Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 1920

Am not equal to writing up this day. It has meant more to me than any day of our tour. We left Edinburgh by tram at 8-31, crossed Firth of Forth bridge, to Stirling, changed cars here for Callendar, arriving at 10-38. Charabancs were waiting which took us to the Trossach’s Hotel situated upon the estate belonging to Drummond Castle. Here we were upon historic ground, indeed, that had to do with our own family history, for the Clan Drummond had their part in the old heroic days of Scotland. Stirling was the birthplace and early home of that remarkable personality - Henry Drummond who, through the influence of Dwight L. Moody, became such a power with young people. He is best remembered by the address he delivered to the students at Northfield, Mass “Love, the Greatest Thing in the World.” We had scarcely time to do justice to the lunch served us so rushed were we to reach the Steamer on schedule time and enjoy the famous trip through the Trossachs.

We found the steamer, Sir Walter Scott, waiting to carry us across Loch Katrine. It was such a beautiful ride. We were the first tourists that had come through this pass in six years and the Captain smiled his hearty welcome, as he pointed out to us the pass of the McGregors, Ellen’s Isle, the Silver Strand and other places mentioned in Scott’s Lady of the Lake. Rob Roy and his wife Helen and many things we have read about this section always seemed so mythical, but now they seem very real.

Reaching Stronachlacher, we coach to Inversnaid and I enjoyed a seat by they liveried driver, who smiled at our accent when the party attempted to sing Scotch airs, but he was a good talker and told us many things of interest.

The ride on the Prince Edward down Loch Lomond to Ballach Pier was equally interesting. The day was beautiful, scenery fine, and the background historical. We visit, promenade, take pictures and sing. We enjoyed the splendid dinner served on boat.

We will always carry with us the memory of the Highlands, the glens, Stately Ben Lomond, and the entire romantic and beautiful region made doubly so by Scott. It is no longer traditional geography, but very, very real, and we call to mind the fierce struggles of old border warfare in which England and Scotland shivered lances for long years.

Our great disappointment was, that it was too early to see the heather in bloom - only now and then could we catch a glimpse of the famous blossoms.

From Ballach Pier we took train for Glasgow. We were interested in seeing the funny black-faced sheep with their long tails, the Highland cows with their furry coats, the hillsides covered with heather, the strange birds, the blooming cowslips and primroses and always the snow-capped mountains in sight. Wild deer and goats live in the mountains and the goats are never killed. There is a story that once Robert Bruce and his men were caught in the mountains in a heavy snow storm and the goats driven down to the valley laid down beside the men and kept them warm. Then the edict went forth that they must never be killed.

We had a fall of 400 ft., in descending from the mountain to the boat landing. We had one hour’s wait in Glasgow, before our train was due to take us back to Edinburgh - Glasgow is a commercial city and unlike Edinburgh, London or other cities. I can hardly describe the difference. The Scots are also a nation of workers and the national energy is in the blood, and they give you the impression that they are terribly in earnest.

We are interested in Glasgow, for families of the Drummonds live there.

“A city dull and somewhat plain of face

Yet some there are, who with a lover’s eye

Are quick to mark an unexpected grace

Where strangers would indifferent, pass by.

May it be yours for a brief spell to share

Old Glasgow’s smiles - to pierce the veil of day

That screens her charms from hurried eyes - to bear

The best of her in memory away!”


  1. Hi Jennifer R
    I run a small charity called the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (we work to protect the environment, wildlife and heritage of this prescious part of Scotland, and its first national park), and this came up on our google alert - it's a really interesting piece - we would love to reporoduce it in our bi-anual newsletter if you would allow that? and / or perhaps put a summary and a link up on our website - www.lochlomondtrossachs.org.uk - what do you think?!
    best wishes
    Simon Lewis
    Director of the charity

  2. My husband's family is Clan Drummond, he has Drummond as his third Christian name, as does his brother and cousin. We carried on the tradition with our son and daughter.

    Ian's mother came from Stirling and he has cousins living there. His grandmother was Sophia Drummond, born 1878. We are compiling a family history but have yet to expand the Drummond connection.

    Kind regards, Madeleine

  3. Simon - yes that would be fine with me! One small request: if you do publish it in your newsletter, would it be possible for you to send me a copy? If so, you can email me at stargazer@brightdsl.net and I can give you my mailing address. A link on your website is also fine with me - I am thrilled to share this with others! Thank you for your time and interest!

    Madeleine - that is so fascinating, that we might have some distant relatives in common! My mother did a lot of genealogical research years ago and passed it all on to me... not sure how far back in the Drummond history she got, but I will look through it and see if I have any useful information to share. Thanks for writing!