« AnteriorContinuar »
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION
APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
OLD MAN OF HOY, ORKNEY.
SKETCHES OF THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND.
PART THE SEVENTH.
credit on the religion which they profess. The parish of ORKNEY ; SANDWICK ; EDUCATION.
Sandwick is very extensive and populous. The minister is (A. D. 1827. SEPT.)
incapacitated by old age for the discharge of any of his I FOUND at the inn at Stromness the captain of a trading | duties ,which are delegated to an assistant, and to his son, vessel, which had just arrived from Quebec,—an intelligent who volunteers his aid. The parish will be divided, on
He complained bitterly of a grievance, under which he was yet smarting; a ride to the custom-house at Kirk- the death of the actual incumbent, into two distinct wall, and back again, on a rough pony, which had proved parishes -Sandwick and Stromness: the town of Strum torture to him, as he was very corpulent, and unused to ness alone containing at present 2400 inhabitants. this sort of exercise. The custom-house is fixed at Kirk
ORKNEY; HOY; DWARFIE STANE; EAGLES. wall, in virtue of its ancient privilege, to the infinite ineonvenience of the trade, since Stromness, which was formerly A GENTLEMAN of Stromness kindly conveyed me to Hoy, a village, has become the principal place of commercial in a large and capital boat, crossing the Sound to westward resort. The want of a dry dock in the harbour of Strom- of Gremsa. A heavy swell was rolling upon this islaud; ness is also a great drawback to its numerous advantages, and the Sound exhibit to seaward, at no considerable and is little compensated for by the consequent exemption distance, a foaming surface of boiling eddies and fortnifrom dues,
dable breakers. The pilots amuse themselves with the The shores of the Sound of Hoy, on either side, are practice of frightening strangers, by directing their course covered with extensive corn-fields, now ripening for the directly to the whirlpool, and then turning aside at the harvest. The neatly-trimmed hedge-rows of England are moment at which the unfortunate landsman apprehends wanting, and the enclosures are merely high stone walls. | certain destruction. Our course lay away from the breakers. But the uncemented masonry of Orkney, whether in the A vast and closely-compacted assemblage of cormorants, cottages, farm-houses, or these walls, cannot be surpassed. forming a complete circle, rearing their long necks aloft, The manse of the parish of Sandwick stands near the appeared floating in undisturbed array upon the boisterous sea, about a mile from Stromness; and not far from it is waves. These birds usually fish in this manner. the cemetery, enclosed by a stone wall, and containing a The distance from Stromness to Hoy is four miles: we ruined chapel. It is the invariable custom., here, to bury landed in a creek, and walked to the Manse, where we were drowned persons on the side of the chapel farthest from received by the minister, Mr. Hamilton, an aged widower. the sea: no reason is assigned for it.
He showed us his tower-garden and kitchen-garden, and a My guide was a very intelligent little fellow, who had water-mill, and invited us to dine with him, on our return learned to read before he went to sea; and had just returned from our intended excursion. His two sons, young men from his first fishing-expedition off the coast of Caithness. destined for the church, offered to accompany us: one of He spoke of his crossing the wells of Swona, and his boat them went with my Orcadian friend on a shooting excurhaving been turned twice round; whilst he added that that sion, and the other undertook to be my guide, and we fixed which contained his brother had been whirled five times a place of rendezvous. We entered, after a walk of some about: observing that “ there was no danger only when the distance, a sombre uninhabited valley, bounded by high sea was very wroth.” He recounted several anecdotes of heathery hills, and soon perceived the object of our search, the adventures of his father and other boatmen, in a plain an enormous fragment of free-stone, that celebrated Dwarfie but nervous and even eloquent style, which surprised me Stane over which the great Magician of the North ha much in an infant of his age. Every traveller who converses waved with almost supernatural power the wand of his with the children in Scotland, or attends the schools in enebantments. Its dimensions are thirty-two feet in length, which the higher branches of education are taught, will be sixteen and a-hall in breadth, and seven feet five inches in astonished at the vigour and accuracy of their understanding height. The interior is divided into three apartments, one eren at a very early age. The English spoken in Orkney of which was evidently designed for a dormitory, being is very pure, and free from provincial corruptions. Edu- excavated in the shape of a bed: and in the interval between cation has become almost universal amongst the people, as 'this and another apartment, is an area, intended, perhaps, might be fully inferred from the following statement in the for a fireplace, as there is a hole cut in the roof, which might report of the Inverness Society, founded on an investigation serve for the conveyance of smoke. The traditionary story which took place in 1822. “In the Hebrides, and other respecting this singular stone is, that it was the habitation of western parts of Inverness and Ross, 70 in the 100 cannot a dwarf' who had been married to a giant.
