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Statistical Accounts of Scotland


Inverness-shire
Old and New Statistical Accounts

HarrisKilmuirSnizortPortreeDurinishBracadaleStrathSleatSmall IslesSouth UistNorth UistBarraDurinish AlvieAbernethy and KinchardineArdersierPettieCroyInvernessCawdor or CalderDuthil and RothiemurchisKingussieKirkhillKilmorackMoy and DalarossieKiltarlityUrquhart and GlenmoristonDoresDaviot and DunlichtyBoleskineLagganGlenelgKilmonivaigKilmalieCromdale

Abernethy & Kinchardine

Bracadale

Dores

Inverness

Kiltarlity

North Uist

Snizort

Alvie

Calder

Durinish

Kilmalie

Kingussie

Pettie

South Uist

Ardersier

Cromdale

Duthil & Rothiemurchis

Kilmonivaig

Kirkhill

Portree

Strath

Barray

Croy

Glenelg

Kilmorack

Laggan

Sleat

Urquhart & Glenmoriston

Boleskine

Daviot & Dunlichity

Harris

Kilmuir

Moy

Small Isles

The opportunity afforded by Google Books to quote extracts from books on their site has been taken here, so that the text below contains some original text as well as summaries - the summaries are given in italics. Links are given to relevant parishes.

The old photographs of Inverness, Fort William and Ben Nevis are from the Detroit Publishing Company's Views of Landscape and Architecture in Scotland - see thumbnails on Library of Congress site here.

Additional information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site and on Scotland's Places.

Overview
At the time of the OSA, the road sysytem in Inverness-shire was just starting to be developed. The Wade roads were still in use giving a communication to the south and along the Great Glen to Fort Augustus and Fort William, although the Bernera road had deteriorated badly. The only other mention of a military road was of a projected road from Duthil north to the Bridge of Dulley (the minor road running directly north from Duthil). There were main roads running north to Ross-shire and east into Moray to towns like Elgin and Forres, as well as Aberdeen.

The eastern parishes were generally better served by roads as the statute labour was carried out in quite a few parishes in contrast to the west and the islands.

Cattle droving is mentioned frequently and stretched as far as the Hebrides and Skye. Major cattle markets were held at various places where the cattle were bought by dealers for the journey to the south.

There are frequent mentions of duns, some of which must have been brochs, and which were generally ascribed to the "Danes". Also mentioned are old chapels and burying grounds, probably entailing "coffin roads".There are the usual complaints about inconveniently sited post-offices, the time needed to gather peats, and the prevalence of whisky-houses. There are interesting references to timber being floated down the Spey and other rivers.

The situation had greatly improved by the 1830's with even the island parishes reporting good roads. This was partly due to statute labour being commuted and implemented more thoroughly but mostly because of the work of the Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges. Coach services and the use of wheeled vehicles were now commonplace, and the introduction of steamers was having an impact on the islands.

Other sources
Virtual Hebrides

An interesting item on the "Golden Road" in Harris.
Roads and bridges in the Scottish Highlands: the route between Dunkeld and Inverness, 1725 -1925
, G R Curtis, PSAS, Vol 110, (1978-80), pps 475-96
Guide to the highlands and islands of Scotland, including Orkney and Zetland, George & Peter Anderson, 1851
Use contents page to navigate to desired area - gives some details of the roads

Roads in 1859
This links to the 1859 Report of the Commissioners for Inquiring into Matters relating to Public Roads in Scotland and gives an overview of roads in Invernessshire at that time.
Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges
The annual reports, which can be found on the Am Baile site, give considerable details of the roads
in the early 1800's.

The Wade Roads
An overview of the military roads built by General Wade.
Beauly, The Aird and Strathglass Place-Name Survey (North-East Inverness-shire)
This place name survey by Simon Taylor contains many references to roads, bridges, fords, ferries etc in several parishes of Inverness-shire and will be found useful for detailed local work.
Geograph
Photos of areas of interest can easily be accessed through the Geograph site.

Highland Highways: Old Roads in Atholl, John Kerr, John Donald, Edinburgh 1991
Grampian Ways, Robert Smith, John Donald, Edinburgh 2002


Abernethy & Kinchardine
OSA
(
vol.13, p.129)

General view of Grampians - click for larger image
General view of the Grampians - the Raiders Road ran across this terrain


About the year 1730, a branch of the Yorkbuilding Company, in developing a timber industry here, built roads through the woods. Trees were floated down the Spey to the coast.
He describes the excessive time taken to obtain sometimes poor peats.


Based on A K Johnston, Scotland North, 1861 courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The images are copyright Cartography Associates but have been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use

Roads and Bridges.It was only about the year 1764, when the present proprietor Sir James Grant entered to the estate, that roads were begun in this part of his estate, called Strathspey, which is about 30 miles in length. Since which period, he has made above 130 miles, when the whole is added together. The roads in this parish are remarkably good, and going on yearly, by means of the statute-labour. The great roads are made through these parishes by Sir James Grant and the Duke of Gordon. Cross-roads are now going on, which will prove highly serviceable. The Duke of Gordon has made one uncommonly good cross-road, from Glenmore to the Spey, for his English Company. There is one excellent bridge, built about 25 years ago, by Sir James Grant on the river Nethy, at his own expense, and 2 smaller bridges to the east by him, with some assistance from the county of Inverness. Another bridge is begun, on a very troublesome rivulet, near the church of Kinchardine on the Duke of Gordon's property, with assistance from the county of Inverness. The heritors of the county of Inverness assess themselves, with much spirit, for building bridges, &c. which cannot indeed be said for the proprietors of the low parts of Elgin. Sir James Grant has lately made about 7 miles of a very difficult and expensive road, from Castle-Grant, past his own march in the hills to shorten the way, at least to open new communications with Forres and Elgin, and this at his own private expense.*

*And yet, the people concerned in the trade of these towns (Forres and Elgin), and the numerous proprietors of the lower estates, seem to be in danger of forgetting to come forward to meet him. They have hitherto done nothing of their part of it; and while they continue so inactive, his great expense and labour will be lost. The time was when Highlanders were said to be averse to have any roads made in or to their country. But it is a little singular to see the inhabitants of the west of Morray, who always pretended to superior civilization to the highland people, so outdone here. It is hoped therefore they will come forward next season to save their reputation. The advantages and satisfaction of the private roads here, and of the King's high road from Fort George to Perth, through the east end of the parish, with its numerous bridges, are so many and so sensibly felt, when contrasted with the state of the country some years ago, that it is unnecessary to take up room here in relating it.

Progress of Civilisation - Cattle raiding was common up to the mid-1700’s.

Mention of a bridge at Billimon in the early 1700’s (Ballimore, 1 km north of Nethy Bridge i.e. Abernethy).

NSA
By the time of the NSA, the parish had been transferred to Elgin. However, there is no particular mention of roads. (NSA V.13, p.92).

Line of supposed Roman road, looking south. The modern road is on the line of the Braemar to Fort George military road which changes direction towards the right of this photo

For further information see chapter XXV  of In the Shadow of Cairngorm, Chronicles of the United Parishes of Abernethy and Kincardine by Rev. W. Forsyth, Inverness, 1900. In this chapter he refers to the tradition of a Roman road in the line from Braemar to Burghead but thinks it more likely that such traces of roads can be referred to the movement of cattle or to the Church. A "via regia" is mentioned in charters as is a road near Findhorn. He also gives details of the Military Roads and those built by the Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges.


See also page 124 for mentions of bridges and page 212 for a mention of Rathad-Nam-Mearleach, the Raider's Road, that could be traced from Lochaber to the east coast. He says that "entering from the heights of Rothiemurchis, it skirts the south side of Loch Morlich, passes out at the Green Loch, then by the Sleighich, the Eag-Mhor, and the Crasg, into the lowlands of Banff and of Moray."

 

 

 


Alvie
Based on Arrowsmith, 1834 courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The images are copyright Cartography Associates but have been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use
OSA (v.13, p.375)
Reference to the “great road leading from Inverness, Fort George, &c. to Edinburgh.”
Many horses are needed to bring in the peat which for those on the north of the Spey has to be done on horseback. The situation is easier on the south.
They sell small parcels of wood in the market towns, 40 miles away, and obtain necessary items there.


