Alloa To Skye
( Originally Published 1912 )
" What bliss and life can autumn yield,
The Wood of Caledon Bulls—The Duke of Montrose's Herd—Sail to Skye—Products of Portree—Ride to Duntulm—Cattle and Sheep in Skye—Skye Terriers—A Pig Hunt—Symptoms of Falkirk—The Poltalloch Herd.
AUTUMN drew on, and we left for a time the great Wood of Caledon. It ran originally " fra Strireling (Stirling) throw Menteith and Stratherne to Atholl and Lochquabir," and was inhabited by " gritrit bullis with crisp and curland mane, with sich hatrent aganis ye societe and company of men."
Only a few of these "bullis" are left near Hamilton. They are almost universally white, with black ears, muzzles, and feet (points in which the Chillingham are red), and generally horned. If they come polled, it is always considered a mark of bad blood. They are of good medium size, and compact in form. One of the patriarchs of the herd, who was shot about five years since, measured two feet from the frontlet to the tip of the nose, or the same as the span between his horns, which were ten and a-half inches in height. The length from his neck-vein to the root of his tail was five-feet-eight ; so that with these data and a bone a Professor of Geology should have no difficulty in building one to order. Some are generally killed every year for the poor ; but they have been occasionally used, and liked, in Hamilton Palace. They are always shot, and fetched away after the commotion occasioned by the fall has subsided ; but stalking them is no easy task. The bulls go in front, with the leader in the centre, and the calves between them and the cows ; and if at all pressed, they come thundering on like a charge of Life Guards. A young calf has been sometimes found by itself, and carried off to the farm to be fed ; but it is a perilous task, and the calf begins butting at two days' old, and seldom grows milder with handling.
As for the Wood of Caledon, the Romans are reputed to have cut it down, to drive out the Celts ; and oak-trees have been found, with canoes and the remains of a whale, in the Vale of Monteith, as well as Flanders Moss. Once upon a time, there was six to fifteen feet depth of bog earth, but it has been floated away, and the fine clay beneath forms the surface of a carse which chiefly grows wheat and beans. About Strathblane the scene changes to the old grass of the dairy districts, which keep Ayrshires for the supply of Glasgow, and send in their milk tubs morning and evening by rail to the Clyde side at Dumbarton. Buchanan Castle, the seat of the Duke of Montrose, is about two miles from Drymen Station on this line. His Grace once had nothing but Ayrshires, and it was not until 1857 that he ever purchased a Shorthorn. The sales at Neasdon and Bushey tempted him with two mans, Primula and Doraliso, but he had not much satisfaction in his new pursuit till he bought New Year's Morn by Baltic as a 60-guinea calf at Mr. Cator's sale. The right chord was struck at last, and her very first calf, May Morn by Victor Emanuel <1546o), a bull purchased from Lord Feversham, was head in the Royal two-year-old class at Battersea. Five or six years had swelled the prize-list to twenty-eight, and the herd to thirty-one; and: the three Morns —New Year's, Rosy, and May along with Baroness Killerby and Flower Girl, were the only ones which were not brought under Mr. Wetherell's hammer. Old Flavia by Baron Warlaby contributed her 62 guineas towards the 35-guinea average, and her granddaughter Lucilla by Baron Killerby followed Mr. Young's nod to Keir. The herd had a narrow escape from pleuro, which began with a Bretonne in a byre adjoining the Ayrshires. Every one of them fell ill; but the Shorthorns, which were in another house, with a dung-hill between, and were then removed for safety to the stables at the Castle, did not suffer in the least, and added another to the mass of proofs in favour of infection versus epidemic.
The steading lies snugly a few yards to the right, as you drive up the avenue towards Buchanan Castle; the Perthshire Hills and Ben Lomond rise in the distance; and Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine are not far away. But we care for none of these things, and only long for an "interior," such as John Taylor has to show, as he throws back the door of the boxes in turn, and unveils New Year'sMorn. She seemed as jealous of her calf as a cow well may be, when she has bred a Royal winner. Hers and Flavia's are the tribes of the herd ; and Rosy Morn and her bull calf, May Morn, and Morning Star, range themselves under the one, and Flower Girl and Baroness Killerby under the other; while Rosedale and La Valliere are the outsiders. Fashion by Baron Killerby from Flavia had just been sold to Mr. John M`Kessack and as only two bull-calves arrived last year, there were, including calves, only fourteen in all.
