« PreviousContinue »
›must have been much amused by a ཐཱ,༣༣ little.... incident. Having risen high Dona dry-stone wall, dividing the Holm and Kilravoch estates, he had no sooner touched the foundation, than the sods on the top of it became, as thit were, alive with mice, all forcing their way out, to escape as fast as they could from the inundation that threat*ened their citadel. The old castle of Kilravoch seemed to stand in a sea, but the Nairn could make no imbpression on its walls, so, out of spite, the carried off above two acres of a thriving wood of deciduous trees. A little farther down, he carried away about one-third of the fifty arable acres belonging to the farm hof Rosefield, or destroyed them beyond all power of redemption, by deposits of gravel and stones. The drops and grass were utterly ruined a number of extensive works annihilated the lime-beds of manure стой ки swept away, together with the whole corn of last year; and the whole farm, now in a state of chaos, lies at the mercy of every partial rise of the river. The crop ruined on the estate of Kilravoch, is estimated at L.500, and the actual damage done to the property, has been calculated by the factor at L.2400. Lord Cawdor's loss of soil, and other injury done to his estate along this part of the Nairn, may be set down at L.2000, and that of Mr Macintosh of Geddes, at L.1200. The inundation here spread far over the rich plain on the right bank, flooding some of the farm-houses that were 500 yards from the usual margin of the river, and ruining the crops to an extent that defies calculation.
All this was pretty well, and ought, we think, to have satisfied the Nairn. But after quitting the above extensive arable plain, he got into another, and attacked Fir-hall. The offices were substantially built, on the summit of a bank about 30 feet high, and at the distance of about 30 horizontal yards from the edge of the river. The Nairn attacked the base of this bank with great strength and science, and cut it entirely back, until he had undermined the buildings. Then down came the thrashing-mill and the gable of a lofty barn. Not satisfied with this signal display of skilful prowess, he swept away great part of a very thriving plantation of wellgrown timber-trees from behind the
offices. Arrived at the burgh of Nairn, he immediately attacked the washing-green, and made off with a couple of acres. The three arches of the bridge of Nairn, aggregate breadth 120 feet, stood fast; but one of two stone bulwarks below the bridge, appertaining to the pierworks, eleven feet high, and very strong, was levelled and scattered. The flood of the 27th did far greater damage, for the piers on the right bank of the harbour gave way, and one arch of the bridge, 30 feet span, was ruined, and the whole fabric shaken. It was very remarkable that a fishing-hut, about 12 feet long, standing on a beach in the middle of the river, constructed of four posts, with beams stretched between then at top and bottom, and covered, roof and all, with outside planks, stood unmoved in the midst of the waters of both floods uninjured, except that it swayed a little from the perpendicular; while the bridge, the pier, a vessel that had bulged, nay, the very rocks, were all yielding to the furious force of the deluge. No building of stone and lime could have stood in the same place; and its preservation, Sir Thomas rightly says, is worthy of record, as a valuable fact, to prove how much power posts and planks will resist in such a situation. It stands, says he, as a useful instructor to the burghers of Nairn, for the restoration of their harbour, the damage done to which is calculated at L.2500. And here we conclude our abstract of the achievements of the Nairn. His hands were not died in human blood. On the evening of the 3d of August, a schooner-rigged vessel was lost in attempting to run into Nairn harbour before the wind, and the crew perished; but the river had no hand in that catastrophe, and it is but fair play to give the devil his due.
The FINDHORN is in all respects a superior being to the Nairn; nor will any one who has seen Relugas-the residence our worthy authorwonder at the enthusiasm with which he writes about this noble river. The Findhorn is born in a marish on the summit of a mountain in the midst of the Monadh-leadh group-and pursues a rejoicing course of about ninety miles through a district of country of not less than sixty, and of all the rivers of Scotland, there i
not one perhaps that possesses so ex® and watercourses of its carding and quisitely varied a character. Many meal-mills, injured the houses and a long day and short night have we machinery, and left all in a state of lain and lingered among his banks silent, melancholy, and motionless and braes—in many of his pellucid ruin. Near its junction, the side pools have we dived and darted "like of a wooded hill 100 feet high, a wild goose at play”—and not few slid down at once and covered the are the silver-shiners, fish and trout, great public road with débris and that we have seduced by fly-fascina- with large trees, many of them tion from the stream to the sand- in the growing position. The Findbank, while all the scenery round horn now meeting with some opposeemed beautified by the presence of sition from the old bridge of Corry.. the splendid spectacle. Tourists go burgh, commonly called the bridge of blindfolded, hoodwinked, fancy-fet- Freeburn, consisting of three large tered, soul-swindled through the arches, heaved them all up into the Highlands, with some wretched air, like the lid of a chest, and leaguide-book in their hand,* playing at ving nothing but the ruins of the two cross purposes with the glens, and land-abutments, rolled on to other hide-and-seek with the woods, and triumphs. The beautiful valley, or blind-man's buff with the mountains. plain, below Freeburn, in olden time, Let them use their seven senses, and no doubt, a lake, resumed that chafinding its source, take some river racter. The river changed its course in for their guide, and walk in music to several places, scarifying many acres, the sea.
