KILMALIE, a parish, partly in the district and county of Argyll, and partly in the county of Inverness; containing, with the village of Fort-William, and the quoad sacra district of Ballichulish, 5397 inhabitants, of whom 2741 are in the county of Inverness. The wide district comprehending the present parishes of Kilmalie and Kilmonivaig anciently formed one parish, under the appellation of Lochaber; but the two places were separated about the middle of the seventeenth century. The parish of Kilmalie is supposed to have derived its name from the dedication of its church to the Virgin Mary. During the rebellion in 1745, it suffered in some degree from the devastations of the royal forces, who, after their victory at Culloden, encamped at Fort-Augustus, whence they sent detachments to Lochaber; and a party of troops was finally stationed at the head of Loch Arkaig, to check the movements of the clan Cameron, whose chief, Locheil, had joined the Pretender. The parish is about sixty miles in length and thirty miles in extreme breadth. The surface is mountainous and wild, and is deeply indented with lakes, and diversified with ravines, which, when they intervene between the higher mountains, are narrow and precipitous, and when between those of inferior elevation, assume more the appearance of valleys. The mountain of Ben-Nevis, to the east of Fort-William, the loftiest in the country, has an elevation of 4370 feet above the level of the sea, commanding from its summit, which is difficult of ascent, a most unbounded and magnificent prospect. The summits of most of the higher mountains are perfectly sterile, and have a dreary aspect; and in the clefts on the north-east, snow in a frozen state is found at all times.
   The principal inlets from the sea, in the parish, are, Loch Linnhe, in the south-west, reaching along the shores of Ardgour to the entrance of Loch Eil; Loch Leven, branching from Loch Linnhe towards the east, about ten miles to the south of Fort-William, and extending for almost twelve miles between the mountains of Glencoe and Lochaber; and Loch Eil, stretching in a north-eastern direction to Fort-William and the Caledonian canal, and then taking a north-western direction for nearly ten miles towards Arisaig. The only inland lake wholly within the parish is Loch Arkaig, situated among the mountains, and skirted by the military road from Fort-William by Corpach ferry. This lake is about sixteen miles in length and a mile broad; and near one extremity is a densely-wooded island, which has been for ages the burying-place of the family of Locheil and their chieftains. Loch Lochy, on the line of the Caledonian canal, and about a mile and a half to the east of Loch Arkaig, is chiefly in the parish of Kilmonivaig, but extends for nine miles into this parish. The valley between these two lakes abounds with romantic scenery. The river Lochy, issuing from the lake of that name, forms a confluence with the Spean at Mucomre Bridge, constituting, for about eight miles, a boundary between the parishes of Kilmalie and Kilmonivaig; and after receiving the river Nevis, which descends from Ben-Nevis in an impetuous torrent forming a magnificent cascade, it flows into the sea at Fort-William. The Lochy abounds with salmon, which are taken in great quantities, and sent to the London market; and herrings of small size, but of excellent quality, cod, whitings, haddocks, and flounders, with various other kinds of fish, are found in the lake. A considerable quantity of salmon, also, is packed in tin boxes, hermetically sealed, at Corpach Ferry, and forwarded to India. There are commodious bays at Corran-Ardgour, where is likewise a ferry; at Eilan-na-gaul; and at Camus-na-gaul, near the south entrance of the Caledonian canal, opposite to Fort-William. There is also a ferry on the Lochy, where are good quays on both banks of the river, and where, from the great intercourse with Fort-William, about two miles distant, a substantial bridge would afford very desirable accommodation.
   The quantity of arable land in this extensive parish is very inconsiderable. Some attempts to reclaim portions of waste, and bring them under cultivation, have recently been made, and the result has been such as to encourage further efforts; but the people at present are chiefly dependent on the rearing of sheep and cattle, and on the fisheries. The soil on the coast, and along the shores of the rivers, is tolerably fertile, but in other parts sandy and shallow; the chief crops are oats and potatoes, of which latter great quantities are raised. The sheep-farms are well managed, and considerable attention is paid to the rearing of cattle, for which the hills afford good pasture; both the sheep and cattle are sent to the Falkirk trysts, where they find a ready sale. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8079. The rocks are mostly gneiss and mica-slate, and there are extensive beds of quartz and hornblende. At Ballichulish is a quarry of slate, which has not yet been much wrought; and at Fassfern is a quarry of good buildingstone, from which were raised materials for the construction of the Caledonian canal, and the quay at Fort-William. In the mountain of Ben-Nevis are found large detached masses of grey granite, weighing from ten to forty tons. The ancient woods, which were very extensive, have been partly cut down; but there are still remaining great numbers of venerable oaks, and firs of luxuriant growth. Extensive plantations, also, have been formed on the lands of the principal proprietors, and are all in a thriving state. Achnacarry, the seat of Cameron of Locheil, is an elegant modern structure, built of materials found near the spot. Ardgour, the seat of Colonel Mc Lean, is a handsome mansion of more ancient style, but recently repaired and enlarged; it is pleasantly situated near Corran Ferry, in grounds tastefully laid out, and enriched with plantations. Callart, the seat of Sir Duncan Cameron, of Fassfern, Bart., is beautifully situated on the banks of Loch Leven. The only villages in the parish are, Ballichulish and Fort-William, both of which are described under their respective heads, and Corpach, near the south extremity of the Caledonian canal, where the parish church is situated, and where a post-office has been established. Facility of communication is afforded by steamers twice in the week during the summer, and once during the winter, between Inverness and Glasgow.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Abertarff and synod of Glenelg. The minister's stipend is £287. 15. 8., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £60 per annum; patron, Cameron of Lochiel. The church is a neat plain structure, erected in 1783, at a cost of £440, and contains 1000 sittings, all of which are free. A church has been erected at Fort-William, where are also an episcopal and a Roman Catholic chapel; and there are two churches in the quoad sacra district of Ballichulish. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school, situated at Fort-William, is well conducted; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £45. Three schools are supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, who allow the masters a salary of £17 each, with a house and garden; and there is also a female school, at Fort-William, of which they give the teacher £8. A school is supported by the Gaelic School Society, who allow £20 per annum for the gratuitous instruction of fifty children; and there is a school on the grounds of Achnacarry, near the mansion, of which the teacher receives £10 per annum from Mrs. Cameron. At the western extremity of the parish is a monument, erected on the spot where Prince Charles Edward first unfurled his standard for the gathering of the clans, in the rebellion of 1745. In the churchyard is a monument to the memory of Colonel John Cameron, of Fassfern, of the 92nd Highland regiment, who was killed at the battle of Waterloo. Evan Mc Lachlane, of the grammar school of Aberdeen, an eminent scholar, who translated part of Homer's Iliad into Gaelic verse, was a native of this parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

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