It must be preread. In the remaining parts of Inverness and Ross, in sumed that they lived in a state of separation, a thoro at Nairn, the Highlands of Moray, Cromarty, Sutherland, least, if not a mensd. There can be no doubt that this sinand the inland parts of Caithness, 40 in the 100. In Argyle gular dwelling was the work of a superstitious age, and the and the Highlands of Perth, 30 in the 100. In Orkney, abode of a hiermit. No one would have undertaken the and Shetland, 12 in the 100." Since the above-mentioned labour which it cost for amusement; and a shepherd would period, the comparatively trifling deficiency in the number not have been satisfied with so rude a habitation. Near of persons unable to read in Orkney, has been partly this phenomenon is a spring, which working its way through supplied.
a vegetable substance, reduces it to a consistency exactly On Sunday, I accompanied my landlord to the kirk. The resembling india rubber. As we walked onwards towards streets were quite thronged with people, passing to it and the Wart-Hill, a wild currant-bush was pointed out to me, to the Secession chapel. The church is large. The Sece- the only shrub growing in the midst of this desert. It is ders are said to be nearly as numerous here, as the mem- found in different parts of Orkney. bers of the Established Church. Their progress has been The dreariness of the scenery was suddenly and agreeably rapid, for at the close of the last century there were no exchanged for the waving corn-fields of the vale of Rackwick, Dissenters, according to the Statistical Survey. It contrasts and its village, inhabited by fishermen, on the beach, enstrikingly with the extreme rarity of Dissenters in the closed by two steep, rocky eminences, one of which forms the neighbouring shire of Satherland and the Western Isles, southern boundary of the Wart Hill. We pursued our route and corroborates the conclusion stated in a former part of to the foot of the Wart Hill, climbed it by a steep ascent, these Sketches. Two services were performed in a sten- and then descended across a desolate tract to the edge of a torian tone of voice, by the assistant minister, who labours lofty overhanging precipice. Before us, at an interval of a notwithstanding under an impediment of speech, occasioned few yards, and probably detached from the coast by the action by breaking his jaw. The congregations were remarkably of the impetuous sea upon the soft red sand-stone, of which attentive, and deviated from the usual practice in Scotland, the rocks are here composed, appeared the noble column by standing up when they sung. The natives, fishermen, called the Old Man of Hoy, rising to the height of 12 or and merchants, abstain rigidly from fishing and sailing 1500 feet. Four fine eagles hovered over its summit, on on Sundays; and as strangers, who frequent the port, too which a pair build annually: and as we approached, they frequently make no distinction of days, their stedfastness slowly towered aloft, barking or shrilly shrieking as they in resisting the influence of bad example, and in refusing rose. participation in the usual profits resulting from it, reflects There is a small bay to the south side of this rock,
which was a few years ago the scene of an affecting story. The habits of the eagle, described by persons accustomed The circumstances form the subject of some pathetic to observe them, are very singular. It is remarkable, that lines by Mr. Peterkin, the sheriff of Orkney, author of their numbers neither increase ner decrease: each pair has a small volume, descriptive of part of the scenery of the two places for building their nest, and shifts the work from island. It, no doubt, suggested to the great novelist one one to the other if disturbed. A vacancy, occasioned by the of the most striking incidents in the Pirate, the scene of destruction of one pair, is immediately filled up by another, which is laid in Orkney and in Shetland ; for it is in part oceupying their haunts and breeding-place; and it is proexactly described in the account of the drifting of the vessel bable that the inerease in the number is prevented by the containing his hero on Sumburgh Head. The following old birds driving away the youny. This is the well-known is the occurrence alluded to. A vessel was descried in a practice of ravens, and several birds of the falcon-tribe. The heavy gale from the