Boundaries, &c.-The parish of Fintry is bounded on the north, by Balfron and Gargunnock; on the east, by St Ninians and Kilsyth on the south, by Campsie; and on the west, by Killearn and Strathblane. It is 17 miles due north from Glasgow; 16 miles west by south from Stirling; and 22 miles east by north from Dumbarton. In the county and other maps of this parish, it is made to touch the parish of Strathblane on the south-west, at the Earl's Seat, the highest point of the Killearn range of hills. These maps, however, are in that respect incorrect. The lands of neither of the proprietors of the parish, (for there are only two in it,) extend to the top of the Earl's Seat. The lands of Fintry, in that direction, are bounded by a small stream, the source of the Finglenburn, at the foot of that eminence, upwards of half a mile from the point in question. The name " Fintry," is said to be derived from Gaelic words, signifying" Fair land."
The parish extends from east to west about 6 miles, and its breadth from north to south is 5. It contains about 20 square miles. Its figure is irregular. The whole parish may be said to consist of three ranges of hills and two valleys. The southern range may be denominated the continuation of the Campsie hills, and the Meikle Biun. The middle range is the continuation of the Killearn hills, passing through Fintry and joining the Dundas hills, in the parish of St Ninians, The northern range forms what is properly called the Fintry hills. These constitute part of a chain of mountains originating near Stirling, in the east, running in a direct line west by south, and gradually increasing in height and magnitude, till it abruptly terminates in a bluff shoulder in Fintry, behind the house of Culcreuch.
Hydrography.- Two rivers of considerable name and importance take their rise in this parish. One of them, the Carron, flows into the Frith of Forth at Grangemouth, on the east coast, and the other, the Endrick, after a course of upwards of twenty miles, falls into Lochlomond near Balmaha. From this, it will be understood, that Fintry lies on the highest ground in the district of country betwixt the friths of Clyde and Forth. The Carron, famous in Scottish history, rises on the hill in this parish due south from the church of Fintry, and washes the skirts of the Campsie hills, forming the boundary, for upwards of two miles, betwixt the parishes of Fintry and Campsie. It then divides the southern valley of Fintry, mentioned above, on the north side or the Meikle Binn, and, after a course of between two and three miles, it leaves the parish of Fintry, and forms the boundary between Kilsyth and St Ninians, passing Denny, &c. towards the Forth.
The Endrick takes its rise on the north range, or on what we have termed the Fintry hills. It is a very small stream, running east, till it reaches the parish of Gargunnock. It then takes a southerly course, and, gaining strength by the accession of tributary streams from that parish, it separates it and St Ninians from the parish of Fintry, till it reaches the high road from Fintry to Denny. It then flows due west, through the northern valley of Fintry, or through what may be called Fintry Proper, about four miles, till it becomes the boundary betwixt the parishes of Killearn and Balfron, fourteen miles from Lochiomond.
The Endrick is a bold and rapid stream till it reaches the vale of Fintry, and wants only wood on its banks in the upper part of the parish, to vie with the most beautiful and sublime of our secondary Scottish rivers. It comes down with a deafening noise over its rocky channel; and, about two miles and a half to the east of the church, it pours its waters over a precipitous rock, 90 feet high, vulgarly denominated the " Loup of Fintry?" The grand appearance of this waterfall in dry seasons has been much injured by one of those circumstances which, if they have added to the wealth of the country, have not increased its beauty. More than a mile above this fall, a great proportion of the river is carried off to supply a large reservoir, formed by the proprietors of two cotton-mills erected on the stream. When the river is much swollen, nothing can exceed the grandeur of the scene. In its usual state there are three breaks in this fall; but in a flood, it dashes over the rock upwards of thirty yards wide, in ouc unbroken cataract, and rages with unbridled fury against the immense masses of unattached rock at the bottom, from which it, " rising wets with misty showers," the high banks on either side to a considerable distance.
About three-fourths of a mile east from the church, the Endrick receives a tributary stream, nearly half its size. This is called the Gonachan Burn. It originates on the north side of that hill south from the church, which we have said gives rise to the Carron. It separates, nearly through the whole of its course, the lands of His Grace the Duke of Montrose, from those of Mr Speirs of Culcreuch. The river Endrick, originating in this pa rish, and its course through it being but short, cannot be supposed to contain a great quantity of water. Yet it is the sole moving power of a considerable weight of machinery in the parish. The Culcreuch cotton factory is driven solely by its waters; at the same time, it would be by no means sufficient for this purpose, but that a reservoir of considerable depth, covering about thirty acres of land, has been constructed on the high ground, supplied wholly by the Endrick, and calculated to contain water sufficient for the purposes of the mill, for neady six weeks.
