Who Said What About Inverness?
Some of our Londoners, when they hear of Inverness,
and that it is more than a hundred miles beyond
Aberdeen, will perhaps think it the very outskirts
of creation, and that to be condemned to live there
would be worse than being sent to Botany Bay: but
let me tell such Cockneys, that there is scarcely an
article, good, bad or indifferent, to be found in
London, but it is to be found here also, excepting
watchmen and patroles, of which, fortunately, there
is no need."
.....The Rev. James Hall, A.M. London
Travels in Scotland by an Unusual Route With A Trip to the Orkneys and Hebrides containing Hints for Improvements in Agriculture and Commerce, with Characters and Anecdotes,Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul's Churchyard, ©1807
They have also much of the English Way of Living among them, as well in their Manner of Dress and Customs, as also of their Eating and Drinking, and even of their Dressing and Cookery, which we found here much more agreeable to English Stomachs than in other Parts of Scotland; all which, and several other Usages and Customs, they retain from the settling of Three Regiments of English Soldiers here, after they were disbanded, and who had, at least many of them, their Wives and Children with them.
......Daniel Defoe, A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain,© 1724-27
Inverness stands squarely across the land route and cannot be avoided, which is a reason for its great material success as a town. There are communities which make their money the hard way and others which are happier in that they can just sit and take toll.... And it has been usefully so from the Inverness point of view right through the ages.
SCOTLAND: THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE, © Donald Cowie, 1973 by A.S. Barnes and Company, Cranbury, NJ and London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London ISBN 0-498-01169-0
THE CALEDONIAN CANAL
..their bone and muscle dug for twenty years, the Navigable road,
built Telford's locks,
Across a sea to wives and children planting blighted fields
it seemed a fortune, such their poverty.
Beside the channel they reamed-out, these men
'the navigators' - ate, slept, year by year
in sodden benders formed from hazel boughs,
...which thin, mean, mizzling rain
invaded as it drenched their sweat-rank clothes.
......FROM THE POEM "Ascending Neptune's Staircase," by Ian Blake, published in The Story of Loch Ness, © Katharine Stewart, Luath Press Ltd., Edinburgh, 2005.
I am very glad to have seen the Caledonian Canal, but don't want to see it again.
......Matthew Arnold, Letter to his wife, 11 September 1882
Beautiful Loch Ness
The truth to express
Your scenery is romantic
With rocks and hills gigantic
Enough to make one frantic.
Oh beautiful Loch Ness!
I must sincerely confess
That you are most beautiful to behold
With your lovely landscape and water so cold.
......William Topaz McGonagall, deemed Scotland's - and the world's - worst poet, writing on Loch Ness, c. 1890
...that extraordinary Loch Ness which, in this day and age, has consistently made money out of a monster which has never been seen.
...So people have taken photographs of lines of dark ripples on Loch Ness and claimed that they have seen a survivor of primeval times, an immense creature of the ocean depths who somehow or other became landlocked in Ness. They do not explain how and where his ancestors reproduced themselves. But such 'sightings" have always made a good newspaper story in the silly season and have brought money to souvenir huts around the Loch and to local hotels.
...SCOTLAND: THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE, © Donald Cowie, 1973 by A.S. Barnes and Company, Cranbury, NJ and London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London ISBN 0-498-01169-0
Inverness was a Saxon colony among the Celts, a hive of traders and artisans in the midst of a population of loungers and plunderers, a solitary outpost of civilisation in a region of barbarians.
Though the buildings covered but a small part of the space over which they now extend; though the arrival of a brig in the port was a rare event; though the Exchange was the middle of a miry street, in which stood a market cross much resembling a broken milestone; though the sittings of the municipal council were held in a filthy den with a roughcast wall...
Though the best houses were such as would now be called hovels; though the best roofs were of thatch; though the best ceilings were of bare rafters; though the best windows were, in bad weather, closed with shutters for want of glass; though the humbler dwellings were mere heaps of turf, in which barrels with the bottoms knocked out served the purpose of chimneys; yet to the mountaineer of the Grampians this city was as Babylon or as Tyre.
Nowhere else had he seen four or five hundred houses, two churches, twelve malt-kilns, crowded close together.
Nowhere else had he been dazzled by the splendour of rows of booths, where knives, horn spoons, tin kettles, and gaudy ribands were exposed to sale.
Nowhere else had he been on board one of those huge ships which brought sugar and wine over the sea from countries far beyond the limits of his geography.
......©T.B. Macaulay, History of England, 1849-61
I will arise now, and go to Inverness,
And a small villa rent there, of lath and plaster built;
Nine bedrooms will I have there, and I'll don my native
And walk around in a damned loud kilt.
And I will have some sport there, when grouse come
Driven from purple hill-tops to where the loaders
While midges bite their ankles, and shots are flying
And the air is full of the grey-hen's tail.
......Captain Harry Graham, The Cockney of the
North, The Motley Muse, ©1913
I regret to say that I could never live in Inverness because of two sensationally ugly modern office buildings that stand by the central bridge and blot the business district beyond any hope of redemption.. I...was positively riveted with astonishment to realize than an entire town could be ruined by two inanimate structures. Everything about them - scale, materials, shape, design - was madly inappropriate to the surrounding scene. They weren't just ugly and large but so ill-planned that you could actually walk around them at least twice without ever identifying the main entrance....It was awful, awful beyond words.
.....NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, An Affectionate Portrait of Britain by BILL BRYSON, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, ©1995 by Bill Bryson, ISBN 0-688-14725-9