north-west, drifting, water-logged, eagles levy heary contributions on the lambs and pigs in upon the Old Man of Hoy: and as she approached, two the neighbourhood. Mr. Hamilton, while walking one day of the crew were perceived yet remaining on board of in his garden, was disturbed by a loud squeaking, which her, one of whom was lashed to the deck, and the other commenced near his mill, and by degrees grew fajuter and to the rigging. Having narrowly escaped collision with fainter. He advanced to the spot, and immediately the rock, she was wrecked with violence in the cove. pereeived one of his pigs struggling vairly in the talons of This event had been anxiously expected by two natives an eagle, who was soaring away with his prey towards the of the island, who immediately flew to the prey, brought Wart-Hill. There is at present a man living in Orkney, ashore the unfortunate sailors, one of whom was found who was seized when a child by an eagle, and was carried to be living; and, insensible to the call of humanity, a little distance: when the bird, becoming alarmed, clropped laid him on the beach to perish, whilst they plundered him, having but little injured him. Other instances have the vessel. An old superstitious notion once prevailed occurred of similar attempts on children. Mr. Hamilton in these islands, that à man, if saved from a watery was more successful in another instance, in inflicting grave, would infliet some serious mischief on his pre- punishment on one of these depredators. An eagle had server. It is easy to conceive the origin of a doctrine so effectually entangled his claws in the back of a sheep, so convenient to that class of persons called wreckers, i that he could not disengage himself, and afforded Mr. when the sages who invented it, and the credulous people Hamilton the opportunity of killing him with his stick I. who believed it, were equally interested in its practical
From the side of the Wart-Hill the Sound of Hoy opens consequences. All Orkney was indignant at the tlagrant beautifully in all its extent, bounded by the opposite chain breach of the laws of humanity and hospitality committed of hills in Pomona. We passed a richly green spot, called on this occasion; and the grave of the seamen is pointed the Meadow of Kean, enclosed by the lofty buttresses of out on a plot of turf on a ledge of a rock, elevated a few feet the Wart-Hill, and, after pausing a few minutes to listen above the beach, near the spot on which the vessel struck. to the fine echoes, descended to the hospitable Manse,
The summit of the Wart-hill rises nearly 2000 feet where we were welcomed by a large party. Our host had in height to northward of the Old Man. The sea, which been minister of this parish thirty years, and had found it rushes upon this side of the island with a fury not at his coming much neglected. No Sacrament had been surpassed in any part of the world, has wrought tre- administered in it during thirty years previous. mendous fissures in the coast, which presents a long broken line of stupendous precipices and awful chasms, exhibit ORKNEY; SANDWICK ; BURGII AND CASTLE OF BIRSA. ing, in eonjunetion with the stately column of the Old Man, a scene of uncommon grandeur and sublimity. On the following day, I was introduced at his manse to the Though now much agitated by tempestuous winds, viewed minister of Sandwick, the Rev. Mr. Clouston, who had from so great a height, it appeared a level mass of foam ; filled the parochial office during sixty years, and his preand large vessels, hastening for refuge to the harbour of sent situation during half that period. Though much Stronness, seemed mere specks on the great deep. The advanced in years, he communicated his various informagradual encroachments of the sea might almost induce an tion in a very agreeable manner, and described with enexpectation of the final overthrow of the island; and if the thusiasm the visit of Captain Cook and his companions, duration of the world were sufficient for the completion of and that more recent of Captain Franklin and his party the work of devastation, the soft materials of which the to Orkney. The latter occupied a dismantled house, island is composed would probably yield to its violence, near the Manse, during some days, while detained in like the land which once, it is said, filled the channel of the island by contrary winds, swinging their hammocks the irresistible Pentland.
