Kilninian and Kilmore

   KILNINIAN and KILMORE, a parish, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll; comprising the late quoad sacra districts of Tobermory and Ulva, and part of Salen; and containing 4335 inhabitants. These two ancient parishes, now united, and the names of which respectively express to what saints the churches were dedicated, chiefly occupy the northern part of the island of Mull. The parish, to speak more particularly, consists partly of a peninsula, separated from the southern portion of the island by an isthmus formed by the sound of Mull on the east, and by the estuary called Lochnan-gaul, a large bay of the Atlantic Ocean, on the west; and partly of two groups of islands. Of these groups, one comprehends Ulva, Gometray, Little Colonsay, and Staffa, situated in the entrance of Loch-nan-gaul; and the other, called the Treshinish isles, comprehends Fladda, Linga, Bach or the Dutchman's Cap, and the two Cairnburghs, and lies a little further to the westward. Exclusive of the islands, the parish is supposed to cover about 150 or 160 square miles; and the whole number of acres, including the islands, is computed at 90,000, or 100,000, of which 15,000 are capable of tillage, 14,000 are under pasture, 1000 in plantation, and the remainder hilly ground producing only coarse grass or moss. Loch Sunart, a large arm of the Atlantic, washes the parish on the north, separating Mull from Ardnamurchan, the headland of which district is the western extremity of the main land of Scotland, and is distinctly seen, with the isles of Canna, Rum, Eigg, and Muck, farther north, from this locality. The Sound of Mull separates the parishes on the east from that of Morvern, and the Atlantic washes it on the west, the most violent gales here known proceeding from this and the southwest points. The coast is much varied in its outline, but without exhibiting any remarkable indentations, except on the north-west, where a long narrow inlet forms a partial division between the Kilninian and Kilmore districts. On the eastern shore, where there is a flexure of the sound of Mull, is the Bay of Aros, once protected by an ancient castle of the same name, said to have been built and inhabited by Mc Donald, Lord of the Isles, and still remaining. There are also, in different parts of the coast, several small creeks, especially on the north side, comprising those of Laorin, Lockmingary, Pollach, and Calgarry, the last opening towards Tiree. The principal harbour, however, is the bay of Tobermory, a bustling sea-port in the north-east.
   Ulva, the largest of the islands, covers eighteen square miles, and is separated from Mull by the sound of Ulva, which is about 100 yards wide, and offers, as well as the bay of Ardnacallich, situated here, safe and convenient anchorage. On the north of Ulva, the bay of Soribi, and on the south, that of Crakaig, afford the same advantages, especially the former, which is sufficiently capacious for shipping of any tonnage. The shores of Ulva are marked by many headlands, islets, and rocks, several of them agreeably clothed with verdure, and depastured by sheep and cattle. On the east is the promontory of Ardnacallich, or "Old Wife's point," so named from the summit, which, as seen from a certain point in sailing out of the sound of Ulva towards Inchkenneth or Gribon, resembles the head and face of a woman, with the features distinctly pourtrayed. Towards the southern side of the island, near a cluster of columns called the Castles, is an extensive and remarkable cave, covering an area of nearly 3500 square feet, and displaying, at its arched entrance and in the interior, a singular combination of natural beauties, many of the portions assuming the character of a finished artificial structure. Not far distant, on the Ormaig shores, is Chirsty's Rock, also called Sceair Caristina, from a tragical event of ancient times. The basalt and wacken strata, beautifully varied in many instances by mixtures of zeolite, and sometimes phrenite and chalcedony, give a peculiar interest to the geological character of the island; but its fine assemblage of basaltic columns are, to a great extent, unnoticed, being eclipsed by the surpassing compositions of the celebrated Staffa. Gometray, situated on the west of Ulva, and separated only by a very narrow channel, is of much smaller extent and importance: attached to it, however, are two harbours, one on the south, and the other on the north. The islet of Colonsay, on the south of Ulva, is of still smaller size, and contains but a few inhabitants.
