Click for Bookshop

Old County of Ross and Cromarty

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Links to the Historical Statistical Accounts of Scotland are also available:
(Click on the link to the right, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Browse scanned pages")

1834-45: Ross and Cromarty

Cromartyshire, a county, interlaced with Ross-shire, in the N of Scotland. It comprehends an ancient sheriffdom, hereditary in the family of Urquhart of Cromarty, and detached districts annexed in the latter part of the 17th century, at the instance of Viscount Tarbat, afterwards Earl of Cromarty. The ancient sheriffdom, or old shire, comprises Cromarty parish, the greater part of Resolis parish, and an undefined portion of the Mullbuy; and is usually stated to have a length of about 16 miles, a breadth of about 6½ or 7 miles, and an area of about 39, 690 acres. The detached districts are a district surrounding Tarbat House, on the NE seaboard of Cromarty Firth; a district commencing on the Dornoch Firth a little E of Tain, and extending eastward to the Moray Firth in the vicinity of Geanis; two small tracts in Kincardine parish, adjacent to the river Carron; a district extending west-north-westward from the vicinity of Dingwall, and including Castle-Leod and part of Ben Wyvis; two tracts on the N of respectively Loch Fannich and Loch Nid; a tract along the S side of the middle and upper parts of Little Loch Broom; the large district of Coigach, lying between Loch Broom and Sutherland, and extending to Loch Enard and Rhu More promontory; and the Summer islands, lying in the N side of the mouth of Loch Broom. These eight are estimated to measure aggregately about 344 square miles, or 220,586 acres. The ancient valuation of the property was £12,896; but the modern valuation of the property, and all the other modern statistics, are merged into those of Ross-shire. The county has a court of lieutenancy of its own; but it has no sheriff or even sheriff-substitute of its own; and, as to its fiscal affairs, its parliamentary representation, and even its parochial distribution and its territorial character, with the exception only of Cromarty parish, it is always practically treated as simply a component part of Ross-shire.

Ross-shire, a great northern Highland county extending across Scotland from the E coast along the upper reaches of the Moray Firth, to the Atlantic on the W coast, beyond the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The mainland portion of the county includes the whole of the sections of the scattered county of Cromarty, which may indeed be treated as but an integral part of it, and also the detached Ferintosh district of Nairnshire. The island portion consists of the whole of the N part of the island of Lewis, and a number of smaller islets on the coast of Lewis, as well as on the coast of the mainland portion of the county. The boundary line is treated as taking in all the portions of Cromarty, and the particular positions of the larger sections of the smaller county are subsequently described with more minuteness. Ross-shire is bounded N by E by Sutherlandshire and the Dornoch Firth, E by the Moray Firth, SE and S by Inverness-shire, and W by the Atlantic Ocean. The shape is irregular, but the outline of the mainland portion is roughly fanshaped, and the part of Lewis is somewhat like the head and snout of a great sea-monster of which the rest of the Outer Hebrides form the shattered remnants of the body. The extreme breadth of the mainland portion from Rudh, Re - at the NW corner of the peninsula, between Gair Loch and Loch Ewe - E by N to the extreme point of Tarbet Ness at the entrance to the Dornoch Firth, is 74 ¾ miles; and the length, from the source of the Oykell on the N to the S side of the upper end of Glen Shiel on the S, is 66 ¾ miles. From the island part the mainland is separated by the Minch, 24 miles across the narrowest part, and from the W coast of Lewis, ESE to Tarbet Ness, is 125 miles; while from the Butt of Lewis, SSE to the upper end of Glen Shiel, is 106 miles. It is the third largest county in Scotland, the total land area, inclusive of Cromarty, being 3129.8 square miles or 2, 003, 065 acres. Exclusive of Cromarty the area of Ross proper is 1,861, 571.699 acres, of which 1,768, 559.853 are land, 64, 406.345 are water, 27, 454.091 are foreshore, and 1151.410 are tidal water. Of this area there are in the islands 437, 221.438 acres, of which 402,166.473 acres are land, 26,862.856 are water, and 14,641 792 are foreshore, while 417, 458 acres, including foreshore and water, are in the part in the Hebrides. Of the enormous total of 2, 003, 065 acres, however, only 134, 298 - or 6.7 per cent. - acres were in 1883 under crop, bare fallow, and grass, and 43,201 - slightly over 2 per cent. - under planted wood, the rest being natural wood, rough hill grazing, heath, peat, or stony waste. The county is the third least densely populated in Scotland, there being only 25 persons to the square mile. There are 11 inhabited islands, with a population of 25,712. Third of the counties of Scotland as regards area, Ross is eleventh as regards population, and seventeenth as regards valuation.

