- bending sharply round the bluff did golden eagle rises slowly, as did promontory, “Meall na Cuilce.” his kindred twain on Blaven, and Call to mind that the galley bearing flaps away along the black ram the royal Bruce and his two comparts of the nearest cliffed amphi- panions had “moored in Scavigh theatre till he is lost in their re- bay,”— cesses. Surely a congenial home
" Then each took bow and bolts in this for the prince of birds, where
hand, any number of eyries could be hid- Their row-boat launched and leaped to den away out of ken of shepherd land, or forester. And what a view And left their skiff and train, away yonder westward, of remote Where a wild stream, with headlong Hebridean isles ; Uist and Lewis,
shock, their peaks alone visible, the rest
Came brawling down its bed of rock,
so mingle with the main." blotted out by a sea of warm haze, above which a few fleecy cloudlets The awed astonishment that fell float; — while all around to east- upon those wanderers when they ward, on the side we had ascended, reached the shore of Coriskin is a chaos of rifted rock-stacks, (Coruisg) must surely be funnel-shaped corries, gullies, and standing on this desolate spot, if cascades!
only we have the seeing eye and About five o'clock we began our the hearing ear :descent down the steep face of Glac Mhòr, at the ead of the
". This lake,' said Bruce, whose bar
riers drear Coruisg basin, sliding and mean
Are precipices sharp and sheer, dering, now over loose débris, now
Yielding no track for goat or deer, across protuberant slanting masses Save the black shelves we tread. of the intensely hard gabbro that almost defies hammer to break it.
And yonder peak of dread
That to the evening sun uplifts From the foot of the slope it is
The grisly gulfs and slaty rifts, two miles or more along the course Which seam its shivered head."" of the stream to its junction with the lake. From this point we kept Nothing could describe the scene along the southern shore of the better, just as we saw it that evenloch, constantly overpassing more ing on our return to camp. Inof the monotonous dark - brown deed, some of these descriptions of rock-bosses with rounded surface, the Cuillins are masterpieces of which have very much the appear- that faculty of felicitous nature
painting which Sir Walter Scott blackness of this desolate mountainpoesessed in so high a degree. trough, shut in by its towering Turn again to the narrative of the walls of lurid rock — all spikes, poem. Yonder, we can picture the knobs, and pyramids-one might meeting with the five caitiffs of the fancy the inky waters of the tarn clan Dugal of Lorn,“ of evil mien, an Avernian lake, and that here down-looked, unwilling to be seen, was the portal of the “Inferno," the jutting crag overhanging the with the pillars thereof. rude canvas shelter - booth, the But now, yet a moment, having slaughtered deer, the slender figure contemplated the poetic and picof the disguised Edith, and all the turesque aspect of the spot, let us accessories. Next, the separate open another page of its history. feast, the watch by turns by the Geologically, according to the latest flickering fire, till "over Coolin's lights, this colossal rock-caldron, eastern head the greyish light be- Coruisg, part filled with water, gins to spread,” and the luckless is the sepulchre of a great glacier, page taking post as sentinel. which again was a component of Then, as
the vast ice - sheet that in an "On Coolin's cliffs the mist lay furled,
archaic epoch covered the bulk of The morning breeze the lake had
the Scottish mainland, stretching curled,
over the highest mountain-chains The short dark waves, heaved to the and filling up the valleys. · The land,
footprints of the glacier are here With ceaseless plash kissed cliff or visible
the naked rock, sand,"
marked out by many a grooved we suddenly hear the shriek of the and seamed and smoothened surmaiden, see the steel glimmer face, wrought by the great icy above the slumbering Allan, the incubus as it ground its slow way i istant awakening of Lord Ronald down the basin to the sea. And " de Insulis ” and the king, their these enormous boulders which are avenging onslaught on the ruffian seen lying about in every direction, crew, and so on to the meeting many of them poised along clifwith Edward Bruce. Finally, we edges or surmounting rock-bosses, listen to the wail of the pibroch, are the relics the glacier dethe while
posited as it gradually shrank and “Coriskin dark and Coolin high
dwindled away. Most graphically Echoed the dirge's doleful cry,"
has this been told by an eminent and watch the corpse of the poor uisg, he says
authority. The rock-tarn of Cormurdered stripling, “ young heir of Donagajle," as it is borne solemnly" is almost surrounded by an array down alongside the rushing river of the blackest and most jagged preci. to the sea-shore. All this it is easy pices in Britain. The rock (gabbro)
of which they consist is of volcanic to picture to the mind's eye as we
origin, and is endowed with singular linger here, under the spell of the toughness and durability. Along the poet, beside
crests and upper parts of the cliffs it “That dread shore has been split by the weather acting That sees grim Coolin rise and hears along its joints and dykes, until it Coriskin roar.”
presents a notched and splintered
sky-line to which there is elsewhere And, indeed, gazing up into the
no equal within these islands. But
lower down, where the ice that once Let me not forget to note one filled the corry has been able to act outward and visible sign of the upon its sides, this obdurate rock has
presence, which been ground smooth, polished, and striated.
