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STRATHMORE: ITS SCENES AND LEGENDS,
Soft flow thy streams, bright bloom thy flowers,
Thy birdies liltin' as of yore :
Thou bonnie Howe o' sweet Strathmore,
THE “Great Valley," or Howe of Strathmore, independent of its historical and classical associations, is one of the most beautiful and romantic vales in Scotland. Surrounded on the south by the long rugged ridge of the Sidlaw Hills, and guarded on the north by the Grampian Mountains, the “Howe” luxuriantly nestling between, the great valley is unsurpassed in all that constitutes soft, yet rich and gorgeous landscape. Hamlet, village, vale, and hill, combine with castle, wood, and stream, to form a picture, which, once seen, can never be forgotten.
Two of the finest and most striking views of this celebrated valley are obtained by the traveller ; the one from the Castle of Hatton, in the Glack of Newtyle, and the other on the road from Dundee to Coupar-Angus, when emerging from the defile
through the Sidlaws in the immediate proximity of Haliburton House. When the Queen visited Scotland in the autumn of 1844, she took the latter route when proceeding to the Highlands of Perthshire. The scenery, on approaching the Sidlaws from the south, gradually becomes comparatively bleak and uninteresting ; but, once through the “glack," the scene changes as if by enchantment, when the “Howe," in all its luxuriant loveliness, bursts in an instant on the enraptured view. The Prince Consort, who was an ardent admirer of the beauties of Nature, was so captivated by the unexpected yet fully appreciated beauty of the scene, that he ordered the Royal cortege to pause on the top of the hill to afford sufficient time to the Royal visitants to master the details of such a superb and beautiful picture, chased in frame-work so
a lofty and sublime.
Although the beautiful rivers, the North Esk and the South Esk (the Tina and Esica of the Romans) and the Isla, flow through the extreme east and western boundaries of the Strath, the Kerbet and the Dean are the only streams that diversify the landscape in Strathmore proper. The latter takes its rise in the Loch of Forfar, receiving in its course the waters of the Kerbet and falling into the Isla before its junction with the Tay at Kinclaven in Perthshire.
The Lochs of Feithie and Forfar in the Howe, although not equal in point of extent or romantic scenery to those of Lintrathen or Lee, are, nevertheless, most interesting in a geological or historical aspect. In regard to the first, Sir Charles Lyell observes that it is completely surrounded by calcareous deposits, making its geological features unique, and its treasures highly valuable.
Loch Feithie belongs to Mr Dempster of Dunnichen, and its banks until lately were covered with thriving forest trees, which gave the place a beautiful and romantic appearance, very different from its present bleak and cheerless aspect. This rude despoilage is the more to be regretted as this retired spot was a much-loved resort of its former proprietor, the celebrated