Starting at the extreme NW corner of the mainland portion at Loch Kirkaig between Loch Inver and Enard Bay, the boundary line passes up the river Kirkaig to Fionn Loch (357 feet); up the centre of this, along the connecting stream, to Loch Veyatie (366); and up the stream flowing into the upper end of this as far as the bend above the small Lochan Fhionnlaidh, where it takes to the ridge of the Cromalt Hills, along the watershed of which it runs by Meall Coir an Lochain (1692) and Meall a Bhuirich (1500) to Meall a Bhuirich Rapaig (1500). From this it turns northward by Meall Chaomuinn (1491 feet) and Cnoc nan Imirean to the SE end of Loch Borrolan (460), at the mouth of Allt an Loin Dhuibh, thence across the loch to the mouth of the burn that enters the N side near Aultnacallagach Inn, up this burn to Lochan Sgeireach, curves irregularly to Luban Croma, and follows to the source the stream that rises in the hollow between the highest top of Breabag (2670) and Sgonnan Mor (2028), whence it strikes up Breabag, passes to the E of the summit near the 2500 contour, and then passes along the N shoulder of the hill (2338), until, in the hollow between Breabag and Ben More Assynt, it reaches the source of the Oykell, and from this point it turns to the S and then to the E, following the river all the way to the Dornoch Firth at Bonar-Bridge, and at Loch Alsh (498) and Kyle of Sutherland passing through the centres of these sheets of water. At the mouth of Glen Einig at Oykell Bridge the line is only 8 miles E of the top of Meall a Bhuirich Rapaig, where it turns to the N, though between the points following the boundary the distance is 24 miles round the long narrow finger-like portion that projects up to Ben More Assynt. From Bonar-Bridge the line passes eastward along the S shore of the Dornoch Firth, then south-westward along the NW shore of the Moray Firth, and thereafter westward along the N shore of the Beauly Firth, till, 2 miles below Beauly, it once more takes to the land on the N side of the river Beauly. From this it curves north-westward to Muir of Ord station, then, by an irregular zig-zag, back to Tomich, midway between Beauly and Muir of Ord stations, whence it passes irregularly westward till it reaches the Allt Goibhre - a tributary of the Orrin - up which it passes through Glen Gowrie to An Gorm-loch (1774 feet), and thence southward to the summit of Carn nam Pollan (2778). It then strikes south-westward and then westward by the Allt na Criche back to the Orrin, which it follows upward for over 3 miles before it quits it again and turns southward by Sgurr na Cairbhe to the summit of Sgurr Ruadh (3254 feet). Here it turns westward along the top of the ridge by Sgorr a' choir ghlais (3552 feet) to Sgurr Fhuar-Thuill (3439), thence westward by Sgurr na Muice (2915) and Beinn na Muice (2272), till, 1 mile below Loch Monar (663), it reaches the Garbh nisge, up which it proceeds, and then up the loch till, somewhat over a mile from the W end, it strikes southward along a burn to the W of Aultfearn, and then by Meall an Buidhe (1819) to the eastern shoulder of An Riabhachan (3898), thence eastward along the ridge to the top of Sgurr na Lapaich, south-eastward down to the N end of Loch Tuill Bhearnach, which lies here in a corry, and thence down the glen to Loch Mullardoch (705), near the centre of the northern shore. Crossing the loch in a south-westerly direction for ¾ mile, it reaches the southern shore, and, striking up the hollow between Tuill Creagach (3452 feet, Inverness) and Tom a Choinich (3646), passes up to the summit of the latter, and thence along the ridge to the top of Carn Eige (3877), and then to Mam Soul (3862), and from this continues south-westward along the watershed between the upper end of Glen Affrick and Glen Clunie by Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (3771), Ben Attow (3383), Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg (3378), Carn Fuaralach (3241), and Ciste Dhubh (3218), reaches Garbh Leac (3673), just beyond which the watershed begins between Glen Affrick and Glen Morriston. The line crosses this watershed to the top of Sgurr nan Conbhairean (3632 feet), and thence by Carn Ghluasaid to Loch Clunie (606), the northern shore of which is reached 1 ½ mile from the W end. Crossing Loch Clunie at right angles, and then the highest point of Druim nan Cnaimh and so down to lower Loch Loyne (700 feet) - which it reaches about ½ mile from the upper end - it passes up Loch Loyne and the intervening river to upper Loch Loyne, and then up the river Loyne till near the source, where it turns off first N and then W to the summit of Aonachair Chrith (3342), and from this follows the watershed westward, first between Glen Clunie and Glen Quoich, then between Glen Shiel and Loch Hourn, and then between Loch Duich and Loch Alsh, and Glenelg for a distance of 22 miles along a ridge with an average height of about 3000 feet, and reaches the sea at Kyle Rhea, ½ mile from the northern end. From this it passes across the opening of Loch Alsh, through Kyleakin, between Longay and the Crowlin islands, up the Inner Sound between Raasay and the mainland; strikes north-westward across the Minch and up Loch Seaforth (Lewis); curves across Lewis and Harris to Loch Resort, and thence round the W and N of Lewis, and back across the Minch to the starting point at Kirkaig. The island district is separately treated under Lewis, and except for statistics what follows is chiefly confined to the mainland part of the county.

