As you approach Achnacarry, which lies rather low, but is surrounded by very fine trees, the luxuriance of the tangled woods, surmounted by rugged hills, becomes finer and finer till you come to Loch Arkaig, a little over half a mile from the house. This is a very lovely loch, reminding one of Loch Katrine, especially where there is a little pier, from which we embarked on board a very small but nice screw steamer which belongs to Cameron of Lochiel.
He received us (wearing his kilt and plaid) just above the pier, and we all went on board the little steamer. The afternoon was beautiful, and lit up the fine scenery to the greatest advantage. We went about halfway up the Loch (which is fourteen miles long), as we had not time to go farther, to the disappointment of Lochiel, who said it grew wilder and wilder higher up. To the left (as we went up) is the deer forest; to the right he has sheep.
Both sides are beautifully wooded all along the lower part of the fine hills which rise on either side, and the trees are all oaks, which Cameron of Lochiel said were the "weed of the country," and all natural - none were planted. A good many grow up all the hollows and fissures of the hills and rocks. Right ahead, where we turned, was seen a fine conical-shaped hill called Scour-na-nat, and to the left Glenmally, to the north Muir Logan, and Giusach and Gerarnan on either side. Before we came to the turning we three had our tea, which was very refreshing. I tried to sketch a little, but the sun shone so strongly that I could not do much.
Mr. Cameron, who was with Lord Elgin in China, came and explained everything, and talked very pleasantly. His father had to let this beautiful place, and Lord Malmesbury had it for fifteen years. The Cannings used to go there, and I often heard Lady Canning speak of its beauties, and saw many pretty sketches which she made there. Thirteen years ago his father died, and he has lived there ever since. Alfred was there in 1863.
It was, as General Ponsonby observed afterwards, a striking scene. "There was Lochiel," as he said, "whose great-grand uncle (see editor's note) had been the real moving cause of the rising of 1745 - for without him Prince Charles would not have made the attempt - showing your Majesty (whose great-great-grandfather he had striven to dethrone) the scenes made historical by Prince Charlie's wanderings. It was a scene one could not look on unmoved."
Yes; and I feel a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most beautiful country, which I am proud to call my own, where there was such devoted loyalty to the family of my ancestors - for Stuart blood is in my veins, and I am now their representative, and the people are as devoted and loyal to me as they were to that unhappy race.
We landed at the little pier, but walked over the small bridges (the carriages following) - on which a piper was playing - a few hundred yards to a gate (on the side opposite to that by which we came), where we got into the carriages again. We drove through a beautiful road called the Dark Mile - dark from the number of very fine trees which overhang it, while on the left it is overshadowed by beetling rocks with a rich tangled undergrowth of bracken and heather, etc. The heather grows very richly and fully in these parts, and in thick tufts. We saw here the cave in which Prince Charles Edward was hid for a week. We came out of this road at the end of Loch Lochy, which looked lovely in the setting sun, and drove along the water's edge till nearly where we joined the road by which we had come. It is all Lochiel's for a long way - a splendid possession.