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Market-Towns, Etc.—
The nearest is Inverness, 35 miles away. Means of Communication.— The parish has a communication by post with the south, three times a-week, by Kingussie, Blair-in-Athol, and Perth; and also with the north by Grantown, Forres, and Inverness. There is no post-office in the parish; but there is a receiving-house or sub-office, at Lynviulg.
Public Roads and Carriages.—The great public road from Edinburgh to Inverness passes through the whole length of this parish; but although toll-gates have been lately placed upon this road, it is in some places so narrow as scarcely to admit of two carriages passing abreast. The only public carriage that travels on this road is the Caledonian, or, as it is commonly called, the Highland coach. It runs three times a-week for nine months of the year, and for the other three, only twice a-week.


Ardrosser or Ardersier
OSA
(v.4, p.88)
As in the NSA, the derivation of the name is explained.
Those who can afford it use coal; others use peat and turf. The roads are very good; the statute labour is exacted.


NSA

The name may mean "the height of the carpenter" referring to a vague tradition that several carpenters were drowned on the ferry when crossing over to work on the cathedral of Chanonry.

In 1508 James IV passed through on one of his pilgrimages to Tain. Among the expenses are the following: "October 20, Item, to the freiris of Ardoseir 13s." " Item, to Robert Mertoune, for passing ower the water with the goshawk, 10s."

At the ferry of Fort George, which connects the eastern part of Inverness with Ross, and the northern counties, the steamers from London and Leith to Inverness land and take in passengers and goods (p.472).

They carry in creels on their back to great distances immense loads of fish; and they carry their husbands to and from their boats, when, from the state of the tide, they cannot get in or out dry-shod. This latter duty influences the fashion of the costume of the females, which, as regards their lower garments, is of peculiar brevity (p.473).

Parochial Economy.
Campbelton is the only village and market-town in the parish. Inverness is distant ten miles, and Nairn seven miles. …There is a post-office in the village, and, besides the mail, two stage-coaches pass daily to the south and north. The great post-road from Inverness to Aberdeen passes through the village, as does also the military road from Fort-George to Perth, projected by General Wade, and begun in l753.

A harbour is needed as the shore has to be used for moving coal, lime, wood and grain.

Fairs.—A great annual fair, the " Lammas Market," is held at Campbelton on the 12th of August,—being the only fair in the parish, and, its object and advantages being of a varied character, masses of people congregate. Numerous reapers, chiefly females, come from Ross-shire and the surrounding country, and they are readily hired for the harvest, by farmers from Moray and Nairnshire, as well as from distant parts of this county. There is usually a good show of lambs from Strathnairn, Stratherrick, and Strathglass; some sheep and milk cows, and a few horses. Wool and homespun plaidings, cheese, and fruits are among the commodities of the country offered for sale.
Inns, Etc.—There are 10 in Campbelton - this is far too many.
Fuel.—Coal from Sunderland and Newcastle is landed on the beach. There are storage yards for coal. Peat is brought in on carts from Cawdor, and fire wood is also available.


Barray
OSA (
v.13, p.326)
Drovers come here to buy cattle which then have to be ferried to the mainland at some risk and expense.
Antiquities and Curiosities.
Of the several duns in the parish, eleven were built by the Danes; other older duns by the natives. The Danish duns are in sight of each other to allow warnings to be passed. The native duns are all on fresh water lochs.

Fish caught is taken to Glasgow.
The writer describes the journeys he has to take in attending his duties. Some are over long distances which have to be walked or sometimes ridden, or involve long and expensive journeys by sea. He mentions a ferry of one mile over to Watersay and a ferry of 8 miles on the way to North Uist. He sometimes takes the passage boat from North Uist over to Dunvegan on Skye.
He describes the excessive amount of time needed to bring home the peats and how the farmers need more servants and horses for this purpose than they need to run the farm. If the tax on coal was removed, this would help greatly in allowing more useful work to be done.

Miscellaneous Observations
Kelp is sent to Liverpool and Leith and fish and oil to Glasgow. Two hundred or more cattle are sold to drovers and 100 carcases to Glasgow or the nearest part of the mainland.

NSA
The currents and tides between the neighbouring islands are very dangerous.

Numerous watch-towers are over the whole of the islands of Barray,—as also Duns upon every lake in the place, supposed to be built by the Scandinavians, when in possession of these islands. There are likewise many Druidical circles, as they are designated; but a Danish gentleman, who lately visited these parts as historiographer to the King of Denmark, maintains that they are of Scandinavian origin, and were intended by these people as places for their heathen worship.

Parochial Economy.
Market-Town.—
The nearest is Tobermory in Argyleshire, 50 miles away.

Means of Communication.—Post has to go to Dunvegan in Skye via the sub-office in Lochmaddy from where a boat leaves one or twice a week. The journey to Lochmaddy involves a ferry crossing to South Uist and a journey through South and North Uist, about 100 miles in all.

The Commissioners for Lights employ a small vessel from Barray Head Lighthouse, to sail to Tobermory once a month with the monthly returns, as a quicker conveyance than by Dunvegan. The country boats, too, ply at all seasons of the year to Glasgow with cattle and such other articles as the country produces; so that the communication with the mainland is pretty frequent.

Markets.—Two annual markets for the sale of cattle and horses to mainland dealers.
Inns.—Three inns in the parish.
Fuel.—The only fuel used in Barray is peat, which is procured from a distance at great expense and trouble.
Miscellaneous Observations. Since the last Account, excellent statute labour roads are made on the main island, and will now allow further progress.


Boleskine and Abertarff
OSA
(v.20, p.19)
He describes the journeys the people would make to their sheilings when it was common to see “an infant in one creel, and a stone on the other side of the horse, to keep up an equilibrium”

He refers to the proprietor of the lands of Gortuleg using lime from the quarries of Mr Fraser of Foyers to manure his ground and says that “from the ruggedness of the road, he is obliged to lead the lime-stone on horses backs to his farm, or places nearly contiguous thereto…”

He refers to “the celebrated fall of Foyers and the beautiful ride from Inverness to this cascade, amidst a smooth road, cut through tremendous rocks…”

He describes a sheiling called Killin (the flat stretch of ground to the south of Loch Killin): “ on the north side it is so steep that it is denominated Eakin, or Necessity, implying the great difficulty of passing that way; on the south-side called Craggin, or Rocky; and notwithstanding all the attempts by the inhabitants to render it passable, it in some parts only contains a path of two or three feet in breadth; and if a horse stumbles, or is in the least affrighted, it tumbles down by a precipice into the deepest part of the lake, and melancholy instances of this kind have sometimes occurred. When we come to the end of this curious path we are struck with amazement; behold a valley covered with all species of verdure, a computed mile in length, and a half mile in breadth, bisected by a river flowing in a meandrous course, composed of a variety of streams descending from the hills at the wester end…. “ He also says that “the lives of infants, when transported thereto in manner above described” are in danger.

There is a reference to how useful a canal would be along the Great Glen.

Antiquity.—There is a tradition that fortifications on hills were watch towers where fires could be lit to give warning of an enemy.


NSA
Fall of Foyers.
- There are two cascades known as the Fall of Foyers. In front of the upper there is a bridge which allows fine views of the cascade. Before this was built the chasm above the upper cascade was bridged by a log which the “more courageous foot-passengers” used as a bridge. He refers to the tradition “that a person who resided in the heights of the country, while in a state of intoxication, passed on horseback along the log bridge in a moonlight night; and that, having gone afterwards to the place, he was so horror-struck at the peril he escaped, that he returned home, went to bed, and soon after died.”

He notes that there are several vitrified forts in the Great Glen, all called “Dungeardal” which signifies “a protecting eminence, or a guarded fortified hill.”

Across the hill of Suidh-Chuiman is the great Military Road from Inverness to Fort-Augustus; and on its very summit, within two yards of the road, there is a small cairn, such as is commonly found where persons have perished from the inclemency of the weather, or died suddenly.

Parochial Economy. The nearest town is Inverness, 21 miles away.

Means of Communication.— There is a post-office at Fort-Augustus, to which there is a post from Fort-William thrice in the week, and a daily one from Inverness, which travels alternate days by the south and north side of Loch Ness, and passes within a mile of the manse.

At present, there are no turnpike roads but the old Military road. It runs through the parish on the south side for about twenty-two miles; it is under the management of the Parliamentary Commissioners for Highland roads and bridges, and is kept in good repair.

