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of these enter from the sea, and require a boat to reach them. Others are far above the sea-level, indicating an upheaval of the land. One of these latter I explored on one occasion. The following account of it, from notes made at the time, may not be uninteresting. Turning round a grassy hillock on the brae face, the mouth of the cavern lay before us, not as we expected in the cliff, but in the green side of the brae. A good deal of debris and clay had been washed into it, but this made it the more accessible, and we had no difficulty in entering. When we had descended the mound of rubbish accumulated in the mouth, we found ourselves in a cave of large dimensions, and very lofty in the roof. At first we felt as if the darkness was very great, but we soon became accustomed to the gloom. We penetrated a good way, till the sides approached so near as merely to allow us to pass, though there seemed still little or no diminution in the height of the roof. By the time we had got to the narrow part of the cave it was quite dark, for we were not provided with torches, and we took the precaution of holding on to each other (there were two of us), and feeling our way before we ventured to put down our feet. It was well we did so, for, after surmounting a lump of table-rock, we could find no further footing. I set myself against the rock, so as to hold my companion more firmly. He reached over and stretched down his foot, but could find no landing; we got stones and threw them over, not without a slight quickening of the pulse, when we heard them bound from side to side, and dash with a hollow sound on the floor far below. Here there was a forcible termination to our advance. When we turned to retrace our steps, a fine sight presented itself to our gaze. Our eyes, now accustomed to the gloom, could see the whole of that portion of the cavern we had just traversed, lit up as it was by rays from the entrance. The entrance being upwards, and not sheer out, we could not see out to the sea, but the opening admitted light enough to show the proportions of the cave.
I measured from the brink of the cavern to the entrance, and found it to be about forty-five yards. Water was percolating from above, and dropping in all directions. The floor and sides were covered with a coating of fine red clay, but no calcareous incrustation appeared; from which it would seem that lime is absent from the rocks here. In the statistical account of this parish I find this remark, in reference to the caves : “One of these, called Hell-lum, is upwards of two hundred feet in length, and the pitch of the arch within rises to more than thirty feet.” Probably my friend and myself had narrowly escaped exploring, both faster and further than desirable, this Hadean chimney.
On a high rock jutting out into the sea stand the ruins of the old Castle of Slains. North of it is a fine bay, with a beautiful sandy beach, but within a few yards of the shore of this beach numerous sunken reefs and rocks, just raising their ridges above the surface of the water, render the navigation of the coast very dangerous.
Here I was rather disagreeably made acquainted with a peculiar feature, often met with on this coast. Looking from the castle towards the little bay, the dry white sand of whose shore was glittering in the sun, you see first of all a pretty steep grassy descent, ridged diagonally and horizontally with the tracks made by sheep and cattle grazing. Beneath this, rather more than two-thirds down the slope, stretches out a broad grassy platform, level, and greener than the rest. Beyond, again, the slope descends as before till it meets the beach. I had lingered at the castle to sketch, and my friend was far in advance. Seeing such an apparently smooth field before me, and expecting to have the impetus of my first descent checked by the broad green patch before I had to make the second descent to the water, I began to run down the slope, bounding over the cattle paths, and acquiring considerable speed, when all at once, as I reached the middle ground, I found I had plunged into a deep morass. I got out with all haste, and no detriment, beyond being well covered with mud about the legs, but had to make a considerable detour before I reached the beach. The clay had formed a ridge by the beating up of the sea. This ridge had accumulated water from the numerous springs which abound in the rocks above, and also the debris of vegetable matter, till soil was formed; so that at last there was a natural water meadow hanging midway down this steep brae face. These occur frequently, almost wherever there is a beach, and are carefully preserved by the people. A very little labour with the spade would drain any one of them, but as they afford the richest pasture to be met with near, their extension is fostered, rather than prevented.
