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Trossachs, The

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Trossachs (Gael. ` bristled territory '), a romantic mountain defile of SW Perthshire, on the southern border of Callander parish, extending 1 mile westward from the head of Loch Achray to the foot of Loch Katrine, and forming a portal of the Western Highlands. Flanked to the N by Ben A'an (1851 feet), and Ito the SW by huge Ben Venue (2393), the Trossachs are a contracted vale, whose sides are soaring eminences wildly and irregularly feathered all over with hazels, oaks, birches, hawthorns, and mountain-ashes, and whose central space is ` a tumultuous confusion of little rocky eminences, all of the most fantastic and extraordinary forms, everywhere shagged with trees and shrubs,' and presenting ` an aspect of roughness and wildness, of tangled and inextricable boskiness, totally unexampled, it is supposed, in the world.' Thus the discoverer of the Trossachs' beauties, the Rev. Dr Robertson, who was presented to the parish of Callander in 1768, and who winds up six closely printed pages with the remarks that ` In a word, the Trossachs beggar all description. ' Many since him have here tried their hands at ` word-painting, ' among them Dorothy Wordsworth, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Alexander Smith; but the finest description is always Sir Walter Scott's in the Lady of the Lake (1810):

'The western waves of ebbing day
Roll'd o'er the glen their level way;
Each purple peak, each flinty spire,
Was bathed in floods of living fire.
But not a setting beam could glow
Within the dark ravine below,
Where twined the path in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid.
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splinter'd pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass.
Huge as the tower which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Shinar's plain.
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Form'd turret, dome, or battlement,.
Or seem'd fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Wild crests as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of Eastern architect.
nor were these earth-born castles bare,
Nor lack'd they many a banner fair;
For, from their shiver'd brows display'd,
Far o'er the unfathomabie glade,
All twinkling with the dewdrops sheen,
The briar-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west wind's summer sighs.

'Boon Nature scatter'd, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalm'd the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale, and violet flower,
Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
Foxglove and nightshade, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Group'd their dark hues with every stain
The weather-beaten crags retain.
With boughs that quaked at every breath
Grey birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And, higher yet, the pine-tree hung
His shatter'd trunk, and frequent flung.
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow'd sky.
Highest of all, where white peaks glanced.
Where glist'ning streamers waved and danced,
The wanderer's eye could barely view
The summer heaven's delicious blue:
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.'

The castellated Trossachs Hotel, 8 miles W by S of Callander, stands at the entrance of the defile, near the northern shore of Loch Achray, and was built by Lady Willoughby de Eresby in 1852, in place of a humble wayside inn, which bore the euphonious name of Ardcheanochrochan. A little to the SE are the pretty little church and the manse of the quoad sacra parish of the Trossachs, which is in the presbytery of Dunblane and the synod of Perth and Stirling. Pop. of parish (1881) 302, of whom 56 were in Aberfoyle, 227 in Callander, and 19 in Port of Monteith.—Ord. Sur., sh. 38, 1871.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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