Strachur and Strachlachlan

   STRACHUR and STRACHLACHLAN, a parish, in the district of Cowall, county of Argyll, 8 miles (S. S. E.) from Inverary; containing 1550 inhabitants, of whom 464 are in Strachur. The former of these places was originally called Kilmaglass, or "the Burialground of Maglass," a local saint. Strachlachlan was anciently denominated Kilmorrie, or "St. Mary's;" its present appellation means "the Strath of Lachlan," having been applied in reference to a portion of land, or a strath, belonging to Lachlan, the principal heritor of the district. Previously to the year 1650, Strachur was included in the parish of Lochgoilhead, and Strachlachlan in that of Inverchaolain. The parish stretches from north-east to south-west for nineteen miles, varying in breadth from three to six miles, and comprises between 35,000 and 40,000 acres; from 1000 to 1500 are under cultivation, 1800 under wood, chiefly natural, and the remainder in pasture and waste. The surface, to a great extent, is covered with hills, affording in many places, especially in Strachur, a soft nutritious pasture for sheep and black-cattle, but for the most part exhibiting an irregular and uninteresting appearance, mixing with and crossing each other in all directions. The height of some is 2000, and of others 3000 feet; and they form in some parts, where thickly wooded, a retreat for various animals and birds of prey, of which latter an eagle some years since carried off from the place a child of three years of age, which it killed and devoured. The cultivated land lies chiefly in two straths, respectively named after the two districts comprising the parish; the arable portion of Strachur is the more extensive. The lands in tillage give a pleasing variety to the scenery; and the wooded tracts, consisting of oak, larch, beech, ash, birch, fir, elm, and others, ornamenting the slopes of the hills, which are often green to the top, together with the streams and lakes, particularly Loch Fine, which bounds the parish on the north and west, contribute to improve the general aspect of the surface. Loch Fine abounds with herrings, as well as with many kinds of white-fish; it varies in depth from thirty to eighty fathoms. At a short distance, and stretching in a south-eastern direction, is Loch Eck, six miles long and half a mile broad, but three miles only of which belong to this place. The fresh-water herring, a fish but little esteemed, is found on the western coast of Scotland only in this lake and Loch Lomond; and a few salmon and salmon-trout, of good quality, are also taken: these have access to the lake by the river Eachaig, which forms a communication between it and the Clyde at Kilmun. The river Cur, rising in the mountains near Lochgoilhead, flows in an irregular course, with great rapidity for a few miles, towards the south-west; upon reaching the Strachur plains, it turns to the south-east, and runs more smoothly.
   The soil is in most parts thin, and exhibits the several varieties of loam, sand, and clay; the crops are valued, with the pastures, at nearly £8000 per annum, and consist of different kinds of grain, hay, potatoes, and turnips. The felling of the woods produces £200; and the fisheries on Loch Fine, in which about forty boats belonging to the parish are employed, are estimated at upwards of £1000; making the total value of produce more than £9000 per annum. The strath of Strachur, containing several hundred acres of good land, and nearly level, is under tolerable cultivation; but the farms throughout are extremely unequal in size, and the great humidity of the climate is a bar to very successful husbandry. Some of the tenants who pay from £100 to £300 of rent have excellent farm-buildings, and those of the middle class have mostly good accommodation; but the tenements of the crofters and cottars are very indifferent. Among the modern mansions are those of Glenshellis, Ballimore, Glenbrantir, and Strachurmore, all neat and convenient stone dwellings: Strachur House is an elegant modern structure, surrounded by a park. Limestone is found, and a quarry is in operation in each of the two districts. The road from Kilmun to Inverary passes through the parish, and communication is now opened with the towns on the Clyde by means of the government road to Ardentinny. There is a small bay at Strachur, affording good anchorage, and a secure retreat to vessels when the wind blows from the northeast and south-east: vessels occasionally enter to take in cargoes of wool and potatoes. A fair is held at Strachur in May, and another in October, for the sale of black-cattle. Coal imported from Glasgow and Ayrshire is much in use, the peat here being difficult of access; and the saleable produce of the parish is conveyed to the former place and to Greenock. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4356. It is in the presbytery of Dunoon and synod of Argyll, and in the alternate patronage of Callendar of Ardkinloss, and Mc Lachlan of Mc Lachlan. The minister's stipend is £150, of which nearly a fifth is paid by the exchequer: there is also a manse, with a glebe of very inferior land, covering about fifteen acres, and of the annual value of £7. The church of Strachur was erected in 1789, and accommodates 400 persons with sittings; that of Strachlachlan, six miles from the former, was built in 1792, and contains sittings for 200 persons, which, as well as those at Strachur, are all free: the services at each are on alternate Sabbaths. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. Besides the parochial school at Strachur, there are two side or branch schools, which are endowed with a part of the salary of the parochial teacher; the salary is £26. 10. per annum, with a house and garden, and about £14 fees. There are three schools also in Strachlachlan, of the same kind; but the two side-schools here are supported by subscription, and the parochial teacher receives only £10 per annum, with about £8 fees, and finds his own house and croft. A circulating library at Strachur is superintended by the Kirk Session.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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