Lochalsh


Lochalsh
   LOCHALSH, a parish, in the district of Mainland, county of Ross and Cromarty, 9 miles (W. N. W.) from Kintail; containing, with the village and late quoad sacra parish of Plockton, 2597 inhabitants. This parish, of which the name is said to be of Danish origin, and of which little of the early history is known, is situated at the south-western extremity of the county, and is bounded on the north by Loch Carron, and on the south by Loch Alsh. It is skirted on the east by a lofty range of hills, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and the narrow channel which separates the Isle of Skye from the main land; and is about twenty-eight miles in extreme length, and eight miles in average breadth; but more than one-half the parish is uninhabited. The surface is hilly and mountainous; but the hills are less rugged than in the more northern districts, and the lower acclivities of many of the smaller hills are susceptible of cultivation, and their summits clothed with a thin moss affording tolerable pasture. About 1500 acres are arable, 3000 meadow and green pasture, 2500 woodland, 800 moss, and about 45,000 hill pasture, moorland, and waste. The moors abound with grouse and other species of game; red-deer frequent the higher hills, and the hills near the coast are visited by aquatic fowl of every variety, and in great numbers.
   The soil in the hollows between the hills, and on some of the acclivities, is tolerably fertile, producing favourable crops of oats, barley, and potatoes, of which last great quantities are raised; and the system of husbandry has within the last few years made considerable progress. Numbers of black-cattle and sheep are reared in the pastures, and much attention is paid to the improvement of the breed; the dairy-farms, also, are under good management, the butter obtaining a decided preference in the markets. The cattle and sheep are sold to dealers, who purchase them for the southern markets. The inhabitants, during the intervals of their agricultural pursuits, are engaged in the fisheries, on the produce of which they depend for a considerable portion of their subsistence. The fish chiefly taken here are herrings and sythe, or cole-fish, which are found in great quantities in the lakes; and ling, cod, and skate are occasionally obtained off the coast. The parish contains extensive remains of natural wood; and the plantations, which consist of firs, interspersed with the usual forest-trees, are generally in a thriving state. There are neither mines nor quarries of any kind in operation. Fairs, chiefly for black-cattle and horses, are held in May, September, and November. The only village is Plockton, which is described under its own head. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lochcarron and synod of Glenelg: the minister's stipend is £160. 17. 10., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £48 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, erected in 1810, is a neat plain structure containing 650 sittings. A church was built at Plockton by parliamentary grant in 1827, to which a quoad sacra district was assigned by act of the General Assembly in 1833. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 6., with a house, and an allowance of £1. 7. 8. in lieu of garden, and the fees average about £25 per annum.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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