Why, the Findhorn will and carrying some away from the shew them more of the spirit of High- farm of Invereig. The eight-mile long, land scenery, in three days, than they and everywhere extremely narrow will ever see all their life-long, in glen, called the Streens, felt the fury their present leading-strings along of the flood-the spouts of rain haroads civil and military; the Spey too ving converted every dry scar on the is a pleasant and instructive tellow- mountain-faces into a torrent, which traveller, and the Dee a positive Poet, soon cut it into a ravine, and covered who embues the dullest wight with acres with huge stones and heaps of some of his own imagination. gravel, to the depth of many feet. In
But let us view the Findhorn in some places, where the hillside was flood. After leaving its bleak parent formerly quite entire, it was torn hill, it runs through a deep ravine in open, and fragments of detached the primitive rocks, whence it enters rocks, eight or ten tons in weight, a beautiful pastoral glen and valley, were thrown down into the glen. bounded by steep and high moun- Coming to Lord Cawdor's property, tains, with occasional rocky faces, but the flood carried away the garden of generally covered with a rich and va- the house of Cuilliachan, and the luable herbage. In those regions the crop on twenty acres of land—injufood was without parallel, and did ring more or less the whole farm. Inall the harm it was possible for water deed, all the small farms hereabouts to do-sweeping away, for example, were nearly ruined by the annihilathe great wool-house of Laggan, and tion of half their arable lands. Easter the whole shearing of wool of heaven Tchirfogrein,“ the place hid from knows how many thousand sheep. the sun," stood 100 horizontal yards Lower down he sadly injured the from, and twelve feet above, the estates of Dalmigarie, Killochie, and usual surface of the river. The two Balnespeik-scattering the corn and brothers, who farmed it, seeing the potatoes of many poor families—and house surrounded three feet deep, by cutting off parts of fields dimi- carried their sister and bed-ridden nishing greatly the value of entire old niother to the side of a hill, from farms. The little burn of Aultan- which they soon saw their dwellingeachgra, which here joins the Find- house and other dwellings disappear horn, filled up and ruined the dams in the flood. Next morning, one end
No allusion here to that very useful volume “ The Scottish Tourist,” manifestly compiled by an intelligent editor, and published by the respectable firm of Stirling and Kenney, Edinburgh; Whittaker and Co., and James Duncan, London ; nor to “ The Picture of Scotland,” by that ingenious and amusing writer, Robert Chambers, of a cowhouse alone remained—the pected that there was a bridge there at whole crop was gone—so were six all. Grouped with some cottages and acres of arable land, and all the rest some other trees, at a point about 150 was ruined by deep deposits of sand yards above the bridge, grew one of the and gravel. The poor tenants remo
most beautiful asbes I ever beheld. It ved to the farm of Knochandhu. The had a tall triple stem, supporting a perhouse stood about twenty yards from fect grove of foliage. The largest of its the edge of a haugh, 100 feet high three divisions was 124 feet in circumabove the Findhorn. But the “ ap
ference, the next 7 feet, and the small
This noble tree was pendix flood,” of the 27th, finding est about 7 feet. the base of this lofty bank already covered to a considerable height by the scarified, attacked, undermined, and
water ; but the gardener had no appretumbled it down in enormous masses,
hension for its safety, when all at once it with a noise like volleys of artillery ber of its branches by the very force and
fell with a fearful crash, breaking a num-so that the house, though not hurl- weight with which they struck the sured over, had to be deserted, standing face of the water, and throwing up the as it now did, on the edge of a red, agitated element to a great height. Down raw, perpendicular precipice a hun
it went out of sight, with an enormous dred feet high. Lord Cawdor's loss bank of gravel, torn away and retained is estimated at L.6000--and many by the long and multiplied reticulations poor people were reduced to utter of its roots. As it got rid of a part of want and ruin. The Findhorn then this dead weight, and rapidly approached attacked the old military bridge at the bridge, its branches rose for a moDulsie, which consists of one bold ment, with great majesty, some 40 or 50 and lofty arch of 46 feet, spanning feet above the water, and fell backwards, the yawning chasm. The Findhorn in such a manner as to bring the root attacked him in close column, with forward. In an instant it was sucked all his forces-having risen en masse
into the vortex of the centre arch. The forty feet above his usual level. But branches and smaller limbs were ground though invaded to within three feet to pieces with a noise like thunder, minof his key-stone, the old veteran stood gled with that of the explosions of gunfast, and repulsed the enemy,-or powder. For three or four minutes it rather suffered him to make his stuck, ‘ groaning and bellowing' as if escape along the foundations of his below the lower side of the bridge, shorn
from torture, and then appeared darting piers. The Findhorn was here re
of its mighty honours. When the river inforced by the Drumlochan Burn, subsided, the bridge of Ferness, to the in its ordinary state hardly sufficient astonishment of every one, emerged from to keep a saw-mill going, but now a