Rosy Morn by Victor Royal (214328). stood next to her dam, and had a good Fashion bull-calf; and then came Flower Girl, the first prize heifer at War-wick, with her second calf at her foot, and not very much milk for it. She has held herself together very fairly, but her look is rather spoilt by the small horns, which she inherits from her, granddam, Baroness Killerby has the same peculiarity, and, like-the other three, she is full of rich hair, but her roan Fashion calf is dead. The same ill luck had befallen Rose-dale, whose bull-calf died suddenly at the end of twelve weeks. She herself did Taylor a world of credit for the- careful way in which he had reduced her, and she looked all that a cow should in point of condition, and, better still, safe in calf again to Fashion. May Morn has made no way since Battersea ; even a Highland bull had been in vain, and she was under orders for the shambles at last. Once she was not in season for six weeks, but generally on every 11th or a 21st day. It turned out that there was an internal malformation, which rendered breeding impossible, and so the over-feeding hypothesis falls to the ground. White prize heifers seem quite unlucky in Scotland, as May Morn, Clarionet, Venus de Medicis, and Lady Windsor were all under this ban together. La Valliere had just had a heifer calf in her old age, and one of the sweetest heads that was ever put on calf belonged to her young Scottish Chief by Ravenspur. It haunted us as we retraced our steps to the Drymen station, and long after we had taken the boat at Dumbarton for Greenock, and were fairly booked for Skye by the " Deep Sea Sailings."
"The Drum was up at Greenock, but it was no prophet for the West Coast ; and the captain bade us be of good cheer, and take our rest round the Mull of Kintyre. There was no tossing save in dreams ; and the white crescents of Oban, dear to tourists and college reading parties, greeted us when the breakfast-bell rung next morning.
' Cheddar cheese was the burden of the song, when we asked about Coll and Kintyre. There was no cheese-making in the latter previous to 1831. It then became so certain that the soil did not suit West Highlanders, that Mr. John Lorn 'Steuart of Coll, chamberlain to the Duke of Argyll, began to keep Ayrshire cattle ; and ever since then dairy husbandry has been universally adopted. The farmers' daughters came to be instructed in the making of Dunlop cheese, but still Mr. Steuart was not fully satisfied with the result ; and feeling convinced that the goodness of the cheese was more dependent upon the making than the pasture, he sent two of his servants to England to learn the Cheddar process, which was then hardly, if at all, known in Scotland. Last year he purchased the celebrated prize-bull Sir Colin Campbell " for his Grace the Duke of Argyll, who wished to improve the breed of Ayrshires among his tenantry, and about sixty calves for the present season is no bad beginning. Mr. Steuart has owned the Island of Coll since '56 ; and introduced the dairy system on the home farm with a herd of eighty cows. The cheese is of finer quality than the Kintyre, as the sandy downs are covered with the richest clover ; and in 1864 it brought no less than L66 per ton, the highest price that has ever been paid, to our knowledge, for Scottish Cheddar in the London market.
We were soon on our way once more, past that time-eaten keep, tapestried with ivy, and crops of oats waving on such haggard, sea-bound spots, that, even if we do spy a house in the distance, we lose the idea of the Lord of the Isle in " the man that couldn't get warm." Sometimes we are steaming up a bay to an Argyleshire pier; or perhaps we merely stop in the offing, and a boat is sent off to us. An old Corunna man in one of them is quite a god-send in the dulness. He is at once invited down to the principal cabin to show his medal, and gets a second glass on the strength of his own, as well as Sir John Moore's memory. Occasionally we skirt the open Atlantic, with the usual result but when the evening is far spent, we are land-locked close by Isle Ornsay, among the very intricate navigation, and wait patiently for the moon to rise. Its beams light up the shadowy oriel of the U. P. church, as we scramble out of the boat at Portree ; but it takes many a thundering knock to rouse the inn. The cattle show has come off the day before ; and the convener, vice-convener, and all the rest of them, are snoring in their dreams.
Portree is not lively by daylight. The principal shop seems to unite castor-oil, senna, and Harvey's sauce, with "two practical discourses," and photo-graphs of the man in shoe-buckles who made them. There are cakes elsewhere, of a texture which goes far to prove that Young Portree must have the stomach of a cock. The only visible remnants of the cattle show are a few loose hurdles in a meadow ; and we find the pick of the Duntulm Highlanders and Cheviot shearlings, all with first-prize cards on their heads, browsing near Kingsburgh Bridge in the middle of their twenty-mile walk. The milestones point to no towns, but only to inns ; and there is a sort of benighted feeling as you look at them, with nothing but mainland all round you. " Snipes appear," is the entry for the day in " Cuthbert Johnson's Farmers' Almanac"; and certainly there is a fine opening for them in Skye, as three weeks of continuous rain had left suction in abundance.
