Muckairn


Muckairn
   MUCKAIRN, lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Ardchattan, district of Lorn, county of Argyll, 12 miles (E. by N.) from Oban; containing, with the villages of Stonefield and Calnadaluck, 960 inhabitants. This parish, of which the name in the Gaelic language signifies "the den of wild boars," from the number of those ferocious animals that anciently infested this part of the country, is bounded on the north by Loch Etive, and on the east by the river Naunt and the loch of that name. It is about nine miles in length from east to west, and from five to six miles in average breadth. The quantity of arable land does not exceed 400 acres; about 100 are meadow, nearly 2000 coppice wood, and the remainder hill pasture and waste. The surface is divided by the Mallore range of hills, extending from the north-east to the south-west, but of which the highest has not an elevation of more than 1100 feet above the level of the sea; and there are some detached eminences, of which the loftiest is Deechoid. From the Mallore range the ground slopes gradually towards the north, with occasional undulations forming sequestered valleys between the higher lands, which are crowned with wood. The coast is generally low, and in several places rocky, and is indented with the fine bays of Stonefield and Airds bay, and with numerous creeks; and in some parts the shore is marked with boldly-projecting headlands. The bay of Stonefield, and that of Salenrua, a little beyond it, afford good anchorage; and in the former is the beautiful island called Abbot's Isle, clothed with verdure, and embellished with a few aged sycamores. The rivers are, the Naunt, which flows between richly-wooded banks, forming in its course some picturesque cascades; the Lonan, which, after a rapid course for a few miles from east to west, runs into Loch Nell, in the parish of Kilmore; the Luacragan, intersecting the parish from south to north for a few miles, and falling into Airds bay; and the Lusragan, which, flowing for a few miles in a parallel direction, joins Loch Etive a little above Connel ferry. The chief lakes are, Loch Andow, on the west, nearly two miles in length; and Loch Naunt, on the east, of about half that extent; both abounding in trout. The soil of the arable land, and the system of agriculture, are similar to those of Ardchattan; and the cattle and sheep on the pastures, of the same breed. About 280 cows, 220 head of cattle, and 3000 sheep are generally reared annually.
   The smelting of iron at the Lorn furnace by an English company, to whom the coppice woods have been let on lease, affords employment to a considerable number of the inhabitants of the district, who are partly engaged in the making of charcoal, and partly in the smelting-works, for which the ore is brought from Lancashire. The iron produced in these works is in very great repute, and is conveyed to Ulverstone in the vessels which arrive from that port with the ore. The only village is Bunawe, situated at the influx of the river Awe into Loch Etive, where is a well-sheltered bay affording accommodation for the vessels that bring the ore, for the landing of which, and also for shipping the produce of the foundry, a substantial quay has been erected. The nearest market-town is Oban: there is a post-office at Bunawe, and facility of communication is afforded by the county-road from Oban and the Western Isles to Inverary, which passes for eight miles through the district. The church, built in 1829, under the provisions of the act of parliament for the erection and endowment of additional churches in the Highlands, is a plain neat structure, situated at the south-eastern extremity of Muckairn, and containing 350 sittings. The minister has a stipend of £120 from government, with a manse and offices, and an allotment of land for a garden. The parochial school, for which a handsome school-house, capable of receiving 130 scholars, with superior accommodations, was erected in 1836, by the lady of General Campbell, of Lochnell, is well conducted; the master has a salary of £25. 13. 3., with a house and garden, and the fees average about £15 per annum. There is also a school at Auchlevan, to the master of which the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge till of late paid a salary of £17 per annum. A good school-house was built by General Campbell, who also gave the master a dwelling-house and a portion of land; and since the discontinuance of the salary by the society, the present proprietor of Lochnell has made the master an annual donation of £12. There are numerous remains of old ecclesiastical establishments, and several Druidical circles in a more or less perfect state; and on a plain near the site of the present church, was an ancient obelisk, which, on the arrival of the news of the victory of Aboukir, the workmen of Lorn furnace removed to the neighbouring hill, and erected to the honour of Lord Nelson.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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