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from the sea is quite beautiful. - About noon, proceed along the coast of Aberdeenshire, which, to the northwards, changes from a bold and rocky to a low and sandy character. Along the bay of Belbelvie, a whole parish was swallowed up by the shifting sands, and is still a desolate waste. It belonged to the Earls of Errol, and was rented at L.500 a-year at the time. When these sands are past, the land is all arable. Not a tree to be seen; nor a grazing cow, or sheep, or even a labour-horse at grass, though this be Sunday. The next remarkable object was a fragment of the old castle of Slains, on a precipitous bank, overlooking the sea. The fortress was destroyed when James Vl. marched north [1. D. 159-1], after the battle of Glenlivat, to reduce Huntly and Errol to obedience. The family then removed to their present mean habitation, for such it seems, a collection of low houses forming a quadrangle, one side of which is built on the very 'verge of the precipice that overhangs the ocean. Wbat seems odd, there are no stairs down to the beach. Imprudence, or ill fortune as fatal as the sands of Belhelvie, has swallowed up the estate of Errol, excepting this dreary mansionhouse, and a farm or two adjoining. We took to the boat, and running along the coast, had some delightful sea-views to the northward of the castle. The coast is bere very rocky; but the rocks, being rather soft, are wasted and corroded by the constant action of the waves,-and the fragments which remain, where the soster parts have been washed away, assume the appearande of old Gothic roins.' There are open arches, towers, steeples, and so forth. One part of this scaur is called Dun Buy, being coloured yellow by the dung of the sea-fowls, who build there in the most surprising numbers. We caught three young gulls. But the most curious object was the celebrated Buller of Budhan, a huge rocky caullron, into which the sea rushes through a natural areb of rock. I walked round the top; in one place the path is only about two feet wide, and a monstrous precipice on either side. We then rowed into the cauldron or buller from beneath, and saw nothing around us but a regular wail of blaek rock, and nothing above but the blue sky. A fishing hamlet had sent out its inhabilants, who, gazing from the brink, looked like sylphs looking down upon gnomes. In the side of the cauldron opens a deep black cavern. Johnson says it might be a retreat from storms, which is nonsense. In a high gale the waves rush in with incredible violence. An old fisher said he had seen them flying over the natural wall of the buller, which cannot be less than 200 feet high. The same old man says Slains is now inhabited by a Mr Bowles, who comes so far from the southward that nae body kens whare he comes frae. .' Was he frae the Indies?'—Na; he did not think he came that road. He was far frae the southland. Naebody ever heard the name of the place; but he had brought more guid out o' Peterhead than a' the Lorils he had seen in Slains, and he had seen three.' About halfpast five we left this interesting spot, and, after a hard pull, reached the yacht. Weather falls hazy, and rather calm ; but at sea we observe vessels enjoying more wind. Pass Peterhead, dimly distinguishing two steeples, and a good many masts. Mormounthill said to resemble a coffin--a likeness of which we could not judge, Marmount being for the present invisible. Pass Rattray-Head ; near this eape are dangerous shelves, called the Bridge of Rattray. Here the wreck of the Doris merchant vessel came on shore, lost last
year with a number of passengers for Shetland. We lie off all night. “Ist August -On Frasersburgh-a neat little town. Mr Stevenson and the commissioners go on shore to look at a light maintained there upon an old castle, on a cape called Kinnaird's Head. The morning being rainy, and no object of curiosity ashore, I remain on board, to make up my journal, and write home.
“ The old castle, now bearing the light, is a picturesque object from the sea. It was the baronial mansion of the Frasers, now Lords Saltoun--an old square tower with a minor fortification towards the landing-place on the sea-side.
About eleven, the Commissioners came off, and we leave this town, the extreme point of the Moray Firth, to stretch for Shetland-salute 'the Castle with three guns, and stretch out with a merry gale. See Mormount, a long flattish topped hill near to the West Troup-head, and another bold cliff promontory projecting into the frith. Our gale soon failed, and we are now all but becalmed ; songs, ballads, recitations, backgammon, and picquet for the rest of the day. Noble sænset and moon rising; we are now out of sight of land.
“2d August.-At sea in the mouth of the Moray Frith. This day almost a blank--light bafling airs, which do us very little good, most of the landsmen sick, more or less; picquet, backgammon, and chess the only resources.