Where the rooks go to at night is our great puzzle, as there are only a few brown ashes to be seen, but Skeabost Woods is their Aldershot. Its direction is indicated by our friend somewhere to the left beyond Loch Snizort on whose blue waters whole navies might ride. A pinnace is at anchor behind the break-water in Fraser's bay—the snuggest spot we have seen yet, with Ericstane tups in the pastures, and a library we might winter on. Ben Edera's snowy head warns the cottars that they must gather in their oats ; but while they work at their scanty sheaves in one part of the field, the cow and the keeries are alike busy at the other. The cow is wonderfully ubiquitous. If the man is plaiting heathen ropes, to keep. the thatch on, she is ruminating at his side; if you go into a shop it is anything but certain that she may not look over the counter. Some cottars have as many as i6 to 20 keeries, generally black and brown-faced. They kill and salt the wedders and old ewes, and the lambs come in from the hill and walk about with the family. Strangers are generally told, in confidence, of a welder which was salted in the seventeenth year of its age, Not a goose or turkey is to be seen, but pigs occasionally; and in fact, oatcake, cuddy, and lyth, which they fish for with a line and swivel, and a skinned black eel, are what the cottars generally trust to. There is that low, sighing wind, which betokens abundance of rain ; and the hay-fields are soon the scene of one great Scurry Stakes among the women who carry half a hay-cock at least on their backs to the rick.
Quirang is in sight at last, with its chain of natural ramparts, the glory of which would make the sternest of Woolwich martinets forget himself, and play at leap-frog with unbuttoned jacket and cadets upon the green knolls below. Over the water is the shore of Ross-shire once more, with its eternal cottars. They fish, and they live as they can, and multiply like the eight-year-old black mare which trots away over the heather with five blacks, all her own, and none of them twins, at her heels.
Duntulm Castle looks bleak and bare, as we visit it next morning. Its days of revelry have long gone by, but it has been orally handed down that there was dancing in it about two hundred years ago. Now the witches and warlocks have all 'the reels to themselves. Black-faced wedders browse in the old garden, and an empty cask, with sad suggestiveness, was tossing about in the dungeon, where nothing passed the lips but salt boiled beef and hopeless cries for water.
Skye is divided into seven parishes, one of which, Kilmuir, is on clay, and the rest on good loam. The finest grazing is at M'Leod of M'Leod's, and also in the parish of Braeadale. There is very little high farming to speak of. Regents and Irish Rocks are the staple of a grand potato crop ; turnips are few, and mangels unknown ; and all the wheat flour is imported. Except at a stall in Portree,. there is very little public beef and mutton. Butter and cheese are not exported, and all groceries come from Glasgow. The horses have been crossed in-and-in with half Clydesdales and ponies, and now they seem to have settled into a large fourteen-hand pony, which would be, none the worse for another strain of blood. North and South Uist are the pony islands ; and both of them used to have races on the sands, by way of celebrating their harvest-home at Michaelmas (old style), with dancing and Michaelmas bannocks to follow. These " struans," as they call the cake of barley meal in the shape of a heart, are toasted before the fire, and dressed with treacle, eggs, and carraway-, seeds, and then eaten by lovers and guests in general.
We did not go on to Lews, as, with the exception of its smaller breed of cattle—black with brown backs and ears; killing from 300 to 350lbs. neat—the flock and herd history of one of these islands is. pretty much that of another. Lewis or Lews is generally flat and mossy, with the exception of the south end of the Island. There are splendid hills _and glens abounding with deer and grouse and other varieties of game. The ancient Forest whose " park " is let to Mr. Sellar for sheep pasture and shooting, was the regular shooting-ground of the proprietor of the island, and, for thirty years Archibald and his brother Alexander Stewart were its tacksmen, and reared first-rate black cattle and black-faces on it. The rod-fishing throughout Lews is far superior to any-thing of the kind in the Hebrides or Skye. Its sole proprietor, Sir James Matheson, M.P., has improved the island to a great extent by roads and bridges, and established several schools. He has also done much to improve the native cattle by the introduction of West Highland bulls, and brought over thoroughbred sires and Arabs as well. Some of the smaller tenants have improved black-faces, but the Cheviots are gradually putting out the small Island breed of sheep which are brought to the Stornoway market, and the best of which only kill when they come to three-year-old wedder estate, from 7lbs. to10lbs. a quarter, and clip from 2lbs. to 3lbs.
