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of 4350 feet. The ascent, accord- that the summit or higher portion ingly, even of the base on the north- of Ben-Nevis forms its celebrated west, is extremely steep, till we lofty precipice to the north-east and reach the heiglit of 1100, or 1200 east ; from the foot of which the feet; after which, a gentler slope ground descends towards the north, for a mile or more, brings us, at with a comparatively gentle slope, the elevation of about 1600, or for several miles, till it reaches the 1800 feet, to a kind of irregular valley or level country in which the stage or platform, with a rising Lochy flows. Of the summit and ground on each side. This plain its stupendous precipice, the whole inclines upwards, to the right hand ; figure may be compared to a mighty and across it, at some distance,' dome, out of which, immediately stands the acclivity of the mountain. below the apex, a portion has been
At the foot of the acclivity there hollowed, by an irregular and alis a hollow containing a small lake, most perpendicular section, having around which we still find a cover a grand projecting front towards ing of moss and spongy soil. But the east, but the greatest altitude on soon after beginning to mount up the north-east, close to the summit, on the left, we find ourselves clam- where this awful and tremendous bering over naked fragments of precipice forms a vast solid re-enrock, with hardly a vestige of vege- tering angle.-Such is a general tation ; so that even the lichen is outline of the shape of Ben-Nevis. at length no longer discerned. The As to its part of the ascent or face of Ben Structure-The surface of the Nevis, to which this description ap- , mountain is all around furrowed by plies, is probably from two or three a number of streams, the course of iniles of the way to the summit; which affords great facilities for deand the whole distance from the termining the nature of the rocks lowest to the highest point, as the that compose its lower parts. Afescent from Fort-William is usually ter minutely examining these waterperformed, may be estimated with courses, and traversing the surface tolerable exaciness, at somewhat in various directions, the geognosmore than five miles.
tic result of the investigation enaOn the eastern side, which we bles me to say, that this enormous shall call the back of the mountain, body of rock' is an overlying masit is incircled by a high ridge, which, sive formation, in which felspar is after sweeping around the interme. the leading ingredient ; that the diate hollow, joins Ben-Nevis on particular rocks of this species, the south, at the height of nearly which form the inferior mass of 1000 feet below the summit. The Ben-Nevis, are (conformably to mountain, therefore, in this direc- geognostic principle in such a case) tion, is by no means so precisely varieties of Sienite, passing from defined, as on the opposite side. the simple granular into the granu. • But, if we conceive an imaginary lar porphyritic, -also sienite-porline passing beneath this ridge, and phyry, and porphyritic compact joining the base at the north and felspar, all of which have in general south points, the whole circumfer a reddish aspect; and that the up, ence of the mountain at the level of per part of the mountain, comprethe sea, can hardly be less than 24 hending the summit, with about or 25 miles.
one-third of the whole ascent, and It is along the course of the hol- from 1030 to 1500 feet of perpenlow, or great ravine just mentioned, dicular height, is composed of a
substance allied to felspar, which mountain. Nearly opposite to Glenis for the most part porphyritic, and Nevis house, I found the junction much tinged with the matter of with the superincumbent formation, hornblende, giving the mass a deep- in the bed of a small rivulet, where green or darkish colour. . This the debris of the higher rocks rock, into which the compact fel- gins to cover the soil of the glen; spar evidently passes, by the addi- and a little to the north, on the tion of a colouring substance, I same side, a considerable front of must leave to further examination, Mica-slate presents itself, at some without presuming to assign it a height above the river. At last, name or place, in the Wernerian however, after ascending to a consystem of mineralogical arrange- siderable elevation, the strata formment.
