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