A breeze, and we begin to think we have passed the Fair Isle, lying between Shetland and Orkney, at which it was our intention to have touched. In short, like one of Sindbad's adventures, we have run on till neither captain nor pilot know exactly where we are. The breeze increases--weather may be called rough; worse and worse after we are in our berths, nothing but booming, trampling, and whizzing of waves about our ears, and ever and anon, as we fall asleep, our ribs come in contact with those of the vessel; hail Duft and the Udaller* in the after-cabin, but they are too sick to answer. Towards morning, calm (comparative), and a nap.
3d August.-At sea as before; no appearance of land'; proposed that the Sheriff of Zetland do issue a meditatione fugæ warrant against his territories, which seem to fly from us. Pass two whalers ; speak the nearest, who had come out of Lerwick, which is about twenty miles distant; stand on with a fine breeze. About nine at night, with moonlight and strong twilight, we weather the point of Bard-bead, and enter a channel about three-quarters of a mile broad, which forms the southern entrance to the harbour of Lerwick, were we cast anchor about half-past ten, and put Mr Turnbull on shore.
" 4th August.-Harbour of Lerwick. Admire the excellence of this harbour of the metropolis of Shetland. It is a most beautiful place, screened on all sides from the wind by hills of a gentle, elevation. The town, a fishing village, built irregularly upon a hill ascending from the shore, bas a picturesque arpearance.“ On the left is Fort Charlotte, garrisoned of late by two companies of veterans. The Greenlandmen, of which nine fine vessels are lying in the harbour, add much to the liveliness of the scene. Mr Duncan, sheriff-substitute, came off to pay his respects to his principal; he is married to a daughter of my early acquaintance, Walter Scott of Scotts-hall. We
ashore.. Lerwick, a poor-looking place, the streets flagged instead of being causewayeit, for there are no wheel-carriages. The streets full of drunken riotous sailors, from the whale-vessels. It seems these ships take about 1000 sailors from Zetland every year, and return them as they come back from the fishery.. Each sailor may gain from L.20 to L.30, which is paid by the merchants of Lerwick, who have agencies from the owners of the whalers in England. The whole return may be between L.25,000 and L.30,000. These Zetlanders, as they get a part of this pay on landing, make a point of treating their English messmates, who get drunk of course, and are very riotous. The Zetlanders themselves do not get drunk, but go straight home to their houses, and reserve their bilarity for the winter season, when they spend their wages in dancing and drinking. Erskine finds employment as Sheriff, for the neighbourhood of the fort enables him to make main forte, and secure a number of the rioters. We visit F. Charlotte, which is a neat little fort mounting ten heavy guns to the sea, but only one to the land. Major F. the Governor, showed us the fort; it commands both entrances of the harbour: the north entrance is not very good, but the south capital. The water in the
* Erskine-sheriff of Shetland and Orkney.
harbour is very deep, as the frigates of the smaller class lie almost close to the shore. Take a walk with Captain M.Diarmid, a gentlemanlike and intelligent officer of the garrison ; we visit a small fresh-water loch called Cleik-kim-in; it horders on the sea, from which it is only divided by a sort of beach, apparently artificial ; though the sea lashes the outside of this beach, the water of the lake is not brackish. In this lake are the remains of a Picts' Castle, but ruinous. The people think the Castle has not been built on a natural island, but on an artificial one formed by a heap of stones. These Duns or Picts Castles, are so small, it is impossible to conceive what effectual purpose they could serve excepting a temporary refuge for the chief. Leave Cleik-him-in, and proceed along the coast. The ground is dreadfully, encumbered with stones; the patches, which have been sown with oats and barley, bear very good crops, but they are mere patches, the cattle and ponies feeding among them and secured by tethers. The houses most wretched, worse than the worst herd's house I ever saw. It would be easy to form a good farm by enclosing the ground with Galloway dykes, which would answer the purpose of clearing it at the same time of stones; and as there is plenty of lime-shell, marle, and angla-marina, manure could not be wanting. But there are several obstacles to improvement, chiefly the undivided state of the properties, which lie run-rig; then the claims of Lord Dundas, the lord of the country; and above all, perhaps, the state of the common people, who, dividing their attention between the fishery and the cultivation, are not much interested in the latter, and are often absent at the proper times of labour. Their ground is chiefly dug with the spade, and their ploughs are beyond description awkward. An odd custom prevails—any person, without exception (if I understand rightly) who wishes to raise a few kail, fixes upon any spot he pleases, encloses it with a dry stone-wall, uses it as a kail-yard till he works out the soil, then deserts it and makes another. Some dozen of these little enclosures, about twenty or thirty feet square, are in sight at once. They are called planty-cruive; and the Zetlanders are so far from reckoning this an invasion, or a favour on the part of the proprietor, that their most exaggerated description of an avaricious person is one who would refuse liberty for a planty-cruive; or to infer the greatest contempt of another,
say, they would not hold a planty-cruive of hin. "It is needless to notice how much this license must interfere with cultivation.