the flood, with no other damage than the column of water ten feet deep by loss of a part of its southern wing-walls forty in breadth. Its very branches and road-way, estimated at about L.100, were mighty-and carried away two But the preservation of the arches and bridges of twenty feet span. The the body of the bridge, must ever occaFindhorn, swollen with so many fu- sion it to be regarded as a miracle of rious auxiliaries, now resolved to masonry." sweep away the magnificent bridge The flood now reached the Reof Ferness. It was built of solid lugas property-and here ripped up granite by the Parliamentary Com
an old tragic secret:missioners, consisting of three arches of thirty-six, fifty-five, and thirty
“ At one place, immediately above feet span, and founded on the solid carried past Cumin's Cairn, rising on the
where the public road now runs, it was rock. But Sir Thomas's fine descrip- verge of a steeply inclined bank of 70 or tion of this attack must be given un- 80 feet high. This heap of stones was abridged :
raised over the body of a man of the “ It went on to rise in this way till name of Cumin, who, baving hanged about 7 o'clock, when the haugh on the himself in his barn in the beginning of right bank was covered, and the arches the 18th century, that is to say, about were not only completely filled, but the 100 years before the time I now speak of, water was level with the top of the para- was buried on the march, according
to pet, 27 feet above the ordinary level; the custom observed with suicides. The and, indeed, if a few yards of the para- moment the ditch was opened down the pets towards the left and highest bank face of the bank, it collected the water of had not appeared, no one could have sus every shower of rain ; and, being thereby
height, and inundated the level part of Rannoch-haugh that lies over them, to the depth of four feet, making a total perpendicular rise at this point of no less than fifty feet!
Leaving the Bridge-Destroyer' in his full-swollen pride and wrath at Randolph's Bridge, let us accompany Sir Thomas while, according to the arrangement proposed in his prelimi ges of the river Divie, which falls into nary chapter, he describes the ravathe Findhorn immediately below the house of Relugas. The Divie has its origin in the hills dividing the district of Braemoray from that of Strathspey, and is formed by the combination of many small streams. Its scenery, for a stretch of six or seven miles below the spot where it leaps into the glen in a wild waterfall, to its junction with the Findhorn, is exquisitely beautiful. Mr Cumming Bruce's estate of Dunphail stretches nearly to its upper extremity five or six miles above the fall-and he had a range of small farms all along its course, the haugh lands of which were entirely swept away by the flood. It carried away a beautiful bridge of one arch which had been there for nearly a century. It roke quite over the parapet; yet
converted into a teinporary cataract, a gully of immense magnitude was cut in the alluvial matter in the course of a year
or two. The bottom of this soon formed itself into an inclined plane, of above 100 yards, in length, after which the water ceased to have any effect on it. This sufficiently illustrates the law governing all streams in their operations on the face of the earth, which have all a tendency, by deepening one place and filling up another, to reduce their channels to inclined planes. After a flood, which brought down a good deal of the loose material on the sides of the gully, a boy, tending cattle, observed something like long red hair streaming in the breeze, near the top of the broken bank. On climbing up to investigate the matter, what was his horror and dread when he discovered that the hair was attached to a ghastly human head! He fled home in terror, and the people crowded out to see the wonder. There they found the corpse of Cumin, so entire, that if any one could have known him alive, he must have perfectly recognised his features. The head protruded horizontally from the bank, and the exudation from the body had tinged the sand beneath it of a black colour, to a considerable depth. The cause of the preservation of the body was manifestly the dry ferruginous sand it was buried in. The rope was found about his neck, and attached to the fatal beam. During the night following the discovery of the body, the man's descendants carried all off, and buried them in the churchyard of Edenkillie."
The Findhorn, though, during the flood, well entitled to the cognomen of "The Bridge-Destroyer," 'was yet, like Wellington at Burgos, often repulsed. He rose thirty-one feet against the bridge of Daltlich, a fine bold arch of eighty-two feet span, and forty-four from parapet to ordinary water-level, springing from the rock-but after a whole day and night's cannonade, he was fain to sheer off from that impregnable position. He now approached the Haugh of Randolph-vulgarly called Rannoch. And although the opening at Randolph's Bridge extends as the rocks rise upwards, till the width is perhaps not less than seventy or eighty feet above, yet from the sudden turn the river takes as it enters this passage, the stream was so check ed in its progress, that the flood actually rose over the very top of the rocks, forty-six feet above the usual
still the arch stood till about a quarter of an hour afterwards, when some very large trees came down with the stream, stuck within it for a time, and the pressure accumulating above, it was carried off en masse, and actually hurried for some distance down the river, before it went to pieces and sunk.