   Staffa, lying at some distance to the south-west, is about a mile long and a quarter of a mile broad, and totally uninhabited. This rocky spot, diminutive in size, is, however, the centre of attraction to the tourist, and exhibits, in the grand assemblage and composition of its basaltic columns and caves, one of the most striking geological phenomena in the world. The name is of Scandinavian origin, and signifies "the island of columns." The isle, at its loftiest part, has an elevation of 144 feet above the sea; but in some places, especially in the north, it is nearly level with the water, and towards the west the cliffs are much depressed, and comparatively destitute of interest. The great face, at its highest point, is 112 feet above high-water mark, but sinks towards the west, the extreme elevation near Mackinnon's cave being only eighty-four feet. At the Clamshell cave, also, the same appearance is exhibited, the vertical cliffs being here displaced by an irregular columnar declivity, beneath which the landing-place is seen, in the midst of columns stretching in almost every direction, and of various forms. The Boat cave, which can be approached only by sea, is sixteen feet high, twelve broad, and 150 feet long; and Mackinnon's cave, or the Cormorant, approached by a gravelly beach, is fifty feet high at the entrance, forty-eight feet wide, and 224 feet long. There is also a celebrated rock called Buachaille, or "the Herdsman," a columnar pile about thirty feet high; but the chief point of interest is Fingal's cave, which is forty-two feet wide at the entrance, 227 feet long, and measures, from the top of the arch to the surface of the water at low-tide, sixty-six feet. The whole of this part of the island is supported by ranges of basaltic colonnades, much diversified in appearance. The columns along the sides of the cave are perpendicular, from two to four feet in diameter, and generally hexagonal and pentagonal in form, though often varying from this geometrical figure.
   The shores of all the islands attached to the parish, as well as those of the Mull portion, afford a large supply of excellent fish, especially about Ulva, comprising skate, flounders, soles, and turbot, with lobsters, crabs, and other shell-fish. An almost incredible number of sea-fowl, also, and various migratory birds, frequent the district. The surface of the interior of the Mull portion of the parish is hilly, though no where assuming a mountainous appearance. The eminences are mostly covered with heath; but the inland parts of the more level ground consist of good pasture, interspersed with moss and heath, and along the sea-shore is some arable land. The scenery is much improved by the lakes, which are five in number, and supply good trout and pike, the former, also, and salmon, being found in the rivers. The soil is principally a light reddish earth, frequently mixed with moss, and occasionally marshy, and lying under water. That in Ulva, though sharp, is very fertile, and produces good crops of oats and bear. Wheat and peas were tried in the island a few years since, and, favoured by a genial climate, have succeeded far beyond expectation; potatoes and turnips, also, attain a great size. The grass-land in the parish supplies good nutritious pasture. Lime-shell sand, found in abundance round the shores, and sea-weed, furnish excellent manure; and from the sea-weed, about 100 tons of the best kelp are annually manufactured in Ulva. The farms are small, and well fenced with stone dykes; every tenant in Ulva is the owner of at least one boat, and has the privilege of feeding his horses and cattle, which are numerous and of fine quality, on the hilly grounds. Leases have recently been introduced; and an allowance is now made by the landowner of Ulva for the cultivation of every acre of waste ground, in consequence of which many improvements have taken place. A very great impediment, however, is found in the bad condition of the roads of the parish. The rateable annual value of Kilninian and Kilmore, including the isles, is £7900.