from the rafters. Mr. Clouston's son, a young man, very To the blown Baltic, then, they say,
assiduous in the discharge of the ministerial duties The wild waves found another way,
delegated to him by his father, deemed it necessary, as Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding. is by no means unusual among the young clergy destined
Collins's Ode ou Liberty. for the Highlands and Islands, to prepare himself at the But the fishermen of Rackwick sleep as securely on the University for this laborious station, by adding to his usual verge of the revouring element, as the inhabitants of theological studies, tint of medicine and other sciences. Portici at the foot of Vesuvius.
A practical acquaintance with medicine is indeed almost Eagles are very numerous in Hoy. Mr. Bullock, pro- essential to a minister in many parishes of Scotland, in
Some prietor of the London Museum, is supposed to have dis- which no professional assistance can be procured. covered every species of those birds known in Great Britain, of the clergy differ in opinion, as to the expediency of a except the Osprey. At that time, and till lately, the minister uniting the two functions; finding that their recipes number of species, besides the Osprey, was allowed to be for the bodily ailments of their parishioners are so much four; but the recent researches of naturalists have reduced in request, as alınost to prechude the introduction of a it to two, it having been ascertained that the Ring-tailed word in behalf of their spiritual welfare: but when their is the Golden, and the Sea-Eagle the Cinereous in an im- lot happens to be cast in a parish in which people fremature state.
quently die from want 'of medical relief, humanity leaves "The north-west promontory of Sanda, one of the Orkneys
them no alternative. Many parts of Scotland are 30 to 60 (says Mr. Lyell, in his work on Geology, Vol. I. 263,) has been
miles removed from a medical practitioner,-a long and cut off in modern times by the sea, so that it became what is now rough ferry, perhaps, intervening. called Start Island, where a lighthouse was erected in 1807, since which time the new strait has grown broader.”
osprey, I have little doubi that I saw this bird on the Sound of + See Seley's Ornithology.--Mr. Selby thus describes a method Roy. It flew close to the vessel, during the gale which then prevailed, of taking eagles occasionally employed in Scotland. “A miniature and was pointed out to me by one of the crew as an eagle that house, at least the wall part of it, is built on ground frequented by lived solely on fish, and it certainly resembled much the osprey, if the eagle, and an opening left at the foot of the wall, sutticient for not the bird itself. Mr. Bullock may not have seen one, as it has the egress of the bird. To the outside of this opening a bit of strong become, as we are informed by Mr. Selby, very rare. skeiny (cord) is fixed, with a noose formed on one end, and the other # Mr. Lloyd says, in his Northern Field Sports, that eagles in running through the noose. After all this operation is finished, a Orkney are represented as striking turbot and other fish, and being piece of carrion is thrown into the house, which the eagle finds out sometimes carried by them under water. For the following account and perches upon. It eats voraciously, and when fully satisfied it of an eagle's larder, discovered in the Isle of Arran, when a nest of never thinks of taking its flight immediately upwards, unless dis- that bird was taken, I have the authority of a Scottish laird who turbed, provided it can find any easier way to get out of the house ; received it from an eye-witness. It consisted of four rabbits, several for it appears that it cannot readily begin its flight but in an oblique grouse, a black cock, a lamb, and two eels. The last-mentioned indirection; consequently it walks deliberately out at the opening lere gredients exciied much surprise: thy were probably the young of for it, and the skeiny being fitly contrived and placed for the the conger. A large collection of bones, the remnant of former purpose, catches hold of and fairly strangles it,” In regard to the banquets, was strewed around,
The remains of a house, built by George Graham, last forbearance, to dwindle away gradually to a hair's breadth, Bishop of Orkney, and now tenanted by a cotter, may yet whilst the proportions of his iniquitous neighbours exhibe seen pleasantly situated at Brakeness Point, a promon- bited a corresponding increase. Some of the customs tory marking the western entrance of the sound. The described by Dr. Macculloch as prevailing in St. Kilda episcopal arms, subscribed by the date of 1633, are en are similar to those of Orkney; among others this of rungraved on the door. The kitchen and hall remain, as well rig, and the peculiar mode of preserving their produce, as some other apartments. The coast at Brakeness Point of which he observes that “the eye is caught by the great is very low, but rises much northward; it abounds in slate. number of small stone buildings scattered over it, naturally The Black Rock, which is composed of this material, exhi- mistaken for the habitations of the natives. These are the bits the singular phenomenon of a complete natural staircase, pyramids' of Martin, and are used for saving all their descending to tho cuge of the water, as accurately wrought produce, their peat, corn, hay, and even their birds. These into steps as if by the hand of a human artificer. A great structures are round and oval domes resembling orens variety of sea-weeds is found along the coast. Spars, eight or ten feet in diameter, and five or six in height.** Molucca beans, and other American productions are occa This practice, he also observes, is alluded to by Solinus as sionally deposited on the shore by the Gulf Stream, which common in the Western Islands, and as now unknown sweeps these Islands after completing its northern circuit. except in St. Kilda. He describes the breed of sheep in.
