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EVERYBODY admires Castle Campbell. It would be difficult, indeed, to discover a more complete representative of the mountain chieftain's stronghold, as the romancists have described it in the Abruzzi or the Vosges, and Salvator and Vernet have painted it. A high and abrupt range of mountains-a precipitous rock covered with a vast and varied mass of buildings-on either side roaring torrents, seen through mysterious gulfs of frightful depth, while far off on either side stretches “a sable, silent, solemn forest,”-scarcely any of the attributes which can give interest to such a scene are wanting. The Ochils, on the slope of which the Castle stands, are at a distance, shapeless and uniform, with long table-lands and rounded summits; but their sides are in many places scooped out into precipices and gulfs. Of the wild inaccessible spots thus created, the very best has been selected for Castle Campbell. On the front, facing the valley of the Devon, and the sides, there is perhaps no other Scottish fortalice so well defended by nature; and even on the rear, only approachable by crossing a high range of mountains, the access is narrow and well defendable. On approaching the Castle rock, we reach the streams which on either side tumble through the chasms at its base, and meet in one, thus making the rock a peninsula. The adventurous tourist sometimes endeavours to clamber up by the channel of the more southerly stream; but the attempt is a perilous one. If not carried beyond the bounds of prudence, however, it brings him into magnificent scenery of precipice and waterfall, with the sweet overhanging trees which give freshness and beauty to the dark fissure. Right in the face of the rock, and reaching from the bottom of the defile to the Castle wall, there is an eccentric narrow cleft, smooth as if it had been cut with a sharp knife in a soft substance. It is called Kemp's Score. Tradition ascribes it, with other geological eccentricities, to art, and also asserts that it once afforded a hiding-place for John Knox-a most unlikely service, since it is a place where a fugitive would be exposed to multitudinous dangers.
We reach the Castle from the lower part of the torrent by a steep ascent on the surface of the smooth grass, and then we find what a lordly eagle's nest, commanding a matchless stretch of country, the great mountain chief had raised for himself. Besides the attributes of great strength and security, the fortress is not without its amenities. The mixture of symmetry with solidity in the arched roof of the hall, will be noticed in the accompanying engraving. A gallery facing the rock, as well as the top of the great square tower, have been places of open-air enjoyment; and a small garden still shows an occasional crop of apples hanging from venerable mossy trees. Some of the lower parts of the building are, or till a late period were, occupied by a shepherd and his family; and there was something to be respected in the nerves of those who could live in these deep dusky vaults, with the torrents roaring in the rocks beneath, and the broken, shattered, and occasionally falling masses of masonry swaying in the winds above.
It does not appear to be distinctly known at what time this mountain territory, so far separated from the others in the far west, came into the hands of the Argyle family. It was of old called
CASTLE CAMPBELL, 1-2.