Dunkeld 18th of October 1855
My dear Papa,
Rosamond finished off her letter in a hurry, on account of our early post; and as she passed rather lightly on the last part, I think I will take up the description at Killiecrankie. – We found our carriage waiting at the old bridge over the Garry, and crossing the torrent, began to ascend among beautiful wild wood till we reached the vale of the Tummel, another deep glade, covered on both sides with extensive forests of birch trees, between which you catch beautiful glimpses of the river, and of some very high peaked mountains, beyond – We next reached Loch Tummel and endeavoured to make a sketch of it, from a point of view commanding the whole loch, but it is an almost impossible subject. The road follows the loch, which is not very striking, and then enters a wild and desolate country with a few picturesque huts scattered about and very few trees till it reaches bridge of Tummel. Here is a very nice inn, a little chapel and a single house. When we got here, we were very hungry and very cold, as you may well imagine, after a drive of eighteen miles in an open carriage, with a very cold wind blowing in our faces. However, we got a very good luncheon, and an immense peat fire, but which does not give out half so much heat as coals, and by the time the horses were rested, we were quite ready to proceed to Kinloch Rannoch, our destined sleeping place The country all the way has the same open heathy and boggy character as before, but the mountains round Loch Rannoch are very fine especially the fine peak of Schihallion, which is extremely striking. – We reached the very good Hotel at Kinloch Rannoch at about five o’clock, and immidiatly took a walk along the shores of this beautiful lake. – We had a most splendid sunset, which tinged the water with rose colour and orange, and showed to Advantage a curiously shaped mountain in the distance, whose name however, we did not learn. – I am sure this lake, one of the finest we have seen, is not have [sic] enough spoken about. I suppose owing to its being rather out of the way. – Next morning was grey and extremely frosty: yet we kept to our plan, and ascended a mountain road winding round the base of Schihallion, and past a country house, where Lord John Russel has been spending the summer; grouse shooting – We very soon got on the extensive moors; through which our road winded till we thought they would never end. – The noise of wheels startled some grouse from among the heath, so that we had an opportunity of seeing them quite close. – At last we descended rapidly by the side of a little foaming torrent, with steep banks covered with larches, close to the old ruined castle of Garth. All this time the wind was intensly cold and the higher mountains had even a slight sprinkling of snow. – The scenery of Glen Lyon, into which we were descending looked chearful and pleasant, after the wild heaths à peste de vue, which we had just left.
The Lyon is a beautiful clear river, very much like the Tay, and issues from a narrow ravine, that it would be charming to explore – Fortingal, our mid day’s resting place, is a very small village, at the entrance of this ravine, and posseses a miserable inn, kept by a cross woman, who gave us a very bad luncheon. – At about two o’clock we resumed our way, crossing the Lyon, and after some time, descended on Loch Tay, at about three miles from the Kenmore end. We were rather disapointed with this first view of the lake, for the opposite shore is bare and monotonous, and the road on this side, always taken by carriages on account of its being the best, is so close under Ben Lawers, as almost to loose it in the prospect. – Altogether the sixteen miles drive along the lake were rather tiresome, and we all agreed that it would be an advantage to shorten it By half. – But when we came in sight of Killin, we were quite enchanted with its beautiful mountains, and thick woods; which come upon you so suddenly after the preceeding blank. we took a short walk in the evening to see the foaming torrent of the Donchart, with its strange rocks and islands, but we saw enough to show that it would [sic] a delightful place to spend a short time in summer. On Thursday we retraced our way along the lake to Kenmore, which we found a great deal prettier that we had supposed; And changing horses at Aberfeldy, we reached home at five o’clock. The morning had been misty, but the evening lights made Dunkeld look extremely pretty as we arrived.
And now, that I have got to the end of our exploits, d’ont you think we have been very eterprising to have acomplished all this? The only disadvantage was the lateness of the season, the cold weather preventing you from enjoying the scenery so much –
Good bye, dear Papa, Your affectionate daughter
Ela sends you some seeds she gathered at Loch Rannoch.
H. F. Talbot Esqre