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CHAP. VI.

FROM THE KING'S HOUSE,

Miles.
GLENCO......

1
LOCHLEVEN SIDE.... 10

King's House-Macgregors; their extensive possessions in this

quarter, their proscription, &c.—Glenco, Buachailetie and its other mountains, singular wildness of its grand scenery -Coan river, supposed by some to be the Cona of Ossian -Opinions respecting the authenticity of the poems ascribed to Ossian-Macdonalds of Glenco joined Claverhouse, and fought in the battle of Killicrankie-Chief of Glenco takes the oath of allegiance to King WilliamMassacre of the people of the glen-Report of the royal commissioners respecting this massacre.

THE King's House, as the name implies, was established in this wilderness by government, for the accommodation of troops on their march by this road to the garrisons of Fort William at Inverlochy, and Fort Augustus at Kilcummin, in the great glen ; and although this inn is not equal to those which have hitherto oc

curred on this road, the wild, bleak, and desolate appearance of every surrounding object, gives it an air of comparative comfort, and renders the traveller less disposed to quarrel with his entertainment. After a long stage of nineteen miles, those who take this road can hardly dispense with stopping here, for refreshment for themselves and their horses; and the house is convenient as a place of temporary residence, for those who follow the sports of the field in this vicinity, which abounds with grouse, and every kind of game to be found in the highlands of Scotland, so that the inn is well frequented in the summer and autumn seasons. From the King's House, there is a foot and horse road, but impassable for carriages, over the moor to the head of Rannoch, which is fifteen miles distant. The moorish field on which the King's House stands, belongs to the Earl of Braidalbane; and with this field, or somewhere in its vicinity, terminates the division of Glenurchay and Glenetie, and the property of the Braidalbane family in this direction of north-west, extending however west and south-west, to Argyle Proper and the Western Ocean. Glenurchay, which now gives the title of Viscount to the Braidalbane family, together with the whole or nearly the whole range of mountains and valieys, from

Loch Awe by Tyandrum to the foot of the Ballach, including Glenlyon, once belonged to the ancient and powerful clan.of the Macgregors, whose former extensive settlements in this quarter now constitute a great proportion of the Braidalbane property. The incorrigible turbulence of the Macgregors afforded frequent occasions for the encroachments of the Loch Awe family, who had the advantage of acting under government commissions ; and Macgregor a Rua-shruth (Macgregor, from the red torrent), whose death is still lamented in Gaelic song, a gallant young heir of the chief, having been surprised and killed by the knight of Loch-Awe, in the reign of James the Fourth, the fortunes of the clan continued to decline, and they were gradually driven from this vicinity, and confined to their settlements about Loch Lomond. The battle of Glenfruin, between the Macgregors and Colquhouns in 1606, in which the Colquhouns were defeated, and slaughtered almost to the extinction of their name, led to the proscription of the Macgregors, who were for many years after pursued and destroyed like wild beasts. A party of them was surprised in a cave of the rocks above the falls of the Tummel, and some having been killed, and the rest having scrambled to the top of a tree which grew

hori.

zontally out of some soil in the interstices of the rocks, the tree was cut and precipitated with those who clung to it into the gulf below. Some time afterwards, a party of seventeen of them, including the Chief, Alastar of Glenstrae, surrendered to Argyle, upon condition of being conducted safe into England, a condition which was kept to the ear, but broken to the sense ; Argyle first taking them to the English border, and then back to Edinburgh, where they were hanged. The remains of the tribe changed their name, which had been suppressed by act of parliament; but during the lapse of nearly two centuries it was not forgotten, and on the repeal of the act was resumed by a very considerable number.

The road, passing over the bridge of Etie at the King's House, stretches along the moor to the Glenco pass, where the drove road by Kinloch-leven, which may be taken by travellers on horseback, strikes off to the right, being the shortest and most direct way to Inverlochy. But the road through Glenco by the ferry of Ballichelish, although longer by about six miles, is much better, and was chosen on this occasion for that reason, and also from a desire to see the scene of the memorable massacre. Buachailea tie, the edge of that wedge-like range of moun

tains, which rise between Glenetie and Glenco, guards the entrance into the two passes, having the dark colour of its immense layers of bare crags contrasted only with the long red and greyish streaks of dust, beaten from the solid rock by the almost incessant action of the wind and rain. The dusty streaks appear in the highest portions of Benmore, the mountains of Tyandrum, Benour, Bendouran, Bendoe, and the Black Mountain ; indicating the same kind of red stone, of which the vast mountain of Ben-Nevis in Lochaber is composed. In all these, some traces of vegetation are seen almost to the summit; but in the view from the head of Glenco, the summits of the mountains on each side, destitute of every symptom of vegetable life, and strongly resembling their leader, the Etie Shepherd, present only a long series of prodigious heaps of red and grey powder, interspersed with black rocks, shooting up in every variety of shape, and terminating in flat round tops, sharp points, and long broken edges. The sublime, which had hitherto generally comprehended a considerable proportion of variety and beauty, here became almost purely terrible. On entering the glen, the mountains on each side appear to be stupendous masses of solid rock, rising perpendicularly from the bottom to a vast

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