Leaving the cultivated land, we turn more inland, and pass two or three small lakes. The muirs are mossy and sterile in the highest degree; the hills are clad with stunted heather, intermixed with huge great stones; much of an astringent root with a yellow flower, called Tormentil, used by the islanders in dressing leather in lieu of the oak bark. "We climbed a hill about three miles from Lerwick to a cairn, which presents a fine view of the indented coast of the island, and the distant isles of Mousa and others. Unfortunately the day is rather hazy-return by a circuitous route, through the same sterile country. These mairs are used as a commonty by the proprietors of the parishes in which they lie, and each, without any regard to the extent of his peculiar property, puts as much stock upon them as he chooses. The sheep are miserable-looking, hairy-legged creatures, of all colours, even to skyblue. I often wondered where Jacob got speckled lambs; I think now they must have been of the Shetland stock. In our return, pass the upper end of the little lake of Cleik-him-in, which is divided by a rude causeway
from another small loch communicating with it, however, by a sluice, for the purpose of driving a mill. But such a mill! The wheel is horizontat, with the cogs turned diagonally to the water; the beam stands upright, and is inserted in a stone-quern of the old-fashioned construction. This simple machine is enclosed in a hovel ahout the size of a pig-stye, and there is the mill!* There
* Here occurs a rude scratch of drawing.
are about 500 such mills in Shetland, each incapable of grinding more than a sack at a time,
“ I cannot get a distinct account of the nature of the land rights. The Udual proprietors have ceased to exist, yet proper feudal tenures seem ill understood to belong to Townships or Communities, possessing what may be arable by patches, and what is muir as a commonty, pro indiviso. But then individuals of such a Township often take it upon them to grant feus of particular parts of the property
, thus possessed pro indiviso. The town of Lerwick is built upon a part of the commonty of Sound, the proprietors of the houses having feu rights from different heritors of that Township, but why from one rather than another, or how even the whole Township combining (which has not yet been attempted) could grant such a right upon principle, seems altogether uncertain. In the mean time the chief stress is laid upon occupance. I should bave supposed upon priuciple, that Lord Dundas, as superior, possessed the dominium eminens, and ought to be resorted to as the source of land rights. But it is not so. It has been found that the heritors of each Township hold directly of the Crown, only paying the Scat, or Norwegian land-tax, and other duties to his lordship, used and wont. Besides, he has what are called property lands in every Township, or in most, which he lets to his tenants. Lord Dundas is now trying to introduce the system of leases and a better kind of agriculture. Return home and dine at Sinclair's, a decent inn-Captain M·Diarmid and other gentlemen dine with us.—Sleep at the inn on a straw couch.
“ 5th August, 1814.-Hazy disagreeable morning-Erskine trying the rioters--notwithstanding which a great deal of rioting still in the town. The Greenlanders, however, only quarrelled among themselves, and the Zetland sailors seemed to exert themselves in keeping peace. They are, like all the other Zetlanders I have seen, a strong, clear-complexioned, handsome race, and the women are very pretty. The females are rather slavishly employed, however, and I saw more than one carrying home the heavy sea-chests of their husbands, brothers, or lovers, discharged from on board the Greenlanders. The Zetlanders are, however, so far provident, that when they enter the navy they make liberal allowance of their pay for their wives and families. Not less than L.15,000 a year has been lately paid by the Admiralty on this account; yet this influx of money, with that from the Greenland fishery, seems rather to give the means of procuring useless indulgences than of augmenting the stock of -productire labour. Mr Collector Ross tells me that from the King's books it appears that the quantity of spirits, tea, coffee, tobacco, snuff, and sugar, imported annually into Lerwich for the consumption of Zetland, average at sale price, L. 20,000 yearly, at the least. Now the inhabitants of Zetland, men, women, and children, do not exceed 22,000 in all, and the proportion of foreign luxuries seems monstrous, unless we allo for the habits contracted by the seamen in their foreign trips. Tea, in particular, is used by all ranks, and porridge quite exploded.