Districts and Surface.—The Moray Firth coast from Tarbet Ness to Craigton Point near Kessock measures in a straight line about 30 miles. Fourteen miles from Tarbet Ness it is indented by the Cromarty Firth, and 11 ½ miles farther to the SW by Munlochy Bay, while along the S coast the Beauly Firth extends for 7 miles W of Craigton Point. Along the curve of the W coast the distance is probably about 75 miles, but if the windings of the coast be followed the length will be about 400 miles, so much is the line broken up by sea-lochs, some of them of large size. The chief in order from the N end, most of which are separately noticed, are Enard Bay, Loch Broom, Little Loch Broom, Gruinard Bay, Loch Ewe, Gair Loch, Loch Torridon branching off into Upper Loch Torridon and Loch Shieldaig, Loch Carron branching off into Loch Kishorn and Upper Loch Carron, and Loch Alsh branching off into Loch Long and Loch Duich. The county may roughly be divided into three great divisions, Easter Ross, Mid Ross, and Wester Ross. The first is one of the finest agricultural districts in Scotland, and may be taken as including all the low ground on the E coast lying between the Dornoch and Cromarty Firths. Mid Ross includes all the land lying between the Cromarty, Moray, and Beauly Firths, and known as Ardmeanach or the Black Isle; and the adjoining parishes of Urray, Contin, Dingwall, Fodderty, Kiltearn, and Alness, and these embrace the minor district of Strathpeffer and the lower parts of Strath Conan and Glen Orrin. Wester Ross, including by far the greater portion of the county, occupies all the districts to the W of this, and contains the minor divisions of Strath Oykell in the N, with Glen Einig opening off it, and the lesser hollows of Strath Carron, Strath Chuilionaich, and Gleann Mor near by; Coigach in the extreme NW of the county N of the outer part of Loch Broom; Loch Broom, with Strath Kanaird and Glen Achallt opening off from the loch, and, at its upper end, Strath More, which passes SE into Dirrie More, leading across to Strath Garve; Gruinard all round the head of Gruinard Bay between Little Loch Broom and Loch Maree and the lesser district of Rudha Mor to the W of Gruinard Bay; Gairloch, between Loch Maree, Gair Loch, and Loch Torridon; Applecross - the triangular peninsula between Lochs Torridon and Shieldaig and Lochs Carron and Kishorn; the Aird, between Loch Kishorn and Upper Loch Carron; Glen Carron, upwards from Upper Loch Carron; Lochalsh, between Loch Carron and Loch Alsh, and at the upper end of the latter, Glen Ling and Glen Elchaig; Kintail, ESE of Loch Alsh; Glen Shiel, up from the top of Loch Duich and passing over the watershed into the hollow of Glen Clunie, which passes downwards into Glen Morriston (Inverness-shire); the upper parts of Glen Orrin and Strath Conan. Near the centre of the N side of Strath Conan the hollow occupied by Loch Luichart branches off to the NW to Strath Bran, which continues westward to Auchnasheen, where it forks, one branch passing south-westward to Glen Carron, and the other westward and south-westward by the hollow of Loch a Chroisg (Rosque) and Glen Docherty, to Kinlochewe and Loch Maree. From the NW end of Loch Luichart the hollow of Strath Bran is continued eastward towards Strathpeffer, and from the N side Strath Garve passes off and is continued northward by Strath Vaich to Gleann Mor, and so to Strath Oykell; and north-westward by Dirrie More to Strath More and Loch Broom. Easter Ross is almost entirely lowland in its character, consisting nearly altogether of a fertile and well-cultivated plain, but rising along the coast of the Moray Firth into a ridge with lofty cliffs facing the sea. Mid Ross is also mostly well cultivated, but consists of a greater portion of uplands, and rises