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(63) Plate XXIX/a

(63) Plate XXIX/a -

                                                               Plate XXIX.

                                      CAVERN IN GLEN CROE.

THE country in the vicinity of this Cavern, is perhaps as tremendously grand as any part of Scotland and
in the following description of it the materials will be chiefly drawn from the labours of the late Dr.
Garnett, whose death must ever be considered as a great loss to philosophy and literature; and to those of
Dr. Stoddart, in his account of Scotland, in which he has given a small view of the same cavern.

Glen Croe lies in Argyleshire, and at no great distance to the north-west of Loch Lomond. Upon
entering this glen, about three miles beyond Arroquhar, a new scene of savage magnificence is presented,
by the bold and rocky mountains, which shoot up to the clouds, and approach so close, as almost to im-
prison the passenger between their folds. It forms one of the passes into the Highlands, and the very
few inhabitants, who exist in it, speak the gaelic language. The scenery here is sublime in the extreme.
The mountains on the east side of the glen are the most rugged imaginable. Some rocks from the top
have fallen to the bottom, while innumerable others still project over, and seem to threaten the traveller
with instant destruction. The narrow bottom of the valley is occupied by a dashing torrent, and the
road is carried along its course as nearly as the convulsive breaks and rocky fragments will permit. The
Glen is almost constantly deluged with rain; as the high mountains arrest the clouds, which are brought
from the Atlantic by the westerly winds, which almost constantly prevail in this part. The length of
Glen Croe is between four and five miles. "From the appearance of the stream, (see "Local Scenery")
few people are induced to quit the road to examine it: yet it affords a remarkable instance of such
romantic scenery, as sometimes occurs unexpectedly, in Scotland, among objects, which do not seem to
promise it. The rocks, lying in its course, consist of fragments, fantastic in form, and vast in magnitude,
torn from the sides of the adjoining mountains, and piled confusedly together. Upon a near approach you
find, that the water, forcing its way amongst them, has increased their picturesqueness by its powerful
operation. In one part it rushes violently along, tumbling over them in cascades; in another it is only
heard to growl in an inaccessible dungeon below; and in several places it has formed the most extra-
ordinary caverns and excavations. One of these (the subject of the present plate) might have passed for
the grotto of a Naiad, designed with peculiar fancy. At one end the sun-beams, admitted through dif-
ferent openings, played upon the water; at the other a small cascade glittered in the gloom: the sides were
wrought into various odd forms by the whirlpools; and in one part a natural chair was scooped out
of the rock." This view was made in 1799.

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