ing this front, disappear beneath The portion of the great deposi- the mass of the mountain-base. tion, which thus assumes a darkish This general view of the struchue, has somewhat the shape of a ture of Ben-Nevis is illustrated by a vast wedge sunk into the body of reference, on the grand geognostic the mountain, so that from a parti- scale, to the nature of the adjoincular point in the hollow beneath, ing country, for many miles on the it may be traced up to the bottom east and south. The probability of the precipice, in the form of a has already been noticed, that the fan widely spread. This is perceive range of mountains which extends ed, by sprveying attentively the from Glencoe to Ben-Nevis, connorth-east front of the precipice, sists of an overlying formation, prinwhich, as Mr Williams has observ- cipally of felspar, under a great ed, exhibits a magnificent section variety of forms and appearances. of the internal structure of Ben- This, however, is stated merely in Nevis. The precipice itself con- the way of conjecture.--I now prosists almost wholly of the dark-co- ceed to describe more particularly loured rock; which, above the the wedge-shaped mass now described, Oryctognostic characters of the appears to spread itself horizontally different rocks which compose Benover the subjacent reddish felspar, Nevis, as they were observed in
The rocks on which the entire the course of prosecuting the invesmass of Ben-Nevis rests, are Gneiss; tigation along the Base, the Accliand Mica-slate, in some places ap- vity, the Summit, and the Precipice. proaching to clay-slate. "These, at In different parts of this extraordidifferent points of the base, may be nary alpine tract, the various obseen distinctly running beneath the jects which meet the eye, in a picbody of the mountain, in the usual turesque point of view, are direction of the Highland strata. striking to be passed over without For example, on the level ground remark, as we proceed. between Fort William and the be Besides the information to be degioning of the ascent, Mica-slate is rived from surveying the more proto be traced, passing under the minent masses, which present themnorth west corner of the base, and selves around the mountain, I have appearing beyond it, in the chan- noticed the facilities of examination nels of the rivulets which descend that are afforded by the wateron that side. Along the course of courses in every direction. In parthe Nevis also, the strata are ob- ticular, the base and acclivity may served in places, crossing the bed, be examined with advantage along and running directly under the the course of five streams, which
divide the circumference into the the description of true sienite. It same number of unequal portions, has at first á greyish aspect ; but and some of which conduct at soon acquires, towards the upper length to the dark-coloured rock part of the base, a reddish hue, informs the summit. These are not only from a change in the co1. The Stone-burn, which takes its lour of the felspar, but from its prorise under the precipice to the east, portion becoming greater, and asand holds its course nearly north- suming at the same time, the form ward ; 2. The Millburn, which is- of large distinct crystals, which sues from the small lake, at the foot give it a porphyritic character ; of the acclivity, and runs for some forming a rock of an unusually fine distance, almost parallel to the and beautiful appearance, and more former; and, 3. The Claggan-burn, than probably of the same kind with along which is the first part of the that which was anciently used in common ascent from the west. Egypt for the pillars and obelisks The 4th stream, to which I allude, so famous in history. In the Clagis that which directs the course of gan-burn, there is a vein of granuthe traveller, in ascending the ac- lar substance, containing chiefly clivity from the small lake just men- felspar, with a slight intermixture tioned. It takes its rise from the of hornblende, mica, and quartz. last spring which we meet with be- This vein may be traced for a long fore reaching the summit; and af- way up, in the channel of the ter an unusually precipitous and a- stream, and seems to have been filbrupt course to the south-west, falls led from the briglier part of the same into the river, at a short distance formation. from the house of Glen-Nevis. Acclivity. After passing the small The 5th stream begins immediately lake, we edge upwards along the under the junction of the great face of the acclivity to the left, till ridge which backs the mountain on we reach a place beside the 4th the south. Its head lies about a stream) which may be estimated at mile westward from that of the about two thirds of the distance to Stone-burn first described ; and the top, and where the guide is acbeing on the opposite declivity of customed to make the travellers the ridge, the course of the stream whom he attends, rest and refresh is southward. This rivulet, which, themselves, before they encounter if possible, is still more direct and the steepest and most difficult part precipitous in its course, than the of the ascent. At this elevation, fourth stream, falls into the Nevis we have ascended beyond the level a few miles above the house. of the neighbouring heights, and
Of these rivulets, the Claggan- the splendid prospect which Benburn is commonly the first which Nevis commands, begins to unfold occurs to observation. At the its majestic features. The fine place where it reaches the level sweeps of Loch-Eil, and Loch-Lincountry, mica-slate is found, but nhe to the west and south-west, and hardly ascends to any height. The the greater part of the westero overlying formation soon appears, isles from Jura to Sky, with the as we begin to go up the
mountains of Mull, Rum, and CanBase- In this formation, the ge- na, the Cullin Hills vanishing in ncral substance of the rock is a mist, and the arms of the ocean granular aggregate of felspar, horn- indenting the shores in a great vablende and mica, in various pro- riety of beautiful forns, are here portions, more or less approaching expanded with singular magniti
cence, like a vast map before the priety of its being selected by Dr eye.
Maskelyne for his experiments on Summit -The fatigue of ascend- gravitation. ing is now lessened by the diminu With all this diversity of magni tion of the steepness; and our at- ficent and striking objects to feast tention, on reaching the summit is the eye, and captivate the mind, soon attracted from the broken the prospect from Ben-Nevis can rocks on which we are treading, to scarcely be equalled or at least exthe boundless prospect which bursts ceeded in majesty and grandeur ; it upon us, all around. Of this su- presents a scene on which the imablime and unrivalled scene, eleva- gination may dwell with delight, tion, immensity and extent are the but of which it is difficult by mere leading characters that give the description to convey a just idea. whole its interest. The parts, in- The feelings excited at this comdeed, appear on too vast a scale to manding elevation, are not, howconstitute beauty, and the individ- ever, entirely unmingled with senval objeets which contribute to this sations of a different kind, when effect, are too remote to be distinct- we take our attention from the obly seen.
