Sections


Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
Temperance
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

The Road to Comrie – 1857

Extract from the Strathearn Advertiser, August 8, 1857 - Rambles around Crieff)

Along the western highway to Comrie and Lochearnhead the tourist will find several mansions and manorial domains worthy of more than a hurried visit. About a mile and a quarter west of the town, we come to a lodge on the right; the gate admits to the grounds of Ochtertyre. Following the carriage drive that leads along the brow of the gently rising slope, the family burying-ground is soon reached on the left. Several yew trees of more than ordinary dimensions, accompanied by two or three ivy-wreathed pines, stand like sentinels around this secluded chapel. Having gained the summit of the grassy slope, the visitor should stand still and look southwards and westwards. The serpentine lake before him studded with islets and indented with bays, and girt with trees of varying hues and proportions, fringed with a green sward, and this again bordered by a pebble beach, bearing on its breast the majestic swan, and along its skirts the spotless lily, expanding towards the west and apparently hemmed in by a steep ridge of mountain off-shoots--the hill-side beyond forming the opposite side of the valley, decked with numerous trunks bearing leafy branches, surrounded by smiling corn fields and parks of pasture land--the sheep grazing almost within arms length, blue butterflies hovering around, or baking ephemeral existence in warm sunshine--all form a scene beyond the power of words to describe. Our only source is to pause, and look, and pause, and look again. Instead of continuing the road on the top of the rising ground, it will be better, if the tourist cannot spare a couple of hours, to descend to the lake and walk along its north side. This will enable us to look straight in the face of the richly wooded hill above. Fully half up the lake we reach a peninsula, almost entirely occupied by a circular mound of earth, on whose top stand the remains of a feudal donjon of historic interest from the days of clanship and black mail levy. (This is Castle Cluggy).

From this post we obtain an excellent view of the mansion of Ochtertyre, the residence of Sir William Keith Murray, an accomplished gentleman of both head and heart, of high intellectual endowments, and very amiable social qualities. In clear winter evenings his astronomical observatory is open to persons of every grade, to whom Sir William gladly explains the planetary motions and stellar classifications. And at other suitable seasons, the elevating influence of musical concerts given in that baronial dwelling, the entertainer himself a performer, is enjoyed by the people of Crieff and neighbourhood. Sir William Murray is not living in vain. The public road may be resumed by the lodge-gate at the head of the lake. But if the visitor can spare the time, he will not repent walking down two or three hundred yards along the south side. The relationship between the mansion and the lake, between the mansion and the observatory, between the mansion and the surrounding hill-plantation, now appears matchless indeed. We walked along here some three years ago on a Sabbath morning. Not a breath of wind was stirring. The lake had become liquid glass--some half-dozen snow-white swans were basking on its bosom, drops of rain gently fell, and the glittering surface was dimpled by liquid spheres which lost themselves in the miniature main. Each trunk, each branch, each sprig, each leaf of each tree on the hill above was reflected in the liquid mirror. The islets in the midst, crowned with foliage-clad branches, were seen double. Around there was an insect hum, and from the further side there was heard a full chorus of sylvan songsters, to which the moistness of the atmosphere and the thrilling stillness of the air lent a heavenly harmony. Rivetted to the spot, we looked and listened, and could not help repeating the wish of Lady Hastings when, under a cloudless sky, on the shores of Campania, she strove to catch the softly played symphonies of Italian music, “Oh! thus ‘twere mine to sigh my soul in ecstacy away!”

In a summer evening, too, when the sun is near sinking in the west, it seems that the poet might, with more distinctedness than in fairyland, hear the whispers of inspiration and embody them in language which should have an eternal significancy—

“Away, Away, ye undivided,

Link on link, and love on love;

Where yon radiant rainbow glided,

Went your homage hymns above,

Needing not nor song nor psalter,

Fresh from your fresh hearts they go,

Eternity’s great Light the altar,

And the theme--His love below.”

