From William Stevenson to William Kemp   14 October 1852


14th. Octr. 1852

Mr. Wm. Kemp | Galashiels

My Dear Sir,

I had much pleasure in receiving your welcome letter of the 11th. cur⁠⟨⁠t.⁠⟩⁠ It is a long time indeed since I last heard from you.— I purposed writing you some time ago, but various matters prevented me, among others the want of something to write about.—

I am glad to perceive that alth⁠⟨⁠ough⁠⟩⁠ you are too much confined to admit of your prosecuting your geological enquiries so much as you & I could wish, yet you still continue to keep up the pleasing acquaintanceship of the Muse, as appears from the excellent song appended to your letter, whi⁠⟨⁠ch⁠⟩⁠ shews that the poetic fire still glow⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ in you.— I have never attempted to write poetry myself, believing that it ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised] a⁠⟩⁠ppreciate the compositions of others.—

I heard when in Glasgow some ⁠⟨⁠w⁠⟩⁠eeks ago that John was about to be ⁠⟨⁠m⁠⟩⁠arried.— Miss Kemp had told Mrs. Laidlaw.— I presume the Captain’s ⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠aughter he has got is no other than ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he quondam Miss Roe.— I wish ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠hem heartily the full enjoyment of ⁠⟨⁠m⁠⟩⁠atrimonial felicity.—

I regret much that circumstances ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠hould have prevented you from fulfilling your purpose of visiting Dunse this season.— It is not yet too late,— the weather is good ⁠⟨⁠&⁠⟩⁠ October is (but for the shortness of the days) decidedly the best month ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ the year for geologizing or for ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠dmiring the picturesque. Mrs. S. ⁠⟨⁠&⁠⟩⁠ I shall be delighted to see you.—

Spite of being now “done into duplicate” and the consequent addl. ⁠⟨⁠c⁠⟩⁠ares, &c.—I have found a little time ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠ necessities of my nature— Besides sev⁠⟨⁠eral⁠⟩⁠ short excursions in this & the adjoining Counties of E. Lothian & Northumberlan⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ I had a 10 days tour in the West of Scotland in the course of last month.— Of this I must give you a sho⁠⟨⁠rt⁠⟩⁠ acct. reserving particular details till I see you here, which I hope will be soon.—

I left Dunse on the 8th. Septr. and after spending half a day in Edinburgh reached Glasgow in the evening.— Next day I railed into Ayrshire, visit⁠⟨⁠ing⁠⟩⁠ Mauchline & the Great Viaduct at Ballochmyle, and wandered from there, “adown the winding Ayre”, engrosse⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ partly with geology & partly with tho⁠⟨⁠ughts⁠⟩⁠ of the Bard who has rendered class⁠⟨⁠ic⁠⟩⁠ the woody banks of this fine stream   I staid in Ayr that night & next d⁠⟨⁠ay⁠⟩⁠ proceeded via Kilwinning & Ardross⁠⟨⁠an⁠⟩⁠ to that paradise of geologists, Arra⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠   A few minutes after touching ground ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠“⁠⟩⁠vi et armis”.— I took the route of the Cnocan burn recommended by Prof. Ramsay ⁠⟨⁠as⁠⟩⁠ being most interesting geologically.— I did ⁠⟨⁠f⁠⟩⁠ind it so, but to give an account of ⁠⟨⁠th⁠⟩⁠e geological wonders of Arran would be ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ write a book of greater extent than ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ll that has yet been written upon this ⁠⟨⁠re⁠⟩⁠markable island.— The sun was setting ⁠⟨⁠as⁠⟩⁠ I reached the top of Goatfell, but the ⁠⟨⁠v⁠⟩⁠iew was most magnificent, particularly ⁠⟨⁠l⁠⟩⁠ooking down into the dark recesses of Glens Sannox & Rosa, overshadowed by ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he wild & spiry granitic peaks of Bens ⁠⟨⁠C⁠⟩⁠hnuis, Ciormhor, Caistael Abhael & Ceum⁠⟨⁠b⁠⟩⁠ra-cailleach.— I required to hurry down ⁠⟨⁠th⁠⟩⁠e descent, but reached mine inn in ⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠ood time, quite prepared to do ample ⁠⟨⁠j⁠⟩⁠ustice to anything which my worthy ⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠ostess Mrs. Jameson should set before me.—