The county have lately come to the resolution of placing toll-bars on this road; but it is not supposed that the proceeds will suffice to defray the necessary expense of erecting the bars, &c. With this road a branch of one of the Parliamentary roads on the west side of the parish unites at Fort-Augustus.

A branch of a county district road, extending about three miles, commencing at the east boundary of the parish, passes by the manse, and joins the main road half a mile to the west of it. There are other two district roads across the country: these are not kept in such good repair.

With one exception, the bridges on the great lines of road on both sides of the lake are kept in good condition. There has been, time immemorial, a wooden bridge on the river Tarff, close to the walls of Fort-Augustus, kept in constant repair and rebuilt when requisite by government; but a few years ago, it was greatly damaged, and is now in a most ruinous state, so that it has become hazardous even to foot-passengers.

Fairs.—There are two fairs held annually at Fort-Augustus, in the beginning of June and end of September, for the sale of cattle chiefly. Pedlars and shoemakers from various quarters attend to dispose of their merchandise. There are besides occasional trysts, in spring and autumn, for black-cattle.
Written September 1831.
Revised February 1835.


Bracadale, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.3, p.245)
Productions.—
This parish produces black cattle, sheep, and horses. Black cattle is the main staple, of which numbers are sent to the English markets every year; from the returns of which the people pay their rents, and supply themselves with necessaries.
Miscellaneous Observations.—There are no turnpike roads nor bridges in the parish. There have been some attempts to make a general road through the parish, partly by statute labour, and partly by raising money; but the roads are still, for the most part, in a wretched state.


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication.—
Post-office at Struan. The Parliamentary road runs through the parish, some 20 miles; it and the bridges are in good condition. There is an annual tryst.
Alehouses.—Five licenced and other unlicensed whisky houses.
Fuel.—The only fuel used in the parish, except in gentlemen's houses, is peat.

Miscellaneous Observations.
The most striking variations betwixt the present state of the parish and that which existed at the time of the last Statistical Account, are, 1. The formation of a Parliamentary road, which goes nearly over its whole length…….


Calder (Cawdor)
OSA
(vol.4, p.349)
Much oat-meal, cattle and sheep are supplied to Inverness, Nairn and Fort George. Barley is sold to distillers, two of these being in the parish.
Miscellaneous Observations One inn in the parish, and 2 or 3 ale-houses, not much used by locals but convenient for travellers.

The roads are in a tolerable state, being kept in repair by the statute-labour, which is exacted in kind. The bridges are in good order, being so kept by Government, as the military road passes through the parish.
The tenants have not as yet got any of the large shod wheel carts and waggons; they use the ancient and still common sort of sledges and carts
Peat is the most common fuel. Wood, furze, broom, &c. are also used.


NSA

By the time of the NSA, the parish had been transferred to Nairnshire.
NSA Vol.13, Page 19
Page 22 In relating a story from the time of Charles II he says that there was no bridge over the river of Nairn.
Page 25 Parochial Economy. — Nairn, six miles away, is the nearest place where the main roads to the south and east can be reached. There are no coaches in the parish. The roads are adequate.
Means of Communication.— Penny-post in the village of Cawdor.
Inns.— One inn, and two licensed spirit-shops.
Fuel.—Peat, and coal from Nairn.
1841/42


Cromdale
OSA
(v.8, p.251)
Timber is floated down the Spey through the parish.
Roads, Wages, Fuel, Etc.—The statute work goes on very punctually, without the smallest murmur. Stone bridges are erected over almost every rivulet, either by the proprietor or the county; and of course, the roads are in the highest order.
Fuel is every where to be had, on easy terms, and of the best quality, through the whole of this country.
Taverns.—Many public houses, by the general resolution of the counties concerned, have of late been suppressed; and there are at present only 4, besides those mentioned in Grantown. Two of these are on the turnpike road, for the accommodation of travellers.


NSA

During a military campaign in 1690, the Spey was forded near the church of Cromdale (p.434).
Parochial Economy. Market-Town.—
Grantown is the only market-town in the parish. It was founded in the year 1776.
Means of Communication.—There is a post-office in Grantown, through which there is a daily communication with Carr bridge, Forres, and Ballindalloch. The roads leading to these places are excellent, and kept in thorough repair. There are also regular carriers from Grantown to Forres and Inverness every week. Aberdeen carriers come to Grantown weekly.
There are six inns or public houses. Four markets are held in Grantown during the year, besides a number of cattle trysts. The fuel chiefly used is peat.
1841

For further information see Harpers Bridges for details of a suspension bridge built in 1881.


Croy and Dalcross
OSA (v.11, p.560)
No particular mention of roads.


NSA

Mention of the high road from Kilravock to Aberdeen (p.455).
Planting.—About 100 years ago, a large area of moor was planted. Due to the want of roads, “the fir plants were carried from Perth in creels, suspended from crook saddles.”


Daviot and Dunlichity
OSA
(v.14, p.67)
Mentions “the Watching Stone” as for NSA.
Time that would otherwise be used to improve the farms is spent in obtaining peat. Much of this is taken 4 or 6 miles to Inverness on a regular basis. It is likely that there will soon be a lack of this fuel as the mosses are running out.


NSA
On its summit (Dun-le-Catti) is a large upright stone, called the " Watching Stone." There are also unequivocal marks of its having been used as a place of rendezvous, or for making signals, according to the manner that prevailed among our ancestors in remote ages.

In describing the parish he says that the roads from the district to Inverness pass over Drummossie Moor. He mentions the bridge of Daviot on the Highland road. Part of Daviot (Culloden’s lands) is part of Nairnshire which means inhabitants there have to travel 13 miles to the Sheriff-court of Nairn to conduct any legal business when Inverness is much nearer.

Parochial Economy. Market-Town.—The royal burgh of Inverness is the port and market-town to which the produce is sent for sale, distant from some part of the parishes from five to twenty miles.

Means of Communication.—The parish of Dunlichity and part of Daviot enjoy a good district road to Inverness. In the east end of the parish of Daviot, the Great Highland Road, from Perth to Inverness, passes through it for nearly three miles, upon which there is one toll-bar in the parish. The Highland coach, from Inverness to Perth, travels on this road. The Inverfarigag road, under the charge of the Parliamentary Commissioners, formed about twenty-four years ago, branches off from the Great Highland Road, near to the church of Daviot, runs through the parishes to the westward for nearly thirteen miles, and continues on through the parish of Boleskine to Inverfarigag Pier at Lochness, a distance of six and a half miles.
The bridges in the district are kept in good order….

For further information see the Strathnairn Heritage Association site


Dores
OSA
(v.3, p.479)
Roads.—
The roads of communication are properly attended to by the gentlemen concerned, and annually repaired. The statute labour is converted into money.

Antiquities.He refers to there being a string of forts in the Great Glen which could be used to warn of the approach of the Danes and Norwegians.


NSA

No mention of roads.


Durinish. Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.4, p.130)
Mention of ruins of chapels and of duns. No mention of roads.


NSA
Extent.—
The extreme length of the parish from Unish to Idrigil is 19 miles; breadth, from Vaterstein to Lynedale, 16 miles. Its extent in square miles is about 100. But these distances convey no idea of the difficulty of traversing it, it being intersected by arms of the sea, by hills and morasses, which render travelling through it a very arduous task.

Antiquities.—He refers to some 15 duns or forts, all sited beside the sea and describes their construction.

Parochial Economy
Market-Town, Etc.
Portree is the nearest market-town, some 24 miles away.
Means of Communication.—There is a post-office with three services a week. There are about 35 miles of turnpike road.
Fairs.—A small fair for black-cattle is held each year at Fairy Bridge, 3 miles from Dunvegan.
Inns.—There are two inns and three dram-houses or ale-houses….
Fuel.—The only fuel used by the common people is peats.
Miscellaneous Observations.
Twenty-five years ago, there was only one bridge in the parish, and not a mile of carriage road. Now, there are lines of excellent road traversing it in various directions, and every stream that crosses these lines is spanned by a bridge. The district of Glendale is the only part that is yet left in its original inaccessible state.
Initially, the common people would not use the new roads, saying they bruised their feet and wore down their shoes, and continued to use the original uneven and boggy paths. Since they have become used to the new roads the old paths can now hardly be seen.


