Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Loth

Loth, a coast parish of E Sutherland, with a station of its own name on the Duke of Sutherland's railway (1871), 5¾ miles SW of Helmsdale. Containing also the fishing village of Portgower, 2 miles SW of Helmsdale, and much curtailed by the annexation of its Helmsdale portion to Kildonan prior to 1851, it is bounded N by Kildonan, SE by the Moray Firth, and SW by Clyne. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 7½ miles; its utmost breadth, from NW to SE, is 5 3/8 miles; and its area is 28 1/5 square miles or 18,042 acres, of which 430 1/7 are foreshore and 4½ water. The coast-line, closely followed by the railway for 7¾ miles, is chiefly a low, level beach of sand, indented by several baylets, and projecting some low rocky headlands. The impetuous Loth, rising on Beinn na Meilich at an altitude of 1510 feet, winds 5¾ miles southward to the sea near Loth station, 2¾ miles above its mouth being joined by Sletdale Burn, which rises on Meall an Liath Mor at an altitude of 1495 feet, and, thence curving 5 ¼ miles east-by-southward, has a total descent of 1132 feet. Of seven other streamlets the chief is one running 4 miles south-south-eastward to the sea near Kintradwell. In 1818 a new channel was cut for the Loth through a solid rock 20 feet high, whereby a largish swamp or loch- the river's expansion-was drained, and its bed converted into rich arable carse-land. The surface rises rapidly north-westward to 1000 feet at Cregan Mor, 970 at Cnoc na h-Iolaire, 1294 at Creag a Chrionaich, 1346 at Creag a' Mheasgain, 1311 at Culgower Hill, 1767 at Beinn Chol, 1608 at Meallan Liath Mor, 1581 at Creag Mhor, 2068 at Beinn Dobhrain, 2046 at Beinn na h-Urrachd, and 1940 at Beinn na Meilich, the six last of which culminate on the confines of the parish. The rocks along the coast are oolitic, comprising limestone, conglomerate, variously-coloured shales, and white and red sandstone; but the prevailing rock of the uplands is a species of large-grained porphyry, unusually frangible, and easily denudated by running water. At most one-seventh of the entire area is in tillage, but what arable land there is has a fertile soil, and the farm of Crakaig is one of the best in the county. Pennant describes an ancient flag-built ` hunting house '-one of three-in Glen Loth; and near Kintradwell there still are remains of a Pictish tower. The mansion of Kintradwell was burnt by the Jacobite Earl of Cromarty in 1746. Hereabout stood a chapel dedicated to St Trullo; and another pre-Reformation place of worship was standing at Garty ;towards the close of last century. The Duke of Sutherland is sole proprietor. Loth is in the presbytery of Dornoch and the synod of Sutherland and Caithness; the living is worth £233. The parish church, 1½ mile NE of Loth station, is a handsome edifice of 1838. The public school, with accommodation for 60 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 37, and a grant of £35, 19s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £2223, (1884) £2681, 10s., plus £795 for railway. Pop. (1801) l374, (1831) 2214, (1861) 610, (1871) 583, (1881) 584.—Ord. Sur., sh. 10, 1878.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a coast parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Loth ScoP       Sutherland ScoCnty
Place: Loth

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