The Dorback which joins the Divie, comes from the wild lake of Lochindorbe, remarkable for the extensive ruins of its insulated castle, and has many tributary burns. One of its branches destroyed a bridge on the Grantown road, and another tore down the bridge of Dava, swept away the garden of the inn, and the whole crop and soil attached d to it. The Dorback itself was far from being idle on this great occasion. He, utterly annihilated the whole of the low lands of Lord Moray's estate of Braemoray, and converted the green slo pes of the hills into naked precipi ces. The damage done on Mr Cumming Bruce's part of the Dorback is of the same character and comparative extent. At the Ess, or waterfall of the Dorback, where the river runs
through a ravine thirty feet wide, the flood I was twenty feet high towering altitude for a rivulet which, in ordinary seasons, you may wade a hundred fords-knee-deep. Lower down, the deluge of rain performed a curious achievement. It so soaked and saturated about an acre of wood on the face of a bank, 100 feet high, that the whole mass, with slopes and terraces covered with birch and alder-trees, gave way at once, threw itself headlong down, and bounded across the Dorback, blocking up the waters in that tremendous flood.
"William Macdonald, the farmer of Easter Tillyglens, witnessed this phenomenon. He told me that it fell wi' a sort o' a dumb sound,' which, though somewhat of a contradiction in terms, vill yet convey the true meaning better than any more correct expression. Astonished and confounded, Macdonald remained gazing. The bottom of the valley is here some 200 yards or more wide, and the flood nearly filled it. The stop page was not so great, therefore, as altogether to arrest the progress of the stream. But this sudden obstacle created an accumulation of water behind it, which went on increasing for nearly an hour, till, becoming too powerful to be longer resisted, the enormous dam began to yield, and was swept off at once, and hurled onwards like a floating island. But this was not all; for while Macdonald was standing, lost in wonderment, to behold his farm thus sailing off to the ocean by acres at a time, better than half an acre more of it rent itself away from its native hill, and descended at once, with a whole grove of trees on it, to the river, where it rested most accurately on its natural base. The flood immediately assailed this, and carried off the greater part of it piecemeal. Part of it yet remains, however, with the trees growing on it, in the upright position, after having travelled through a horizontal distance of 60 or 70 yards, with a perpendicular descent of not less than 60 feet."
came the river suddenly upon them, pouring into the house both by the doors and windows. But here we must quote the miller's own impressive account of the affair:
us. The Dorback then destroyed the beautiful meal-mill and carding-mill of Dunphail. The whole family, consisting of the miller, a most meritorious and ingenious, and what is far better, religious young man, William Sutherland-a boy his brother —the assistant miller—a lad, and a servant girl, found themselves surrounded by the flood. As they were engaged in family worship, down
"I ran,' said the miller, to the bed where my little brother lay; and, snatchmeal-mill, the floor of which was elevated ing him up, I carried him out to the and dry, and I kindled a fire on the bricks to keep him and the lass warm. By this time, the cattle were up to the bellies in water in the byre; and I ran to throw straw bundles under them and the pigs, to raise them, to prevent their being drowned. I had hardly returned to the house, when the south gable, which had the current beating against it, fell inwards on the other room, and I was instantly obliged to knock out that window in the north gable, to let the water escape, otherwise we must have perished where we About five o'clock, I observed my neighbours John Grant and his wife standing on the bank in front. The distance between us was not thirty yards, yet I could not make them hear for the fearsome roar of the water, which was now quite tremendous. Large trees were constantly coming down and striking against the carding-mill. The look up the water was awful. It seemed as if a sea was coming down upon us, with terrible waves, tossing themselves into the air, much higher than the houses. I saw Grant's wife go up the bank, and she re turned some time afterwards with four men. We watched them consulting together, and our hopes rose high; but when we saw them leave the place without making any attempt to save us, we thought that all hope for us in this world was gone. Willingly would I have given all I had, or might expect to possess, to have planted but the soles of my feet, and those of my companions, on yon bit green sod, then still untouched by the waters. Every moment we expected the crazed walls of the house to yield, and to bury us in their ruins, or that we and it together should be swept away. We began to prepare ourselves for the fate that seemed to await I thank Almighty God that supI felt ported me in that hour of trial. calm and collected, and my assistant was no less so. My little brother, too, said he was na feared; but the woman and the lad were frantic, and did nothing but shriek and wring their hands.
While we were in this situation, we suddenly saw about sixty people coming down the bank, and our hopes-revived. The four men had gone to raise the country, and they now appeared with ropes.