Kilmorack

   KILMORACK, a parish, in the county of Inverness, 11 miles (W. by S.) from Inverness; containing, with the village of Beauly, 2694 inhabitants. The term Kill-Mhorac signifies "the burial-ground of young Marion;" but it is uncertain what person is referred to in the appellation. The parish, which is of great extent, and chiefly a sylvan and pastoral district, is partly situated on the northern bank of the Beauly river, by which it is separated from the parish of Kiltarlity; and it reaches in the opposite direction to the southern confines of the county of Ross, measuring sixty-five miles in length, and about ten in average breadth. The surface is richly diversified, and the scenery in several places exquisitely beautiful, consisting of hill and mountain covered with pasture and wood, and rural valleys, with well-cultivated tracts, rivers, and lochs. The eastern division contains an open plain about three miles wide; and the Beauly, gently gliding, with some fine windings, along the southern boundary, amidst beautiful wood, from the wild and romantic district in the west, here advances to Loch Beauly. The western portion of the parish, where is the most striking scenery, is wild and mountainous, and indebted for its imposing character principally to the three great glens of Strath-Glass, Glen-Farrar, and Glen-Cannich, which are named from the several streams running through them, and contributing to form the principal river, the Beauly.
   This river, in its course through the district called Dhruim, which extends two or three miles west of the church, passes between ranges of lofty mountains covered with birch and fir; and its banks are fringed with oak, alder, and weeping-birch. There are numerous cascades, falling over broken sandstone rocks, especially at the farm of Teanassie; but its finest display is about two miles west of the village, where is a splendid cataract, called the Falls of Kilmorack, formed by the stream dashing over a succession of precipitous rocks. The parish contains numerous lochs; the chief are, Loch Monar, Loch Beinevean, and Loch Affric, situated in the remains of an extensive pine forest, and seldom surpassed in striking scenery. The mountain of Maum-Soule, on the north side of Loch Beinevean, is distinguished for its summit of perpetual snow, which, even in the hottest summer weather, yields but very slightly to the rays of the sun. At the end of Glen-Farrar is Loch Muilie, containing an island where, it is said, Lord Lovat found a retreat after the defeat at Culloden, and on which the present proprietor has erected a shooting-box, the neighbouring hills and mountains abounding with grouse, partridges, and almost every kind of game. About four or five miles westward, is the mountain called Scour-na-lapich, almost as high as Ben-Nevis, and near which is Loch Monar, a favourite resort of the lovers of angling. The lochs in general are well stocked with various kinds of trout and pike, the latter of which are found also sometimes in the Beauly, though this river is most distinguished for its salmon, grilse, and trout, the fishery of which rents at £1600 per annum.
   The parish belongs to Lord Lovat and Chisholm of Chisholm; but, from its great size, and the different situations of the farms, pastures, and woods, no correct estimate of their respective or aggregate extent has been made. Many thousands of acres are under natural wood and plantations, which are managed with great care, and annually thinned; the firs are usually sold for railway sleepers, and the birch made into staves for barrels. The upper part of the parish is more particularly pastoral, and the little attention paid to tillage is merely for the supply of domestic wants. The Lovat property is supposed to contain about 2000 arable acres, and that of the Chisholm 900; and the farms, some of which have been united within the last few years, to the exclusion of a considerable part of the population, many of whom have emigrated, are now remarkably well cultivated, and are subject to the five-shift rotation, producing wheat, barley, oats, and the usual green crops. Numerous improvements have been recently introduced, comprising the use of lime and bone-dust for manure; and draining, also, is making progress, being much required in some parts, as the soil, though it consists, to a great extent, of rich loamy, sandy, clayey, and gravelly earth, is frequently heavy and wet. There are, however, few inclosures; and the farmbuildings are in general indifferent, the want of capital on the part of the tenant being a great impediment to more extensive advancement. The sheep, which traverse the pastures in very large flocks, are of many different breeds; but those most common are the Cheviot and black-faced. The rocks in the district comprehend gneiss; inferior red sandstone, which is quarried; and conglomerate. A lead-mine was opened some years since on the Lovat property; but, the operations having been found difficult, and the material of inferior quality, it is no longer worked. The rateable annual value of the parish is £9931.
   The only village is that of Beauly (which see), pleasantly situated at the eastern extremity of the parish; its buildings are of some extent, and in the principal street, the houses of which are slated, are some good shops, a post-office, used by the surrounding district, and a branch bank of the North of Scotland Banking Company, lately established. It has a small harbour formed by the river Beauly, which here expands into the basin called Loch Beauly, communicating with the Moray Frith. Two small vessels belong to the place; and it is visited by many others, chiefly from Inverness, Leith, Glasgow, and Liverpool, with coal, lime, and various other articles, taking in return, among other produce, cargoes of timber, many thousands of trees being annually cut down in the woods around. The village is traversed by the parliamentary road from Inverness, which runs through the whole of the parish, and on which the northern mail daily passes. A handsome bridge of five arches was, some time since, erected over the Farrar; and one was built across the Beauly in 1810, at a cost of nearly £10,000. The largest cattlefair in the north of Scotland is held on the Muir of Ord, for the accommodation of dealers from every part of Scotland, particularly the south, on the third Wednesday in April, the second Wednesdays in May and June, the third Thursday in July, the third Tuesdays in August, September, and October, and second Wednesday in November. There are also four annual fairs in the village of Beauly, in May, August, October, and November, the two last for the sale of country produce, and that in August for engaging shearers; but these fairs are ill attended.
   The parish is in the presbytery of Dingwall and synod of Ross, and in the patronage of Professor Scott, of King's College, Aberdeen, to whom the presentation has been transferred by Lord Lovat. The minister's stipend is £244, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum. The church is conveniently situated a few miles from the eastern boundary; it was enlarged in 1786, and lately new-seated, and now contains 506 sittings. A missionary, supported by the Royal Bounty, divides his services between this and the adjoining parish of Kiltarlity; and some of the inhabitants attend a church in the latter parish, built a few years since by the late Chisholm, on his property, and which accommodates 300 persons. In the same locality, the inhabitants of the higher district being chiefly Roman Catholics, are two Roman Catholic chapels, the one situated at Wester Eskadale, and the other not far from the house of Fasnakyle, and together accommodating about 500 persons. The parochial school affords instruction in English and Gaelic reading, the classics, algebra, and mathematics, in addition to other branches; the master has a salary of £25. 13., with a house and garden, and £24 fees. A school, also, is supported by the Chisholm; and the inhabitants enjoy the advantages of two schools belonging to the adjoining parish. There are remains of several Druidical temples, and a chain of walled structures along the course of the Beauly and the other streams; but the principal antiquity is the ruin of the priory of Beauly. This establishment was founded in 1230, by James Bisset, of Lovat, for monks of the order of Valliscaulium, a reformed branch of the Cistercians, and followers of the disclipine of St. Bennet, and who were brought into Scotland by Malvoison, Bishop of St. Andrew's, early in the thirteenth century. There are, however, no traces of turrets, or any kind of ornament; and the inclosed area is merely covered with tombstones, many without letters, and the earliest inscription dated 300 years after the foundation of the priory. The north aisle is the property of the Mackenzies of Gairloch; and Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, eighth laird of Kintail, who died in 1493, is represented by the effigy, in a recumbent posture, of a knight in full armour, under an arched canopy. The other portions consist of the burying-grounds of the chief branches of the clan Fraser, of the Chisholms, and others. Farquharson, a collector of Gaelic poetry, and conspicuous in the controversy concerning the poems of Ossian, resided for upwards of thirty years in the Strath-Glass district, in the capacity of Jesuit missionary.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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