Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 3.djvu/15

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sublimity exceeded by no part of Scotland, abounding as it does in the picturesque and romantic, and a more accurate survey of the island shows spots with a fertility and population surpassed by few of the highland districts; together with a climate nearly as mild, and a temperature as equable as that of the western parts of England.

The district of Sleat, consisting of decomposed schistus, possesses along its eastern shore a highly fertile tract with an excellent and deep soil, adapted to the growth of all kinds of grain, and displaying pastures of perennial verdure. Similarly fertile soils are found in the vallies on its western side, while the central division, formed of syenite or quartz rock, produces the usual covering of those rocks, heath. In Strathaird, nearly the whole peninsula of which consists of secondary strata, we find a soil as fertile as we should expect on such a basis and in such a climate; a soil however owing less to art than to nature, whose bountiful efforts are seldom much assisted by highland industry or knowledge. A great part of the district of Strath lies on a bed of limestone, and appears from its natural grasses and its general aspect to possess all the requisites for culture, or at least for an improved system of pasturage; But it has hitherto been much neglected, and remains an almost useless tract of wasted and scanty herbage encumbered with rocks and stones, untrained, unfenced, and untilled.

Nature may be said to have denied a soil to the mountain tract which I have before described as forming the centre of the island, and these hills adapted for no other system are imperfectly occupied by sheep, of which from their rocky and sterile nature they can maintain however but a scanty proportion. A few stags yet remaining in these almost inaccessible regions divide with them this barren range. The lower pastures are more advantageously occupied by the