Lochcarron


Lochcarron
   LOCHCARRON, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 19 miles (N. by W.) from Glenshiel; containing, with the village of Janetown, 1960 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from an estuary in its vicinity, called Loch Carron, which is so named from the winding river Carron falling into it, the word in the Gaelic language signifying "a winding stream." In ancient times this place was the scene of dreadful conflicts among the neighbouring clans, and was successively in the possession of various distinguished chiefs: the famous Mac Donalds, of Glengarry, occupied the western part, at Strome, but were expelled, after several bloody feuds, by Lord Seaforth, of Kintail, who seized upon the castle of Strome in the year 1609. So late as the middle of the last century the people were in a state of the greatest ignorance; but their moral and social condition has since been greatly meliorated by education, and the labours of their religious teachers. The parish is twenty-five miles in length, and varies in breadth from six to ten miles. The general appearance of the surface is diversified by hill and dale, mountain and valley; and the lower grounds are watered by numerous rivulets and streams. The climate is very rainy, on account of the mountainous character of the country, and its proximity to the sea; the parish is, however, remarkably pleasant in fine weather, and abounds in attractive scenery. On the eastern side is a beautiful glen, encompassed by irregular hills, and gradually expanding into extensive tracts of heath; and the Carron running through this valley, greatly enriches, with its silvery stream and verdant banks, the interesting prospect. At a small distance, from a lofty hill thickly wooded with ash, birch, and alder, is seen Loch Dowal with its three islands, and, a little further on, Loch Carron, resembling in the perspective a fresh-water lake. The finest view, however, of this lake, and of the wide range of neighbouring scenery, is from an elevation in Lochalsh, above Strome ferry, whence, towards the north-east, the waters of the loch expand into a sheet apparently twenty miles in circumference, and derive a peculiar interest and beauty from the number of lofty hills by which they are surrounded.
   The parish contains many varieties of soil, and the land is divided between two proprietors. The number of acres cultivated, or occasionally in tillage, is 1238; 1500 acres are under wood, and it is said that about 200 might be profitably added to the cultivated land in the parish. The total value of produce for the year is about £10,090, out of which £1620 are derived from grain, £2035 from potatoes and turnips, £2750 pasture, £585 hay, £3000 fisheries, and £100 incidentals. Considerable improvements have been made in agriculture, encouraged by the lengthening of the leases; but the land is, perhaps, let at too high a rate generally to allow of extensive changes on the part of the tenant. The prevailing character of the strata is gneiss, intermixed with quartz, red sandstone, and limestone, the last of which is plentiful at Kishorn, and is used principally for agricultural purposes. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2889. The village of Janetown is nearly a mile in length, and has latterly become a thriving place, having a population exceeding 500; the hamlet of Strome is also in the parish. The houses of the poor are built of stone and lime, and are of inferior character; they are covered with turf and heather, have mud floors, are without chimneys, and consist frequently of but one apartment with a temporary partition, in which are contained, also, the cattle belonging to the family. The people living on the coast, who depend on the fisheries, and on husbandry only in part, are in a somewhat better condition than their inland neighbours, whose situation is far from comfortable. The fuel in use is dried moss, which is obtained without expense. The roads are in good order; and there is a regular communication, by carriers, with Inverness, whence supplies are obtained for domestic consumption. In Janetown is a post-office, where the mail comes three times a week; and conveyances of all kinds visit the parish: there is one annual fair, held at New Kelso on the first Monday in June. A herring-fishery connected with the parish employs many hands; and the salmon and sea-trout which in June, July, and August may be obtained in the river Carron in large numbers, supply a considerable revenue to the fishermen. The ecclesiastical affairs of Lochcarron are regulated by the presbytery of Lochcarron and synod of Glenelg; and the patronage is in the Crown. The stipend of the minister is £158, of which nearly a third is paid from the exchequer; and there are a manse, and a glebe of seven arable acres valued at about £7, with pasturage for six cows and 150 sheep. The church is a plain but substantial building, erected in 1836, and capable of accommodating between seven and eight hundred persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. There is also a parochial school, in which the classics and all the ordinary branches of education are taught; the master's salary is £34. 4., with about £12 fees. A few chalybeate springs are to be found in the parish. The only relic of antiquity of note is the ruin of Strome Castle.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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