Duthil & Rothiemurchis
OSA
(vol.4, p.308)


Based on Arrowsmith,1834 courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The images are copyright Cartography Associates but have been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use
The military road between Duthil and Dulsie Bridge passes over what must have been bleak and forbidding terrain - looking south

Roads and Bridges.
These are maintained by statute labour, exacted in kind. The 13 miles of the Grantown to Aviemore road was widened from 12 to 24 feet in 1779. As 9 miles of this road is in the southern part of the parish, it is of more benefit to the public than the parish.
The bridges had originally been built by the proprietor. One built in 1700 over the Water of Dulnan was replaced last year (1791).
A military road between Duthil and Dulleybridge is underway and promises to be of a high standard. Its line is more convenient and shorter than originally planned thanks to the careful surveys of Colonel Montgomery, Inspector General of military roads.

Miscellaneous Observations. - He gives a graphic description of a major famine circa 1680 (page 316).
There are two rocks called Craig-Elachie, ‘Rock of Alarm’, 30 miles apart at either end of the district of Strathspey (at Aviemore and near Charlestown of Aberlour). If an enemy approached a signal was sent between them calling for all able to bear arms to assemble at a particular place. The Grants motto is 'Stand fast Craig' Elachie.'
There is an inn at Aviemore. There are no ale-houses but there are 10 houses in which whisky ("a beverage which seems fit only for daemons") is sold.


NSA

By the time of the NSA, the parish had been transferred to Elgin - see entry for Duthil and entry for Rothiemurchis.


Glenelg
OSA
(v.16 p.265)
Over the sound of Kylrea the black cattle annually driven to market from Sky, and part of the Long-island are made to swim; and though the current is so very strong, yet few accidents happen. The number cannot be exactly ascertained, but in general they may be reckoned about 2000.

Mention of the barracks at Bernera and of the remains of towers, two of which are in good condition.

Fuel: Much time spent in bringing peat from some distance - it is often affected by the weather. Now that the duty on coal is removed they may start using this.

Miscellaneous Observations The roads are bad. The military road from Fort Augustus to the barracks at Bernera, was built after 1745, with local contractors building the bridges and the military the road. The contractors selected bridging points where materials could be had most cheaply but this made the road longer and more hilly. The road itself was not "made sufficient, or of proper dimensions."

The military road can be easily followed on both old and recent maps. From O.S. sheet 41, Glen Shiel and Glen Garry, 1929 showing a stretch above Loch Cluanie, and Mam Ratagan. With thanks to Ordnance Survey.

In 1792, Provost Brown of Elgin and a country gentleman, surveyed the road and made a report which it is hoped the Government will act upon. The line is the shortest way from the capital to Skye and the Long Island, and expenses would be less as the bridges are already built.
As it stands, the road is unrideable and travellers have to come by sea from Argyleshire at great expence. If the new road is built it needs to have a stage-house on it.

NSA

View Larger Map
Image of Dun Telve (use mouse to navigate through image)
Antiquities.—
There are two of the “ancient Beorgs, Burghs, or Dunes, usually called Pictish Towers“ in Glenbeg. It is thought that they were not built by the Celts but rather by the Danes or Norwegians. The stones were brought more than a mile from a nearby mountain - the stones dropped on the way can still be seen where they lie.
Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication, Etc.—
Inverness is the nearest market town, some 70 miles away. The Parliamentary road to Skye goes through the principal glen to the ferry at Kyle Rhea; it and the bridges are in excellent order. It goes over the stupendous pass of Mam Rataan.


View Larger Map
Image of Mam Ratagan (use mouse to navigate through image)
The Kirkton of Glenelg is a picturesque village and is quite large. There is also a village at Arnisdale.
The nearest post-office is Lochalsh, 20 miles by road, although the ferry of Loch Duich is used by parishioners at some expense to reach this place - it is hoped this situation will improve.

Fairs.—In this parish are held three fairs; to correspond with the great fairs in the south; in the months of May, July, and September respectively.
Inns.—Three
Fuel.—Mostly peat and turf; some of the wealthier sheep-farmers use coal from Glasgow or Liverpool though it is expensive.

Miscellaneous Observations.
The most striking variation betwixt the present state of the parish and that which existed at the time of the last Statistical Account, consists in its being opened up by the road which runs through it; and by the hebdomadal visits of a steam-boat, regularly paid, save during the stormy months of winter.


Harris
OSA
(v.10 p.342)
In the South Isles there is a shell sand that would make a good manure but the nature of the terrain and the lack of cart roads would prevent its use.
Sea-ware is carried on people's backs to the fields; the ground is so rugged that even the country gearrans would be unable to make their way along the paths.
They are sold in small lots from each farm to drovers, who ferry them to the Isle of Sky in the month of July; and from thence they are driven to market, sometimes to the S. of Scotland, but more frequently to England. Though there may be in all Harris about 900 milk cows, supposed a breading stock, yet the number annually sold to drovers does not exceed 200. (p.356)
The gathering of peats takes an excessive amount of time.
Description of the trade in kelp.
Antiquities (p.374&ff). Mention of the Danish forts, so sited as to give warning between them, the Temple and Well of Annat, many chapels and a religious house at Rowdill.
Ecclesiastical State (p.379). Seven stated places of worship, the furthest being 36 miles apart. One previous Minister, on a visit to the island of Pabbay, was storm-bound for seven weeks.

NSA
Fairs.—The annual cattle-tryst takes place in the month of July.
Inns.—There are two licensed inns in the parish. They are seldom frequented by the natives.
Fuel.—Peat is the only fuel used by the inhabitants.


Inverness
OSA
(v.9 p.603)
Stores are taken to a King’s galley on Loch Ness which then takes them to Fort Augustus.

The Town.—A royal burgh, its first charter was granted by Malcolm Canmore. It has always been loyal to the Crown and has defended against incursions from the west as shown by some place names, viz. “Pallfaire, that is ‘The Watch Town;' a hill, Tomnafaire, ' The Watch Hill;' and a large stone, Clachnafaire, ' The Watch Stone.' “

Seven vessels belong to the harbour and sail to London with local produce and return with useful materials.

Roads and Bridges.—There are 2 military roads which pass through this parish; and which are kept in good repair by Government. The other roads are equally well attended to. The statute-labour is partly commuted. There are 3 bridges, the principal of them is the bridge over the Ness, a beautiful structure of seven arches. It was built in the year 1688. It is a toll-bridge, by act of Parliament, and makes a good addition to the revenue of the town.

Miscellaneous Observations
Too much time is spent in cutting and bringing home peat from 5 miles away, which affects the farming. The removal of the coasting duty on coal and setting up a coal yard in the town to ensure a supply in winter would be a great benefit.
He refers to the benefits that would result if a navigable canal was to be built to Fort William.

About 30 years ago there was only one chaise, a four-wheeled one; but at this time, there are 2 coaches, 12 four-wheeled chaises, and 1 two-wheeled; 6 of the four-wheeled chaises are let for hire by innkeepers. The principal inns in town were indifferent till of late; they are now commodious and comfortable…

Antiquities.
Three cairns which appear to have been sepulchral monuments, lie in the Beauly Firth, and one is accessible only at low water - this suggests that they once stood on dry land and that the sea encroached on it after the erection of these cairns. (See NMRS records - these have been identified as crannogs)


NSA
A guard used to be stationed on high ground above Clachnaharry (which means the watchman’s stone) to watch for any hostile advances from Rossshire or Strathglass.

He mentions an oblong square, with rounded corners and a ditch, sited at Loch Dochfour and thought be a Roman encampment (Chalmers Caledonia I,63). The remains no longer exist and may not have been Roman - see Scotlands Places. Recent work however suggests that there may have been wooden forts in Moray and at Tarradale on the north side of the Beauly Firth - see The Last Frontier, The Roman Invasions of Scotland, Antony Kamm, 2004 & 2009, page 79.

Parochial Economy. Market-Town.
Inverness. In 1831 the streets and pavements were relaid. There is now gas lighting.

Coaches and Public Conveyances
The mail-coach from Aberdeen to Dingwall, Tain, and Thurso passes through each day, and there are two coaches each day to Aberdeen by Elgin and the coast road. Coaches also run to Perth by the great Highland road, and Diligences to Strathpeffer and Cromarty. Steam and sailing vessels call in regularly.