along the shore of the Moray Firth into the long ridge of Ardmeanach. The western division has a very unequal surface, its ruggedness being scarcely surpassed even by Inverness-shire, 4/5 of the whole area being over 1000 feet above sea-level. The mountain tops rising above this can hardly be said to form distinct chains or ranges, but occur as single isolated summits or in groups. In Coigach, between Loch Veyatie and the outer part of Loch Broom, are Cul Mor (2786 feet), Cul Beag (2523), An Stac (2009), Beinn Eun (1973, Sgorr Deas), and Ben More Coigach (2438). The summits in the Cromalt Hills N of the upper part of Strath Kanaird have been noticed in connection with the boundary, except Meall an Fhuarain (1895 feet); between Glen Oykell and Strath Carron are Beinn Ulamhie (1616), Meall Deargaidh (1659), and Breac Bheinn (1520); and between Strath Kanaird and Glen Achallt are Na Dromannan (1337), Cnoc a Choilich (1336), Meall Liath Choire (1798), Cnoc an Daimh (1500). Between Glen Einig and Gleann Mor are the hills in Freevater Forest, of which the highest point is Sean a Bhraigh (3000 feet) - between the upper waters of the Douchary, which flows down Glen Douchary to Glen Achallt, and the upper waters of Corriemulzie Burn, which flows by Strath Mulzie to Glen Einig - and from this a spur passes off to the NW with Meall nam Bradhan (2221). To the E of Sean a Bhraigh is Carn Ban (2762 feet), and NE of that Bodach Mor (2689) and Bodach Beag (2500); and a shoulder runs away to the eastward with the highest points at An Socach (2424) and Srongun Aran (2138), 4 miles N of which is Carn a Choin Deirg (2302) overlooking Strath Chuilionaich. To the SW of Carn Ban is Carn Loch Sruban Mora (2406 feet), overlooking Gleann Beag, a continuation westward of Gleann Mor. To the SW of Sean a Bhraigh is a great mass of- hills occupying the district between Glen Achallt on the N, Upper Loch Broom and Strath More on the WSW, Dirrie More and Glascarnoch river (Upper Strath Garve) on the S, and Strath Vaich and the upper ends of Gleann Beag and Glen Douchary on the ENE. Of these the highest points, SSW from Sean a Bhraigh, are Eididh nan Clach Geala (3039 feet) and Beinn Dearg (3547), and from Eididh nan Clach Geala a ridge is sent off NW towards Ullapool, where Glen Achallt opens on to Loch Broom, the highest points being Carn Mor (2122), Meall Dubh (2105), and Beinn Eilideach (1830) overlooking Ullapool. To the WSW of Beinn Dearg and E of the upper end of Strath More are Beinn Aonaclair (2915 feet) and Meall Doire Faid (2390), while to the E the highest point of the lumpy mountain that overlooks Strath Vaich is 3120 feet, and it slopes towards Glascarnoch river by Tom Ban Mor (2433) and Meall an Torcain (1735). In the great lozenge-shaped district bounded on the N by the sea; on the NE by the line of Loch Broom, Strath More, Dirrie More, Glascarnoch river, and Strath Garve; on the S by Strath Bran and the hollow of Loch a Chroisg (Rosque); and on the SW by Glen Docherty, Loch Maree, and Loch Ewe, - the hills may be grouped roughly into three divisions, of which the second and third may be regarded as forming somewhat broken ranges. The first division is bounded by Loch Broom and Strathmore on the NE side, by Gleann Mor (a branch of Strath More passing to the SW) and the hollow of Loch a Bhraoin (Vruin) on the SE, and the upper part of Strath na Sheallag and the valley of Loch na Sheallag and Gruinard river to Gruinard Bay on the SW. The NW end is indented by the long, narrow Little Loch Broom. The whole mass is somewhat like a lobster's pincer, Little Loch Broom being the opening of the claw. Beginning to the S of Annat Bay on the point stretching out between Loch Broom and Little Loch Broom, there is the isolated mass with the tops of Beinu