My next days duty was a geol. examination ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ the NE coast of Arran as far as the Fallen Rocks, including detours into Glen Sannox, North Glen Sannox, &c., returning to ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠ rambles, Glen Shurag, Glen Dhu, Glen C⁠⟨⁠loy⁠⟩⁠ Windmill hill, the Sheeans, Lamlash B⁠⟨⁠ay⁠⟩⁠ and round the coast by Clachland P⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠ Corriegill &c. to Brodick.—

Next day was occupied with Glen Ros⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠, the ascent of Caistael Abhael from the head of Glen Sannox (a most difficul⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠ climb in some places) and the descent by Glen Eis-na-bearradh to Loch Ranz⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠

The forenoon of the following day wa⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ devoted to the North end of the Island from Loch Ranza to the old coal pits.— In the afternoon I got the Steamer for Campbeltown where I spent two days examining that part of Cantire in compa⁠⟨⁠ny⁠⟩⁠ with M⁠⟨⁠r. Innes the Comptroller of Custo⁠⟨⁠ms⁠⟩⁠ (formerly of Eyemouth).— I returned ho⁠⟨⁠me⁠⟩⁠ by way of Ayr, Glasgow, Edinburgh &c.

Altho’ Arran has been repeatedly visited by some of the most eminent geologists, British & Foreign, much stil⁠⟨⁠l⁠⟩⁠ remains not only to glean but to correct.— I had long been doubtful as to the ⁠⟨⁠[two-thirds of a line excised]⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠I⁠⟩⁠ have no doubt that all the strata ⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠n Arran considered as such, belong ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠ruly to the Carboniferous formation. In fact, they appear to be strictly equivalent to the beds of red Sanstone found in Berwickshire and elsewhere ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ssociated with the Carboniferous Limestone.— They are however very ⁠⟨⁠l⁠⟩⁠argely developed in Arran, and contain many intercalated beds of quartzose ⁠⟨⁠c⁠⟩⁠onglomerate.— The fossils, where such ⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠ccur, are decidedly Carboniferous.— There are a great many points in Profr. Ramsay’s book & map which ⁠⟨⁠w⁠⟩⁠ould, notwithstanding his general ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ccuracy, require some correction.— ⁠⟨⁠I⁠⟩⁠n these, however, I cannot at present ⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠nter.— If you have the book I could ⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠efer you to the points in question.

The neighbourhood of Campbeltown is geologically, of great interest, but has been much neglected.— By ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠ find a tract there coloured as lia⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ This is a blunder, for the strata at that place are Carbonif. Sandston⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ shale, &c. with at least 3 beds of coal.— Within a mile of the coal-pits I found a porphyry, lithological⁠⟨⁠ly⁠⟩⁠ identical with that of Kyles hill, whi⁠⟨⁠ch⁠⟩⁠ is so peculiar that I have not seen it to be matched anywhere else. There are many interesting dykes of basalt, porph⁠⟨⁠yry⁠⟩⁠ &c. The terraces or marks of raised beaches are numerous, and by far the most distinct & beautiful that I have seen.— Time however will not permit me to enter upon particu⁠⟨⁠lars⁠⟩⁠ at present.—

I shall be happy to hear from you soon.— Give my kindest regard⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ to Miss Kemp, also to the new marr⁠⟨⁠ied⁠⟩⁠ couple & all the other members of your family.— | Believe me, | Yours Ever Sincerely, ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠

By the way, I am now satisfied that ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he Cheviots (or at least the great bulk ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ the igneous rocks of which they consist) ⁠⟨⁠ar⁠⟩⁠e newer then the lower part of the ⁠⟨⁠C⁠⟩⁠arboniferous System.— Perhaps some ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ the porphyries at the West end are ⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠lder, but of this I am not quite ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠atisfied.— Generally speaking I ⁠⟨⁠b⁠⟩⁠elieve them to be of the same age as ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he Derringtons, Wintock, the Garletons, the Conglomerate dykes, &c.— | W. S.

Please cite as “KEMP99,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 23 February 2024,