Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary June 1828

Tuesday 17 June 1828

11 55/60

Awake finding my cousin coming gently so got up. Having all ready had a motion. Dawdled in dressing and packing. Miss MacLean as last night in another bed next me. Ordered breakfast etc. Breakfast from 10 to 11. Afterwards sat talking. Told her of my getting entangled with Mrs Barlow [1], that I had in fact behaved ill to her for then meant to be off with Marianna. It came on by my saying perhaps I would go to Italy with Mrs Barlow and Jane next winter, but did not know whether it would be wise or not.

Miss McL- would make me go out. We had inquired for a boat. Could not have one & indeed the lake too stormy, thought our landlord, even if he had had a boat at liberty. Room from 11 to 2. Left Miss McL- writing to Lady Elizabeth Thackeray & went out at 3¼. Went to the top of Mount Stroneclachan, just above the manse (vid. Scottish Tourist, 85/415). Fine view, tho’ I should not with Pennant talk of the “most delicious plain,” yet it is a fine view. The winding Lochy & its juncture with the Dochart just before falling into the lake (about 15 miles long). Ben Lawers just clear (4,015 feet high, from which “one of the most varied, extensive & magnificent views in the British isles,” 88/415). The long line of picturesque village (village of Killin in Gaelic “burial place at the waterfall,” from the burial place of Fingal [2]) with here & there a little 2 story blue-slated house peeping above the rest. The neat, white inn & church. The neat, white manse at my feet, & a little father to my left, finely embossed in wood, the ruin of Finlarig castle & on the opposite side the head of the lake, (south side of it) Kinnel (McNab) & Achmore (Lord Glenorchy) embossed in fir plantations. The hill above me (above Stroneclachan) covered with fir, chiefly larch, stands finely at the opening of Glen Lochy. The high mountains all around fringed with wood but their tops & sides heather striped or patched with grass. Certainly fine view & fine lake, but heavy clouds hang low around, the mountains are bleak & wild & nature is too stern to please the [votary] accustomed to his smiles beneath more southern skies. Como! Thine are the waters of delight, thine the soft zephyrs that woo the heart to tenderness & lull its cares to rest.

Killin and Loch Tay
Photo by James@hopgrove, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

From leaving home to getting down again to the manse 50 minutes. Then a few picturesque cottages, cross the Lochy, fine peep up Glen Lochy, & get to Finlarig in 10 minutes at 4 25/60. Ruin covered with ivy. Irregular not large house. 2 gable ends standing & the 3 arched ground floor. Rooms under the great hall & some other little rooms. A round tower (up which went the stairs), only ½ appearing outside in the [angh?] between 2 walls. Traces of another round tower, stairs outside seeming to have led to the back rooms etc. Most of the Scotch castle-houses seem to have had the ground floor arched, the hall & sleeping rooms above, and the stairs in round towers. In plaster over the entrance door, the royal arms. France & England quarterly in the 2 quarters & Scotland & Ireland in the 2 other quarters & ‘R. R.’ & below ‘A’ & some other letter & at the bottom ‘16 . .,’ a nine, or a nought, or some two other figures. Close to the ruin Lord Breadalbane is building a mausoleum for a family burying place. In brick to be done over with cement, and which will apparently be very neat & appropriate, tho’ as there is excellent lapis ollaris? close by [Luronder?] he does not use it in spite of the expense of hewing such hard stone. The castle & all the cottages & buildings are built of it in rude unshapen pieces put together with mortar. On a little square mount close behind the castle the largest holly I ever saw in my life. Leaves quite glossy & smooth except 1 or 2 here & there which is prickly enough to assure one of the tree’s being really holly. 2 feet from the ground, 2½ yards at least in circumference & 3½ feet from the ground divides into 7 large arms forming an enormous top like that of a large forest tree. Then walked forwards along the road to the foot of Ben Lawen. Not quite clear at the top or thought to ascend him. Cottages strewed all along with fine views of the lake. Fine afternoon. Enjoyed my walk. The road, tho’ good, is now unpassable for carriages to Kenmore in consequence of being blocked up farther on by the making of some alterations. Had we had a carriage must therefore have gone along the south side of the loch, & better on account of having the views of Ben Lawes. It was 5¼ when I left the old castle. Suppose I walked about 3 miles farther. Got home at 7½. Dinner at 8. We had a bottle of very good Perth ale, and afterwards whisky toddy. This made me sleepy. Slept on the sofa from 9½ to 11. Went to my room at 11 10/60. Thick hazy morning. Rain from 11 to 2 p.m. afterwards fine afternoon & evening. 

Finlarig castle
Photo by Orland,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

[1] Maria Barlow was an English widow Anne Lister met in Paris in 1824, with whom she began a sexual relationship. Mrs Barlow wanted to marry Anne, but Anne had a lot of doubts about Mrs Barlow’s suitability as a wife and ended up returning to England and renewing her promise to Mariana, later returning to Paris together with Mariana, causing Mrs Barlow much upset. Nonetheless the pair continued a sexual relationship after Mariana returned to England and later travelled together. Jane was Mrs Barlow’s daughter. See Helena Whitbread’s No Priest But Love for more on this time in Anne Lister’s life.

[2] Fingal was a mythical Celtic giant and warrior. Fingals Cave on Staffa and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland are also named after him. Legend has it that Fingal died on Eilean Lubhai, an island on Loch Dochart, in a fight with his rival, Taileachd, over a woman. Fingal challenged his rival to leap backwards from the island to the shore, but ended up falling in the water himself, with Taileachd seizing the advantage and chopping off Fingal’s head. Fingal’s followers found his body down river at the Falls of Dochart and buried him in Killin. There is still a stone marking the spot in a field behind Killin school.

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