Ghobhlach (Goleach; 2082 feet) and Cnoc a Bhaid-rallaich (1780); farther to the SE is Cnoc an Droighinn (1327), Creag Chorcurrach (1193), Carn a Bhibrain (1665), and Carn Bhreabadair (1573) - the last three round the end of Strath Beg at the head of Little Loch Broom. Between Strath Beg and Loch na Sheallag is the lumpy mass of An Teallach, with a northern spur, Mac us Mathair (2298 feet), a central summit (3483), and Sgurr Ruadh (2493), and Sgurr Fiona (3474) overlooking Loch na Sheallag. To the NW of this are Sail Mhor (2508 feet) and Carn nam Buailtean (1283), while to the SE are Meall a Bhainne (1503) and Carn nam Feithean (1820) - to the NE and SW of the upper hollow of Strathbeg river - Carn Breac Beag (1267) overlooking the top of Strath More, and in a triangular projection to the SW between the hollow of Loch a Bhraoin and the southward prolongation of Strath na Sheallag, Meall an t' Sithe (1871), and Creag Ralnich (2646). The second division begins to the S of Loch na Sheallag, and extends south-eastward till opposite Creag Ralnich, where it becomes very narrow, and then turning to the E stretches eastward to the valley of Strath Garve, attaining its greatest breadth (over 7 miles) and greatest height between Glen More on the N and Loch Fannich on the S. The hollow on the SW is occupied by the basins of Fionn Loch and Lochan Fada, and on the S by that of Loch Fannich. Beginning at the NW end, the highest summits are Beinn a Chaisgein Beag (2234 feet), Beinn a' Chaisgein Mor (2802) - above Fionn Loch - Beinn Dearg Beag(2500), and Beinn Dearg Mhor(2974) S of Loch na Sheallag; Beinn a' Chlaidheimh (2750), Sgurr Ban (3194), Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair (3250), and Beinn Tharsuinn (2750) between Strath na Sheallag and Lochan Fada. To the S of Creag Ralnich are Beinn Beag (2000 feet) and An Groban (2424) at the narrowest part of the range, which here turns to the E. In this eastward portion the summits are A' Chailleach (3276 feet), Sgurr Bhreac (3000), Beinn nan Ramh (2333), Sgurr nan Clach Geala (3500), Meall a' Chrasgaidh (3062), Carn na Criche (3000), Sgurr Mòr (3637), Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich (3000), Beinn Liath Beag (2175), Meall an Rairigidh (3109), An Coileachan (3015), Beinn Liath Mhor a Ghinbhais Li (2484), Beinn Dearg (2230), Beinn Liath Beag (1967), Meall Mhic-Iomhair (1984), Beinn a Bhric (1441), Beinn nan Cabag (1544), Carn na dubh Choille (1570), and Creagan an Eich Ghlais (1086), the last two on the W side of Strath Garve. The third range begins at the N end of the NE side of Loch Maree, extends up the whole of that side and up the NE side of Glen Docherty, at the top of which it turns eastward, extending as far as the glen by which the river Fannich flows to the Bran. Beginning at the NW end the principal summits are Beinn Airidh a' Char (2593 feet), Meall Mheinnidh (2000), Beinn Lair (2817), Beinn Slioch (3217) and its eastern shoulder Sgurr an Tuill Bhain (3058), Beinn a Mhuinidh (2231), Carn a Ghlinne (1770) overlooking Glen Docherty, Fionn Bheinn (3060) with a south-western shoulder Meall a' Chaoruinn (23l3), a southern shoulder Creagan nan Laoigh (2101), and a south-eastern shoulder Dos Mhucarain (1358), Carn Daraith (1521), An Cabar (1831), and Carn na Beiste (1661), the last on the SW of the river Fannich. At the SE end of Loch Maree, between Ben Slioch and Beinn a' Mhuinidh, the range is deeply cut by Gleann Bianasdail, through which the Fhasaigh Water flows from Lochan Fada to Loch Maree, and again opposite the lower end of Glen Docherty by the hollow of the Bruachaig Water, the central portion of which is only 239 feet above sea-level. The portion to the E of this is, from the central summit, often spoken of as the Fionn Bheinn range.