Roads.The principal roads are managed by the Parliamentary Commissioners for Highland roads and bridges and form parts of the following roads:
1. The great south road to Aberdeen via Fort George and Elgin
2. The Highland road south to Perth
3. The Old Military road south of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and Fort William
4. The road on the north side of Loch Ness to Urquhart, Glenmoriston, Glenshiel, and Skye
5. The great north road to Beauly, Dingwall and Tain
6. The road to Kessock Ferry that gives access to Ross-shire.

All these roads were either military roads improved by the Commissioners, or built by them with contributions from the county. They continue to be funded jointly by Government and the county, the latter receiving tolls from some of the roads. Repairs to the roads near Inverness cost between L.10 and L.15 per mile.

Local roads are managed by district trustees and are funded by a general assessment originally authorised under local statutes and now consolidated in an act of Parliament passed in 1830.

Inverness c.1900Bridges.—There are two bridges across the River Ness. One of stone with seven ribbed arches, erected in 1685 by contributions throughout the kingdom, at a cost of L.1300; and one of wood, finished in 1808, from public and private subscriptions, and which cost L.4000. A pontage is levied at both bridges from strangers.
Two small but beautifully wooded islands in the Ness, a mile above the town, are now in course of being connected with the opposite banks by airy chain suspension bridges, the interior being laid out in walks; and when this improvement is completed, (one of the bridges has been in existence for many years, and funds have been recently collected for the other,) Inverness can boast of a set of public promenades almost unequalled for extent, variety, and beauty of scenery, by those of any town in the kingdom.

Fairs.—At present there are four major fairs in Inverness though the establishment of shops has made them less important. There are several cattle trysts held near Inverness and a major wool-market each July which is attended by wool merchants from the south of Scotland and England. Sheep are also bought and sold. There are also two weekly market-days and a hiring fair.

Inns. - There are 52 in the burgh and 19 in the landward part of the parish. There is an excellent hotel in Inverness, the Caledonian, which can cater for more than 80 people, and has a large coaching and posting establishment.

Fuel.—The main fuel is coal from Sunderland and Newcastle, and some from the Forth. Some peat is used, mostly for kindling.
January 1835


Kilmalie
OSA
(v.8 p.407)
Language (p.430, footnote).
- Corpach, a place close to the shore, on an angle of Locheile, is a compound, signifying the field of corpses. It is well known, that men of note were anciently interred in Iona. Such as were brought from the north of this parish, were kept in state at Corpach for a night, or perhaps longer. Hence the original of the name. Ochinich is another place upon the shore of Lochleven, where the dead, brought from Perthshire, were embarked for the consecrated ground of Iona, and means a groan, or deep conflicting sigh of lamentation.
Churches Etc. Nine places of worship in the parish.
Antiquities. Description of an ancient fortification called Dundhairdgall near Inverlochy.
Proposed Improvements. Refers to the feasibility of building a canal along the Great Glen and the benefits that would arise from this.

Fort William and Ben NevisMiscellaneous Observations.—There are 2 four wheel chaises, one of them belonging to the vintner at Fort William, which he lets to travellers: There are other 3 kinds of machines of two wheels each; one of these also belongs to the same vintner. There may be about two dozen carts.
Sledges are chiefly used in leading home hay and corn. Peats, for the most part, are carried in creels upon horseback.
There are between 80 and 100 boats in the parish. Of these, 60 belong to Maryburgh; where there are also 4 sloops, from 20 to 40 tons, and 1 brig of 200 tons.
There are 8 stated ferries; 5 of which are on the salt water.
Bridges and government roads are in a good state; but the country roads, which are carried on at the expence of the counties, have been, and still are, much neglected. The statute labour is commuted at 6d. per day.
Two inns, many whisky houses.



Ben Nevis - click for larger imageNSA
The view from the top of Benevis is very extensive; but it is a Herculean labour to reach its top, and the attempt should not be made but by able bodied and healthy persons, with a proper guide.

A fine road runs through “a mili dorch” or the “dark mile”, a picturesque valley that lies between Loch Lochy and Loch Arkaig. There is a bridge at Mucomre and a ferry on the Spean, two miles from Fort William. With busy roads on both sides of the river, however, a stone bridge would be better. Those travelling by steam-boat on the canal would also find it of benefit in getting from Banvie Locks to Fort William.

Parochial Economy.
Fort William is a market-town; but the market-day is scarcely distinguished from another day, so little business is doing. The village of Corpach, at the south end of the Caledonian Canal, is the only other village in the parish.

Means of Communication.—There is a regular communication with Inverness and Glasgow by steam in summer twice a-week, and in winter once a-week, besides a daily post from the south and from Inverness; also three times a week to and from Arisaig. There is a penny post-office established lately at Corpach.

Fairs.—There are two annual fairs at Fort William at which much business is done.

Inns.—There are three inns in the parish; and dram-houses without number,—some of them licensed to sell spirits, some selling without license.
May 1835.

For further information see the Electric Scotland site for chapter IX of Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social (Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish by Charles Fraser- Mackintosh. He refers to a map of Lochaber drawn up in 1803 that shows the roads in the area.


Kilmonivaig

Parallel Roads of Glenroy
The Parallel Roads
OSA (v.17 p.543)
Antiquities—
The parish contains the ruin of the Castle of Inverlochy. There had been a thriving burgh once, near the castle, called by early historians the Emporium of the west of Scotland but nothing remains except some paving which may be the streets of this borough.

Interestingly, when talking about the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy he thinks that they were roads and that they were either built by the Kings of Scotland, who were residing in Inverlochy at that time or by the Fingalians. The purpose was thought to be for hunting deer. For an explanation of how they were formed, see here.


NSA
Ecclesiastical State.—
There is a mission established on the Royal Bounty embracing the districts of Brae and Lochaber, in this parish, and Locharkaig, in Kilmalie. The missionary officiates in rotation, and as often as circumstances admit, at various stations within his bounds.
1842


Kilmorack
OSA
(v.20 p.401)
No local market. Many black-cattle are sold.
Manufactures.—The only manufacture carried on in the parish is that of wood. Many thousand fir-trees are annually cut in Lovat's, the Chisholm's, and Struie's woods. These are sawn into square timber, planks, deals, &c. for the home and English markets.

Post-Office.—Until a few years ago mail was delivered from the nearest post-town of Inverness by a privately appointed runner when Colonel Fraser of Belladrum was successful in his representations to have a post office established in Beauly.


NSA
Navigation.—
There are only two small vessels belonging to the parish. A great number of vessels, however, from other quarters, trade to the place with coals, lime, &c.: and in return, they are supplied with cargoes of wood.
Parochial Economy.
Market-Town.—The nearest is Inverness, 11 miles away. Communications are excellent as the Parliamentary road runs through the parish.
The village of Beauly has had a post-office for 50 years and the north mail passes through each day; foot-runners take the mail to various districts.
The principal bridges in the parish are, the handsome granite one, of five arches, erected some years ago near the influx of the Farrar into the Glass; and the Lovat Bridge, built in 1810, across the Beauly. This latter bridge was built at an expense of nearly L.10,000.
Fairs.—The most important cattle fair in the north of Scotland is held on the Muir of Ord and is attended by dealers from the south, and elsewhere. Eight markets are held between April and November.
There are also four fairs held in Beauly, though of little importance.

Inns.—One main inn, and 9 public houses.
Fuel.—Peat, coal and wood.


Kilmuir, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.2 p.547)
Mention of remains of chapels and as in the NSA, the “Danish forts.“
No bridge in the parish. The roads were neglected till recently but this improved when many of the principal persons were made Justices of the Peace. At first statute labour was exacted in kind, but commutation was found more efficient.


NSA

There are six forts in the parish viz. Dun-Scuddeburgh, Dun-Liath, Dun-Bhannerain, Dun-Barplacaig, Dun-Tulm, and Dun-Deirg. They are thought to be Danish except Dun-Deirg which seems to have been built by the Druids. They are all in sight of each other, no doubt to give warning of an approaching enemy.

As they have few or no carts, they are under the necessity of carrying manure, peats, potatoes, and all such commodities in creels upon their backs. So little do the women care for the weight of the creel, though full of peats or potatoes on their backs, that, while walking with it, they are engaged either at spinning on the distaff, or knitting stockings.

