ARDNAMURCHAN

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"ARDNAMURCHAN, (or Airdintamurchan), a parish joined to Sunart, partly in the Argyle district of the county of Argyle, partly in the county of Inverness, Scotland, about 30 miles to the S.W. of Fort William. It comprises the five districts of Ardnamurchan, Sunart, Moidart, Arasaig, and South Morar, of which the first two are in the county of Argyle, the other three in the county of Inverness. The whole parish lies between Loch Alorar in the N., and Loch Sunart in the S., and has the parish of Kilmalie on the E. and N.E. It contains the quoad sacra parishes of Aharacle and Strontian. The general character of the country is mountainous and wild, abounding in lakes, bays, glens, and torrents. There are some level tracts and patches of cultivated ground, and some good sheep-pastures. The principal lake is Loch Shiell, lying between Sunart and Moidart. It is about 25 miles in length, and has an average breadth of a little more than a quarter of a mile. Several of the mountains in Sunart have an altitude exceeding 2,500 feet. There are several tracts of moss near the western extremity of Loch Shiell. On the northern coast of Ardnamurchan are several caverns, one of which is above 300 feet in length. The coast line is generally bold and rocky. Ardnamurchan Point is the principal headland along the western coast of Scotland, from Cape Wrath to the Mull of Cantire; and it is noted as the westernmost point of the mainland of Great Britain. Many valuable minerals occur among the various rocks in the district. Lead ore is abundant; pitchstone is found in the trap; strontium occurs in the hills at Strontian, which place gave its name to that mineral. Iron and copper ores are also said to exist. The people are chiefly engaged in the breeding and managing of black cattle and sheep, and in the several fisheries. Herring, cod, ling, and other fish are taken. The living, value 228, is in the presbytery of Mull, and in the patronage of the Duke of Argyle. There are churches at Kilchoan (which is the principal one), Kilmorie, Aharacle, Strontian, and Polnish, besides two Free churches. On an islet in Lochaylort, are remains of two vitrified forts. Kinloch-Moidart house, which was burned in 1746 by the king's troops, who also destroyed all the stock of cattle, and every but they could discover, has been rebuilt in an elegant style by Colonel Donald Macdonald. The castle of Mingary is about 5 miles from Ardnamurchan Point. It was the seat of Mac Ian, and has been the scene of several historical incidents. Castle Tirom is on a small island in Loch Moidart, but was burned in 1715, so that the ruins alone now remain. There are many remains of ancient churches scattered through the district. Two fairs are held at Strontian, one on the 19th May, the other on the 15th October. There is a fair also held at Arisaig. The district comprised at present under the name of Ardnamurchan, is estimated to have an area, of about 273,280 acres of land and water, of which it is believed 200,000 acres are land.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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