RANNOCH, a Highland district, and lately a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Logierait, but chiefly in the parish of Fortingal, county of Perth, 9 miles (N. W.) from the Kirkton of Fortingal; containing 1599 inhabitants. This extensive mountainous district is supposed to have derived its name, in the Gaelic language Ratheanach, from the great quantity of water with which the lower lands were frequently overflowed. It extends for nearly thirty miles, from the base of Schihallion, on the east, to the confines of Argyllshire on the west, and varies from five to twenty miles in breadth; separating the district of Glenlyon on the south from that of Fortingal proper on the north. Of the whole number of acres, which cannot be accurately ascertained, about 1000 are arable, 3000 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture, moor, and waste. The surface is boldly diversified with hills affording pasture for black-cattle and sheep, and with mountainous heights, whereof the most prominent is Schihallion, which has an elevation of 3564 feet above the level of the sea, and was selected in 1771 by Dr. Maskelyne, astronomer royal, for the purpose of conducting a series of observations. In one part of the district is a tract of sixteen square miles which is tolerably level, but swampy and of little value, having in the most favourable seasons only scanty pasture. In other parts are portions of more fertile land, in good cultivation, and interspersed with numerous gentlemen's seats, the grounds attached to which form a pleasing relief. Loch Rannoch is about twelve miles in length, and more than a mile in average breadth; its depth has not been ascertained, though soundings have been made to the extent of more than fifty fathoms without reaching the bottom. At the upper extremity are two islands, one of which is artificial, and in time of danger was often resorted to by the inhabitants as a place of security. The mountain heights bordering each side of the loch are almost covered with dense woods of pine and birch, extending from the margin of the water nearly half way to their summits; and in each direction, also, are several picturesque farm-houses and mansions; the whole presenting a mass of rich and strikingly diversified scenery. The scenery is rendered more singularly impressive by successive tiers of hills, rising above each other on both sides of the lake, and towering above which are seen the lofty mountains of GlenEtive and Glencoe, which, though forty miles distant, appear to crown the extensive heights of Rannoch. The river Gamhair flows for nearly eight miles through the western portion of the district into Loch Rannoch; and the river Rannoch, issuing from the eastern extremity of the lake, after a course of ten miles flows into Loch Tummell, in the adjoining parish. Trout weighing more than twenty pounds are found in Loch Rannoch; and the numerous small lakes among the hills abound with trout and perch.
   There are considerable remains of ancient woods, consisting of native fir and beech, and forming part of the Caledonian forest; and also extensive plantations of ash, oak, elm, beech, and other trees, all of which are in a thriving state. The chief village in the district is Kinloch, not far from the shore of Loch Rannoch, at its eastern extremity, where a post-office has been established under that of Pitlochrie, with which it has communication three times in the week, and where three fairs are held annually; one in April, and one in October, mostly for fat-cattle and sheep; and one in August, mostly for lambs. At all these fairs, however, every other kind of agricultural produce is also exposed for sale. The small village of Georgetown, situated at the south-western extremity of the loch, was built for the accommodation of a body of the military stationed here after the rebellion in 1745, to keep the people under subjection to the government. Facility of communication is afforded by the great north road through Inverness to the heart of the Highlands, which crosses the eastern portion of the district. Rannoch was first separated for ecclesiastical purposes from the parishes of Fortingal and Logierait by act of the General Assembly, and still constitutes a quoad sacra parish. The church, erected in 1830, at a cost of £750, raised by subscription, is a plain substantial structure containing 560 sittings. The minister has a stipend of £120, paid by the Crown, with a manse, and a small glebe; patron, the Crown. A chapel in connexion with the Established Church has been erected at the west end of Loch Rannoch. The parochial school is endowed by government; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden. There are two schools maintained by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and the General Assembly, respectively, each master having a regular salary; and a parochial library is supported by subscription of the inhabitants. General Sir Archibald Campbell, who distinguished himself in the Burmese war, and died in 1843, was a native of Rannoch.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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