The Victorian Tourist in Scotland, as displayed in Magazines like the Graphic.

"This is a Tourist", an image from "A Tour in Scotland: from Glasgow to Oban." Drawn by 'Furrit'. The Graphic, 1873.

Victorian magazines like The Graphic, and The Illustrated London News were important and popular publications that often contained sketches depicting a variety of situations. That there were so many depicting holidays in the Highlands shows just how popular that destination was at the time, whether for general sightseeing, climbing, or stalking and fishing. These sketches are, of course, light-hearted, but they contain interesting details that illustrate what the Victorian tourist was after. I think, therefore, that it is worth spending a little time with them, and I shall post those in my collection in full at the end of this article. Whether you will be able to make out all the images and their titles I am not sure - some of the pages are quite large.

The Graphic, "...From Glasgow to Oban", 1873. Artist 'Furrit'. Viewing the Scenery.

The challenges faced by the tourist will be familiar to those of today. Rain, for example:

Even more unpleasant on a coach:

"Glencoe from the SW." W. Ralston, The Graphic, 1873.

On expeditions up mountains, all sorts of weather were to be expected of course.

"Glencoe, under Adverse Circumstances." The Graphic, 1872.

The Graphic,

From "A Highland Walking Tour", The Graphic, 1882.

Our tourist above, with his rather grim expression, is on a trip from Glasgow to Oban, a classic steamer route. The curiosity (or rather lack of it) shown by the passengers is nicely captured in the central image (left).

From "An Ascent of Ben Macdhui." The Graphic, 1883.

Such mountain climbing was popular, though often carried out with equine assistance.

"The Major Shows the Way Down" on Ben Nevis. The Illustrated London News, 1881.

"Various Styles of Going Up" on Ben Lomond. The Graphic, 1874. W. Ralston again.

But there is always the satisfaction of reaching the top, even if the view is not always ideal.

"...disappointed in the Matter of a View" on Ben Macdhui, The Graphic, 1883.

"The Top" of Ben Nevis. The Major recites 'The Children of the Mist.' The Graphic, 1883.

The Victorian attitude to women shines through these sketches. On the descent after a "Picnic in Scotland" (The Graphic, 1885):

"Miss Grace's Pony had to be Looked After Most Carefully...."

"...But Miss Doleful's Steed managed to Get Down By Himself."

"Four-in Hand." The Graphic, 1873.

Of course, a major attraction of Scotland was the stalking and fishing the country offers. In the 1882 Graphic, Mr. Aldgate-Lothbury visited the Highlands in search of Game. He showed some inclination to adopt Scottish ways....

"Fair Criticism". From 'Sketch of a Scotch Horse Fair', The Pictorial World magazine, 1875.

"He takes a few lessons in Reel dancing."

"The reality of his dream of triumph - Dead beat."

"Home again. 'That's one of them...' "

"Doesn't look right somehow."

....but in the end the reality of all his efforts is disappointing, though he ends up with the trophy on his wall, and can delight in recounting to his guests his exploits:

The Curate's

The Curate's "Joy for Ever."

"Stalking in the Usual Picturesque Manner."

A similar experience is depicted in "A Curate's Holiday in the Highlands" which appeared in an 1883 Graphic. His exploits involved serious scrambling, but he is rewarded with "A Joy for Ever"!

The Illustrated Times of 1864 drew attention to the problems of sending the game south:

"Game coming South from the Highlands."

Not everyone enjoyed the encounters with the animal world. Miss Jones is seen sketching in the 1887 Graphic "Miss Jones's Adventure in the Highlands", but she is interrupted by a visit from a ram:

In the end, she siezes the Ram by the horns, and finds

Like Mr. Aldgate-Lothbury, other visitors showed some inclination to follow Scottish traditions in "Amateurs with the Highland Bagpipes - Drawn by Miss Evelyn Hardy" (Illustrated London News, 1889).

"Cockney tourists have donned the kilt: they buy a set of bagpipes."

However, mastery of the instrument proves to be elusive - in fact the exertion

However, mastery of the instrument proves to be elusive - in fact the exertion "knocks him down" and he needs to be "rescued from suffocation. 'No more the bagpipes for me!' "

There is one well-known feature of a visit to Scotland that, surprisingly receives little attention in the cartoons, nor in fact in the many accounts of visitors to the Highlands through the centuries that I have read: the problem of the Scottish midge. I think that irritation would find prominence  in any modern account. Some visitors in "Jottings from the Highlands" (Illustrated London News, 1898) did have some trouble from insects, the situation exasperated by the 'national costume', but these were wasps:

In the end, she siezes the Ram by the horns, and finds "Escape at last."

"She finds a nice place to sketch", but "Discomfiture, Flight" follows.

"A Serious Drawback to the National Costume: Wopses!"

On a sub-page, I will add full-page images of all the above scenarios. I hope you have enjoyed this tour through the Victorian experience of a visit to The Highlands!