Not far from this point, still northward, is a very extensive cave, called The Dripping Cave. It differs from the last I mentioned, in that it occurs in limestone, and is filled with stalactites and stalagmite. At one time some of the stalactites were continuous from roof to floor, and were very beautiful. I am sorry to say, however, that the most of them have been taken away and used for lime. I searched in vain for this cave. It seems that the overhanging clay, which is continuous all along the cliffs, had fallen in mass over the entrance and closed it. I examined all the brae, and climbed down to the sea line, and examined the rocks below. Much did I see that was interesting, but not the cave. A stream of water strongly charged with calcareous matter was falling over the cliffs, and covering the rocks with a limy incrustation. The water was actually percolating through the cave; but so completely was it at that time closed, that though, as I afterwards learned, I must have passed and repassed the spot where it was, it yet remained undiscovered. I am informed that it is again accessible, and I hope in the course of the ensuing summer to examine it. In this neighbourhood, where the clay reaches the edge of the cliffs, it is fringed with tall grass. When the culms have withered and fallen over the cliff, the water from the high ground runs along them, dropping from their points, and, such is the vertical character of the cliffs, it falls one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet into the water below.
As I have already stated, the principal rocks met with on this part of the coast are gneiss and mica slate. — To these may be added various porphyritic combinations, and basalt.
The next parish, Cruden, carries on the coast line seven miles further. The gneiss and mica slate extend part of this way, after which there is a broad sandy beach, called the Ward of Cruden. The south end of this beach is marked by a remarkable reef of sunken rocks running far out into the sea, called the Scars of Cruden, and many a gallant ship has been wrecked upon them. Northward the bay is terminated by precipitous cliffs of red granite, which extend from this point onward beyond Peterhead.
There is little to be told of this part of the coast, beyond a few descriptive remarks to exemplify how it has been disrupted, and torn, and heaved into the most rugged and frowning coast line exhibited almost anywhere,- indicating a “ turgidum mare," and forcibly reminding us of Horace's infames scopulos acroceraunia."
On the first granite headland after passing the Ward of Cruden stands the modern Slains Castle, the seat of the Earls of Erroll. It is almost insulated, a strip of sea running round to the north, and trending so far west as to leave only a narrow isthmus by which to obtain access to the castle. This arm of the sea is called the Langhaven, and is quite narrow; it is, in fact, a mere rent or fissure on a large scale. It contains deep water, and its sides are so perpendicular and so high, that, in looking up from below, the eye does not perceive a much greater breadth of sky than, looking down, it perceives breadth of water. Seaward the cliffs are equally high and equally precipitous. It is said that from the library or drawing-room windows a stone dropped falls directly into the water. A carriage way formerly ran round the castle, but this has now disappeared, owing to the fall of a large portion of rock. Looking from these windows, nothing is to be seen but sea and sky.
Not far from the castle there is a cave of peculiar construction.
It opens to the sea below water-mark, runs horizontally for a considerable distance into the rock, and then rises till it comes to the surface in a field some way from the edge of the cliff. From the rolling of the waves into the cavern below, an atmospheric current is created, sufficiently strong to blow into the air any light article thrown into the upper aperture of the cave; and when there is a gale from the east a column of spray rises continuously from it. This cave, as well as the one formerly noticed, has received the name of “Helllum;'* indeed every cave of similar form obtains this designation all over this coast.
Many insulated rocks, of nearly equal altitude with the main line of coast, are scattered all along at various distances from the shore. One of the most famous of these is called the Dun Buy. Although Dr. Johnson, in his “ Tour to the Hebrides,” says of it, in reference to the urgent request of Lady Erroll that he should not leave Slains without seeing the Dun Buy, that there is nothing about it to detain attention, it is, nevertheless, to those who see it a very striking object, standing isolated and bare, majestic and unmoved, amid the buffetings of northern storms. Description can convey no idea of the peculiar feelings of awe and wonder created by the sight of such effects of forces, with whose operations we are now unacquainted. This rock has, moreover, been rendered classical by Sir Walter Scott's introduction
lum,” Scottice for chimney.