Lewis Topographical Dictionary 1851

in 1851 Samuel Lewis produced a series of "Topographical Dictionaries" : A topographical dictionary of Scotland, comprising the several counties, islands, cities, burgh and market towns, parishes, and principal villages, with historical and statistical descriptions: embellished with engravings of the seals and arms of the different burghs and universities" The Lewis Topographical Dictionaries :https://archive.org/stream/topographicaldic01lewi/topographicaldic01lewi_djvu.txt

ARDCHATTAN, a parish, in the district of Lorn, county of Argyll, 8 miles (E. N. E.) from Oban ; containing 2421 inhabitants, of whom 960 are in the quoad sacra parish of Muckairn, which is separately described.
The place is supposed to have derived its name from Catan, who accompanied St. Columba to Scotland about the year 563, and from its mountainous aspect, of which the term Ardchaltan is descriptive, signifying "the hill" or "promontory of Catan". It obtained for some time the appellation of Bal Mhoadan, or " the residence of Moadan", in honour of whom a church was erected in the vicinity, which afterwards became the church of the parish of Kilmodan. That portion of the parish which is comprehended between Loch Creran and Loch Etive, still retains the name of Benderloch, descriptive of a mountainous district between two arras of the sea. The parish is bounded on the north by the river and loch of Creran, on the south and east by Loch Etive and the river and loch of Awe, and on the west by Loch Linnhe.
Exclusively of Muckairn, which is not included in those boundaries, it is about forty miles in length, and ten miles in average breadth. The surface is generally
mountainous, but diversified with several glens and valleys of considerable extent, some of them richly embellished with wood, and displaying much romantic
scenery ; the level lands are intersected with numerous streams, and the hills of more moderate height are crowned with plantations. With the exception of the
valley of Glenure and a few other spots, the only arable lands are towards the north and east, beyond which little cultivation is found ; lofty mountains, in various directions, rise so abruptly from the sides of the lochs as to leave little land that can be subjected to the plough.

Of the mountains, the principal is Ben-Cruachan, the highest in the county, having an elevation of 3669 feet above the sea, and rising from a base more than twenty miles in circumference : the acclivity towards the vale of Glencoe is precipitously steep, but from the south, behind Inverawe, the ascent is more gradual, terminating in two conical summits commanding a most unbounded prospect. Ben-Cochail, to the north of Ben-Cruachan, though little inferior in height, appears much diminished by comparison ; and Ben-S^anie, still further up Loch Etive, rises from a base of large e.vtent, to an elevation of 2500 feet : the acclivities of the latter, of barren aspect, are deeply furrowed ; and in the channels of the streams which descend from it are found beautiful crystals, not much inferior to the cairngorms of the Grampians. Ben-Nan-Aighean, or the " mountain of the heifers", to the south of Ben-Starive, rises to a great height, terminating in a peak of granite ; for about half way up the acclivities it affords tolerable pasture, and is thence rugged and barren to its summit : rock crystals
are found near its base, and in the beds of its numerous streams. Ben-Chaorach, or the " mountain of the sheep", near Ben-Starive, is of inferior height, but affords good pasturage. Ben-Ketlan, to the north of it, is of greater elevation, and presents a finer outline, bounded on one side of its base by the Alt-Ketlan stream, and by the Alt-Chaorach on the other ; it is the most fertile of the mountains. Two most conspicuous mountains called Buachail-Etive, or the " keepers of the Etive", situated near the termination of the loch named Etive, are dis- tinguished by the names Buachail-Mor and Buachail-Beg, from the respective extent of their bases, though neither of them has an elevation of less than 3000 feet. Ben- Veedaii, called also Ben-Nambian, or the "mountain of the deer-skins ', from the number of deer which are killed there, is separated from Buachail-Beg by the mountain-pass of Larig-Aodt, a lofty and stupendous
range scarcely inferior in elevation to Ben-Cruachan, and whicli opens into the vale of Glencoe. Ben-Treelahan, on the west side of Loch Etive, which washes its base for nearly five miles, and Ben-Starive (already described), on the opposite side, greatly contract the breadth of the loch, and, by their rugged aspect, spread over it a romantic gloom hardly surpassed in mountain scenery. In the north-east of the parish, also, are other mountains, of which the principal are Ben-Aulay, the highest of the range; Ben-Scoullard, Ben-Vreck, Ben-Molurgan, and Ben-f'ean.

