Beal-Nam-Bo; the Pass of the Cattle
Photographer: Ogle, Thomas
Medium: Photographic print
View of Bealach nam Bo, a mountain pass in the Scottish Highlands. It is one of 13 evocative landscape photographs by Thomas Ogle illustrating an 1863 edition of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’. The print accompanies a passage describing the journey of the poem’s tragic hero, the rebel Highland chief Roderick Dhu, and warriors of Clan Alpine through the mountains on their way to do battle with the King of Scotland, James V. Beal-nam-Bo ("Cattle Pass") links the mountain of Ben Venue to the Trossachs on the edge of Loch Katrine:
“Now eve, with western shadows long,
Floated on Katrine bright and strong,
When Roderick with a chosen few
Repassed the heights of Benvenue.
Above the Goblin Cave they go,
Through the wild pass of Beal-nam-bo;
The prompt retainers speed before,
To launch the shallop from the shore,
For ’cross Loch Katrine lies his way
To view the passes of Achray,
And place his clansmen in array.”
Scott (1771-1832) was the author of immensely popular historical novels and poetry. Their combination of history, chivalry and romance was especially beloved by readers of the Victorian era. ‘The Lady of the Lake’ (1810) was the third of his long narrative poems inspired by the landscape and legends of Scotland, and is set in and around the beautiful and dramatic scenery of the mountains, glens, lakes and forests of Perthshire and Stirling in central Scotland. The great success of the poem made Loch Katrine and the Trossachs a fashionable destination for 19th-century sightseers.