Birsa is distant 12 miles from Stromness, on the northern that island to be the Norwegian, of miserable and scanty coast of Pomona. On the road to it, the retrospective view fleece, the same which still prevails in Shetland. Si of Stromness, its harbour, the sound, and the hills of Hoy, Kilda, Orkney, and Shetland, constituting the outer circle
of the Scottish Isles, obviously derived their customs in part is very picturesque.
The country resembles very much the treeless parts of from the same northern origin. England, consisting of a series of gently sloping hills
On our right lay spread out in all its wide expanse Loch covered with corn or fine turf, interspersed with patches of Stennis. The venerable palace reared its stately pile on heath. Several cottages were pointed out to me belonging the shore of a bay on the western coast of the island. to that class of independent proprietors, called in Orkney sheltered from the northern sea by the steep and lofty proUdallers, or Allodial holders; their property consists of montory called the Burgh of Birsa, which is united to the from ten to sixteen acres and upwards. The 'Udal tenure main land by a low level tract. To northward af,peared is disappearing in Orkney and Shetland: it is liable the bold coast of Westera, one of the Orkneys, separated only to tithe and tribute, being wholly exempt from feudal from Pomona by a broad sound, whilst the valley of Birsa, obligations. That the Udal tenures are still numerous, is washed by its waters, exhibited rich harvests, groups of obvious from the fact that the minister of Stromness busy reapers, and small tracts of turf on which tethered receives his stipend from 120 heritors, a circumstance re cattle and geese were feeding. The notice of these birds markable when contrasted with there being but a single appear triling to the English reader; but their preheritor in many of the parishes of the western parts of Scot sence indicates the superior advancement of the Orkneys, land. The judge, in a trial which involved some Udal pro as compared to the Western Isles, in most of which they perty, asked of whom the Udallers held their tenures. “They are unknown. It may seem incredible, brit is nevertheless: hold of God Almighty," was the reply of the zealous true, that were some of our most common farm-yard advocate. The Norwegians introduced into Orkney their animals, an English horse, an ass, a turkey, and a goose, weights, which remain to the present day, but appear to conveyed to many of those islands, they would excite as have abstained from all interference with the customary much astonishment as a bear and a monkey, the inhabitmodes of regulating and disposing of property which they ants having no idea of them but from description. The found in these islands; a proof of the leniency of their sheep were busily cropping the sea-weed on the beach rule. The lands in Orkney are now chiefly held in fee of of the bay. These animals invariably descend from Lord Dundas, who is invested with the rights of the earl- | the hills at the time of the ebb, apparently being indom, with the exception of those once appertaining to the stinctively aware of the alterations of the tide. I little church, which are held of the crown. The farms are expected to be reminded of the Isle of Thanet at the most leased, and underlet from year to year, a system which northern print of my tour, in a district swept by blasts and is found pernicious and fatal to improvement, and is, per- the spray of the northern ocean. haps, the main cause of the little progress hitherto made Thie site of the palace of Birsa reflects credit on the taste in the cultivation of the land.
of its founder, probably a Sinclair; its enlargement and The cottages of the Orcadians are built studiously for embellishment are ascribed, as has been already stated, to the purpose of screening them against the sweeping wir.is. Robert Stewart, in the commencement of the seventeenth They resemble fortifications.
