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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Colinton.1 VIEW FROM THE PENTLANDS. 325 opposite coast of Fife.? But the distant views of Edinburgh are all splendid alike. The northern slopes of these mountains command a clear view of one of the grandest and most varied landscapes in Scotland. ? The ndiiiberless villas in the vicinity of Edinof hills and elevated situations, useful as well as ornamental-protecting, not injuring, cultivation. . . . The expanse of the Forth, which forms the northern boundary, adds highly to the natural beauty of the scene; and the capital, situated upon an eminence, adjoining an exten- MAP OF THE ENYIWVNS OF EDINBURGH. burgh and gentlemen?s seats all over the country are seen, beautiful and distinct, each amidst its own plantations,? says a writer so far back as 1792, since which date great improvements have taken place. ?I These add still more to the embellishment of the scene from the manner in which they are disposed ; not in extended and thick plantations, which turn a country into a forest, and throw a gloom upon the prospect, but in clear and diversified lines, in clunips and hedgerows, or waving on the brows sive plain, rises proudly to the view and gives a dignity to the whole. Descending from the hills to the low country, the surface which had the appearance of a uniform plain undergoes a change remarkable to the eye. The fields are laid out in various directions according to the nature of the ground, which is unequal, irregular, and inclined to every point of the compass. The most part, however, lies upon a gentle slope, either to the north or to the south, in banks which are
Volume 6 Page 325
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326 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Libertou. extended from east to west over all the country. This inequality in the surface .contributes much to the ornament of the view, by the agreeable relief which the eye ever meets with in the change of objects ; while the universal declivity, which prevails more or less in every field, is favourable to the culture of the lands, by allowing a ready descent to the water which falls from the heavens.? (Agricultural Survey of Midlothian.) Situated in a hollow of the landscape, on the Colinton slope of the Pentlands, is Bonally, with the Vale of the Leith, and enters the parish here, on the west side by a lofty aqueduct bridge of eight arches, and passes along it for two and a half miles. Near Slateford is Graysmill, where Prince Charles took up his headquarters in 1745, and met the deputies sent there from the city to arrange about its capitulation, and where ensued those deliberations which Lochiel cut short by entering the High Street at the head of go0 claymores. Proceeding eastward, we enter the parish of Liberton, one of the richest and most beautiful in its ponds, 482 feet above the tower, added to a smaller house, and commanding a pass among the hills, was finished in 1845 by Lord Cockburn, who resided there for many years. There are several copious and excellent springs on the lands of Swanston, Dreghorn, and Comistun, from which, prior to the establishment of the Water Company in 1819, to introduce the Cramley water, the inhabitants of Edinburgh chiefly procured that necessary of life. At Corniston are- the remains of an extensive camp ofpre-historic times. Adjacent to it, at Fairmilehead, tradition records that a great battle has been fought ; two large cairns were erected there, and when these were removed to serve for road metal, great quantities of human bones were found sea-level. A peel i all the fertile Lothians. Its surface is exquisitely diversified by broad low ridges, gently rising swells and intermediate plains, nowhere obtaining a sufficient elevation to be called a hill, save in the instances of Blackford and the Braid range. ?As to relative position,? says a writer, ?? the parish lies in the very core of the rich hanging plain or northerly exposed lands of Midlothian, ahd commands from its heights prospects the most sumptuous of the urban landscape and romantic hills of the metropolis, the dark farm and waving outline of the Pentlands and their spurs, the minutely-featured scenery of the Lothians, the Firth of Forth, the clear coast line, the white-washed towns and distant hills of Fife, and the bold blue sky-line of mountain The parish itself has a thoul?IE BATTLE OR CAMUB STONE, COMISTON. ranges away in far perspective. in and under them. Near \$here they stood there still remains a relic of the fight, a great whinstone block, about 20 feet high, known as the Kelstain, or Battle Stone, and also as Cuvw Stage, from the name of a Danish commander. Corniston House, in this quarter, was built by Sir James Forrest in 1815. The Hunter?s Tryst, near this, is a well-known and favourite resort of the citizens of Edinburgh in summer expeditions, and was frequently the headquarters of the Six Foot Club. Slateford, a village of Colinton parish, is two and a half miles from the west end of Princes Street. It has. a ?United Secession place of worship, dating from 1784, and is noted as the scene of the early pastoral labours of the Rev. Dr. John Dick The Union Canal is carried across . sand attractions, and is dressed out in neatness of enclosures, profusion of garden-grounds, opulence of cultivation, elegance or tidiness of. mansion, village, and cottage, and busy stir and enterprise, which indicate full consciousness of the immediate vicinity of the proudest metropolis in Europe.? One of the highest ridges in the parish is crowned by the church, which occupies the exact site of a more ancient fane, of which we have the first authentic notice in the King?s charter to the monks of Holyrood, circa 1143-7, when he grants them ?? that chapel of Liberton, with two oxgates of land, with all the tithes and rights, etc.,? which had been made to it by Macbeth-not the usurper, as Arnot erroneously supnoses, but the Macbeth, or Macbether, Baron of Liberton, whose name occurs as witness to several royal charters of David I.
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