   The strictures of Dr. Johnson show that, when he visited this place, in his tour through the Hebrides, it was entirely destitute of wood; but plantations have since sprung up in different parts, to the advantage of the scenery, and others are in progress. These plantations, with the other improvements already noticed, the recent introduction of turnips and clover, and the encouragement of the Cheviot breed of sheep, have produced a great change in the aspect and the agricultural character of the parish. The most commanding mansion is a modern building in the island of Ulva, situated in the midst of a large park, and about 400 yards distant from the old mansion of the Macquaries, the former owners of the property. The picturesque beauties of the grounds, and the plantations in the vicinity, greatly enrich the district; and a fine view is obtained of the mountains and the sound of Mull, its verdant islands, and the striking cataract of Esse-forse on Laggan Ulva. The other residences of most note are, Coll House, near Tobermory, an elegant modern structure; Quinish Lodge, towards the west; the Retreat Cottage; Morinish Castle, a small neat modern building; Ulva House; Achadashenag House: and Torloisk, surrounded by beautiful plantations, and commanding a fine view of the Treshinish islands. The chief traffic is carried on at Tobermory, whence black-cattle of fine quality, mostly reared in Ulva, are exported in considerable numbers, as well as sheep, horses, pigs, potatoes, bear, and eggs, with a portion of kelp; and besides a variety of other merchandise, oatmeal, seeds, corn, leather, and salt are imported, and coal for the more wealthy classes. There are two quays; and the town contains the post-office for the surrounding district, a branch of the Western Bank, and the court of the sheriff-substitute. It is also the polling-place, at county elections, for the electors residing in Mull, Ulva, Iona, Tiree and Coll, and Morvern.
   The parish is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Mull and synod of Argyll, and in the patronage of the Duke of Argyll. The minister's stipend is £231, with an allowance in lieu of a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £20. There are two churches, about seven miles distant from each other, the one situated at Kilninian, and containing 300 sittings, and the other at Kilmore, having 350; they were both erected in 1754, and thoroughly repaired in 1842. In the year 1827, two quoad sacra parishes were formed by the parliamentary commissioners, with a church and manse to each; and a part of the parish was added to the new quoad sacra parish of Salen. These arrangements, however, are now abolished. One of the two parishes, called Ulva, consisted of the islands of Ulva, Gometray, Little Colonsay, Staffa, and a part of Mull, covering about sixty square miles. The other parish, named Tobermory, extended about six miles in length, and nearly two in breadth, comprehending about twelve square miles. The parochial school is situated in the Kilninian and Kilmore district; the salary of the master is £25, with a house and garden, and about £3 fees. There is also a school supported by the General Assembly; and others are maintained by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and other societies. The Ulva district contains three schools; two are branches of the parochial school, and the other is supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. One of these is on the main land of Mull, and the remaining two in the island of Ulva. In the Tobermory district is a school supported by government; and a female school of industry is maintained chiefly by the Queen Dowager. The ruins of religious edifices are to be seen in different places; and on the height above Kilmore is a Druidical circle, consisting of five large stones. Cairnburgh, one of the Treshinish isles, a lofty rock, was taken by Cromwell's troops in the time of the Commonwealth, and was garrisoned by the Mc Leans in 1715. This, and the adjacent rock called Little Cairnburgh, are said to have been the boundary between the Nodorees and Sodorees, or Northern and Southern isles, which formed two distinct governments when the Hebrides were subject to Denmark.
   See Staffa, Tobermory, Ulva, &c.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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  • Salen —    SALEN, lately a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Kilninian and Kilmore, and partly in that of Torosay, district of Mull, county of Argyll, 8 miles (S. E. by S.) from Tobermory; containing 775 inhabitants. This place, formerly only a …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Ulva — Infobox Scottish island | GridReference=NM410396 celtic name=Ulbha norse name=Ulv oy/Ulfrsey meaning of name=Old Norse for wolf island or Ulfr s island area=1,990 ha area rank=35 highest elevation=Beinn Chreagach 313 m Population=16 population… …   Wikipedia

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  • Tobermory —    TOBERMORY, a sea port town, and also a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Kilninian and Kilmore, district of Mull, county of Argyll, 30 miles (N. W. by W.) from Oban, and 171 (W. N. W.) from Edinburgh; containing 1390 inhabitants. This place …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Calf —    CALF, an island, in the parish of Kilninian and Kilmore, district of Mull, county of Argyll. This island, which is of extremely small extent, lies off Tobermory, in the north eastern part of the parish, and is in that portion of the Sound of… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Ulva (Mull) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ulva. Ulva Géographie Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

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