They are clustered together century, and contributed to the fatal extravagance of his for the purpose of mutual shelter, and are constricted, like family. The Manse and Kirk are near the palace. The the walls, of stone skilfully adjusted withr,ut cement: minister is much advanced in life, and has held his present they are also very large: the inhabitaris occupy the situation above thirty years. A fair inference respecting the central apartment, to which light is růmitted solely by longevity of the natives of these islands may be drawn an aperture in the ceiling; this is sor jetimes, according to from the age attained by the three ministers, of whose the means of the family, surrounde by additional chambers hospitality I partook; and the periods of time during for sleeping, a kiln for corn, pojecting from the outside in which they had severally filled the pastoral office in their the form of a semicircular Futtress, and also by a barn or respective parishes; and further, from the fact that three of store-room. Square he
aps of peat complete the group the six ministers, forming the presbytery of Cairston, have of structures, the wb:jle being entirely enclosed by a high each filled the office during half a century. The Orcadians, stone wall. The interior is a perfect labyrinth, in the notwithstanding their rainy and boisterous climate, are mazes of which the visiter, having passed the door of the indeed healthy and long-lived: they are subject, howonterrenclosure, may wander for some time ere he discovers ever, to inflammatory complaints, cold and scrophula, bethe
.nce to the dwelling: each cottage is provided with sides epidemics. In default of stables, we turned our horses
uen, chiefly yielding potatoes and cabbages. The use loose in the churchyard, and fixed the saddles and bridles of 'chis latter vegetable, introduced into the island, accord- on the wall under soaking rain, and then proceeded to take 1.ng to Dr. Barry, who has thus given publicity to the some refreshments at the Manse, and to view the palace. popular tradition, by Cromwell's soldiers, is now become The old paved road leading to this ancient edifice bas very general; and I was informed that dysenteries and been rescued from the earth and rubbish which buried it other complaints of the same species are found to arise by the present minister. The palace forms a square quafrom the excessive use of it, or from its not being adequately drangle, and though in a ruinous state, retains all its apart qualified by substantial food. In possession of the kail ments and chimneys, which are high and ornamental. In yard, the Orkney peasantry exhibit a decided superiority no part of our buildings has ancient dignity been sacrificed over those of the Northern Hebrides and Highlands. Í to modern convenience more effectually than in our chimobserved the rig-tenures or strips of land, held by different neys. The hall, kitchen, guard-room, and dwelling-rooms, tenants. This system still prevails in Orkney: amongst provided with windows commanding agreeable prospects, the objections to it is the opportunity afforded to the dis- and long galleries, connecting the opposite extremities of the honest holder to encroach by degrees upon the land
of his building, are still in tolerable preservation. The seas, during unsuspecting neighbour. The progressive enlargement of north-western gales, burst over the lofty summit of the some of these strips of land, at the expense of others, is a Burgh, and deluge the valley on the opposite side with spray. subject of much amusement. A good honest minister, holding a tract of this sort, suffered it, from inattention or ) is the only entirely inland parish in Orkney. It is that
The parish of Birsa comprehends Harra. The latter
in which the Norse language was last spoken, having in Pomona, but common on the smaller islands; the care been prevalent in Orkney in the sixteenth century, and of these animals is said to be much neglected. The remaining in three parishes of the mainland towards the number of dogs kept in Orkney is immense · the relief end of the seventeenth. The inland situation of the afforded to the peasantry by the repeal of the tax was parish of Harra exposes its inhabitants to the imputation most extensively felt. “The breed of horses was originally of ignorance of maritime affairs, and, consequently, to of Sutherlandshire, and is perfectly distinct from the the ridicule of their brother-islanders. A Harra-man is Shetland; they are of the size of galloways, strong, hardy, another name for a blundering boatman. A Harra-man is and very serviceable, though ill-kept ; I saw one in a field, said, when he saw for the first time a lobster which had near Kirkwall, in shape and spirit much resembling an just dropped from a basket, to have immediately laid his Arab; many them are exported by the whalers to Hull, hand on it, when the animal seized him, and inflicted upon and employed in the coal-pits. him a severe gripe. The exclamation which he made use The prejudice against swine, which prevails so geneof has passed into a proverb, and is employed when one man, rally among the natives of the Highlands and Western quarrelling with another, wishes him to desist; “ Let be and Islands, does not exist among those of Orkney; another I'll let be, as the Harra-man said to the lobster."