The promontory between Loch Ewe and Gair Loch is occupied by a low undulating ridge, which nowhere rises above 1000 feet, the highest points being An Cuaidh (971 feet) and Cnoc Breac (962). The portion between the head of Gair Loch and the NW end of Loch Maree rises higher, reaching at many places a height of over 1200 feet; 1357 at Meall an Spardain, 1381 at Meall an Doirein, and 1256 at An Groban, E of Gairloch. In the district between Loch Maree, the hollow SW of Kinlochewe, Glen Torridon, Upper Loch Torridon, and Loch Torridon is a curious circular group spreading out from the central Beinn Dearg, the surrounding summits being cut off by hollows radiating out from that hill like the spokes of a wheel. Beinn Dearg itself is 2995 feet; NNE is Beinn a' Chearcail (2576), with a northern shoulder Coinneachadh Beag (1830); E is Beinn Eighe, with a north-western point Ruadh-stac Mhor (3309), a western summit Sail Mhor (3217), an eastern summit Sgurr Ban (3188), and a northern shoulder (2882); S is Liathach, overlooking Glen Torridon and the head of Upper Loch Torridon, and with a central summit Mullach an Rathain (3358), an eastern shoulder Spidean an a' Choire Liath (3456), and a western shoulder Sgorr a Chadail (2287); W is Beinn Alligin with a northern top (3232), a southern (3021), a western shoulder An Ruadhmheallan (2196), and a north-western shoulder Beinn Bhreac (2031); NW is Busbheinn (2869); and NNW is Beinn an Eoin (2801). In the triangular projection between Loch Torridon, Loch Shieldaig, Glen Shieldaig, Glen Kishorn, Loch Kishorn, Loch Carron, and the Inner Sound, the summits to the NW of the glen that extends north-eastward from Applecross Bay are An Garbhmheall(1615 feet), Croic-bheinn(1618), Meallnah-Uaidne (1701), and Meall an Fhireachan (2051). To the SE of the glen is the straggling Beinn Bhan (2936 feet), with Carn Dearg (2119) to the W, and Creag Ghorm (1945), Sgorr na Caorach (2539), and Meall Gorm (2325). To the NE is An Staonach (1682 feet), overlooking Glen Shieldaig; and to the N, on the opposite side of the glen, is the ridge of Ben Shieldaig (1500). To the E of this an irregular and much broken range stretches eastward to the upper end of Strath Bran, at the E end of Loch a Chroisg. The summits from W to E, beginning at Loch Damh to the E of Ben Shieldaig, are Creag Sgorach (2251 feet), Beinn Damh (2958), Meall na Saobhaidhe (1207), Beinn na h-Eaglaise (2410), Sgurr Dubh (2566), Beinn Liath Mhor (3034), Sgurr Ruadh (3141), Fuar Tholl (2968) - the last four between the upper part of Glen Torridon and Auchnashellach in Glen Carron - Carn Breac (2220), Beinn na Feusaige (2000), Carn Beag (1806), and the eastern shoulder of the range (15561). To the SW of Sgurr Ruadh an outlying spur of this range passes away down to the promontory between Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron, the highest points being, from NE to SW, Meall a Chinn Deirg (3060 feet), An Ruadh Stac (2919), Sgorr a Gharaidh (2396), Glas Bheinn (2330), An Sgorr (1282), and Bad a Chreamba (1293), the last two being N of Strome Castle.