Of " The Seven Hunters," that mysterious group to the North, we do not presume to speak. Macdonald of Balranald has a large herd of big West Highlanders in North 'list ; but the cattle in the Uists are not thought quite equal to those in Barra. In Skye, Macdonald of Waternish, Mackinnon of Corrie, Nichol Martin of Glendale, Macrae of Knock, Captain Cameron of Talisker, and Stewart of Duntulm, have all large Highland herds. Stewart of Ellenriach got a gold medal for the best cow at Paris, but he has not shown of late years ; and Stewart of Duntulm never shows on the main land, but has fairly won the championship with his "Targill" stock. One of the finest family bulls was out of " Lucky," which was second at Inverness in '46 ; * and after winning the local Highland Society's prize as a three-year-old the next year, carried it for old bulls in 1848 at Slegichan, against a celebrated yellow bull of Sir Robert Menzies' breeding.
All the bulls and cows have Gaelic names here —signifying " White Tuft in the Tail," " Piley," "Beauty," "Nice," and so on. The calves are weaned at the end of five months, and are kept in a loose box all winter, but the cows are never in-doors, and their summer consorts are removed to "parks." Small tenants who have half-a-dozen cows and " followers," join to hire or buy a bull ; and sell their stirks at a year old for £3 or A4 to dealers who come before September Falkirk, and take them across the ferry or by the steamer. The farmers who have enough keep, hold on for another year, and get their L6 to L11. There is hardly any veal, except the shepherd's cross-bred quey has a bull calf, and then it is killed off at six weeks. Once there was plenty of kid flesh and sweet goat cheese ; but the white, black, and grey lichen croppers have nearly all disappeared, save at Mackinnon's of Corrie.
The sheep farms are generally held on leases of from fifteen to nineteen years. Half the island is under sheep, and its sad lack of straths is very slightly compensated by a sweet bite along the streams. There is no luxuriant heather, and the climate is too wet for lime-dressing. The sheep drains are eighteen inches in width and depth. Black-faces have gradually retreated before the Cheviots ; but Macdonald of Skirnish is strong in the old faith. He gets his Cups from Lanarkshire, and his " crock ewes " are sold at five years old at Falkirk or Inverness character market. Scott of Drynoch is one of the largest Cheviot men, and he generally keeps and sells his welders at Falkirk. Nearly all the farmers sell wedder lambs, and get them away before Aug. 12. Dealers come round on the Monday before the September fair at Portree, and buy by the clad score, but there is no pitched sheep market in the islands. There is a good deal of sturdy, but flockmasters generally prefer taking it short, and " take the head off instead of probing for the blot." Braxy is terribly severe upon the Boggs ; and if they were not sent away into ,Ross shire, Inverness-shire, and the Black Isle to turnips, no farm could keep itself in. stock. Even the Cheviot breeders have a taste for blackface, and buy a few wedders from the smaller tenants to put on to islands and parks, and kill them one by one as the giant did the children. The ewes are generally milked for eight or ten days, and the milk mixed with some from the cow ; so that the gude wife can hardly put the same query to you. which we have heard in Roxburghshire after the second or third course—" Yow or cow ?" It is a great point to make the cheese as soon as possible after the milking and one hundred ewes go to an eight-pound cheese.
There are no hounds, except the few which are used by the todhunter, who is supported by an assessment on the tacksmen. Mr. Mackinnon of Kylaackan is fond of good Skye terriers ; and Captain Macdonald of Waternish keeps. a regular pack for. otters, which abound all over the coast, and make large levies on the Snizort salmon. The mood of hunting would horrify Mr. Waldron Hill or Dr. Grant, those great Scottish representatives of the sport, as they put them out of the cairns with terriers, and then shoot them.
Many of the so-called Skye terriers are not" pure Skyes," buta cross between that breed and a French poodle, of which two or three° specimens swam on shore when a ship was wrecked near the coast. Through them the original, short, wiry-haired dog was changed, in a great measure, into one with a long silky coat, and hence the white, long-haired terrier which was at one period so common in the island. By this cross, the properties of-the dog have been quite changed, as he is not a fighter like the pure Skye, and only used for tracking vermin. A friend of ours in Aberdeenshire bred and tried sixteen of the sort, and only three of them would face a polecat.
