Charles Morrison’s Diary, 1 to 14 April 1864


Probably John Morrison as a young man (carte de visite from Charles Morrison’s Photograph Album c. Alison Mein)

Friday 1st April

It was pretty cold today. I was something busy. I took down some of the goods that was in J Stewart’s shop. At night I went to Goathill and was for some time with Christina.

Saturday 2nd April

Christina gave me a brooch for Kate. She gave me some of her father’s hair for to get into a brooch for her. I was at tea with Miss Betsey McDonald.

Sunday 3rd April

In the morning the Revd Mr Adam preached from 2nd Peter 1st chapter 19th verse We have also a more sure word of prophecy whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. In the evening he preached from the 17th chapter of Job 13th verse If I wait the grave is mine house. It rained all day.

Monday 4th April

I called on Mr J Reid about John Morrison’s shop. He told me it would not be let till Martinmas. At 3 o’clock I went to give good bye to Christina. I was there for about an hour. The Steamer was to have sailed at 7 P.M. but did not leave until ½ past 9. The wind blew pretty hard from the east which caused a heavy sea. I was sea sick. It was ½ past 3 before we were at Portree.

Tuesday 5th April

Left Portree at ½ past 4 A.M. We arrived at Balmacara at ½ past 8. There John & I took breakfast with Mr Smart of Glasgow. We left there along with 2 shepherds at ½ past 10. We were across Strome ferry at 1 o’clock. At Loch Carron we had dinner and left there at 3 arrived at Craig Inn at 6 and Achnasheen at 9.20 the distance from Balmacara being 36 24 miles. We were quite done up and tired. It rained all day and we were quite wet. We went to bed at 11 o’clock.

[NOTE: Charles’s companion on this trip – to spend some time with his sister Kate before she emigrated to Australia – was his brother John Morrison, at that time apprenticed to Matthew Russell in Stornoway. John himself emigrated, to Canada, in 1867. Around 1900 three of Charles’s own sons also emigrated, to Canada and South Africa.]

Wednesday 6th April

I slept very soundly last night but got up with sore legs at ½ past 7. We left this at 8 and arrived at Achnanault at 10 where we waited for Breakfast. We left here at 20m to 12 and arrived at Dingwall at 7 o’clock quite tired. I do not believe John & I could travel any farther had we to do it. The distance from Achnasheen to Dingwall is 30 miles. We called at on Mrs C McDonald in Mrs Chisholm’s and had tea there which refreshed us a little. At 8 we went to the Railway Station to wait for the train expecting Lexy from Grantown. The train arrived at 8.20 and when Lexy came out I hardly recognised her and she did not know me. How glad I was to meet Dear Lexy once more. Her and I put up in the Caledonian Hotel there. John went to Dornoch where he arrived that night a little past 12.

[NOTE: Lexy – Charles’s sister, presumably going home to Dornoch for the same purpose. Kate’s emigration drew a gathering of the clans.]

Thursday 7th April

In the morning I got my luggage which came by the Mail from Balnacara. Lexy and I left Dingwall at 9.40 arrived at Invergordon at 10.20. We then got the “Defiance” coach and arrived at in Tain at 12.20 remaining a short time there I observed above a shop door the sign Miles McRae and on making enquiries thought it would be him that was in Stornoway. I called and knew him. We arrived at the Meikle Ferry at 1.10 and crossed it in 15 minutes. We arrived in Dornoch at 2.20. I found my friends all well. Lexy, Kate & I went out to take a walk but were obliged to return it being raining. I went then in with Mr Cobban the Baker a while.

[NOTE: Thomas Cobban, 55, the baker, lived with his sister Jane in Dornoch].

Friday 8th April

We went to Cyderhall in coming back called at Darachfin then we went up to the Poles. Afterwards I saw Alexr Gunn Drumdavan.

Saturday 9th April

We went up to the Muir. When I came home I wrote Christina.

Sunday 10th April

I had a kind letter from Christina. In the evening Mr Munro preached a Gaelic sermon from the 33rd chapter of Isaiah 15th to the 17th verses. In the afternoon the Revd George Kennedy preached from the 31st chapter of Genesis 13th verse I am the God of Bethel where thou anointedst the pillar and where thou vowedst a vow unto me. He shewed first the manifestation given & 2nd the remembrance made. In the evening we were at the Prayer meeting in the Schoolhouse.

Monday 11th April

I was through Dornoch calling on Georgina McIntosh, George Forbes, Mrs Nicholson, &c.

Tuesday 12th April

Kate & I called on the Revd Mr Kennedy. Lexy went then with us to Evelix & Clashmore. John & I were at tea with Mr John Grant. I then went to see Mr Wm McKay. He was an awful spectacle. I did not know him he wasted away that there was nothing of him but skin and bone and he had a most miserable look. I was up to 4 in the morning marking and packing up Kate’s things. I also wrote to Christina.

Wednesday 13th April

I got up at 6 made ready all things. We left at 10 for the Ferry. Left our luggage at Dornoch for the coach to take but it broke down and we had to go without the luggage. After crossing the ferry we could get no seat in the coach and had to travel to Tain. On the way J Gillespie, John & Robert overtook us with a gig and the luggage. We all took dinner at Tain and hired to Invergordon. We left Tain at 4 P.M. after remaining a while at Glastullick house for Kate’s trunk. We arrived at Invergordon at ½ past 6.

Thursday 14th April

We left Invergordon at 4.00 A.M. arrived at Inverness at 6.20 went through a part of the town. We had breakfast in a Temperance Hotel. Left Inverness at 8. We went through Culloden, Fort George, Nairn, Forres &c and arrived at Grantown at ½ past 10 when we had to part with Dear Lexy. We passed along the Spey calling at the different stations Aviemore, Kingussie &c. We passed the Glenmore hills also the B where I think there is a monument to the late Duke of Gordon. We passed on the one side the Boar of Athole and on the other the Sow of Badenoch. We passed through Blair Athol, Killiecrankie, Pitlochrie, the River Tay, Dunkeld. Through these places is the finest scenery I ever saw and the houses are all so neat and clean like. Near Dunkeld is Murthly Asylum where we saw the inmates out taking a walk. Dunkeld is a beautiful place very fine houses in it. We arrived at Perth at ½ past 3 left it at 4.4. It is a fine large place. I met Jane Forbes here. We arrived in Stirling at 5.6 and Edinburgh at 6.15. We passed through a very fine country from Perth to Edinburgh. We passed through the Bridge of Allan and saw Wallace’s Monument on the Abbey Crag Stirling. We put up for the night in Dunedin’s Temperance Hotel High Street. We were at the castle round Princes St, Holyrood Palace and up the back of Canongate.

[Note: The newly built County of Perth District Asylum for Pauper Lunatics (Murthly Asylum), had opened on 1 April 1864, just a fortnight before Charles Morrison saw the inmates out for a walk. It was positioned beside the Highland Railway, and travellers could probably observe the inmates in the grounds.]


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