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Glenorchy and Inishail

"Glenorchy and Innishail, a large Highland parish in the Lorn district of Argyllshire, almost surrounding the lower waters of Loch Awe, and containing Bunawe village on Loch Etive; Cladich hamlet, on Loch Awe; King's House Inn (Glencoe), at the northern boundary; and Dalmally village, on the left bank of the Orchy. The last has a station on the Callander and Oban railway (1880), 12 miles W of Tyndrum and 9 E by S of Taynuilt, these stations lying just beyond the eastern and western borders of Glenorchy. Comprising the ancient parishes of Glenorchy to the NE and Innishail to the SW, united in 1618, it is bounded NW by Ardchattan, N by Lismore and Appin, NE and E by Fortingall and Killin in Perthshire, SE by Kilmorich and Inverary, SW by Kilchrenan and Muckairn. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 31½ miles; its breadth varies between ⅝ and 13⅝ miles; and its area is 231 square miles or 147,876⅓ acres, of which 6 acres are tidal water, 37 foreshore, and 5898⅔ water. This large water area is made up by parts of Lochs Awe (2865⅓ acres) and Laidon (356½), and the whole of Lochs Tulla (697⅓), Ba (612½), Na h-achlaise (183¼ ), Dochard (84⅔), etc. The Water of Tulla, rising in the extreme E of the parish at 2700 feet above sea-level, winds 10¾ miles north-north-westward and west-south-westward to Loch Tulla (2¼ miles x 5 furl.; 555 feet), flows 1⅝ mile through that lake, and, issuing from it as the river Orchy, runs 16½ miles south-westward to Loch Awe (118 feet). The Orchy's chief effluents are the Lochy, running 8¾ miles west-south-westward from Lochan Bhe (6 x 1 furl-; 822 feet), at the eastern border, near Tyndrum, to a point 1½ mile above Dalmally; and the Strae, running 8½ miles south-westward to opposite Kilchurn Castle. Through Loch Awe our stream steals 4¾ miles south-westward and west-north-westward; and out of Loch Awe, as the river Awe, it hurries 5 miles north-westward, along the Ardchattan border, through the wild Pass of Brander, till at Bunawe it falls into Loch Etive. Through the river Ba, rising at 2300 feet, and running 4½ miles east-by-northward to isleted Loch Ba (957 feet), thence 1¼ mile to Loch Laidon (924 feet), the drainage of the northern or desolate Rannoch Muir portion belongs to the basin of the Tay; whilst from the SE several burns run southward towards Loch Fyne. Those parts of Glenorchy around Loch Awe, though hilly everywhere, are hardly mountainous, the Bunawe section culminating at 899 feet above sea-level, and the Cladich section at 1846, while lake and stream are fringed by a broadish belt that nowhere rises to 500 feet. Elsewhere the parish is grandly alpine, being mainly made up of the three convergent glens-' Glenstrae, deep, hollow, and sombre, and still full of memories of the lawless MacGregors; Glenorchy, rockbound, green, and grand; and Glenlochy, bleak, cold, and bare. Each has its own dark history, and its home-spun collection of clan legends, fairy traditions, and fatherless myths. ' Glenstrae, coming down it, is flanked, on the right hand, by *Ben Lurachan (2346 feet), *Meall Copagach (2656), *Ben Eunaich (3242), and *Ben Chochail (3216), offshoots these of huge Ben Cruachan; on the left by Ben Mhic-Mhonaidh (2602), Ben Donachain (2127), and Creag Mhor (1162), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate right on the confines of the parish. Glenlochy, again, on the right is flanked by Ben Udlaidh (2529) and Ben na Sroine (2070); on the left by *Meall Odhar (2046), *Ben Chuirn (2878), *Ben Loy (3708), and Ben Bhalgairean (2085). Higher up, on or close to the Perthshire border, rise *Ben Odhar (2948), Ben Bhreac-liath (2633), *Ben-a-Chaisteil (2897), Ben Doran (3523), *Ben Creachan (3540), and *Ben Achallader (3399); towards King's House is *Clach Leathan (3602). The rocks belong to the Lower Silurian period; under Bunawe are noticed the granite quarries. The soil of the lower grounds is mostly light and sandy, not wanting in fertility; but of the entire area less than 3000 acres are arable or woodland, sheep walks and deerforests making up the rest. (See Blackmount.) Natives were the Rev. John Smith, D. D. (1747-1807), translator of the Scriptures into Gaelic, and Duncan ' Ban ' M'Intyre (1724-1812), ' sweetest and purest of Gaelic bards, ' to whose memory a Grecian temple of granite has been reared on a hill (544 feet), 1¾ mile SW of Dalmally. The chief antiquities are noticed separately, under Kilchurn Castle, Innishail, Fraoch-Eilean, and Achallader; as likewise are the mansions of Ardvrecknish, Inverawe, and Inchdrynich. Four lesser proprietors hold each an annual value of more, and five of less, than £500; but much the largest landowner is the Earl of Breadalbane, who takes from Glenorchy the title of Baron. This parish is in the presbytery of Lorn and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £297. There are three Established places of worship-Glenorchy (1811; 570 sittings), on an islet in the Orchy at Dalmally, a plain octagonal church, with stumpy square tower and many curious gravestones; Innishail (1773; 250 sittings), 9 furlongs NE of Cladich and 5 miles SW of Dalmally; and Bridge of Orchy, 12 miles NE of Dalmally and 6¾ NNW of Tyndrum. There is also a Free church at Dalmally; and two public schools, Dalmally and Cladich, with respective accommodation for 63 and 36 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 42 and 12, and grants of £59, 8s. and £25, 9s. Valuation (1860) £9184, (1882) £14,163, 7s. 9d. Pop. of parish (1801) 1851, (1831) 1806, (1861) 1307, (1871) 1054, (1881) 1105, of whom 948 were Gaelic-speaking; of Glenorchy registration district (1871) 752, (1881) 761.—Ord. Sur.., Sh. 45, 46, 53, 54, 1872.77. See pp. 134-184 of Dorothy Wordsworth's Tour in Scotland (ed. by Princ. Shairp, 1874); ' The Heart of the Highlands ' in the Cornhill for Jan. 1881; and ' Traditions of Glenorchy,' by Arch. Smith, M. D., in vol. Vii. Of Procs. Soc. Ants. Scotl. (1870)."

Extract from Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4)

Description and Travel

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Historical Geography

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Year Population
1881 1105
1891 1641


Year Population
(Registration District)
1881 761
1891 1252
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