Its very obduracy, which surely he himself would have emmust have made the task of the glacier phatically deprecated, if not ima more than usually laborious one, precated. Blazoned in huge has enabled it to retain the impress painted letters along a rock-face of the ice-work with a freshness and on the opposite shore of Loch perfection truly astonishing. Dome Scavaig, he who runs may read rises above dome, hummock beyond the name (or initials, I forget hummock, so smooth and shorn that it is difficult to realise that the ice which), of Walter Scott, stuck has long since vanished from them. there, I suppose, by way of comPolished surfaces of rock form the lip memorating the place of his landof the basin, and their grooves and ing. O tempora ! O mores! It striæ, rising out of the dark sullen calls to mind a certain hill of tarn, tell as plainly as words could do
caves, the natural how the glacier that once filled the beauty of which was marred and corry pressed its way up over that lip and out into the fjord beyond. Scores vulgarised by a plague of adverof huge blocks, which, loosened by tising placards posted upon every the winter frosts, fell on the surface conspicuous rock and stone, anof the ice and were carried onward, nouncing where, in the adjacent still rest where the ice left them--some big town, you might buy someperched on the brink of a crag, and body's best superfine hats ! "Quid thereby showing how gently, as the ice melted away from them, they
nos dura refugimus ætas, quid insettled down into their places. Im- tactum nefasti liquimus ?” pressive, therefore, as Coruisk is, con- And now it is high time to sidered only from the scenic point of hurry along on our way to view, it inspires still fuller wonder camp, for there are yet a good and admiration when the eye can three miles to be done, reckon. both enjoy its picturesqueness and mark how marvellously it recalls the ing the windings of the track, later aspect of the long Ice Age.”l
and a rugged nasty piede of walkFrom this we notice one thing, gap, and clam bering over
more which is that the world - famed rock-sheets, one reaches the searomancer was not quite accurate shore at a little cove, “Port Sgàile” in his mineralogy.
(shadowy or ghostly bay), and then finely conceived as strictly true begins the task of skirting round that here in Coruisg
the base of Sgurr na Stri (not in“ All is rocks at random thrown, aptly named, Scaur of Strife), the Black waves, bare crags, and banks of precipitous promontory which instone ;
terposes between the two arms of but of “huge terraces of granite Loch Scavaig. Here, as elsewhere black” in among these trappean in this extraordinary region, the rocks there are none, the nearest mountain-side is simply a series of granite being, as we have seen, that ledges or stairs of bare rock slantin the neighbouring Red Hills. ing at an inclination so steep that, But this is a small matter, which but for the strips and tufts of it may savour of hypercriticism vegetation precariously clinging to to point out.
them in places, it would be an im
1 The Scenery of Scotland, by Arch. Geikie, F.R.S., Director of the Geological Surveys of the United Kingdom.--P. 229. Macmillan : 1887.
possibility to scramble along. One been describing, or we should have spot and one only, in what is rather fared badly. For it was on the the spectre of a path than its stroke of nine o'clock and almost reality, need I particulariso, which dark when we caught sight of the has to be passed very soon after welcome glimmer of the tentleaving Coruisg. It has been lights, and recrossed the little locally anglicised into “The had river we had left behind step,” otherwise, with a tine touch thirteen hours before. So ended of irony, “The Ladies' Step.” a day long to be remembered, Climbing along, you are compelled and an exploration of what is by the exigencies of the ground to beyond doubt a tract of mouna point where it is as if the way tain scenery ahsolutely unique in were absolutely barred :-upwards. the British Isles. level - wards. downwards, there And we were only just in time, seems to be no possibility of mov- for soon the mists came lowering ing on. A great bare smooth down the great peaks, and by the rock-slab, the actual mountain-side time the last consolatory pipe beitself, here slants down sheer into fore bed was smoked, the walls of the deep sea at a slope impossible my tent were flapping and bulging for human foot to tread. But, on a with an ominous sound in a gale close scrutiny, a gaping cleft, a few of wind that by next morning had inches wide, is seen. where the risen to a furious tempest, roaring rock-face has split open and the and raging against the marquee under portion fallen the least canvas in its exposed situation thing away. And it is along the as though the whole fabric must lower lip of this crevice in the bodily collapse. rock, narrowest conceival,le of foot- The reader will have by this ledges, that one has to creep or time perceived one characteristic sidle along for sowe yards, at the of this Hebridean locality,—the end of which there is a sudden unfamiliar garb in which nearly drop into a bouldered recess. To all the place names are dressed up. any one consing the opposite way, They are for the most part Gaelic that is, towards Coruisg, the spot (i.e., Scoto-Celtic) with some adwhen reached is a veritable puzzle mixture of Norse, due to the to overpass; indeel, for a great perind when these islands were part of the so-called track round under the sway of the Norwegian this promontory, the ordinary kings, and formed the battletouris would almost require a ground of inany a Jarl and Viking “Fair Rosamoud's” clue to guide and Celtic chieftain. And withhim on his way.
