From 9 to 10½ settling my accounts. Breakfast at 10 35. Raining morning till after 11, then fair for a while, but rain again tho’ not heavy. In spite of this got into a one horse cart (seat on springs) & at 1 off over the hills to Aberfoyle. Slight view of Loch Katrine. View of Loch Achray & Loch Vennachar from the top of the wild heather-covered hill over which we passed. Very rough cart road. Wild, woodless, bleak mountain scenery. Obliged to walk ¼ hour. In about 1½ hours passed the little Loch of Dronkie. By & by looked down upon the green valley of Aberfoyle & at 3 10/60 alight for a minute or 2 to leave our luggage & order dinner at the comfortable little inn. About ½ dozen widely scattered cottages thatched with broom, 1 or 2 with straw. At 3¼ (in spite of the rain – rained without ceasing the whole way) off again in our cart to the Loch of Monteith.
Ard-cheau-na-chrochan inn, widow Stuart’s at the Trosachs to
Aberfoyle 6 miles
Aberfoyle to the Loch of Monteith 2½ miles
Stopt at 4¼ at the 1st house at this end of the loch, a poor little hut full of peat smoke. Hung our greatcoats by the fire to dry a little, having to wait for the boat. Beautiful little lake. A good-humoured farmer in the hut waiting for his friends, who were the party on the lake. Got into conversation. He said Mrs Stuart had her farm cheap, fancying it £70 a year, for she had as much land as would keep 300 or 400 sheep, 10 cows, all the horses she has & black cattle. Sows perhaps 10 bows (bolls or quarters) of oats and 1½ of barley. Lord Gwydir very good. The best landlord in the country. The Duke of Montrose very good but not so good as Lord G-. They took their land here by the lump not by the acre, considering what stock it would keep & paying according. A Scotch acre = 1 1/3 acre English & there was land here of which a Scotch acre would fatten a cow. 3 Scotch acres would keep her all the year round. Could sell the black cattle of the English dealers at £6 to £8 a head if good, & these dealers said land was dearer here than in England. My friend had land here that cost him now £2 an acre rent, but there no poor rates or taxes to pay. The proprietor pays all these – clergyman’s stipends & keeps the poor. To be sure some allotted a certain number of poor to a farm, but the duke did not. He paid all that came against the land & took the tenant’s bills, which were cashed at Sterling or Glasgow for rent. A good milk cow worth ten guineas. A good bull worth the same. This a grazing country, not a farmer hereabouts sows as much as 8 boll of barley.
16 lbs Scotch = 24 lbs English
16 lbs Scotch = a stone
A boll or 8 bushels of barley here will weigh 18 or 19 stones, and land here will yield 8 or 10 quarters oats per English acre.
Obliged to rub the sheep here about the 1st October with a composition of 2lb butter to a Scotch pint of tar. Without this the sheep would be very poor & many would die. Wool now so low it will hardly pay the expense of the rubbing with butter & tar. I think he said the wool was now only about 4d a stone. Apparently a very good sort of respectable farmer who has the neat looking farm at a little distance, almost opposite the inn at the Trosachs. He talked so much had not time to look much at the 4to [quarto] volume lying in the cottage giving an account of the lake & its islands. On the larger of the 2, Inchmahome (Inschemachame), stood the earliest Augustinian monastery in Scotland, founded by King Edgar who died A. D. 1106-7. Vid. the appendix to Archbishop Spottiswode’s History of the Church of Scotland, 1677. Scone the 2nd monastery founded in Scotland by Alexander the 1st in 1114.
Now tired of waiting for the boat’s arriving from the island, said we wait no longer & the woman of the hut & our driver contrived to get the water out of a clumsy cattle-boat & rowed us (off at 5¾) to Inchmahome in 10 minutes. Vid. Scottish Tourist 59/415. Very pretty island of between 4 & 5 acres (Scotch I think). The ruin of the priory pretty considerable. Within is a plain marble slab monument to the memory of the last Graham of Gurtmus who died in May 1818, & having no relations left the property to the Duke of Montrose, a Graham but no near relation if relation at all. The last Graham of Gurtmus was of right Earl of Monteith but never took the title. Some remarkably fine Spanish chestnuts. The fruit ripened 2 years ago. Ripens in warm summers. The ground covered with old orchard trees, chiefly apple. Said to be above 100 years old. Sometimes bear. Will bear this year. Sometimes pasture the island, sometimes mow it. Shew us Queen Mary’s bower planted by herself, particularly the great thorn in the middle when she was aged 12. This thorn stands in the middle of a circle of now rather ragged looking trees, thorns or what not, with a low fence of box creeping all round. Saw the parish church manse & modern cemetery of the Grahams of Gartmore in the distance (north). There are considerable ruins on the lesser island of the house of the last Earl of Monteith, who died 130 years ago, who was preparing when he died to built a house on the north side of the lake on a beautiful rocky mound or knowl that he would turned the lake all round. 20 minutes on the great island. Very pretty. What a pity it rained so & was so wet! Got back to the cottage in 10 minutes & off home again at 6 35/60.
In spite of jolting trotted the whole way & came in at 7 10/60. Miss McL- rather wet & changed her clothes. Stood talking to her. Dinner at 7 50/60. A couple of chickens running about when we first arrived were made into excellent soup & were themselves very good. Fried eggs & bacon, excellent highland cheese & butter & whiskey toddy. Sat talking till 9¼. From then to 12½ (interrupted & sent out of our sitting room by the arrival of a party of 4 ladies & 3 gentlemen obliged to do as they could) wrote out the whole of yesterday & today. Thoroughly rainy day.
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