1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grampians, The

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

GRAMPIANS, THE, a mass of mountains in central Scotland. Owing to the number of ramifications and ridges it is difficult to assign their precise limits, but they may be described as occupying the area between a line drawn from Dumbartonshire to the North Sea at Stonehaven, and the valley of the Spey or even Glenmore (the Caledonian Canal). Their trend is from south-west to north-east, the southern face forming the natural division between the Lowlands and Highlands. They lie in the shires of Argyll, Dumbarton, Stirling, Perth, Forfar, Kincardine, Aberdeen, Banff and Inverness. Among the highest summits are Ben Nevis, Ben Macdhui, and Cairngorms, Ben Lawers, Ben More, Ben Alder, Ben Cruachan and Ben Lomond. The principal rivers flowing from the watershed northward are the Findhorn, Spey, Don, Dee and their tributaries, and southward the South Esk, Tay and Forth with their affluents. On the north the mass is wild and rugged; on the south the slope is often gentle, affording excellent pasture in many places, but both sections contain some of the finest deer-forests in Scotland. They are crossed by the Highland, West Highland and Callander to Oban railways, and present some of the finest scenery in the kingdom. The rocks consist chiefly of granite, gneiss, schists, quartzite, porphyry and diorite. Their fastnesses were originally inhabited by the northern Picts, the Caledonians who, under Galgacus, were defeated by Agricola in A.D. 84 at Mons Graupius—the false reading of which, Grampius, has been perpetuated in the name of the mountains—the site of which has not been ascertained. Some authorities place it at Ardoch; others near the junction of the Tay and Isla, or at Dalginross near Comrie; while some, contending for a position nearer the east coast, refer it to a site in west Forfarshire or to Raedykes near Stonehaven.