Still, they, are superior to the long-haired curs which are reared by the poor people round Portree and Broadford, to supply the wants of tourists and others, who expect they are buying pure Skyes, and only get pretty toy-dogs. The true Skye is a long-backed, short-legged dog, with wiry hair, ears generally drooping at the point, and weighing about 16lbs. The orthodox colour is dark grey, and the breed is rarely to be got except from some of the gentlemen of the county. They are dogs of extraordinary pluck, and will " go straight at" an otter, wild-cat, or fox, after tracking them.. into their deepest dens among the rocks, and cairns; They will bear an immense amount of punishment, and not unfrequently never live, to come back when they have tackled something quite above their weight.
Crows, ravens, and wood-pigeons live in the rock clefts, and have, on the whole, rather a harassed time of it; and so have the golden-yellow fishing eagles. The deer keep to the Coolin hills and forests; a few pheasants flourish at Armadale and Dunvegan; grouse disease is unknown, and hares never turn white. The most extraordinary, and in fact the only, hunt we saw was. on a Sunday. The sheep dogs were all lying at their masters' feet, while the clergyman delivered a sermon in Erse, of which we only under-stood - the "Armen." Bacon is rarely eaten in these regions, and the dogs, from some cause or other, view the roving pigs with the deepest: disgust. One of them sauntered into the little school-room in the course of the service, and in an instant the whole pack were on foot—a gallant black, which had sat with its paws on our knees or round our neck for a considerable portion of the service, in affectionate remembrance of two butter pats at Portree—getting away well at the hams. We heard them carrying a tremendous head over the peat bogs and through the oats. Two or three of the minister's sentences were completely drowned in the cry ; but he held calmly on, neither looking to the right or left, with the air of a man thoroughly used to such finds and tremendous bursts in the open. As for the little old woman in the high cap, who sat with her face to the wall, she never moved a muscle.
We walked back with the minister, who strode along in his hodden grey suit, with a pastoral crook to aid him. A strange time we had of it, among wind, showers, and rainbows—now dodging behind a peat stack, now under a wall, and hearing for our comfort that " the wet comes here in cycles." He had been brought up in a stern school, when, as he phrased it, "Latin was flying about at many a table," and when, with a gillie to carry his luggage, he had to walk his two hundred miles as a student, to pluck the tree of knowledge at St. Andrews. He told us a very sad tale of the destitution of his poor parishioners in the winter ; and how many of the children can never come either to school or church, but crouch round the embers with hardly a rag to cover their nakedness. A Skye minister's life must be a weary one ; and an old tourist thus quaintly expressed his sense of it : " I'm so sorry for them, that, whenever I see a Times newspaper lying about, I always direct it off to them at once."
The church at Kilmuir looks like a barn on a bleak headland, and is at least two miles away from the graveyard where Flora Macdonald, who left five soldier sons, sleeps the sleep of five-and-seventy years. The marble slab has fallen out of the stone, and has been carried away, piece by piece, for relics ; but nettles and ragweed thrive right bravely. We turn aside to look at the Balaclava-like plains behind, to read the virtues of a minister's wife, and of a knight at rest with very short legs ; and then pass on our way back to Portree. Again it is all wild muirland, among which stands the new Free Kirk and its manse, looking as if they had been built by a wandering band of free and accepted masons, or let down by invisible hands.
The sea journey back by The Clansman was rather more lively ; and again we passed Scalpa and Raasay, in whose Sound Dr. Johnson lost his spurs over the side of the boat.
" O'er them mouldering,
and we thought, if we could only dive and find them encrusted with mollusc-cc, what wouldn't they fetch at Christie's ? Falkirk October is at hand, and our principal mission seems to be sailing up and down bays, and shipping sheep and wool-packs. The fore-castle is quite a parliament of Cheviot and keeries of all colours, every twentieth with horns as a standard-bearer. Cows, half Shorthorn and half Ayrshire, are pushed in from the piers, and a blue-grey pony, which would have been a perfect palette puzzle for Herring, is boxed up among hampers containing a beagle and two black-and-tan setter puppies for a Hampshire vicar. The two visitors whom we left at Eigg on Friday seem to glory in their release but barren as the island looks, hazel bushes at the prow of the boat that brought them and the farmer and his eight-score ewes, told of bosky dingles somewhere. Cheviots and cattle are its products, and its cottars seek the lowland harvest whereas Rum, which is a wilder island, goes for deer and blackfaces entirely, " More wool, a cross-bred bull (owner tries to make him out a pure Shorthorn, but his man won't have it), more lobsters, and brides and bridegrooms " is our note as the day wears on. The greatest pleasure is to lounge on deck with Hugh Miller's " Cruise of the Betsy," and read through his eyes, rather than our own, the outline of these " fractured Caledonian Isles." There is the " one low hill" of Muck ; the "pyramidal mountains of Rum, grey in fog and sad in rain, in whose wild hollow the withered female is seen before death in the twilight, and washes a shroud in the stream " ; and Eigg, with its " colossal ridge rising between us and the sky, as a piece of the Babylonish wall or the great Wall of China."