out some smattering of the ancient I cannot advise the average language, one can hardly decipher visitor to these wilds to attempt the topographical nomenclature in this landward approach to Loch the maps of the Government SurCoruisg from Camasunary. Fortu- vey, which are such invaluable nately, it was not our first time guides to the tourist throughout of traversing it on the day I have the Scottish Highlands. 1
1 No one interested in the wild tract of country here treated of should be with. out the set of special 6-inch maps lately issued in a revised form by the Ordnance Survey. They are five in number,-Sheets 38, 39, 44, 45, 46, marked “ Island of Skye, Inverness-shire." Without being actually hill-shaded, these sheets, by a special mode of representation, delineate all the slopes, corries, cliffs, ravines, &c.,
Before quitting this grimly fasci- supplied with a fresh fly, we went nating corner of Skye, perhaps the to work again. Taut goes the reader may like to bear me com- line, down goes the rod - top in pany in a couple of hours' sea-trout violent jerks, and then the rapid fishing on the neighbouring lake click of the reel winding itself up already mentioned, Loch as fast as fingers can turn the Créitheach, which I had on the handle ; then a stop, and a whirr evening following the Coruisg out again, and so on, till the fish, tramp. All day the storm had after many a leap and spin into continued, so that to us in camp the air, is wheedled up alongside it was perforce a dies non as to the boat, and hauled in somehow work; but the evening cleared up or other.
Thus we secured four enough to allow a start for the or five fine white sea-trout, ranging loch. I should explain that per- from one to two pounds apiece ; mission had been given me for a and lastly, a splendid fellow that day's fishing in it; but strangers, held me in play full half an hour so the shooting-tenant told me, with my light gear. We had no are by no means particular aboui net, or anything with which to lift getting such permission, appar a fish of his weight into the boat, ently regarding the lake as a sort so there was nothing for it but to of " no man's water. On arrival row slowly into the shingly beach with my rod at the loch - side, and float him ashore, C- meanO and I found a rickety old while landing and seizing the prize boat half - full of water, and a just as he was flopping about at pair of scull3 hidden away near the edgy of the water.
It was by. The boat baled out, she was an exciting moment, and aftersoon launched, and O having wards, when the tish was put on kindly volunteered to do the row the scales, he, just turned them at ing, I tried casting along the three pounds. shores, but all to no purpose; the As I put up the rod, and while wind had dropped, not a fin was the rotten old punt was being stirring, and neither tinsel body hauled up high and dry and secured nor varigated wing of any sort or by its rusty chain to a boulder on kind had charm to raise a fish in the bank, the sun suddenly gleamthe feebly rippling water. Thened out through a rift in the clouds, I bethought me of taking to the and turned the topmost crags of middle deeps of the lake, with a Blaven into burnished gold, streaklong line trailing out over the stern ed with intense ultramarine in the of the boat, and then the sport shadows of the deep-furrowed clefts came. The rod and tackle were of and crannies. Altogether, conthe lightest, the former a slender sidering the gear at command, single-handed one, bought for a those two hours' sport, that still lady. First, a biggish fellow-to cloudy evening on this lonesome judge by the rush and splash of lake, dark with its majestic overhim, about a couple of pounds hanging cliffs and their broad everweight — went for the fly, and deepening reflections, is another carried it off, casting-line and all. episode of that brief camping-time This was irritating; but a new and worthy to live in the memory, stronger casting-line having been albeit the take was not salmon.
in a wonderfully artistic and graphic manner, so that any one who can read a map would understand from them the whole articulation of these mountain-ranges.