Search billions of records on




Holy loch--Kilmun, 35--Dunoon, 34--Bawkie bay--Toward Point--Rothesay, 44--Mount Stewart--Kilchattan Bay--the Garoch head--Port Bannatyne, 48--Loch Fad, 47.

    This is an exceedingly interesting trip, and may generally be performed within twelve hours. The steamer will probably coast from Greeenock to Kempoch point, a distance of 3 miles, and then stand across towards Dunoon. The view during this part of the passage is uncommonly fine. On the right, the softly wooded peninsula of Roseneath is seen stretching out into the frith, with the openings of Loch Long and the Holy Loch; in front are the wooded shores of Argyleshire, backed by lofty hills, behind which are seen the blue summits of still more gigantic mountains rising in the far distance; on the left is the fine bay of Kempoch, terminating at the Cloch point; in the frith are the islands of Cumbray near at hand, the island of Bute at a greater distance, the mountain-summits of Arran peering over Bute, and in the extended distance, the shadow-like outline of the craig of Ailsa. As the steamer nears the Argyle coast, the eye has an opportunity of exploring a considerable portion of the scenery on either side of the Holy loch, and the noble group of mountains at its head. Coasting along shore we pass a series of cottages and villas presenting little remarkable and in a few minutes we find ourselves at the village of Dunoon, where a considerable exchange of passengers is pprobably affected, the village being large and always crowded with bathers.

    Here, if the tourist inclines to go ashore he may have an opportunity of making a trip to the head of the Holy loch - a distance of about 4 miles - before the boat returns from Rothsay or in time for some other boat returning to Glasgow in the evening; or he may walk round the head of the back to Kilmun, where he will probably find a steamer returning to Glasgow. These arrangements, however must be regulated by the intimations given in the sailing-tickets of the different boats exhibited at Dunoon. .The walk to Kilmun will amply repay the tourist by conducting him into real Highland scenery and affording him, an opportunity of inspecting the ruins of the collegiate church of Kilmun, rounded by Sir Duncan Cambbell, in 1442, with the burying place of the family of Argyle. He may even - if he has started from Glasgow at an early hour - have an opportunity of pursuing the road leading from Kilmun to Loch Eck, so far at least as to gain a sight of the lower extremity of that beautiful little island lake. If he finds that there is to be no steam-conveyance from Kilmun to Glasgow the same day and is disinclined to the fatigue of resuming his walk to Dunoon he can get himself ferried across to the Lazarette point - by which means he will save a distance of about three miles - and pursue his route close along the shore to Hunters quay where the boats from Dunoon generally call before crossing to Greenock or Gourock.

    In the town of Dunoon itself, there is little to interest the tourist, except its fine and diversified seawall views. The castle of Dunoon, however, is a relic of antiquity worth visiting. It was once a royal residence and a strong fortress the possession of which often formed an object of keen contention in troublous times. Bruce conferred the hereditary keepership of this castle on the family of Sir Colin Campbell of Lochaw, an ancestor of the duke of Argyle. It was the residence of the Argyleshire family in 1673, but from the commencement of the eighteenth century, was allowed to fall into a state of entire ruin; the stones have been abstracted to build the adjacent cottages, and little more than the crumbling outline of a few walls here and there appearing above the sod remains to mark the site of this once important castle and palace. Mr. Ewing, the proprietor of the beautiful marine villa immediately adjoining the castle has laid open a part of the southern wall of this relic; but it is impossible to trace the ground-plan with any thing like distinctness. Dunoon was in ancient times the seat of a bishopric. It was one of the most ancient parishes in Scotland, and the seat of the presbytery of the bounds. The minister of Dunoon officiates every third Sunday at Kilmun. The Secession church has a neat little chapel here. The parish church is finely situated. on the brow of an eminence which rises abruptly from the beach.