The coffee-rooms at Oban look warm and cheery, and, with the leader of the Parliamentary Bar among the passengers, we are off again in the morning towards the Crinan Canal, where the four-horse boat stands ready, with its postillions in scarlet and velvet caps. No mode of locomotion is like it, and we might well be loath to get out at the first lock, and take a long walk over the moss ; but Kilmartin Glen and Poltalloch " atone for all."
West Highlanders still hold a large portion of the peat moss, but year by year their old domain de-creases, and purple - tops are in the ascendant. Twenty years ago, Mr. Malcolm adopted wedge drains, but now only pipes and collars are used, about eighteen feet apart. On moss land the drains are 5 ft. deep, and on sound 3 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. The former is ploughed five inches deep after draining, and then sown with oats. After the next ploughing, lime is harrowed in before ridging, and it is manured with t to 2 cwt. of superphosphate per acre, as well as farmyard dung. Under such treatment, as the bailiff William Stewart expresses it, the peat may well " melt like snuff."
" The Black Cattle," as West Highlanders are always termed in Argyllshire, have a title of fully seventy years at Duntroon. The first bull of note was purchased about five years later, along with several cows, from a herd in the island of Shuna ; and those of Major M'Donald of Corrie Broadford, Isle of Skye, M'Donald of Monachyle, Stewart of Duntulm, M'Claren of Camuseroch, and the late Marquis of Breadalbane (from whom Crinan was bought) have all furnished " kings in their turn." Forty years since, some choice cows and heifers came from George Sixth Duke of Argyll, and more recently from the Breadalbane sale, and Mr. John Campbell's of Lochead. There are about fifty cows in all ; and a glimpse from the steamer deck of Duntroon, the brindled bull, as he wandered along the shore near Duntroon castle, with the dun cow (which also won at Battersea) and a calf at her side, recalled those bull, cow, and off-spring " groups which Herefordshire loves so dearly. Mr. Malcolm enters pretty freely into showing, and the Highland Society has no steadier adherent each August. Some very choice ones are in his herd, but they can only be described by painting ; and the " Return to their Native Heath of the Winners at Battersea," by Mr. Gourlay Steell, who renews his strength in Argyllshire as each summer comes round, best tells the story of their shaggy coat and tameless eye. All the cattle except the five-year-old heifers are wintered in the house. Sexton boars have also worked their way down here, and lie stretched on fern in their iron and Caithness flag tabernacles. Berkshires are kept, but they are not liked nearly so much as the Essex, and, in fact, the taste for pigs finds no " lateral extension " in the county. Ploughmen do not care to keep them, and would think very little of half-a-dozen by the side of a " bit of an Ayrshire."
The black-faces have flourished for only six summers at Poltalloch, and the flock numbers, on an average, about nine hundred to a thousand. They succeeded Leicesters, which, like the Downs, found the climate too wet, and black-faces have proved the masters of the situation. The " curly horns " were principally selected by Mr. Martin, the factor, from most of the prize-winning flocks in Scotland. Then the third-prize shearling at Kelso lent his aid ; and the shearling with which Mr. Malcolm himself bore off the same honours at Battersea was sold at the annual roup for £20 1S. Nearly all the farmers round are purchasers, and the highest average as yet has been 16s. 8d. for twenty-two. The horses are generally of the larger Highland sort, and one old mare had ten of her produce working with her on the farm at the same time.
Sir John Orde's Norwegian black pony, and his remarkable carriage of wood and canvas, the latest product of his leisure hours, and drawn by a dun, were the subject of our last inspection on the shores of Argyllshire. As we pass the Kyles of Bute, we hear that the West Highlanders of Mr. Allen Pollok graze near Ronachan in hundreds ; and then, amid fog signals and peals on the fog-bell, the lights of Glasgow loom once more, as the beautiful Iona goes ploughing up the Clyde.