Ochtertyre House and Loch


But the visitor, who can command the time, should pursue his course along the carriage-drive towards the mansion before descending to the lake. Having passed the lodge, he will walk between scarlet rhododendrons and cream-coloured roses, which scent the air around. Two or three hundred yards will bring him to a path which strikes off at an acute angle on the left. Here he passes beneath laurel leaves and pine branches, by a winding route which in due time brings him to the eastern brow of the steep hill that overhangs the baronial dwelling. Trees lie here prostrate, torn up by the roots or snapped asunder some feet above the ground, and we find our way through this hurricane-havoc to a seat, upon which we scruple not to sit down.

“Heavens! What a goodly prospect spreads around,

Of hills and dales, and woods, and lawns, and lakes!”

You look over a varied mass of trees down upon the mansion, and the mansion looks over a varied mass of trees down upon the lake. How quiet and lovely that bay opposite, in which the fir and the beach are seen inverted, growing as if from antipoles, with their tops downwards! On the farther side of the valley you see a sloping grass park of quadrangular shape, sparsely studded with pines and limes which throw their tall shadows across the green on which cattle are feeding. The royal deer forest of Glenartney is seen stretching far away in the west, while by way of contrast, hills of heath and moorland lie all wild and uncultivated in the distant background. Many ascend this height to obtain the view it commands. The seat upon which we sit is covered with initials and names at full length of both ladies and gentlemen. George Rankin immortalised himself on the 14th February, 1857. The road leads across the hill and down the western brow to the mansion. Our tourist should by all means take advantage of the view from the observatory. It is more circumscribed, but not less picturesque. Art, nature, and genius, here go hand in hand in harmonious rivalry. And with a matter of fact applicability, with a life and meaning which mere sentimentality known not, you may quote the lines of Thomson—

“Of men the happiest he, who far from public rage,

Deep in the vale, with the choice few retired,

Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life.”

The tourist may now descend to the lake and get a near view of what we have already admired from the distance. And by thus reversing the positions he will have an opportunity of seeing both sides of the picture. It courts inspection, we have almost said, challenged comparisons, at every footstep. In fine summer evenings the pleasure of boating on the lake is often enjoyed by ladies, and in the winter the curler plies his keen and exhilarating game upon the ice.

Having taken reluctant leave of this attractive landscape, we soon find ourselves abreast of the parish church at Monzievaird, a little further is the parochial school. The schoolmaster, Mr. McRosty, is one of nature’s nobles, and a mathematical genius. Next appears the entrance gate to the parochial manse. The Rev. William Robertson, lineal or collateral descendant of the historian, is minister; a gentleman of extensive learning, refined taste, and very agreeable address. If our tourist however does not intend returning to Crieff he should take the road on the left, opposite the school house, and proceed to the hill on the top of which stands a monument to Sir David Baird. It is nearly half a mile distant, and the picturesque view from the summit of Tom-a-Chastel is more than worth the trouble of ascending. I shall not attempt to describe, but simply request the spectator to look around. And if on his descent he walks across the Bridge of Strowan close by, the quiet seclusion there will form a fine contrast to the exposure of the hill top. An old churchyard on his left, and the mansion on his right possess claims upon his notice. The neat looking house and beautiful park are the property of Thomas Graham Stirling, Esq.

Retracing our steps to the parochial school, and passing the manse, we reach, just beyond the fourth milestone, the entrance to Clathick House, the first ridge of the Grampians its background, and a verdant declivity its eastern skirt. This is the residence of W.L.Colquhoun, Esq. And before we have travelled five miles westward, we come in front of the magnificant mansion of Lawers, surrounded by a park which might grace the woodland scenery of Hants or Devonshire. The architectural proportions of the mansion seem faultless, and the convex form of the ground on each side, with the green lawn in front, gives it the appearance of standing on the surface of a grass-clad sphere sunk considerably above its diameter, at the base of a pine-clad hill. The proprietor of this delightful country seat is David Robertson Williamson, Esq. we now walk for some considerable distance along the highway, over-canopied by wide-spreading branches of beech trees, planted several generations since, on each side of the road. A little before reaching the bridge that crosses the Lednock, a northern tributary of the Earn, we see Dunmore crowned with its granite obelisk on our right. The “land of the mountains and the flood” is now fairly entered. The Aberuchills just before us rise high above the sensible horizon, and at their base we have reached Comrie, the head quarters of British earthquakes. The situation of the village is lovely, viewed from a few miles distant, and romantic when approached.

Village of Comrie