To the SE of these, beyond the line of Glen Carron and Strath Bran, are a series of broken ranges extending from NE to SW or from E to W. Following first the line to the SE of the two great hollows just mentioned: to the W of Strome Ferry is Creag Mhaol (600 feet); tween Strome Ferry and Loch Alsh are Beinn Raimh (1466) and Kirkton Hill (1481); and along the NW shore of Loch Long are Creag an Earbaill (1273) and farther E (1484) and Carn nan Onaich (1100). To the N of these towards Loch Carron are Carn nan Iomairean (1590 feet) and Carn Allt na Bradh (1085); and following the line of heights east-north-eastward the summits are Meall Ruadh (1476), Carn Geur-aodainn (1950), Craig a' Chaoruinn Eagan (2200), Sgurr na Fiantaig (2830) SE of Auchnashellach - Sgurr na Ceannaichean (2750), Moruisg (3026), with eastern shoulders Carn Gorm (2866) and Carn Liath (2813); Cnoc an t' Sithein (1218), Carn Mhartuinn (1765), Leanuidh (1841), Creag Ghlas (1895), Meall na Faochaig (2231), Sgurr a Mhuilinn (Vuillin; 2750), with Sgurr a Ghlas Leathaid (2778) and Carn na Feith-rabhain (1437) to the NW, and Creag Ruadh (2388) to the SE; Carn na Cre (1514), Meall Bhad Ghaineamhaich (1650), Creag Loch nan Dearcag (1760), and Sgurr Mairc Suidhe (1899) SW of Loch Luichart. On the opposite side of Loch Luichart, opposite Garve station, is Cnoc na h-Iolaire (1153 feet), and farther S Carn Faire nan Con (1210) and Creag a Chaoruinn (1078). From Moruisg eastward the southern boundary of this range is marked first by Glen Fhiodhaig (Evaig) and then by the valley of the river Meig and the upper part of Strath Conan. From Sgurr na Fiantaig a branch goes off to the S of Glen Fhiodhaig, and dividing at the top of Glen Orrin sends offshoots down each side of that glen, the principal summits being Sgurr Choinnich (3260 feet), Sgurr a' Chaoruinn (3452), Bidean an Eoin Deirg (3430), Maoile Lunndaidh (3294), Creag Dhubh Mhor Maoile Choillmas (1653), overlooking Loch Monar, and An Sithean (2661), where the range divides. The tops N of Glen Orrin are Sgurr Coire nan Eun (2581 feet), Bac an Eich (2791), Beinn Mheadhoin (Vane; 2098), Meall Guibhais (2171), Creag Ghaineamhach (1902), Carn Uilleim (2208), Meall nan Damh (2199), Carn na Cloiche Moire (1936), Carn Sgolbaidh (1342), Sron nan Saobhaidh (1339), and Beinn an Rudha Riabhaich (1497); to the S of Glen Orrin is Carn Eiteige (2891) and the summits about Sgurr Fhuar Thuill already mentioned in describing the boundaries; while farther E in the same range is Sgurr a Chlaisean (2383), a northern shoulder of Carn nam Pollan. To the S of Sgurr na Lapaich on the boundary N of the top of Glen Cannich are Braigh a Choire Bhig (3303 feet) and Mullach a Ghlas Thuill (2591); to the W of the same hill is An Riabhachan, with two tops (3896 E; 3526 W), and An Cruachan (2312) and Beinn Bheag (2030) to the N; and farther W still to the N of Glen Elchaig are An Creachal Beag (2854), Aonaeh Buidhe (2949), Am Fitheach (2847), Sguman Coinntich (2881), and Ben Killilan (2466). From Am Fitheach the heights of Carn na Sean-luibe (1903 feet), Beinn Dronnaig (2612), Lurg Mhor (3234), Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich (3000), and Beinn Tharsuinn (2807) lead northward, and connect this group with Sgurr Choinnich. The heights to the S of Glen Shiel and Glen Clunie have been already noticed in dealing with the boundary. To the N of Loch Duich and Glen Shiel are Creag Reidh Raineach (1654 feet), Sgurr an Airgid (2757) - N of Kintail church - Sgurr na Moraich (2870) - at the head of Loch Duich - and Beinn Mhor, with the two tops Sgurr Fhuaran (Ouran; 3505 NW) and Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe (3370 SE), the latter being connected with Sgurr a' Bhealaich Deirg already mentioned on the boundary. Between Loch Dhuich and Glen Elchaig, NE of Creag Reidh Raineach, are Boc More (2064 feet), Carn Bad a Chreamha (2073), and Carn Loch nan Eun (1946). To the WNW of the last is Beinn a Mheadhoin (1351 feet), and to the SE Carn an Cruineachd. To the N of Ben Attow on the boundary is A'Ghlas-bheinn (3006 feet), and N of Carn Eige is Beinn Fhionnlaidh (3294). In the rest of the county the principal heights are simply scattered about without much regard to grouping, except to the E of Strath Garve, between which and the upper reaches of the Cromarty Firth is the huge bulk of Ben Wyvis (3429 feet) and the subsidiary heights around An Socach (3295 E), An Cabar (3106 S), and Little Wyvis (2497 W). From Ben Wyvis an undulating series of heights of from 1000 to 2800 feet leads away northward to Strath Oykell, a few of the principal hills being Creachan nan Sgadan (2147 feet), Beinn nan Eun (2436), Creag Ruadh (2194), Beinn a' Chaisteil (2500), Beinn Tharsuinn (2330), Carn Feur-lochain (2243), and Dun an Liath (2246) - the last four being ranged along the upper part of Strath Vaich and Gleann Mor. To the NE of Ben Wyvis another series of heights passes off, the hollows being occupied by the streams flowing SE to the Cromarty Firth. The principal tops between the Glass which reaches the Firth below Evanton, and the Alncss which reachesit below Alness, are Meall Beag (2121 feet) and Meall Mor (2419), Meall an Tuirc (2049), Beinn na Diollaidhe (1851), and Caishlan (1715); between the upper part of the valley of the Alness, called Strath Rusdale, and the upper part of the valley of the Balnagowan Burn, called Strath Rory, are Beinn Tharsuinn (2270) and Doire Leathan (2089). To the N of Strath Rory is Cnoc an t.Sabhail (1116 feet).

