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Dalwhinnie---Grouse shooting--Spey river, forests on its
banks--Road to Athol-Hills of Drumnacher-Loch Garry-Garry river-Height of Drumnacher, and descent on the Athol side-Dalnacardoch-Strathgarry--Loch Erricht-Plain of Blair-Athol, the most northerly division of Perthshire, general description-Woods-Bruar and Tilt rivers-Robbers-Plain of Urrard and battle of Rin. rory-Defile of Killicrankie-Bridge of Garry-Fascally -Tummel river-Dunkeld-View from Birnam.
THE inn of Dalwhinnie, provided with every proper accommodation, is a stage on the great road from Edinburgh, through the highlands, to Inverness, on which a stage coach has been
lately established, setting out from both points twice in each week. No grain crops are raised in the immediate vicinity of Dalwhinnie, but this part of the southern valley, and the heathy hills around, produce a valuable sheep pasture; and the narrow green plain and inn, on the bank of the river, afford a pleasant relief to the eye of a traveller from the south, after the wild solitude of the long hill of Drumnacher. This place, which is said not very long ago to have formed part of the estate of the Invernahavon family, now extinct, is merged in the wide ocean of the Gordon property. The Marquis of Huntley, with a numerous company of friends and at. tendants, annually occupies the house as shooting quarters, during a part of the grouse-shooting season, the moors, and mountains in the neighbourhood being among the best grouseshooting grounds in Scotland; and Captain Bar, clay, celebrated for his attention to, and proficiency in manly exercises, this season (1818) when the game was very abundant, killed, it was said, forty brace of grouse in one day, in this vicinity. The inn, on such occasions, is conveniently relieved by a neat ale or whiskey house, about a furlong further down on the road, which forms a commodious balting station for multitudes of cattle and sheep deal
ers and drivers, who at certain periods of the year proceed by this road to the Falkirk tryste and other fairs, and could not always be all accommodated in the inn. Some black cattle and flocks of sheep were seen on this road, also on their way to the great mart at Falkirk, which at certain periods of the year seems to crowd almost all the great roads in the north of Scotland, with the products of its moors and mountains. The road from Garvimore, a little below the plain of the inn, joins this great road to Inverness, which stretches along the northern bank of the river, through the whole length of the southern valley of Badenach, which from Dalwhinnie to Avimore, at the head of Strathspey, is about thirty miles. The lower part of the valley, seen on a former occasion, appeared to be not only rich and fertile in pasture, but capable of producing good crops of grain ; and at the inn of Pitmain, the stage between Dalwhinnie and Avimore, in a deep sheltered hollow, several fruit-trees, in excellent condition, were observed. Badenach is the middle region of the three; viz. Lochaber, Badenach, and Mar, which occupy the whole breadth of Scotland from Aberdeen to Inverlochy, the two latter districts being on the east of the general ridge, the former on the west.
The branch of the Spey, which flows through the southern valley, rises about five or six miles to the south-east of Dalwhinnie, among the mountains of Drumnacher on the confines of Athol, and joins the main branch at the northeast point of the inoorish hill between the two valleys. The remotest sources of the Spey however are to be found among the Corriarrak mountains and hills, of the general ridge between the Glenroy subdivision of Lochaber, and the north-western end of Badenach ; and by the union of the streams from that quarter, the main branch is formed, which flows a considerable river through the northern valley. The general description which has been given of this river, is, that it “ rises from Loch Spey
in Badenach, about ten miles south from Fort 6 Augustus, and after a course pretty steadily 66 of from south-west to north-east, of about “ ninety-six miles in all its windings, it falls “ into the sea about eight miles east of Elgin, “ carrying with it the waters of 1300 square “ miles. It is in magnitude the third river in “ Scotland, being the next after the Tay and " the Tweed, and runs in general through the “ best wooded country in Scotland; the vast 5 forests of Abernetty, Glenmore, and Kingus5 sie, being on its banks, or on those of its tri
“ butary streams, extending in succession thirty “ or forty miles, and containing some of the “ finest timber in Scotland, or perhaps in Bri“ tain." Great floats of the timber are sent down the river to Garmouth, the point where it falls into the Murray firth; and to prevent the trees from being shivered in passing the great cataracts of the river, canals have been cut in the banks with a gentle slope, down which the wood is directed. It is the most rapid river in Scotland, and the fall from the boat of Bog to the sea, a stretch of only three miles, is sixty feet.
From Dalwhinnie, the road stretches southeast over a moorish tract, with rather a steep ascent, for five or six miles to the height be, tween Badenach and Athol. Immense mountains, covered with heath, rise on each side, and no human habitation is in view, except a shepherd's cottage, lately built ; and no spot of green herbage, unmixed with heath, cheers the desolate expanse. But the wild bare masses of Glenco were remembered, and an agreeable impression was conveyed by the comparative fertility of the dark mountains and moors of Drumnacher.
The grouse, notwithstanding the slaughter of the season by the Marquis of Huntley's friends and others, were observed early in the morning