Monday, September 5th.
After drinking a bason of milk we set off again at a little after six o'clock - a fine morning - eight miles to Killin - the river Dochart always on our left. The face of the country not very interesting, though not unpleasing, reminding us of some of the vales of the north of England, though meagre, nipped-up, or shrivelled compared with them. There were rocks, and rocky knolls, as about Grasmere and Wytheburn, and copses, but of a starveling growth; the cultivated ground poor. Within a mile or two of Killin the land was better cultivated, and, looking down the vale, we had a view of Loch Tay, into which the Dochart falls. Close to the town, the river took up a roaring voice, beating its way over a rocky descent among large black stones: islands in the middle turning the stream this way and that; the whole course of the river very wide. We crossed it by means of three bridges, which make one continued bridge of a great length. On an island below the bridge is a gateway with tall pillars, leading to an old burying-ground belonging to some noble family. It has a singular appearance, and the place is altogether uncommon and romantic - a remnant of ancient grandeur: extreme natural wildness - the sound of roaring water, and withal, the ordinary half-village, half-town bustle of an every-day place.
The inn at Killin is one of the largest on the Scotch road: it stands pleasantly, near the chapel, at some distance from the river Dochart, and out of reach of its tumultuous noise; and another broad, stately, and silent stream, which you cannot look at without remembering its boisterous neighbour, flows close under the windows of the inn, and beside the churchyard, in which are many graves. That river falls into the lake at the distance of nearly a mile from the mouth of the Dochart. It is bordered with tall trees and corn fields, bearing plentiful crops, the richest we had seen in Scotland.
After breakfast we walked onwards, expecting that the stream would lead us into some considerable vale; but it soon became little better than a common rivulet, and the glen appeared to be short; indeed, we wondered how the river had grown so great all at once. Our horse had not been able to eat his corn, and we waited a long time in the hope that he would be better. At eleven o'clock, however, we determined to set off, and give him all the ease possible by walking up the hills, and not pushing beyond a slow walk.
We had fourteen miles to travel to Kenmore, by the side of Loch Tay. Crossed the same bridge again, and went down the south side of the lake. We had a delightful view of the village of Killin, among rich green fields, corn and wood, and up towards the two horns of the vale of Tay, the valley of the Dochart, and the other valley with its full-grown river, the prospect terminated by mountains. We travelled through lanes, woods, or open fields, never close to the lake, but always near it, for many miles, the road being carried along the side of a hill, which rose in an almost regularly receding steep from the lake. The opposite shore did not much differ from that down which we went, but it seemed more thinly inhabited, and not so well cultivated. The sun shone, the cottages were pleasant, and the goings-on of the harvest - for all the inhabitants were at work in the corn fields - made the way cheerful.
But there is an uniformity in the lake which, comparing it with other lakes, made it appear tiresome. It has no windings: I should even imagine, although it is so many miles long, that, from some points not very high on the hills, it may be seen from one end to the other. There are few bays, no lurking-places where the water hides itself in the land, no outjutting points or promontories, no islands; and there are no commanding mountains or precipices. I think that this lake would be the most pleasing in spring-time, or in summer before the corn begins to change colour, the long tracts of hills on each side of the vale having at this season a kind of patchy appearance, for the corn fields in general were very small, mere plots, and of every possible shade of bright yellow. When we came in view of the foot of the lake we perceived that it ended, as it had begun, in pride and loveliness. The village of Kenmore, with its neat church and cleanly houses, stands on a gentle eminence at the end of the water.
The view, though not near so beautiful as that of Killin, is exceedingly pleasing. Left our car, and turned out of the road at about the distance of a mile from the town, and after having climbed perhaps a quarter of a mile, we were conducted into a locked-up plantation, and guessed by the sound that we were near the cascade, but could not see it. Our guide opened a door, and we entered a dungeon-like passage, and, after walking some yards in total darkness, found ourselves in a quaint apartment stuck over with moss, hung about with stuffed foxes and other wild animals, and ornamented with a library of wooden books covered with old leather backs, the mock furniture of a hermit's cell. At the end of the room, through a large bow-window, we saw the waterfall, and at the same time, looking down to the left, the village of Kenmore and a part of the lake - a very beautiful prospect.
MEMORANDUM BY THE AUTHOR.
The transcript of the First Part of this Journal, and the Second as far as Friday, September 2nd, were written before the end of the year 1803. I do not know exactly when I concluded the remainder of the Second Part, but it was resumed on the 2nd of February 1804. The Third Part was begun at the end of the month of April 1805, and finished on the 31st of May.
April 11th, 1805.
I am setting about a task which, however free and happy the state of my mind, I could not have performed well at this distance of time; but now, I do not know that I shall be able to go on with it at all. I will strive, however, to do the best I can, setting before myself a different object from that hitherto aimed at, which was, to omit no incident, however trifling, and to describe the country so minutely that you should, where the objects were the most interesting, feel as if you had been with us. I shall now only attempt to give you an idea of those scenes which pleased us most, dropping the incidents of the ordinary days, of which many have slipped from my memory, and others which remain it would be difficult, and often painful to me, to endeavour to draw out and disentangle from other thoughts. I the less regret my inability to do more, because, in describing a great part of what we saw from the time we left Kenmore, my work would be little more than a repetition of what I have said before, or, where it was not so, a longer time was necessary to enable us to bear away what was most interesting than we could afford to give.
Monday, September 5th.
We arrived at Kenmore after sunset.
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