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Applecross, Ross and Cromarty

Historical Description

APPLECROSS, a parish, in the county of ROSS and CROMARTY, 18 miles (W.) from Lochcarron; containing, with the island of Crohn, and part of Shieldag quoad sacra district, 2861 inhabitants. It was originally called Comaraich (a Gaelic word signifying protection) on account of the refuge afforded to the oppressed and to criminals, by a religious establishment that existed here in ancient times. The present name is of modern date, having been given to the place by the proprietor of the estate upon its erection into a parish, at which time five apple-trees were planted cross-ways in his garden. This parish, which formed part of that of Lochcarron till 1726, stretches along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, and is distributed into the three large portions or districts of Applecross, properly so called; Lochs, consisting of Torridon, Shieldag, &c.; and Kishorn. It is of irregular form, twenty miles long, and as many miles in breadth, containing about 1800 acres cultivated or occasionally in tillage, about 400 acres in wood, and 400 or 500 waste, besides an immense tract of pasture in a natural state. The surface, in its general appearance, is hilly and rugged, consisting of rocky elevations covered with heather and wild grass; and the climate, though not unhealthy, is foggy, and very rainy.

The soil is light and gravelly, and produces good crops of oats, barley, and potatoes; the two former are grown to the value of £3000 annually, and potatoes and turnips yield about £1500. The farms are of small extent, averaging in rent not more than £6 or £7 each. There are very few inclosures, and though some advances have been made in the draining and improvement of land, the agricultural state is low, the parish being compelled frequently to import grain and potatoes for home consumption. The annual value of real property in the parish is £2488. The rocks consist of red sandstone, gneiss, and quartz; at Applecross and Kishorn are found large quantities of limestone, and at the latter place is also a copper-mine, which, when worked some time since, produced a fine rich ore. The only mansion of note is on the estate of Applecross; it is a large ancient building, with some elegant modern additions, and surrounded by about thirty acres of thriving plantation. At Poldown, Shieldag, and Torridon are convenient harbours, to which there belong about twenty-one vessels of from twenty to fifty tons' burthen each, employed in the fishing and coasting trade. Most of the population are in some way engaged in the herring-fishery, which in certain seasons is very profitable; and at Torridon and Balgie are salmon-fisheries that let at £15 or £16. Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Lochcarron and synod of Glenelg: the Crown is patron; the minister's stipend is £158. 6. 5., partly paid from the exchequer, and there is a manse, built in 1796, with a glebe valued at £12 per annum. The parochial church, which was erected in 1817, is in good repair, and accommodates 600 persons. At Shieldag, twelve miles distant, is a government church, built in 1827. There is a parochial school, the master of w-hich has a salary of £27, with about £8 fees, and teaches the classics, mathematics, Gaelic, and the ordinary branches of education. Four schools are supported by societies for promoting education. Many fossils have been found.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis


Online maps of Applecross are available from a number of sites:

Postal districtIV54
Post TownStrathcarron