- ROSSKEEN, a parish, in the Mainland district of the county of Ross and Cromarty, 13 miles (N. E.) from Dingwall; containing, with the villages of Bridgend, Invergordon, and Saltburn, 3222 inhabitants, of whom 1482 are in the rural district. This place is supposed to have derived its name, in the Gaelic language signifying "meeting," from the junction of the districts of Easter and Wester Ross on the western boundary of the parish. Rosskeen is washed on the south by the Frith of Cromarty, and is nearly thirty miles in length and about twelve miles in extreme breadth, comprising a large extent of Highland country. The surface is level towards the coast, from which, for almost four miles, it rises with a gentle acclivity towards the north-west; and it is aftewards diversified with numerous hills, of which the highest, Cairn-Coinneag, has an elevation of 3000 feet above the level of the sea. In the inland portion of the parish is the extensive vale of Strathrusdale, chiefly affording pasturage for sheep. The rivers are, the Rorie, or Balnagowan, which has its source within the parish, and flows into the bay of Nigg; and the Alness, which bounds the parish on the west, and falls into the Frith of Cromarty. There are four lakes, the largest of which is half a mile in length, and of which Loch Achnacloich is remarkable for the beauty of the sequestered and richly-wooded glen where it is situated. The soil in the low lands is partly light and gravelly, partly a rich loam, and partly a deep strong clay; in the central portion of the parish is a very wide bed of shell-marl, and in other parts extensive tracts of moss in which are found large quantities of fir and oak deeply imbedded. About 4000 acres are arable, 3000 woodland and plantations, and the remainder chiefly mountain pasture and waste; the crops are, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, peas, and turnips. The system of husbandry has within the last few years been much improved; and a powerful stimulus is afforded by the shows held annually at Invergordon, for awarding prizes for the best specimens of live-stock and the finest samples of grain. Great quantities of waste land have been reclaimed and brought into cultivation; the farm houses and offices are in general of superior order, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. The cattle reared are chiefly of the Highland black-breed, with cows of the Ayrshire and Buchan on the dairy-farms, and a few of the Teeswater, lately introduced; the sheep are usually of the Cheviot, with a few of the black-faced, breed. A large number of swine are also fed.The plantations, which are in a very thriving state, are principally fir and larch, with elm, beech, oak, ash, plane, and lime; and there are considerable remains of ancient wood, of which beautiful specimens, of venerable growth, are found on the lands of Ardross, belonging to the Duke of Sutherland. The substrata are generally of the old red sandstone formation, of which there is an extensive quarry on the banks of the river Alness. The principal seat is Invergordon Castle, of which the greater portion was destroyed by an accidental fire, and the remaining portion is inhabited by the family of the Mc Leods; the grounds are extensive and tastefully laid out, and contain some fine specimens of ancient timber. Kincraig House is also a pleasant residence. The manufacture of coarse canvass for bagging affords employment to about thirty persons, and some of the females are employed in spinning. Fairs are held at Invergordon annually; and facility of communication is afforded by good roads, and by steamers which ply at the harbour of Invergordon. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6689. Its ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Tain and synod of Ross: the minister's stipend is £156, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10. 10. per annum; patrons, the family of Hay Mackenzie. The church, which is situated in the centre of the parish, was erected in 1833, and is a spacious and substantial structure containing 1360 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house and garden, and the fees average £12 per annum. There are also a school in the village of Saltburn, supported by the Edinburgh Gaelic Society, who allow the master a salary of £20; a school of which the master has a salary of £15, supported by the Inverness Education Society; and two Sabbath schools. In the parish are several cairns, in which have been found skulls and human bones of large size: one, called Carna-nam-Fiann, is supposed to have reference to the times of Fingal. Mr. Charles Mackintosh, the inventor of the process for rendering cloth waterproof, was a native of this place.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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