Parochial Economy.
Portree, 24 miles away, is the nearest market town.
A considerable portion of the parish has not the advantage of a road. Along the south-east boundary of Kilmuir, a road of about nine miles in length was formed, ten years ago, to the district of Steinscholl. As yet, however, it passes through but a small portion of that district. To this most important means of communication, a little is annually added by statute labour, and it is anticipated that in a few years the three districts composing the parish will be supplied with roads.

The nearest post-town is Portree with a sub-post-office in Kilmuir district 2 miles from its southern boundary, and about 21 from Portree. There is a runner three times a week. A private runner takes letters to Kilmaluag and Steinscholl districts.
Inns.—The number of small inns in the parish is 3, one in each district.
Fuel.—Peat.


Kiltarlity
OSA
(v.13 p.507)
Caplach lies three miles from the school by very bad road.
In a list of occupations there are 4 chapmen or small merchants and 3 drivers.
Unlike 50 years ago when there was only one wheel-carriage, there are now 376 carts, 40 coups or small wagons, and 361 sledges. Sledges were used by all classes for the peats and on the farms. The sledges were used to carry manure in creels called keallachs - many are still used in the upland areas.
A missionary preaches in 4 remote places in the upland areas of this parish and Kilmorack.

Manufacturies.Lint mill, waulk mill and dye-house as well as 8 distilleries that supply Lochaber, Kintail, and Strath-glass.
In referring to a saw mill he says trees are cut into logs about 10 or 12 feet long and carried by horses up to two miles to the rivers Glass, Cannich and Beauly and then floated 30 or 40 miles to the saw-mill. From there they are carried 3 miles on land as the fall on the river is too steep. They are then floated on rafts a few miles more to a wood-yard in Lovat where they are loaded onto boats for Leith and London.

Miscellaneous Observations: Those living close to peat are well supplied, others more distant have to spend much time and effort in obtaining them.

The road from Inverness to this parish, divides into two branches, near the church; the one branch leading to Urquhart, Fort-Augustus and Fort William; the other, to Strath-glass and Kintail, along the south side of the Beauly and Glass; this last road is not yet finished, it has only come the length of Strath-glass. It is an excellent road, made at a considerable expense. The statute-labour has been lately commuted in this and the neighbouring parishes, which, it is hoped, will have a happy effect in keeping our roads in good repair, and in making new roads and bridges where these are necessary. A number of bridges have been erected within these few years past over all the rivulets that cross these roads.


NSA
The Parliamentary road which intersects the parish from east to west is upwards of 40 miles…

About a mile above their junction where they become the River Beauly, the rivers Glass and Farr are crossed by two excellent bridges.

The River Beauly, although not navigable beyond the village, is used to transport timber.

The road on the north, or Kilmorack side, (of the River Glass) is that generally used by travellers, and is confessedly one of the most romantic drives in the Highlands.

The Protector Cromwell used a great quantity of timber from Strathglass, in the construction of his fortifications at Inverness, and, in fact, until within late years, wood was the only article exported from the parish

Parochial Economy.
The nearest post-office is at the village of Beauly, which is about two miles from the eastern boundary of the parish, but there is a runner who daily traverses a great part of the parish, and leaves the letters at centrical receiving-houses.
Inns.—Two or three inns.
Fuel.—Peat and English coal, available at Beauly.


Kingussie
OSA
(v.3 p.34)
With no village in the parish or district, most things have to be brought in from 40 miles away; tradesmen have no fixed place of business; and the development of enterprises such as wool and flax is hindered as there are not enough skilled people in the one area.

There may have been a Roman camp on a moor between the bridge of Spey and Pitmain. Although one has to be careful of such claims, an urn full of burnt ashes was found nearby (the Celts never burned their dead), as was a Roman tripod which lends some weight to the theory (NMRS record - no evidence could be found at the location)


NSA

There may be a Roman encampment on the moor between Bridge of Spey and Pitmain.

Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication, Etc.
The nearest market town is Inverness, 46 miles away. Kingussie has a post office, with a service three times a week.
The great Highland road between Perth and Inverness passes through here for 16 miles. The Caledonian coach runs on this and there are also weekly carriers from Kingussie to Perth and Inverness. The road is busy in summer.
A good bridge crosses the Spey, four miles above Kingussie.
Fairs.—There are commonly five or six markets in the parish throughout the year; the principal one of which is held in June for selling wool, lambs, &c. Another is held in November for settling accounts, and engaging servants; and a third in February. Other three are held for buying and selling cattle, at different times, so as to suit dealers passing from the southern and northern markets.
Inns and Alehouses.—Two inns and ten or eleven ale-houses.
Fuel.—The common fuel used here is peat, procured, at a very great expense, from mosses in some places four and five miles distant.
Miscellaneous Observations
Since the last Account, roads have been made to several parts of the parish and carriers now carry on a regular service, as well as the above-mentioned coach between Perth and Invernes.


Kirkhill (Wardlaw & Farnua)
OSA
(v.4 p.111)
Vessels of 50 tons can reach as far as Beauly.
Antiquities In referring to some cairns he mentions the public road to the north crossing the moor of Achnagairn and running to the ferry of Beuly.
Miscellaneous Observations
Turf is used as fuel, the peats being nearly exhausted and coal is too expensive due to the tax on it.
Of the 8 public houses, all were closed (because of their bad effects) except two at convenient distances on the public road.


NSA
Navigation.—
A considerable number of vessels land at two places on the Beauly Frith, viz. Fopachy and Wester Lovat; but there is no harbour nor any proper sort of landing-place. These import lime and coals, and export timber and grain.


Laggan
OSA
(v.3 p.145)
No particular mention of roads. He gives some details about the hunting noted in the NSA.


NSA
Historical Notices
.—He notes a tradition that the Kings of Scotland hunted at Lochlaggan.

Parochial Economy. Means of Communication.—The nearest market-town is Kingussie, distant ten mile; Fort-William is distant forty to the west; Inverness, fifty-five to the north-east. We have had a daily post for the last three years. There is a regular intercourse with these places, and also with Perth, by carriers; and the Highland mail passes twice a-day north and south, through a corner of the parish.

Roads.—Till within the last twenty years, the roads in this parish were very bad indeed. About that time, the Parliamentary road from Fort-William, till it meets the Highland road at the Bridge of Spey, near Kingussie, was made under the direction of the late Mr Thomas Telford. This road has been of very great advantage not merely to this parish, but to the whole of Badenoch. There is a handsome wooden bridge over the Spey, at the church of Laggan. There is another stone bridge on the line of the military road at Garvamore, one at the burn of Cluny, and two over the Mathie.

Fuel.—Mostly peat but some find coal cheaper even though it has to be brought 40 miles from Fort William.
February 1839.


Moy and Dalarrossie
OSA
(v.8 p.499)
Moy had been known as Starsach-na-gal, i.e. the Threshold of the Gaels, or Highlanders, a reference to a narrow pass that gave access to the south. As it was easily defended, the local chieftan could raid the low country and defend against pursuit. He also imposed a tax of cattle on others using the pass.

Roads and Bridges.—The road from Inverness to Perth passes through this parish. It was made, and is still kept in repair, by Government. Besides a large and useful bridge on the river Findhorn, there is a number of smaller ones on this road, within the parish, which were built and kept in repair at the public expence. There are roads of communication betwixt the different parts of the parish, now forming by the statute labour; but there is so much to be done in that way, that it will take a considerable time before these roads can be completed.
Inns and Alehouses.—There are in this parish 2 inns, on the public road, and about 12 small public houses that sell whisky.
Fuel.— Peat


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Markets, Etc.—
Inverness is the nearest market and post town, at 12 miles distance. The main markets are held there each year. The mail may be brought closer by the Highland road which runs through the parish for 10 miles. It has recently been improved and is now less steep and shorter by 3 miles. The Perth to Inverness coach passes through each day.
There are also district roads funded by the statute labour conversion money. The bridges on these roads are wooden and often swept away. There was a stone bridge over the Findhorn that was swept away in 1829 - it has been replaced by a bridge of wooden arches placed on stone pillars. It cost L.2600.
Fairs.—Six cattle trysts and a lamb market are held at the Inn of Freeburn in the centre of the parish. They are held at times that suit the dealers returning from the major markets in the north.
Inns.—There are three inns in the parish; two of the houses are good, and the third merely a dram-house. They are all on the line of the Highland road, and are in summer well supported,—the number of travellers being then great.
Fuel.—The fuel used is peat which is available locally though there is some expense in their carriage.


