National Gazetteer, 1868


Assynt - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"ASSYNT, a parish in the county of Sutherland, Scotland, of 90 miles in circumference, lying on the coast of the Minch, between Loch Ardvar and Kyle Scow on the N., and Loch Enard on the S. It extends in length from the point of Storr, in the N.W., to Cromall, in the S.E., 36 miles; and in breadth, at the widest part, 18 miles. It is one of the wildest and most mountainous districts in Scotland, and has almost innumerable lochs. The loftiest mountain is Benmore, on the southern border of the parish. It has an elevation of 3,200 feet above the sea. Others are Cuniack, or Queenaig, north of Loch Assynt, a ridge terminating in a small peak by the lake; Snilven, or Sugar Loaf, to the south of Loch Inver, &c. The largest lake is Loch Assynt, occupying nearly the centre of the parish. It is a freshwater lake, containing abundance of trout, and extending in length nearly 7 miles, and in breadth about 1 mile. Camloch is the next largest lake, and lies in the southern, which is the highest, part of the parish. Close to it is Urgil loch; on the west coast, Inver loch; and scattered over the parish, especially the western half, a multitude of others too numerous to name. The coast is rugged and dangerous, with many indentations and small islands. There are several caves, both on the coast and inland. Limestone is abundant in the parish: in one place it appears in a huge abrupt ridge, nearly 200 feet high and extending for a mile and a half. Marble is quarried at Ichnadamph, and some slate spar is procured. Fishing is the chief occupation of the inhabitants, who live mostly near the coast. Sheep farming is also carried on extensively. The parish belonged in ancient times to the thanes of Sutherland, subsequently to the McLeods, and now to the Duke of Sutherland. The living is in the presbytery of Dornoch, of the value of £158, and in the patronage of the Duke of Sutherland. The church stands at the east end of Loch Assynt. There are also two Free churches. The people speak the Gaelic language almost universally. On the shore of Loch Assynt, near its eastern end, are the ruins of Ardvrack Castle, which is considered to have been the seat of the McLeods, and to have been built near the close of the 16th century. It was by a member of this family that the Marquis of Montrose, who took refuge in Assynt, was betrayed, in the reign of Charles I. On the coast at Clachtoll are some remains of a druidical temple. There is a building near the church, supposed to be part of an ancient place of worship. Lochinver is the principal village. The parish contains two post offices, one near the church, and the other at the village of Lochinver."

"BEN MORE, (or Conval), a mountain in the parish of Assynt, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, about 3,230 feet above the sea."

"CLASHMESSIE, a village in the parish of Assynt, in the county of Sutherland, Scotland, 20 miles W. of Lairg. It is situated in a wild country on Clashmessie Bay, which is 3 miles wide."

"CULAG, a village in the parish of Assynt, in the county of Sutherland, Scotland. It is, situated on Culag Water, which falls into Loch Inver."

"INCH-NA-DAMPH, a hamlet in the parish of Assynt, county Sutherland, Scotland. It is seated on the edge of Loch Assynt. Fairs are held on the first Thursday in January, and in August and September."

"INVER, (or Lochinver), a post-office village in the parish of Assynt, county Sutherland, Scotland. It is situated at the head of Loch Inver, and though a small place has a very good trade, chiefly in the herring fishery."

"OLDENEY, an island in the parish of Assynt, county Sutherland, Scotland, 7 miles S.W. of Scourie. It is situated near Point of Store, between Clashnessie and Nedd Bays."

"STORE, a quoad sacra parish in the parish of Assynt, county Sutherland, Scotland, 30 miles N.W. of Dornock. It is situated on the western coast of Sutherland, and includes a number of islands. It extends in length about 10 miles, with an extreme breadth of 8 miles. Its surface presents an assemblage of lofty mountains, barren rocks, extensive heaths, lakes, mosses, and rivers. Limestone and moss abound, and peat is used for fuel. The rearing of cattle and fishing afford employment to the principal part of the inhabitants. Several roads and bridges have recently been formed; but the country is in many parts almost impenetrable. There are numerous cairns and Druidical temples scattered throughout the district. The church was erected in 1828 by grant from the parliamentary commissioners. There is a Free church."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)