Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Kilmonivaig

Kilmonivaig, a large Highland parish of SW Inverness-shire, containing the hamlets of Spean Bridge or Unachan, 9 ¾ miles NE of Fort William, with a post and telegraph office; Bridge of Roy or Bunroy, 3 miles E of Spean Bridge, with a post office under Fort William; and Invergarry, ½ miles SW of Fort Augustus, with a post and telegraph office. It is bounded N by Glenshiel in Ross-shire and by Urquhart-Glenmoriston, NE by Boleskine-Abertarff, E by Laggan, SE by Fortingall in Perthshire, S by Lismore-Appin in Argyllshire, and W by Kilmallie and Glenelg. Its utmost length, from NW to SE, is 40 ½ miles; its utmost breadth is 23 miles; and its area is 4321/8 square miles or 276,673 ½ acres, of which 44 ½ are foreshore, 26 ½ tidal water, and 9531f water, it thus being larger than Midlothian and ten other Scotch counties, or only 6745 acres smaller than Kilmallie. The quoich, rising in the extreme NW at an altitude of 2500 feet above sea-level, runs 8 miles south-eastward and southward to the middle of Loch Quoich (5 ¼ miles x ¾ mile; 555 feet), which extends along the Kilmallie boundary, and out of which the garry flows 18§ miles eastward, through Loch Garry (4 ½ miles x ½ mile; 258 feet), to the middle of Loch Oich. From Loch Oich (37/10 miles x 1 to 2 ¼ furl.; 105 feet), whose foot falls just within Boleskine-Abertarff, the Caledonian Canal goes 1 ¾ mile south-south-westward to Loch Lochy (95/8 miles x 1 to 9 ¾ furl.; 93 feet), and out of Loch Lochy the river Lochy winds 93/8 miles south-south-westward along the Kilmallie border, till it falls near Fort William into the head of saltwater Loch Linnhe. The Spean, from a point 1 ¼ mile below its efflux from Loch Laggan (819 feet), winds 19 ¼ miles westward to the Lochy, 3 furlongs below the latter's exit from Loch Lochy: and the Spean itself is fed by the gulbin, running 107/8 miles northward out of Loch Ossian (3 ¼ miles x 3 furl.; 1269 feet), and through Loch Gulbin (7 x 3 ½ furl.; 1150 feet); by the Treig, running 2½ miles north-by-eastward out of Loch Treig (51/8 miles x 1 to 5½ furl.; 784 feet); and by the Roy, running 14 ¼ miles south-westward. The surface is everywhere hilly or grandly mountainous, chief elevations to the W of the Caledonian Canal being Beinn Tee (2956 feet), Sron a' Choire Ghairbh (3066), and Gleourach (3395); to the E, *Carn Leac (2889), *Creag Meaghaidh (3700), Beinn Eithinn (3611), Cnoc Dearg (3433), Stob Choire an Easain Mhoir (3658), *Aonach Beag (4080), and huge *Bennevis (4406), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. Such is a bare outline of the general features of this vast parish, fuller details as to whose scenery, mansions, antiquities, and history are furnished under Glenfintaig, Glengarry, Glengloy, Glengulbin, Glenmore-nan-albin, Glenroy, Glenspean, Invergarry, Inverlochy castle, and Lochaber. The rocks are mainly mica slate and gneiss, but include some fine-grained red granite and brown porphyry. Sheep-farming constitutes the staple employment; but 2 miles NE of Fort William is the famous Ben Nevis Distillery. Three battles have been fought within this parish-the 'Battle of the Shirts,' on 3 July 1544, between the Clan Ranald and the Erasers, when 300 of the latter were slain, along with Lord Lovat and his eldest son; the Battle of Inverlochy, on 2 Feb. 1645, in which Montrose's small Royalist army surprised and routed Argyll's Covenanters; and the ' last considerable clan battle which was fought in Scotland,' during Charles II.'s reign, when at Mulroy the Mackintoshes were worsted by the Macdonalds of Keppoch. John Macdonald or Ian Lorn, a Gaelic Jacobite poet of the latter half of the 17th century, was a native; and his songs had no little effect towards making Kilmonivaig the 'cradle of the rebellion of '45.' Six proprietors hold each an annual value of more than £500, and 2 of less than £100. Giving off the greater portion of Glengarry quoad sacra parish, Kilmonivaig is in the presbytery of Abertarff and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £400. The parish church, near Spean Bridge, was built about 1812, and contains 300 sittings. A Free church stands 23/8 miles WNW of Spean Bridge; and at Bunroy is a Roman Catholic church (1826; 350 sittings). Four public schools- Blarour, Kilmonivaig, Roy Bridge, and Tomcharich- with respective accommodation for 90, 99, 80, and 30 children, are, all but the second, of recent erection; and the three last in 1881 had an average attendance of 46, 43, and 23, and grants of £71, 15s., £51, 13s. 6d., and £21, 19s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £14, 627, (1881) £21, 553. Pop. (1801) 2541, (1831) 2869, (1861) 2276, (1871) 1967, (1881) 1928, of whom 1567 were Gaelic-speaking, and 1375 belonged to Kilmonivaig ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 62, 63, 53, 54, 72, 73, 1873-80.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a large Highland parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Kilmonivaig ScoP       Inverness Shire ScoCnty
Place: Kilmonivaig

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