proof of distinctness of race. Swine are kept in great The wind had veered round to the north, producing a abundance, and prove very profitable. There are no sudden extraordinary chill in the atmosphere. The north- deer in Orkney, though the horns of these animals are wind, which is by many degrees colder than any other to found in the peat-mosses. which the island is exposed, usually prevails during a fort The kelp has hitherto formed an important branch of night in the month of June, about the period of the break- the produce of these Islands. It is very superior to that of ing up of the ice in the Arctic regions, and occasions, by the Hebrides, and western coasts of Scotland, and is used its uncommon coldness, destructive effects both on vege- in the manufacture of plate-glass; whereas the latter, with table and animal life *.
some few exceptions, can only be used in the preparation
of soap. When the kelp of the Western Islands was sold ORKNEY ; CLIMATE; PRODUCE; SWINE; KELP; FISH for 51., that of Orkney produced 91. and 101. per ton. The
best is found on the Isle of Sanda. It is fit for cutting in ERIES;
FISHERY; PILOTAGE; HARBOTRS ; UDALLERS; MANUFACTURES; SUPERSTITIONS ; POETRY; June to August. This is precisely the best season for fish
two or three years; and the season for gathering it is from
ing, particularly for herrings. The great neglect of this The climate of Orkney is exposed to heavy rains, and cold obvious resource in Orkney has been, no doubt, owing to and violent winds: the sky is frequently illuminated by the the profit arising from the kelp; and the failure of the Aurora Borealis. The produce of these islands is various ; latter will tend beneficially to revive the improvement there is much arable land, yielding barley, bear, black oat, of the former. It is somewhat curious that the natives and some wheat, besides other vegetables: the black oat of these islands objected originally to the introduction is preferred as food for horses to any other by Sir John of the kelp manufacture, from apprehensions of evil reSinclair. Black cattle are numerous. The Sutherland- sulting to the fishery; but evil of a different kind from shire breed has been much introduced. Sheep are rare that which has actually occurred. “ The Orcadians,
says Dr. Barry, were certain that the suffocating smoke I experienced in the province of Bergen in Norway, in the that issued from the Kelp Kilns would sicken or kill month of August, when the temperature is usually very warm, the every species of fish on the coast, or drive them into the effect of the north-wind in producing the phenomenon usual at this ocean, beyond the reach of the fishermen; blast the corn season in that country and Sweden, called the Iron or Icy nights; and grass on their farms; introduce diseases of various injure the crops. The thermometer (Fahrenheit) was at 20° at kinds; and smite with barrenness their sheep, horses, and the door of the hut in which I passed the first of these nights, at cattle, and even their own families." And most true it is, five A.M., and rose to 76° by half-past nine. Some allowance that agriculture has suffered from the use of the kelp, inmust be made for an intermediate descent of some hundred feet. ducing the farmers to depend rather on the high profits All the corn on the high lands was completely destroyed by it. arising from the maritime part of their farms, than on the ing it from one end to the other; thus removing the hoar-frost, and careful cultivation of the land; and from the habits of preventing the rapid and destructive evaporation of heat,
extravagance which high profits produced, and which at one
SOUND AND COAST OF HOY.