North Uist
OSA
(v.13 p.300)
There is a cattle fair in June attended by drovers. The risk and expense of ferrying the cattle to Skye reduces the price.
There are only 8 carts here - many more could be used to advantage as the land is so level.

Fuel.—Peat is used but the time and manpower used in gathering it is wasteful and could be used in improving the farms.

Many Danish forts, some on artificial islands with a causeway, others on high ground. Two are in sight of each other to allow warning of any danger.


Miscellaneous Observations. When the tide is out travel is very easy, otherwise the going is very difficult there being “very bad steps, especially in winter weather.” He notes, however, that statute labour work was now being carried out.


NSA
Parochial Economy.

Goods are supplied by sea from Greenock and Glasgow, some 200 miles away.

Lochmaddy used to have a post office but it is now a sub-office to Dunvegan, for no good reason. A packet runs from Lochmaddy to Dunvegan, twice a week, if the weather is good. It is supported by a small sum from the post office and an assessment on the inhabitants. It only takes 4 days for letters and papers to reach here from Edinburgh.

The situation has greatly improved with there now being 80 miles of good road, 50 of these being statute labour and part-funded by an assessment on occupiers of land. There are now 180 carts and it is reasonably anticipated that soon all those who have a horse will have a cart also.

Fairs.—Two fairs for the sale of black cattle and horses.
Inns.—The inns in the parish are four. One at the packet station at Lochmaddy, another at Carinish, the opposite extremity of the island, and the other two at proper intermediate distances along the road.
Fuel.—Peat.
Miscellaneous Observations.
The plan for a steam-boat to sail up the west coast of Skye and the Long Island opposite, as well as the east coast of Skye and the nearby mainland, to collect cattle and other produce for Liverpool and Glasgow is very feasible and would be highly beneficial.
1837.


Pettie
OSA
(v.3 p.21)
Most of the black cattle here are brought from the Highlands when young and then sold on to dealers for the English market when unfit for work. Wool from the sheep is used locally and the sheep are sold to butchers in Inverness and Fort-George.
Fish, Harbours Fish caught here is sold in Inverness. It is landed on the shore and a small harbour or two would be useful.
Roads and Bridges.—The military road from Stirling to Fort George crosses this parish, that road with two bridges on it within this parish, was made, and is kept in repair by government. The military road from Fort George to Fort Augustus, passes along the whole length of the parish; there are four bridges on it. This road was made about twelve years ago by the statute labour, but has lately been repaired, and in some places altered in the direction, and four bridges have been built upon it, at the public expence. Both these roads are in excellent repair. The county road from Inverness to Nairn goes also through this parish ; it was made by the statute labour, and had two or three bridges built on it at the expence of the county.
Poor.—The poor are not numerous in this parish, but it is much infested with beggars from other places
Ale-houses and their effects - He notes that there are twelve - they have the usual pernicious effects.


NSA

On the old Nairn road, at the boundary line between Petyn and Bracholy, is clachan-tuil, or holed stone, the use of which is unknown; but the water collected in it was imagined to cure wens.
He refers to there having been 4 mills in the parish in the past.
A pier, to the erection of which the Fishery Board would contribute so largely, would be an advantage, not only to the fisher, but to the farmer, in the saving of strain to his horses in drawing coals and lime through a soft beach, without being obliged, as at present, to avail himself of moonlight or daylight to suit the state of the tides; and by facilitating the shipping of grain or wood.
It is another disadvantage of which the fishers of this coast complain, that, although their business be on the great waters, they are obliged to pay road-money on land. The fishers of Ross-shire are said to be relieved from this impost; and there are perhaps twenty fishers in Ross-shire for every one in Inverness-shire.

Parochial Economy. Market-Town.— Inverness.

Two stage-coaches and the mail coach run daily between Aberdeen and Inverness on the coach road which passes through this parish. It is routed to pass near Fort George through the village of Campbelton. A new road has started on higher ground which will have much the same line as the old Nairn road and will be less hilly, save 2 miles between Nairn and Inverness, and make access easier to Cawdor and Croy. It is hoped that a post-office will also be a benefit of the new road; at present the nearest post-offices are at Fort George and Inverness.

The only tryst held in the parish is the long established and much frequented Campbelton market, held on the confines of Pettie and Ardersier, at Lammas. It is here that farmers from Morayshire and round Inverness engage their shearers; a good deal of business is done in the sale of lambs, cattle, horses, and small quantities of wool not worth being offered at the Inverness wool market.

This district, from its being traversed by the public road to Aberdeen, is peculiarly infested by impostors, pretending to be shipwrecked sailors, clerks, and schoolmasters whose health has failed, and vagrants with forged or out-dated passes, or begging certificates furnished with too much facility. We expect a remedy to this evil from the adoption of the Constabulary Act by the county, and the rural police now in course of formation.

Fuel.—Coal (English chiefly) is the fuel of the farmers. On Gollanfield and Culloden properties, peats are a good deal used. The poorest classes avail themselves of any brushwood which they can find.
Ale-houses.—There are two licensed dram-houses on the old Nairn road, and two in the village of Stuartown.


Portree, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.16 p.138)
The river Sligichan has no bridge and is so violent in spate that travellers dare not attempt to cross it (p.143).
Two duns in the parish, thought to have been built by the Danes or Norwegians as watchtowers and strongholds (p.143).


Advantages Etc
….
.it is also a considerable advantage, that from Sconcer to Acersaid, and thence down to Snizort, is the best piece of made road in all Sky. Here, too, the latter end of every May and July, is held a well known fair, to which all Sky, except the districts of Strath, Heat, some from Uist and Harris, bring their cattle. ......The numbers that, on these occasions, flock from all parts to Portree, are immense; and though there is a large, commodious, and well kept inn at Acerfaid, many, even of the bed, are often put to their shifts for lodgings. Five miles south from Acerfaid, at the meeting of the three principal lines of road in Sky, is the public house and post-office of Sconcer, from which, by means of two runners, and the post from Inverness to Dunvegan, all the letters of Strath, Heat, Troternish, and Mingnish are distributed.


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Markets.—
Market held in Portree for the sale of black-cattle. There are several shop-keepers and a steam-boat arrives weekly from Glasgow.
An excellent Parliamentary road runs through the parish; it is kept in repair by an assessment on the heritors in the county.
In the village there is a post-office, to which there is a post three times a week.

Fairs.—Three fairs, two for black-cattle, and one for hiring and other business.
Inns.— Respectable public houses in Portree and the district of Sconcer for travellers and those attending the fairs.
Fuel.—Peat is used. It is cut when the people would be doing no work so it costs them nothing.
Miscellaneous Observations.
On the surface of the parish, the greatest change has been produced by the Parliamentary and other district roads throughout the parish.


Sleat, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.16 p.534)
The gathering of peat takes too much time.
Mention of the sale of black cattle. Five duns, three of which are Danish.
No made roads.


NSA
Parochial Economy
.
No towns or villages in the parish.
Means of Communication.A parliamentary road runs through here from Armadale to Broadford, some 16 miles; there are also district roads. A steam-boat from Glasgow to Portree calls weekly in summer, and every three weeks in winter.
Fuel.Good turf.
Miscellaneous Observations. Since the former Statistical Account was written, various improvements have taken place in the parish. Excellent roads have been opened……


Small Isles (Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna)
OSA
(v.17 p.272)
Advantages and Disadvantages.—

Fort William, the post town, is 40 miles from Ardnafouran, from where it is a further 11 miles by sea to Eigg. It would be a great benefit if a post office was set up there and a packet established between Arisaig and Uist which could call in at Eigg and Canna (p291).
As it is so far from public markets, cattle has to be sold to dealers who “think it their interest, to appreciate advantages arising from the local situation.”
The roads are “almost in a state of nature.” The statute labour has been used to build harbours.
In Inverness-shire it was found difficult to operate the statute labour but the recent act may lead to proper attention being paid to the roads. There are no bridges here - these are much needed as the streams can become dangerous or impassable in heavy rain, or when the snow melts (p.292).


NSA
Parochial Economy
.
There are no villages; and no inns, excepting one in the Island of Eigg. In each of the islands, there was formerly an inn. There is no packet, nor any regular means of communication with the post-office or main-land from any one of the islands. For this and other reasons, every person is under the necessity of keeping a boat always in readiness for his own comfort and convenience. The distance between the Island of Eigg and the nearest post-office at Arisaig is thirteen or fourteen miles. The other islands are at much more considerable distances. A road has been carried across the Island of Eigg, by the statute labour of the inhabitants.