Of the numerous glens interspersed between the mountains, is Glen-Noe, about four miles in length and one mile in breadth, inclosed on the north side by Ben-
Cruachan, and on the south by Ben-Cochail. It is clothed with rich verdure, and watered throughout by a stream whose banks, as it approaches the sea, are finely wooded. A house has been built near the opening for the residence of the farmer who rents it, than which a more delightful summer retreat can scarcely be imagined.
Glen-Kinglas is about nine miles in length and nearly two in breadth, and watered by the river to which it gives name. The north side is rocky and barren, but
the south affords excellent pasture. This glen formerly abounded with timber, which was felled for charcoal by an iron-smelting company, about a century since ; so that, with the exception of a few alders on the banks of the river, and some brushwood of little value, it is now destitute of wood. Glen-Ketlan, inclosed on one side by the mountain of Ben-Ketlan, is about two miles in length, and watered by the river Etive, which enters it about three miles from the head of Loch Etive. Glen- Etive commences at the head of Loch Etive, and is more than sixteen miles in length. It was formerly a royal forest, the hereditary keeper of which claims exemption from certain payments. One portion of the glen, with a contiguous tract in the parish of Glenorchy, has been stocked with red deer by the Marquess of Breadalbane, and another portion of it has been appropriated by Mr. Campbell of Monzie to the same purpose. The whole tract is marked by features of sublimity and grandeur, though stripped of the majestic timber with which it was anciently embellished. Glen-Ure, or the "glen of yew-trees", opens from the river Creran, and expands to the south and east for about three miles. Near the river are the dilapidated remains of the ancient mansion
of the family of Glenure, and adjacent is the farm of Barnamuch, which has been always famed for the richness- of its pastures. The remote extremity of the
glen is marked with features of rugged grandeur. Glen- Dindal, or Glen-Dow , about seven miles to the west of Glenure, is three miles in length, and in the lower part luxuriantly wooded ; it is frequented by numbers of fallow deer, originally introduced about the middle of the last century. Glen-Salloch, the most elevated of the glens, is situated between Loch Etive and Loch Creran, and extends from south to north for about six miles ; it comprehends much variety of scenery, and the views from any point commanding either of the lakes are romantically picturesque.
The principal lochs are Loch Etive and Loch Creran. Loch Etive branches from the Linnhe loch near Dunstaffnage Castle, and extends eastward to Bunawe, after
which it takes a northern direction among the mountains, and terminates at Kinloch Etive. It is about twenty-two miles in length, varying from less than a
quarter of a mile to more than a mile and a half in breadth, and being from twenty to 100 fathoms in depth.
The bay affords safe anchorage to vessels not exceeding 100 tons; and at Connel Ferry, near the western extremity, the tide rises to a height of fourteen feet, forming in the narrow channel, which is not more than 200 yards in width, and obstructed by a ledge of rock, a foaming and apparently terrific rush of water, which the skill of the boatmen has rendered available to facilitate the passage. There is another ferry across the loch at Bunawe, opposite to which is the small island of Elan-Duirnish, inhabited only by the family of the ferryman, and connected with the mainland, on the opposite shore, by a stone causeway, along which passes a road that afterwards diverges to Inverary and Glenorchy. Loch Creran issues from the Linnhe loch near the island of Eriska, and extends in a north-eastern direction for about twelve miles, the breadth being on an average a mile and a half. It is about fifteen fathoms in depth, and the spring tides rise from fifteen to sixteen feet ; the bay, having a clayey bottom, affords good anchorage, and there is a ferry across the loch at Shean, in the narrowest part. The loch has several barren and uninhabited islets ; and the island of Eriska, which is well wooded, contains a considerable portion of pasture and arable land, forming a very compact farm.
Among the chief rivers is the Jwe, which, issuing from the loch of that name, and flowing between richly- wooded banks, after a course of about four miles, falls
into Loch Etive at Bunawe. The Elive, which has its source near Kings-house, in the parish, flows in a western and south-western direction, and gradually ex-
panding in its progress, after a course of nearly sixteen miles, falls into Loch Etive near its head. The Kinglas has a course of about twelve miles to the south-west, flowing along a channel of rock and granite ; its waters are remarkably transparent, and salmon are found in numbers. The Liver, which rises to the south of the Kinglas, flows for about six miles in a western direction, and falls into Loch Etive at Inverliver. The ]Voe, which waters the glen of that name, has a course of four miles between rugged mountains, and, near its confluence with Loch Etive, forms a romantic cascade. The Creran, which has its source near Ben-Aulay, flows westward for nearly twelve miles, and after passing through the in- land lake of Fasuacloich, forms a channel navigable for small boats, and falls into the sea at the head of Loch Creran. The Ure has a course of about seven miles in a northern direction, and passing to the west of Glenure
