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little tiny bays, into which its coast everywhere, except on the north and north-east corner has been scooped. In these cool and pure retreats the gneiss quartz, and other rocks of the district are rolled into the smoothest and most symmetric shapes. On the south coast of the island is a bay covered with gneiss pebbles, many of which are of a perfectly circular or elliptical form ; these can be picked up, and when painted on with the taste that belongs to a dexterous lady-limner, make a beautiful ornament for the writingtable or the boudoir. In this bay also there stands out through the sand a rock shaped like the keel of an inverted boat, in which local tradition recognises the very coracle in which the Hibernian saint performed his first adventurous voyage.
From the highest point of the crags above this bay, looking southward, the mountains of Islay are discerned, but not the Irish coast. This is alluded to in the ballad as part of the old tradition. The coast of Mull, opposite this bay, composed as it is of huge slabs of red granite, has a singularly weird aspect, and is well displayed to the tourist as he trends round from the south-coast of that most beautiful and various of the western isles. This striking stretch of coast is described in the concluding part of the first ballad, as having been passed by Columba in his voyage from Corry vreckan, whither he had been driven by a violent gale from the southwest. For fuller details, both as to the history of the saint and the topography of the island, the reader may be referred to the Duke of Argyll's book (London, 1870), and for the ecclesiastical antiquities to a work by the Bishop of Argyll.
In visiting Staffa and Iona, the tourist has necessarily made at least an external acquaintance with the island of MULL. This is an island very little visited by the general tourist; but, as it happens to be specially familiar to my foot, and is perhaps, taken as a whole, the most beautiful of our western isles, I must say a word about it here. From Oban's seafronting bay the most prominent object which fixes the gaze of the stranger in the far west is the lofty height of BEN. MORE (big mount) with its three graceful cones.
From the topmost peak of that Ben is seen one of the grandest and most various panoramas in the Highlands. What that panorama contains you will learn from the verses which I wrote on the green braes near Salen, on the day after having achieved the ascent. For visiting Mull, Salen, half-way between Oban and Tobermory, is the readiest starting-point. You are there only about five miles from the north base of the three-coned Ben; and you may hire a waggonette at the inn, which will take you to the foot of the stony glen (Glen CHLACHICH), at the upper end of which a steep ascent leads by a zig-zag bridle road to Loch SCRIEDAN, which skirts the south base of the huge mountain. You may scale the Ben either direct from KINLOCH Scriedan, or, if
you are stout-footed, you may turn to the right, when you reach the watershed on your way from Salen at the head of Glen Chlachich, and find your way westwards to the highest peak, as you best can. I achieved the whole distance in the opposite direction from Kinloch over the top of the Ben to Salen, on foot; but I remember it was a tough and a rough day's work. Four miles from Salen, as you approach the base of the mountain, you pass a beautiful green platform at the end of a loch, with a rustic house upon it; the loch is Loch Bar, or the Cow's Loch (bos, Bous), and the house is the Mull retreat of the Duke of Argyll, to whom a large section of this beautiful island belongs. The loch is about three miles long, stretching from west to east amid a fair embosoment of Bens; one of the loveliest little lochs to my thinking in the Highlands, and to which I have paid a happy annual visit now for not a few years. The picturesque house and wooded lawn opposite the Duke's lodge, on the north bank of the short river that issues out of the west end of the lake, is GLENHORSA, the property of Colonel Greenhill Gardyne ; and the graceful conical hill mantled in the fairest green, at the east end of the loch, on which the white cloud rests with such a sweet repose, and which the westering sun bathes with such a rich flow of floating gold, is Ben TEALLADH, or the hill of prospect--s0 called, not because it commands the most extensive survey in the island,—for this of course belongs to Ben More—but because, from its singular isolation, it gives the eye a free sweep all round within a
You may ascend this Ben easily from Salen, and when you are on the top, turning your eye eastward, you will perceive the long silver line of a mountain river, along the banks of which bends a road that will bring you to the east point of the island, from which the mail-packet will carry you across to Oban. Or, if you wish to make your exit from the island westward, you may walk from Kinloch Scriedan to BUNESSAN (foot of the waterfall), near which you may inspect the cliffs of ARDTUN, where the Duke of Argyll made some interesting geological discoveries. From Bunessan, a walk of six miles, leads you to the narrow ferry which separates the extreme west arm of Mull from Iona. This arm is popularly known by the name of the Ross—that is, the long headlandand is composed of red granite, from which immense slabs have been quarried. The position of the granite here in the lowest part of the island is in Scotland at least somewhat singular ; all the more elevated points, including the peaks of Ben More, being composed of different varieties of trap—a rock to whose presence we owe that peculiar quaint picturesqueness and occasional graceful oddity which characterise the features of the landscape in Mull and the adjoining mainland.
We now return to Oban"; for thither, as the lark to its nest, the wise tourist will always return, till he has exhausted the beauties of this most rich and various of Highland regions. I will conduct you now to one of my favourite summer haunts—to Ben CRUACHAN (cruach, a cone), and Loch Awe. You should stay all night at TAYNUILT (burn-house), only twelve miles and a half from Oban, and take the Ben and the lake next day at your leisure. I shall say nothing about the loch, and the dark rushing flood that connects it with Loch Etive. It is past description in prose; in poetry I have taken from it some of the principal features of the song of the Highland river, with which this book concludes. As for the Ben, it is assuredly one of the most graceful, and, from its vicinity to Oban, happily one of the best known mountains in the Highlands. It rises sheer from the northend of Loch Awe, towering up into two sharply-peaked cones, separated by a thin jagged shingly ridge of about a mile long. The view from the top is not perhaps either so extensive or so various as that from Ben More, in Mull, or Ben Screel, on Loch Hourn ; but it is, nevertheless, one of the finest in Britain. In the autumn of 1871 I had the good fortune to make the ascent of this mountain under what appeared at first very unfavourable circumstances; thick rolling mists came racing up from the east, just as we stood on the shoulder of the Ben, and enveloped both the peaks. In spite of these evil omens, however, myself and another of the party, along with a faithful little skyterrier, persevered till we reached the easternmost peak, and were rewarded by the splendid dioramic spectacle attempted to be described in the verses. Tourists