Snizort, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.18 p.181)
There are at least 2500 cows, some of which are sold at two fairs in Portree. The money pays for the rent and some necessary items.
Mention of duns. Fuel used is peat.


NSA
Parochial Economy.
Means of Communication.—
There is an excellent road running through the whole length of the parish, and affording an easy communication with Portree, the nearest market-town; and there is a receiving-house at Uigg, to which the Harris packet comes once a-week for the mails.
Fuel.—The fuel is peats, which the women carry home in creels on their backs, from a very great distance.
April 1840.


South Uist
OSA 
(v.13 p.292)
He gives details of the trade in kelp and black cattle and also of the “Danish forts“.
No particular mention of roads.


NSA
Shipping.—
Four small vessels take cattle to Skye and the mainland, as well as kelp to Liverpool and Glasgow.

Parochial Economy.
There is a good road the whole length of the parish, which is kept in repair by statute labour and commutation money. The nearest post-office is at Lochmaddy in North Uist, about sixty-six miles distant from the south extremity of the parish. The county town, Inverness, is distant 192 miles from the parish; but the principal communication is with Glasgow and Greenock.
Two fairs are annually held in the parish, at Ormaclet and Benbecula, in July and September, for the sale of black-cattle and horses.
There are three principal harbours, Lochboisdale, Loch Eynort, and Loch Skipport,—to the first two of which there are good roads.
Inclosures and drains are very much required; and good roads to the moorland, through the different farms in the parish, would be one of the most essential improvements of which it is susceptible.


Strath, Isle of Skye
OSA
(v.16 p.222)
As in the NSA, mention is made of the chapels and the duns.
Miscellaneous Observations.—Peat is the only fuel and much of the summer is spent in their digging and transport. The roads are very poor. There is one inn but whisky is brought from Ferrintosh and easily available. Two cattle trysts are held.
There is a ferry at Keil on the post road to Inverness.


NSA
Antiquities.—The writer mentions the remains of various probable Culdee chapels, holy wells, and a burying-place. He also refers to the remains of 7 Danish forts or duns, noting that they were erected within sight of each other for purposes of warning.

Parochial Economy.
Market-Town.—
At Broadford three markets are annually held for the sale of black-cattle and horses.
Means of Communication.—Broadford is likewise a post-town, where the mails arrive and are despatched three times a week. Within the incumbent's recollection, letters from London took ten days in reaching Broadford, but now they arrive there on the third night.
From Broadford the mails are carried across Kyleakin ferry, by a runner to Lochcarron, whence they are conveyed to Dingwall by a gig, having accommodation for the conveyance of passengers.
About thirty miles of Parliamentary road, and ten of statute labour, pass in different directions through the parish. During the summer and harvest months we have a regular weekly communication with Glasgow by steam-boats; but in winter they ply only once a fortnight. Not many years ago, the voyage from Skye to the Clyde generally occupied from ten to fifteen days, while now it is usually performed in about thirty-six hours.
Fuel.—Mostly peat, gathered at a time when there is no other work required.
Inns.—There are three, and these are needed for travellers.
Miscellaneous Observations
Improvements (since the last Statistical Account) are that the mails have been accelerated - roads have been formed in all directions - steamers and other packets have been established. But although the benefits arising from such modes of communication are great, yet some of them are attended with disadvantages, as they are the means of introducing into the country a variety of vagrants, such as gipsies, rag-men, venders of crockery, tinsmiths, eggdealers, and old-clothes-men. By characters of this description, manners and habits, which were formerly unknown to the lower orders, are gradually introduced, such as tea-drinking, tobacco chewing and smoking.


Urquhart and Glenmoriston
OSA
(v.20 p.297)
Burying Places.—
Mention of two burial places in Glenmoriston, viz. Clachan an Inair and Clachan Merecheard. Clachan is a name given to burial places, and comes from clach, or stone.

Roads and Bridges.— There are two principal roads. The first is from Inverness to Fort-Augustus, on the north-west side of Loch Ness. Work started around 1760 but progress was slow due to limited funds and the nature of the terrain. With funding from the county and from local proprietors the work progressed (with great difficulty) through the "rocks and woods" of Aberiachan to Drumnadreochid, 15 miles from Inverness and half-way to Fort Augustus, and where a good inn was built. Carriages can run on this section, but not on the remaining section to Fort Augustus. The road continues up Strath Urquhart as far as Corrimony and is suitable for carriages.

The second road comes from Beauly over to Urquhart to meet the first road at Drumnadreochaid.

There are also two roads running through Glenmoriston. The first is the military road from Fort Augustus to Bernera, now in great disrepair as it is neglected by the Government. The other, to the head of Glenmoriston has not been completed for lack of funding but is passable on horseback.

There are 50 miles of public and cross roads, funded by commuted statute labour. A road from Inverness to Glenelg on the west side of Loch Ness has been surveyed on orders of the Commander in Chief in Scotland and would open up easy communication to the west and the Hebrides.

Miscellaneous Observations.—Before 1745 and 1746 this parish suffered cattle raids from the west but these have now stopped. There were no roads or bridges and travel was difficult.


NSA

…Castle of Urquhart, one of the chain of fortresses (several of them royal) which, from the earliest times, stretched across the Great Glen from Inverness to Inverlochy, and secured the country from foreign invasion, and the excess of civil discord.

The public burying-places in this parish were all probably formed round the shrines of saints or ancient chapels; and in Urquhart there is one at Kilmore, the great burying-ground, within which the present parish church stands; one at Cill-Santninian, near Temple; one at Cillmhichael, a short distance west of Drumnadrochit; and another in the height of the country at Corrymony, called Claodh Churidan, the burial-place of Curidan. In Glenmoriston, the sequestered and picturesquely lying burial place called Claclian au Inair, that is, the burying-ground of the lower district, is situated at the mouth of the valley, and another higher up is denominated, in honour of an old saint, Clachan Merechard, the word Clachan, literally a stone, being the distinctive appellation for a fane or church (note: see Urquhart & Glenmoriston, MacKay, page 464 (below) for an account of a funeral procession at which a violent disagreement broke out as to which burying place the body should be taken to).

Based on A K Johnston, Scotland North, 1861, courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The images are copyright Cartography Associates but have been made available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use

Means of Communication.—The roads here were very bad up until about 1760 when work started on a road between Inverness and Drumnadrochit. Funding difficulties took some time to overcome but it was eventuallycompleted, and in fact extended over the shoulder of Mealfaurvonie into Glenmoriston where it ended. The Parliamentary Commissioners for building roads and bridges in the Highlands opened a road to the west through Glenmoriston in the early 1800's.
Parts of the old road can still be seen "winding along the impending rocky cliffs above Loch Ness." He says that few would wish to travel on such a road today (he had noted that it was badly drained and lacked parapets in places) but the day when three gentlemen were able to ride three abreast from Inverness was still fondly remembered.

A branch of this road led to the top of the glen at Corrymony, and another led over Coille Shallach to Glenconvinth, where the Aird and the Ross-shire post-road could be reached. Both were in good condition.

The new Parliamentary road from Inverness runs on the north side of Loch Ness, then passes through Glenmoriston to Kintail and Skye. It has an excellent surface but is sometime narrow and steep and needs continuous parapets. In places it is cut through rock and supported in places by walls and butresses.

For further information see chapter XXII, page 454ff in Urquhart and Glenmoriston, William MacKay, Inverness, 1893 on the History and Legends website.
On page 255 he gives the course of the road from Glen Moriston to Inverness at the time of the 1745 uprising as running past Upper Drumbuie in Glenmoriston to Abriachan and then Caiplich to Inverness. The course of the 1760 road is difficult to determine with accuracy other than the branches to Corrimony and Beauly. It may have had the course of the later Parliamentary road or have ran a little inland - there is no sign of a higher road on the early OS maps except near Abriachan but these may not be this particular road. Beyond Drumnadrochit there is a road shown on some early maps running from Kilmuir down to an inn on the lochside, which may be that referred to as extending over the shoulder of Mealfaurvonie.
The Parliamentary road ran along the north side of Loch Ness.


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