" We parade Lerwick. The most remarkable thing is that, the main street being flagged, and all the others very narrow lanes descending the hill by steps, any thing like a cart of the most ordinary and rude construction, seems not only out of question when the town was built, but in its present state quite excluded. A road of five miles in length, on the line between Lerwick and Scalloway, has been already made-upon a very awkward and expensive plan, and ill-lined as may be supposed. But it is proposed to extend this road by degrees : carts will then be introduced, and by crossing the breed of their ponies judiciously, they will have Galloways to draw them. The streets of Lerwick fas one blunder perpetrates another) will then be a bar to improvement, for till the present houses are greatly altered no cart ean approach the quay. In the garden of Captain Nicolson, R.N., which is rather in a flou
rishing state, he has tried various trees, almost all of which have died, except the willow. But the plants seem to me to be injured in their passage; seeds would perhaps do better. We are visited by several of the notables of the island, particularly Mr Mowat, a considerable proprietor, who claims acquaintance with me as the friend of my father, and remembers me as a boy. The day clearing up, Duff and I walk with this good old gentleman to Cleik-him-in, and with some trouble drag a boat off the beach into the fresh-water loch, and go to visit the Picts' castle. It is of considerable size, and consists of three circular walls, of huge natural stones admirably combined without cement. The outer circuit seems to have been simply a bounding wall or balwark. The second or interior defence contains lodgments such as I shall describe. This inner circuit is surrounded by a wall of about sixteen or eighteen feet thick, composed, as I said, of huge massive stones placed in layers with great art, but without mortar or cement. The wall is not perpendicular, but the circle lessens gradually towards the top, as an old-fashioned pigeon-house. Up the interior of this wall, there proceeds a circular winding gallery ascending in the form of an inclined plane, so as to gain the top by circling round like a cork-screw within the walls. This is enlightened by little apertures (about two feet by three) into the inside, and also, it is said, by small slits--of which I saw none.
It is said there are marks of galleries within the circuit, running parallel to the horizon; these I saw no remains of; and the interior gallery, with its apertures, is so extremely low and narrow, being only about three feet square, that it is difficult to conceive how it could serve the purpose of communication. At any rate, the size fully justifies the tradition prevalent here, as well as in the south of Scotland, that the Picts were a diminutive race. More of this when we see the more perfect specimen of a Pict castle in Mousa, which we resolve to examine, if it be possible. Certainly I am deeply curious to see what must be one of the most ancient bouses in the world, built by a people who, while they seem to have bestowed much pains on their habitations, knew neither the art of cement, of are or of stairs. The situation is wild, dreary, and impressive. On the land side are huge sheets and fragments of rocks, interspersed with a stinted vegetation of grass and heath, which bears no proportion to the rocks and stones. From the top of his tower the Pietish Monarch might look out upon a stormy sea, washing a succession of rocky capes, reaches and headlands, and immediately around him was the deep fresh-water loch on wbich his fortress was constructed. It communicates with the land by a sort of causeway, formed, like the artificial islet itself, by heaping together stones till the pile reached the surface of the water. This is usually passable, but at present overflooded. - Return and dine with Mr Duncan, Sheriff-substitute--are introduced to Dr Edmonstone, author of a History of Shetland, who proposes to accompany us tomorrow to see the Cradle of Noss. I should have mentioned that Mr Stevenson sailed this morning with the yacht to survey some isles to the northward ; he returns on Saturday, it is hoped.
“ 6th August.-Hire a six-oared boat, whaler-built, with a taper point at each end, so that the rudder can be booked on either at pleasure. These vessels look very frail, but are admirably adapted to the stormy seas, where they live when a ship's boat stiffy and compactly built must necessarily perish. They owe this to their elasticity and lightness. Some of the rowers wear a sort of coats of dressed sheep leather, sewed together with thongs. We sailed out at the southern inlet of the harbour, rounding successively the capes of the Hammer, Kirkubus, the Ving, and others, consisting of bold cliffs, hollowed into caverns, or divided into pilars and arches of fantastic appearance, by the constant action of the waves. As we passed the most northerly of these capes, called, I think, the Ord, and turned into the open sea, the scenes became yet more tremendously sublime. Rockas upwards of three or