- KINTAIL, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 10 miles (E. S. E.) from Lochalsh; containing, with the village of Dornie and Bundalloch, 1168 inhabitants. This parish derives its name from a Gaelic term, signifying "the head of two seas," and descriptive of its situation on a point of land where two seas meet. Nothing is known concerning its history earlier than the period of Alexander III., who presented to Colin Fitzgerald, the founder of the noble family of Mackenzie, the Castle of Donan, in the village of Dornie, now a ruin, for his eminent services in the royal cause, both by sea and land, at the battle of Largs. The family, indeed, derive their crest of a burning mount from the lofty and famous mountain here, called Tulloch-ard, upon the top of which, in ancient times, a barrel of burning tar was exhibited as a signal for the rendezvous of the vassals of the Mackenzies, on the commencement of hostilities. The parish, which is situated on the west coast of Ross-shire, is about eighteen or twenty miles long, and five or six broad; it is surrounded by hills in every direction, and is altogether one of the most mountainous and wild districts in the country. The northern division, called Glenelchaig, is separated from the southern and western parts by a lofty and almost inaccessible ridge; and a length of about ten miles only of the extent of ground in the parish is inhabited, which portion is contained between the north-east end of Loch Loing and the south-east end of Loch Duich. The approaches on all sides are majestic and commanding. The mountains of Ben-Ulay, Glasbhein, Soccach and Maam-an-Tuirc, in the parish, abound with picturesque and romantic scenery; and their vicinity is plentifully enriched with every variety of valley, wood, and water. The mountain of Tulloch-ard, however, situated on the north side of Loch Duich, and embracing an extensive view of the Western Isles, is the most celebrated, both for its towering appearance and its history in legendary song. The pass of Bealach, a few feet only in breadth, and inclosed by lofty and precipitous rocks, the whole encompassed with lonely glens and wild mountain woods, is a spot which has always interested the admirer of wild and lonely scenery. There are many good springs, and a few inland lochs, the chief of which are Loch-a-Bhealich and Loch Glassletter, abounding with fine trout, and famous for angling. The waterfall of Glomach, situated in a sequestered valley about seven miles from Shealhouse, is highly celebrated. The stream is precipitated from an elevation of 350 feet, and, obstructed in its fall by the projection of a rugged crag, throws forth a volume of beautiful spray, of unusual dimensions; it is surrounded on all sides with mountainous and barren scenery. The chief rivers are the Loing, which separates Kintail from Lochalsh; the Croe, which divides it from Glensheil; and the Elchaig. The Croe runs into Loch Duich, and the two others into Loch Loing.The parish is almost entirely pastoral. The larger farms are held by the proprietors of the parish, two or three in number; and the most improved system of husbandry is adopted on these lands. The chief attention is paid to the breeding of sheep; and by crossing the old stock with the Cheviots, it has of late years been greatly improved, the sheep now fetching the highest price at the markets in the south, particularly that of Falkirk, to which they are chiefly sent. There are several small but thriving plantations, which consist of Scotch firs, spruce, larch, oak, ash, birch, and elm. The rocky strata are composed chiefly of gneiss, distinguished frequently by a variety of veins; there are also considerable beds of granite and sienite. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3017. Dornie and Bundalloch form one village, situated on the north-east shore of Loch Loing; it is inhabited principally by fishermen, and is very thickly peopled. The bays worth notice are those of Dornie, Corfhouse, and Inverinate. A parliamentary road from the western coast to Inverness runs through the parish, and is in very excellent condition; and more distant communication is afforded with this neighbourhood by the Glasgow and Skye steam-boats, by which all necessaries are obtained. There are fisheries for salmon established on Loch Duich and the river Croe; they are let to strangers, who send the fish to the London market. The ecclesiastical affairs are directed by the presbytery of Lochcarron and synod of Glenelg, and the patronage is in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £177, with a good manse, built in 1831, and a glebe of the annual value of £40. The church, which is inconveniently situated at a great distance from the body of the parishioners, is capable of accommodating about 300 persons; it was repaired about 1820, when two small galleries were erected; but is at present in a dilapidated state, and too small for the population. The Roman Catholics have a place of worship. There are two catechists in the parish; and a parochial school is maintained, where the usual branches of education are taught, the master having a salary of £27, with a house, and an allowance in lieu of garden. Two other schools are supported by the Gaelic Society. The chief relic of antiquity is the ruin of Ellandonan Castle, near the village of Dornie, surrounded by beautiful and picturesque scenery; it is supposed to have been built about the time of Alexander III.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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