Geology and Mineralogy. -The parish of Fintry affords a great variety of minerals, but never in great bodies. Coal in small seams is found in many places: granite occurs in detached fragments: there are also whinstone, freestone, and redstone, (locally called fire-stone,) jasper, and fine specimens of zeolite. Rocks are numerous, and so disposed, as to contribute not a little to the grandeur of the scenery. These rocks belong to the trap formation; and lie in a position very similar to those of Stirling Castle, Craigforth, and others in that neighbourhood. They exhibit the most sublime appearance on the northern or Fintry hills. They surround the western extremity of that range with much boldness, and on the south side, from some cause unknown, a great and rapid disintegration of the rock at its foundation seems to be going on. In the memory of persons still alive in the parish, a large portion of this rock began to subside. It is now separated from the hill by a chasm of more than a yard wide, and sunk below its original position upwards of thirty feet. Masses of rock fall down every season.* At the foot of the rock which encircles the western brow of the hill, there is a considerable extent of table-land, affording excellent pasture for sheep and cattle, and on the descent below this, starts out a knoll, commonly known by the name of the Dun or Down, of a singular appearance. Its front is a perpendicular rock, 50 feet high. The western extremity of this rock is one solid mass. Some fine specimens of zeolite have been found among the rocks on the hill. Several attempts have been made to find coal at its base, but hitherto, we regret to say, without success.
* The mass of sunk rock is, in extent, upwards of 60 yards in length, and from 10 to 15 wide. The shattered and fallen masses are from its extremities. In the cen tre, it, remains solid and cutire, as before it began to sink and separate from the hill. The writer of this article can imagine no more natural cause for this phenomenon than the action of water at the foundation of this rock, meeting with some soluble substance, thereby undermining it, and occasioning the subsidence. In confirmation of this, we observe numerous copious springs of water issuing out, farther down the bill. Yet it must be acknowledged, that, if this water was impregnated with foreign substances, it has lost them all by filtration before it reaclie the surface, for there can be no springs of water more pure or agreeable.
Zoology, &c. -Game abounds in the parish. In the lower parts of it, in addition to the more common kinds, we have a plentiful supply of pheasants. The roe-deer is not unfrequently to be seen bounding through the woods, and the moors are well stocked with grouse or heathfowl. The rocks give shelter to the mountain raven, hawks, and most of the smaller birds of prey. Among them also, the fox has long secured a very snug retreat. Polecats and other vermin of a like nature are not uncommon, and the harm-less and beautiful squirrel has long had a residence in our woods. Our streams supply us with no other kinds of fish than the common burn trout, which is much esteemed, and affords excellent sport to the angler. It has been asserted, that salmon have been taken as far up the Endrick as Fintry; but this wants confirmation, and, indeed, a waterfall on the river seven miles below Fintry, upwards of twelve feet high, seems to falsify all such assertions. It has been lately proved in a court of law, that the Endrick above this fall is not a salmon river. There is abundance of trout, known by the name of par, (a species only found in salmon rivers,) below this fall; none above it.· Badgers, wild and martin cats are now extinct, though formerly abundant,
* The heritor, Mr Speirs, mentions, that, before he went abroad in 1810, the fish called " par" was very numerous in Fintry waters, but that there were then no minnows: in 1809 or 1810, a noted fisherman took minnows from below Gartness, and put them above the fall: since that time pars have decreased, but there are now shoals of minnows. Mr Napier of Ballikinrain last year killed a sea-trout close to the borders of the parish; which proves that the fall at Gartness can be surmounted. There are plenty of eels in the waters. Mr Speirs also mentions that, within his recollection, great additions have been made to the birds hereabouts. Kingfishers, redstarts, cross- beaks, golden-wren, mistletoe-thrush, and starling, though even now not abundant, were formerly not at all known.
Botany.- This parish affords a very inviting field for the researches of the botanist. Its mountain ranges furnish almost the whole family of the ferns, the mosses, the lichens, and the gnaphaliums. Most of those plants which court the moist shade flourish in rich luxuriance, in its rocky cliffs and deep ravines. On our moor pastures may be found the Gentiana campestris, the Empetrum nigrum, and the common juniper. In the woods, we have the,Convallaria majalis; and in great abundance the Asperula odorata. The Adoxa moachatellina has secured its residence among the shady moist rocks, and in the marshes, the Myrica gale. Hardwood of every description grows well in the lower part of the parish. Larch and spruces thrive in the plantations, though there are none of a very great age, all having been planted, it is believed, by the late Mr Speirs. The rarer and more recently introduced trees thrive well; for instance, Abies Donylasia, A. Menzeziae, Pinus Lariceo Corsicae, P. Sabinae, P. Deodarus, P. excelsa. The first planted in 1834 is 20 feet high.