House, falls into the Creran river. The Tendal has a western course of about six miles, through the glen of that name, and forms several interesting cascades. The Bute, after a course of little more than three miles, and the Dergan, which rises in the heights of Glen-Salloch, both fall into Loch Creran ; and the Esragan-More and the Esragiin-Beg, separated by the mountain of Ben- Vean, after a course of about five miles, fall into Loch Etive. The rivers generally form in their progress nu- merous cascades, many of which, especially those of the mountainous districts, are incomparably beautiful.
Though generally a pastoral district, there is still a considerable portion of arable land, estimated at about 1700 acres ; the soil is chiefly a light loam, requiring
much manure, but producing good crops of oats, bear, potatoes, and turnips. The farm-houses, with very few exceptions, are of an inferior order, thatched with straw, and ill adapted to the accommodation of the occupiers. Great numbers of cattle and sheep are fed in the pastures, and considerable attention is paid to the rearing of stock ; the cattle are of the Highland black breed, and on the dairy-farms the cows are of the Ayrshire breed. The sheep, which were originally of
the small white-faced kind, have been almost entirely superseded by the black-faced, and a few of the Cheviot breed have been recently introduced ; the number of sheep reared annually is estimated at 32,000. About 2700 acres are woodland and plantations : the coppices are chiefly oak, ash, birch, and mountain-ash ; and the plantations consist of ash, beech, elm, sycamore, and larch, Scotch, and spruce firs, all of which are in a thriving state. The annual value of real property in Ardchattan and Muckairn is £10,987. Lead-ore has been discovered on the farm of Drimvuick, but not wrought ; large boulders of granite are found in abundance, and on the upper shore of Loch Etive a quarry has been opened by the Marquess of Breadalbane, from which blocks are
raised of large size, and of very superior quality. The principal mansions in the parish are, Lochnell House, originally built by Sir Duncan Campbell, and improved at an expense of £15,000 by General Campbell, his successor ; Barcaldine House, recently enlarged, and beautifully situated in a richly-wooded demesne ; Ard- chatlan Priory, a portion of the ancient convent, con- verted into a private residence ; Inverawe House, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Awe, and surrounded with stately timber ; and Drimvuick House, a pleasant residence. There is a post-office at Bunawe, about four miles distant from the church ; the mail from Fort- William, likewise, passes through a portion of the parish, and facility of communication is afforded by good roads.
A fair for cattle and horses, which is also a statute-fair, is held at Shean Ferry twice in the year.
For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Lorn and synod of Argyll : the minister's stipend is £283. 3. 2., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum ; patron, Archibald Campbell, Esq., of Lochnell. The church, erected in 1836, is a neat structure, situated on the north shore of Loch Etive, and containing 430 sittings. There is a preaching station at Inverghiusachaw, in Glen-Etive, about sixteen miles distant from the church, where a missionary supported by the Royal Bounty preaches once in three weeks. A place of worship in connexion with the Free Church has been built. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children ; the master has a salary of £29. 16. 7., including the proceeds of a bequest producing £4. 3. 4., with a house and garden, and the school-fees average about £11 per annum.
There are some remains of Ardchattan Priory, founded in 1231, by Duncan Mc Coull, the supposed ancestor of the lords of Lorn, for monks of the Benedictine order; the house of the prior has been converted into a re- sidence by Mr. Campbell, the proprietor, and there are traces of the abbey and cloisters, with numerous monu- mental relics. Some remains also exist of the ancient churches of Bal-Moadan and Kilcolmkill. The Castle of Barcaklme, erected in the fifteenth century, by Sir Duncan Campbell, on a neck of land between Loch Creran and the bay of Ardmucknish, is rapidly falling into decay. There are remains of Druidical circles of large granite stones placed on end, and smaller circles of upright stones, on the summits of which latter are slabs of granite ; also stone coffins, in some of which have been found rude urns containing human bones ; and numerous tumuli, in one of which was an urn con- taining calcined bones and an arrow-head of flint. Many ancient coins have been likewise discovered, in- cluding several silver coins of the reign of Edward I., n the reverse of which were the names London, Cambridge, and Oxford, in good preservation. The site of the old city of Beregonium, supposed to have been the ancient metropolis of Scotland, and concerning which so many conflicting accounts have been written, and so many fabulous legends propagated by tradition, is referred to an eminence between the ferries of Connel and Shean, called Dun Mac Sniachan, on which are the remains of a vitrified fort. The Rev. Colin Campbell,
an eminent mathematician and metaphysician, was minister of the parish in 1667. For a description of Muckairn, which is not comprised in the foregoing article,
see MucKAiRN.

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