- KILTARLITY, a parish, in the county of Inverness, 4 miles (S. W. by W.) from Beauly; containing 2869 inhabitants. This place, the origin of the name of which is altogether uncertain, and which comprehends the old parish of Convinth, is situated in one of the most beautiful and romantic districts in the Highlands. The parish is separated from the main part of that of Kilmorack by the Beauly river, which, a few miles to the north-east, forms the loch of the same name, the latter communicating with the Moray Frith. It is one of the largest parishes in the country, measuring in length, from the north-eastern to the south-western extremity, about forty-five miles, though the average breadth doth not exceed six miles. The surface is characterized by hills and mountains, and thicklywooded glens and ravines, interspersed with numerous lochs, and some verdant pastures and well-cultivated tracts, rendered more strikingly picturesque in many parts by the course of rapid streams with various cascades. Among the lochs, which are of great number and diversity of appearance, and which abound in pike, trout, char, and other fish, the largest, and those most famed for their scenery, are, Loch Affaric, Loch Naluire, and Loch Beinnemhian. Each of these is about a mile broad, and varies in length from three to seven miles; all are very deep, and embosomed in hills and mountains, shrouded with birch, mountain-ash, and stately firs, the remains of the old Caledonian forest. The three lakes are united by the river Glass, which, rising in Loch Affaric, and proceeding north-easterly through the other two lakes, is in its course along the northwestern boundary of the parish, skirted on each side by lofty hills, and joined at Fasnacoil by the rapid stream of Deaothack. The Deaothack is celebrated for its waterfalls, especially those of Plodda and Easnambroc, and for the splendid firs on its banks, intermixed with birch and oak. At Invercannich, about four miles from Fasnacoil, the Glass is joined by the river Cannich, a large stream; and again, at the distance of a few miles, by the Farrer, after which it takes the name of Beauly. The distance from the last junction to the Beauly Frith is about nine miles; and though the river is only navigable for a mile and a half from the frith, up to the village of Beauly, it is found of great service for transporting timber for exportation. The fishery of the Beauly belongs to Lord Lovat, producing a rent of £1600 per annum.On the north-eastern side of the parish is a tract of land measuring about nine square miles, which is flat and low; but, with this exception, the surface is hilly and rocky throughout, and intersected with glens and valleys, the principal of which are Glen-Convinth and Strath-Glass. The latter of these was formerly covered with wood, which supplied Cromwell with a large portion of the timber used in the fortifications at Inverness, but of which none now remains except the forest of Cugie, where are firs of immense bulk and stature. The highest hill is supposed to be that of Aonach-Sassan, "English Hill," rising about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. In the south-western part of the parish the rocks are so lofty, rugged, and inaccessible, that they are not only the resort of eagles, falcons, and numerous birds of prey, but furnish lurking-places for large herds of goats, so wild as to bid defiance to capture. The soil is generally thin and light, of a reddish hue, and very hard. It is found intractable for successful husbandry, except on the lower grounds in the northeastern district, which are much more fertile than the higher portion, where, on account of its mossy character, the crops are stunted and sickly, especially in seasons of drought. Agriculture has, however, made considerable progress within the last twenty years. The most approved rotation of cropping has been introduced; and where trenching, liming, and draining have been adopted to a sufficient extent to counteract the natural impediments of the land, the produce is of good quality. The rocks in the parish consist chiefly of gneiss, intersected with veins of granite; and sandstone, with asbestos, rock-crystal, and other varieties, is found in the hills. There are several interesting caves, one of which, called Corriedow, is said to have been a retreat, for some days, of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Wood was once the only article exported from this locality; and independently of the old Scotch firs, and other noble trees, the memorials of former ages, extensive plantations still exist, and have been recently augmented. These comprise ash, elm, beech, plane, and especially larch, all of which attain a fine growth, and prove a source of considerable emolument to the proprietors. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6160.The gentlemen's seats are numerous, and in general are so well situated as to command views of the most interesting groups of scenery. Beaufort Castle, the property of Lord Lovat, is a spacious but plain building, standing on the site of the old fortress of Beaufort, or Downie, which, in the time of Alexander I., was besieged by the royal troops. Cromwell, also, seized a castle here, and demolished the citadel; and immediately after the battle of Culloden, the then fortress was burnt to the ground by the Duke of Cumberland's army. Indeed, the present is said to be the twelfth edifice erected on the same site: it is thought to have been built as a residence for the government factor while the estate lay under forfeiture, the proprietor, the aged Lord Lovat, having been executed in 1747 for aiding in the rebellion. The mansion commands extensive and beautiful views, comprehending the Beauly Frith; and the large parks attached are ornamented with fine specimens of ancient trees, and with well laid out pleasure-grounds and gardens. The present proprietor, a Roman Catholic, and the principal heritor in the parish, was raised to the peerage in 1837. Erchless Castle, the seat of "the Chisholm," situated near the confluence of the Farrer and Glass rivers, is a lofty turreted building, erected in the fifteenth century, and still in very good preservation. Attached to it is a splendid park, ornamented with many stately trees, relics of the old Caledonian forest; and in addition to 750 acres of land constantly kept in cultivation, the estate comprehends 1000 acres, planted, within the last thirty years, with larch, elm, beech, oak, Scotch fir, and chesnut. About four miles east of Erchless, on the opposite bank of the Beauly, is the beautiful mansion of Eskadale; and not far off, the house of Aigas, the property of the Chisholm. At a short distance north of Aigas, the river divides and again unites, forming the romantic island of Aigas, covered with oaks and weepingbirches, and on which a mansion of elegant design has been erected by Lord Lovat. A few miles to the southeast of this spot, about a quarter of a mile from the public road, is Belladrum, a modern mansion, splendidly fitted up, and almost shrouded with the foliage of plantations. Attached is a very superior farm-steading. This estate, comprising 2600 acres of hill pasture, 700 acres under tillage, and 1000 under wood, chiefly Scotch fir and larch, formerly belonged to James Fraser, Esq., but has passed by purchase to John Stewart, Esq., of Carnousie, for the sum of £80,000. The other mansions are those of Ballindown, Guisachan, and the house of Struy. The last is the seat of a branch of the clan Fraser, and is situated on the border of the Farrer, a mile from its junction with the Glass, each of which streams, at about the same distance from their confluence, is crossed by an excellent bridge. The parliamentary road from Inverness traverses the parish, from north-east to south-west; the nearest post-office is at the village of Beauly, two miles from the boundary. The produce is sent for sale to Inverness, twelve miles distant. The only "manufacture" is that of timber, large quantities of which are cut down every year, and prepared for sale at three saw-mills, as well as by numerous handsaws.The parish is in the presbytery of Inverness and synod of Moray, and in the patronage of Professor Scott, of King's College, Aberdeen, to whom Lord Lovat has transferred his right of presentation. The minister's stipend is £239, with a manse, and a glebe of nearly fifty acres, of the annual value of £20. The church, built in 1829, is finely situated in the midst of a cluster of lofty trees, and contains about 800 sittings, all free. A church, also, was erected by the late Chisholm, at Erchless, in connexion with the Establishment, and has 400 sittings; the salary of the minister is paid by the Chisholm. There is a mission at Strath-Glass, comprehending the upper part of this parish and that of Kilmorack; the salary is £80 per annum, £60 of which are from the Royal Bounty, and the remainder raised by subscription. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. A chapel was erected a few years since, by Lord Lovat, on an eminence near the small rural hamlet of Wester Eskadale, about four miles from Erchless, for the accommodation of the Roman Catholic population, which is of considerable extent. There are three parochial schools, which afford instruction in the usual elementary branches; the master of the principal one has a salary of £25. 16., with a house, and about £20 fees. The salary in each of the other schools, which are of recent establishment, is £12. 18., increased by the Chisholm to £25. The mistress of a female school has £15 per annum from the Lovat family, with a neat school-house and accommodations.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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