THIS lake lies in the district of Lochaber in Inverness-shire, and forms one of the chain of lakes which occupy a large portion of the Gleann-mhor-nan-Albin, or the Great Glen of Scotland. This valley extends across the whole island, from the sound of Mull to the Murray firth; and, it is possible, may have been at one time entirely occupied by water. Its direction is accurately parallel to the stratification of the rocks which form the country; its highest elevation above the sea-level to the west, is about 90 feet; and its length may be computed at about 90 miles. If the sea ever did communicate through this valley, it is obvious that the shallow parts must have gradually been raised to their present height by the gradual accumulation of gravel or alluvial deposite. With regard to Loch Lochy and Loch Ness, this seems most probable; but it is not so certain with regard to Loch Oich. By the junction of these lakes with each other and with the sea, at either extremity, the Caledonian canal has been formed, through which a fifty gun frigate can sail.
Loch Lochy is about fourteen miles long, and not more than a mile broad. Its boundaries on either side, throughout its whole extent, are lofty mountains; but they rise up sudden and unbroken. Their outline is without variety; and after passing the mouth of the water of Arkeg, there is neither bay, promontory, nor turning of the lake, of size sufficient to break the disagreeable uniformity. A narrow valley, its bottom filled with an extensive sheet of water, presents a dreary vista, of which the termination cannot be seen; and a sense of tiresome vacuity is the result of a visit to Loch Lochy. Near the western end of the lake, however, where the water of Arkeg enters, there is some relief to the scenery here described. The fine bay which here sweeps on towards the glens of Achnacary and Meala Dubh, – the broken rocks, and fine woods which ornament these little valleys. – the wooded and heathery knolls which are scattered about, – the mansion-house of Lochiel, and the pleasant farm-house of Clunes, – afford an agreeable relief to the tourist, who has sailed up Loch Lochy from the east. It was at this place that our view of Loch Lochy was taken, from the top of a hillock called Tor-a-cromerk, situated at the gorge of the two glens we have mentioned, and looking across a portion of the lake toward the north-east. In front is the bay of Arkeg, and beyond it the loch, on which are seen a steam-packet, and some other vessels passing to the eastern sea. On the opposite side of the water are the hills of Lettre Finlay, which form the boundary of the lake for a considerable extent on that side. Towards the right side of the engraving is the farm-house of Clunes; and immediately behind, rises a mountain called Craeg-Liagh, or the Grey rock.
On the banks of the Lochy, near its junction with the sea, stands Inverlochy castle, alike remarkable for its strength and construction, and for the obscurity of its origin. It consists of an extensive square quadrangle, with four round towers, one at each corner. The walls are nine feet thick, and the measure of the curtains about 100 feet in length. It is surrounded with a moat, and the remains of the drawbridge are still apparent. There is considerable historical interest connected with this spot. In 1427, the battle of Inverlochy was fought, by Donald Balloch against the Earls of Mar and Caithness; and another in 1645, between Argyle and Montrose. Nor do the occurrences which here took place during Cromwell’s time, in which the energy and fame of Sir Ewan Cameron and his clan were so deeply involved, lessen the interest of this spot.