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Arrochar, Dumbartonshire

Historical Description

ARROCHAR, a parish, in the county of DUMBARTON, 22 miles (N. N. W.) from Dumbarton, and 22 (E. S. E.) from Inverary; containing 580 inhabitants. The name of this place, which at different times has been variously spelt, is derived from a Gaelic term signifying " high" or " hilly", in reference to the nature of the ground. The parish is remarkable for the magnificence of its scenery, and is much resorted to by tourists on account of the peculiar and numerous attractions which it presents, as well as from the excellence of the inns, the good order of the roads, and other advantages. Arrochar was disjoined from the parish of Luss in 1658. It is about fifteen miles long and three broad, and contains 31,000 acres; including two farms named Ardleish and Doune, which lie on the east side of Loch Lomond, and occupy the north-eastern extremity of the parish, almost separated from the main portion by the lake. The parish is bounded on the north by the parish of Strathfillan, in Perthshire; on the south by the water of Douglass, and part of the parish of Luss; on the east, by Loch Lomond; and on the west, by Loch Long, and part of Argyllshire. The surface is altogether hilly and mountainous. It has about fourteen miles of coast bounding Loch Lomond, and a coast of three miles extending along Loch Long: on the Lomond side, the shore is flat and sandy, and diversified by numerous bays and headlands. The mountain of Ben-Vorlich, clothed with rich pasture, is the most elevated in the parish, rising 3000 feet above the sea; it is frequented by white hares, ptarmigan, and various kinds of wild fowl. There are four rivers, none of which are of large size; viz., the Falloch, the Inveruglass, the Douglass, and the Linnhe, the three first of them running into Loch Lomond, and the last into Loch Long. Loch Lomond, which is twenty-four miles long, in some parts seven broad, and varies in depth from sixty to 100 fathoms, abounds with bold and romantic scenery, and is considered the finest sheet of water throughout the country. It contains salmon, trout, pike, perch, eels, and also powans, generally called fresh-water herrings. Loch Long is about twenty-one miles in length and one and a half or two in breadth; its depth is from ten to twenty fathoms. The fish found in it are halibut, soles, flounders, whitings, skate, lythe, sethe, cod, salmon, trout, herrings, &c. Its banks in some parts exhibit fine picturesque breaks, especially at the opening of Loch Goil; and towards its head the scenery is equal to any part of Lomond. There are some beautiful cascades in the parish.

The SOIL, except in some districts, is thin and poor, and only about 300 or 400 acres are arable; a considerable number of acres are under wood, and on the shores of Loch Lomond are large plantations of oak, which are annually thinned; the remaining land consists of indifferent pasture. The sheep are the blackfaced, and the cattle comprise both the native breed and those introduced from Argyllshire. Some waste, to the extent of about fifty acres, has been reclaimed within these few years. The inclosures and farm-buildings generally are in an indifferent state. The rocks consist for the most part of mica slate; in some parts are traces of iron-ore, and there are two whinstone quarries near the whinstone dyke between Lochs Lomond and Long. The annual value of real property in the parish is £3096.

The parish contains two small villages; in addition to which, a considerable number of houses have been erected within the last few years for sea-bathing visiters. Among the inns is one which ranks with the most commodious and excellent in Scotland, and which, before being converted to its present use, was the mansion of the chief of the Macfarlane clan. During the summer months, a coach runs daily from Inverary to Tarbet in the morning, and returns in the afternoon; and vehicles of every description may be obtained at the inns of Tarbet and Arrochar, to which visiters come from all parts to view the scenery in the neighbourhood of the lakes. Steam-boats run on Loch Lomond and Loch Long from May till October. Another plies between Arrochar and Glasgow; and ships with coal and lime from Glasgow and Ireland frequently come to the head of Loch Long, whence, also, wool is often sent to the market of Liverpool. A herring-fishery is carried on in Loch Long, with considerable profit, during the months of June and July, the boats afterwards proceeding successively to Loch Fine and the neighbourhood of Campbelltown, where they fish to the end of the season. Each boat contains about three men, and produces in the season from £30 to £60.

Ecclesiastically the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Dumbarton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the patronage belongs to Sir James Colquhoun, Bart., and the minister's stipend is £241, with a glebe worth £13 a year, and a manse erected in 1837. The church, situated in a corner of the parish, was built in 1733, and is in indifferent repair; it contains 300 sittings. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church. There is a parochial school, in which the ordinary branches of education are taught; the master has the maximum salary of £34. 4., with £8 fees, and a house. Another school, privately endowed, affords instruction in the classics, mathematics, and the other usual subjects; the master receives £25 from the resident proprietor of land½and about £15 or £20 fees.

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


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

CountyArgyll and Bute
Postal districtG83
Post TownAlexandria