Mountain ranges in every jects at a distance, to the spot on direction, aud huge masses of arid which we stand. On looking berock, intermingled with extensive neath us, a few paces from the sumwater surfaces, compose the princi- mit, we see the edge of a frightful pal features of the view: which here precipice, which cannot be apranges from the Murray Firth, and proached without caution, and from the mountains of Ross and Suther- which the boldest must shrink with land on the north and north-east, to terror. What adds to the danger Ben-Lomond on the south, and the of the trembling spectator, the edge island of Colonsa, on the south-west, itself is wholly composed of loose including a distance of nearly 180 fragments, which a little pressure miles. A new effect in the way of is often sufficient to displace, and, embellishment, is thus produced. when of any considerable size, their For besides the ordinary groups in own weight soon urges down the an alpine landscape, lakes, islands, precipice, with a rushing noise and and the great ocean enrich the tremendous crash. This sound, prospect, and fill the eye with a produced by the rattling of thie picturesque variety, which is want- stone, as it impinges successively, ing in the grand central view froin during its fall, on the projecting Ben-More.
points of the perpendicular rock, is The vast hollow which stretches reverberated among the surrounding from Fort-George to the Sound of cliffs, and filling the vast adjacent Mull, and along which the Canal cavity, thunders along the valley now begun is intended, form a com- below. The effect accordingly on munication betwixt the northern the ear, is grand and impressive; and western ocean, is seen at once and has occasionedacommon but pein all its extent. Among the inoun rilous amusement, of heaving stones tains, the most conspicuous are froin the top of the precipice into Ben-Wyvis in Ross-shire, Crua- the dreadful abyss. chan, Bendoran; Ben-More in It is evident, that in the course Mull; and Schiballion to the east, of being reduced to its present fragwhich, viewed from this position, mented state, the height of the rock appears more insulated, than in any which forms the summit, and conother direction, and shows the pro sequently of the whole mountain May 1812
itself, must have suffered a consi. derable diminution. Still Ben. Observations on the Fifth Exhilition Nevis, as is well known, overtops of Paintings in Edinburgh. the whole of its neighbours, although many of them are very high.
(Concluded from page 248.) In looking from the summit, on those particularly which lie to the No. 12 Study of a Cottage at the ing struck with the resemblance, This is a drawing in water-colour. which, from their peculiar shape, It is but justice to Mr Woolford to they bear to the waves of the ocean say, that he is rather improved since agitated by a violent tempest. Such last year. His picture, No. 143, an appearance may give birth in Composition Mountain Scene, is, perthe fertile imagination to a variety haps, the best of the host of those of curious geological conjectures. he has produced. No. 55, SunThe effect, also, of elevation in di- setting. We are completely at a loss minishing apparent distance, is ex- to know in which quarter of the tremely sensible from Ben-Nevis. globe Mr Woolford has discovered Thus, the islands towards the sound so marvellous a representation of of Mull
, although at the distance Sun-set as he has here exhibited. of thirty miles, seem as if placed Every boy at the Academy knows, under our feet. I
further re- or, ought to know, that a warm mark, that so far as I could judge effect in a picture is produced, þy from my own sensations, the rarity the opposition of cool shadows to of the air at this altitude, had no the lights: but Mr Woolford's docperceptible influence on respiration. 'trine, however, seems to be differIts effect, indeed, must very fre- ent. For our part, unless all kinds quently be counteracted by a cir- of yellows soon rise to the price of cumstance, which probably is not ultramarine, we must despair of ever duly attended to, or reinarked; observing any considerable imthat the agitation of the atmosphere, provement in this gentleman. His either sensibly or imperceptibly, by pictures seem to be painted chiefly those causes which produce its mo
for effect at a distance; it there. tion, may occasion a state of it, dif- fore occurs to us, that the very imferent from what would take place, posing manner in which they are were the equilibrium according to arranged in the room is extremely the laws of statics, to exist as in prejudicial to them. perfect stillness. The state here No. 22. Frame, containing Models, alluded to, resembles that which is by Mr Morrison. We observe, with produced, by shaking together li- much pleasure, the great improvequors of different specific gravity; ment of Mr Morrison. These mothe heavier particles may occupy in dels possess considerable spirit, and turn, the higher place, while the are reputed good likenesses; but to motion continues, and a sort of me- the costume a l'antique preference is dium denisty may be the result.
due. We cannot help deploring his hard fate, when reduced to the dire necessity of complying with the vi. tiated taste of his employers, in giving colour to any of his models.
No. 27. Model of D. H. Rucker, Esq. and No. 30. Mackie, Esq.