    Passing the castle, the steamer skirts along Bawkie bay, the shore of which is ornamented with several pleasing villas. On reaching Toward point, another fine scene bursts upon the eye of the tourist. On the neighbouring heights on the right, are seen the venerable ruins of Toward castle, the ancient seat of the Lamonts; and at a little distance, embosomed in young plantations, Castle Toward, the modern mansion of Kirkman Finlay, Esq. A second arm of the frith appears stretching to an indefinite distance along the Argyleshire coast, while the opposite coast is formed by the large island of Bute, in which the bay and town of Rothsay are conspicuous. Stretching across this the entrance to what is called 'the Kyles of Bute' the tourist is quickly landed on Rothsay quay. There are boats leaving Rothsay for Glasgow, up to a late hour in the day, so that the tourist will probably have an opportunity of spending an hour or two ashore if he chooses.

    Rothsay is an ancient royal burgh, with a population of nearly 6000 souls, which is greatly increased during the summer-season by the immense shoals of visitors and bathers who crowd to this favourite watering-place, which from some local peculiarities possesses a drier atmosphere and milder climate than any other watering-place on the west coast. It is not a remarkably interesting town in itself, or in its landward scenery; but the view across towards Cowal is noble, and it possesses, in the remains of an ancient royal castle, the favourite residence of Robert III., one of the finest ruins in Scotland. This castle was burned by the earl of Argyle in 1685. The oldest portion consists of a circular court of 138 feet in diameter, surrounded by a very thick wall. The entrance to this part of the building is from the north. The closet in which Robert III. died is still pointed out. Strangers should supply themselves with a small history of the castle which is sold by the booksellers in Rothsay.

    The island of Bute is about 18 miles in length. and 4 of average breadth. It is intersected with good roads, and can be easily explored in every direction. The western side of the bay of Rothsay commands a noble view of the entrance to the Kyles, and the mouth of Loch Striven, with the lofty shores of Cowal. Several fine villas are planted along this part of the coast; but the principal point of attraction between Rothsay and Kilchattan bay, is Mount Stewart, the seat of the marquess of Bute. The grounds here are well laid out and finely wooded. The village and bay of Kilchattan, between Mount Stewart and the Garroch head, are worth visiting. The Garroch head itself is a curious promontory, visible at a great distance along the frith. It consists of "a collection of steep and narrow ridges, placed in a parallel manner, and separated by deep and solitary valleys; each ridge being crowned by precipices of naked rock, and the whole diversified by other unexpected recesses, and sometimes by small lakes." {* Macculloch} It is separated from the main part of the island by a low marshy tract. From Ben Varagen, its highest point, a fine view is obtained of the Clyde above and beneath Bute, the island of Bute itself, the two Cumbrays, the coast of Ayrshire, the mountain-district of Arran, and the Argyleshire hills. From the Garroch head to Ettrick bay, the coast chiefly consists of a succession of lofty sand-hills, here and there displaying little glens of considerable beauty. Ettrick bay is an extensive indentation of the coast, but presents little remarkable, except a fine view of Arran towards Glen Sannox.

    The walk to Ettrick bay from Port-Bannatyne, across the-island, is very pleasing. The shores of Bute, between these two points, are seen to most advantage from the Kyles. If the tourist's time is limited, he should make his first excursion in Bute to Port Bannatyne, which is the most pleasing watering-place on the whole island, and may be attained by a walk of about 4 miles along the shore, to the east of the town of Rothsay. While at Port-Bannatyne, the tourist. is in the immediate vicinity of Kaims castle. During the height of the season, the steamers which arrive at Rothsay towards evening, generally proceed to Port Bannatyne, a distance of only 2 miles by water, where they anchor for the night.

    Loch Fad lies towards the centre of the island of Bute, about three miles south from Rothsay. It is 5 miles in length, but in few places above half a mile broad. Its scenery is by no means peculiarly interesting, but it has obtained some celebrity on account of the late Edmund Kean having selected a spot on its banks for his residence. His cottage and grounds were purchased after his death by the marquess of Bute.