Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/299

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island is now in so many parts adorned, the modern tourist fails to

recognize the truthfulness of these gloomy descriptions. Our

travellers were to spend the night at Moy, the seat of the Laird of

Lochbuy, 1 at the head of the fine loch from which he takes his title.

I approached it from the north-eastern side of the island, having

driven over from Craignure, a little port in the Sound of Mull.

Perhaps the country through which I passed was naturally finer

than that which they had traversed in coming from the south-west.

Perhaps, on the other hand, the difference was chiefly due to the

trees and to better weather. Certainly the long drive, though in

places dreary, was for a great part of the road on a bright, windy

summer day, one of remarkable beauty. I passed lochs of the sea

with the waves tossing, the sea-fowl hovering and settling and

screaming, great herons standing on the shore, and the sea- trout

leaping in the waters. But far more beautiful was Loch Disk, an

inland lake embosomed among the mountains, its steep shores covered

with trees. The strong wind was driving the scud like dust over the

face of its dark waters. As I drew near Lochbuy, I caught

sight of the ivy-mantled tower across a meadow, where the mowers

were cutting the grass, and the hay-makers were tossing it out to

the sun and wind. Beyond the castle there was a broad stretch of

white sand ; a small vessel lay at anchor, ready at the next tide to

run ashore and discharge the hamlet's winter stock of coal. Tall

trunks of fir-trees were lying near the water's edge ready for

shipping. At the head of the loch are two beautiful bays, each

with its pastures and tilled lands, its low-wooded heights and its

lofty circling mountains, each facing the south-west and sheltered

from the cold winds. Between these two bays rise fine crags,

hidden in places beneath hazels and ivy. For most of the year it

is a land streaming with waterfalls. In beautiful ravines, half

hidden by the trees, wild cascades rush down, swollen by the storms

that have burst on the mountains ; but at the time of my visit their

voice was hushed by the long drought. So dry had the springs

become in some places, that I was told at Lochbuy that to one of

the neighbouring islands water had to be carried in boats.

Close to the ruined Castle stood " the mansion, not very spacious or splendid," where Macleane of Lochbuy, " a true 'High- land laird, rough and haughty, and tenacious of his dignity," entertained our travellers.

1 The name is now commonly written Lochbuie. H H

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