Rivers and Lochs.—There are a considerable number of rivers throughout the county, and the small streams are simply i numerable. On the NE the drainage is carried to the Dornoch Firth by the Oykell, of which the principal tributary from the Ross-shire side is the river Einig, and by the river Carron, the head-stream of which is the AbhuinnaGhlinne Mhoir in Gleann Mor, and the principal tributary the Black Water (NW). Farther down the firth are the Wester Fearn Burn, the Balblair Burn, the Edderton Burn, and the Aldie Water. On the extreme NW is the river Kirkaig, and Enard Bay receives the river Polly and the Abhuinn Owskeich. On the N side of the outer part of Loch Broom is the river Kanaird in the strath of the same name, and in the inner portion the Ullapool from Glen Achallt and the Lael and Broom at the head of the loch, the latter being formed by the junction of the Droma from Dirrie More (SE), and the Cuileig from Gleann Mor * (SW). Little Loch Broom receives the Strathbeg river at the top, and into Gruinard Bay flow the Gruinard river from Strath na Sheallag on the SE, and Little Gruinard river from Fionn Loch in the centre. The surplus water from Loch Maree reaches Loch Ewe by the river Ewe, and Loch Maree itself receives the Fhasaigh from Lochan Fada on the NE side near the head; Kinlochewe river at the head the principal streams of this being the Bruachaig (E) and the Ghairbhe (SW) - and on the SW side the rivers Grudie and Lungard. The principal stream flowing into Gair Loch is the Kerry, and Upper Loch Torridon receives the river Torridon at the head, and the Balgay from Loc h Damh on the N side, while Loch Shieldaig receives the Shieldaig from Glen Shieldaig at the upper end, and the Abhuinn Dubh from Loch Lundie on the SW. In the rest of the Applecross peninsula a number of fair sized streams flow direct to the Inner Sound, the chief being the river Applecross flowing into Applecross Bay, a little to the S of the centre. Loch Kishorn receives the Kishorn, Loch Carron the river Carron, Loch Alsh a fair sized stream from Gleann Udalain, Loch Long the Ling (NE) and the Elchaig (ESE), and Loch Duich at the upper end the Croe (NE) and the Shiel (SE). At the top of Glen Shiel the watershed is crossed, and the Clunie flows eastward to Loch Clunie at the head of Glen Morriston. To the NE of Glen Elchaig are streams flowing to the upper end of Loch Monar, and so away down Strath Farrar, and farther to the NE still is the river Orrin and the small streams flowing to it. To the N of Glen Orrin is Strath Conan, with the river Conan issuing from Loch Luichart, and receiving about 1 ½ mile from the Loch the Meig (W), which flows through a long narrow winding glen, extending westwards to Moruisg. Flowing into Loch Luichart is the Bran, which issues from Loch a Chroisg and flows down Strath Bran, passing through the lochs of Achanalt and Chuilinn near the lower end, and between the latter loch and Loch Luichart receiving the Fannich from Loch Fannich on the N. To the E of Loch Luichart is Loch Garve, which receives from Strath Garve the Black Water, which is formed by the union of streams from Strath Rannoch (N), Strath Vaich (N), and the Glascarnoch river (NW). Below Loch Garve the stream is stil1 known as the Black Water, and it flows into the Conan 1 ½ mile below Contin church. The principal streams flowing into the Moray Firth are the Avoch, Rosemarkie, and Ethie Burns; and the Cromarty Firth receives Newhall Burn (S) at Udale Bay, the Conan from Strath Conan and the Peffery from Strathpeffer, both at the upper end; the Skiack and Glass passing to the S and N respectively of Evanton village, both rising on Ben Wyvis, and the latter passing through Loch Glass; the Alness flowing through Alness village; and the Balnagowan Burn flowing into the head of Nigg Bay.

* Not to be confounded with the Gleann Mor of Strath Carron.

There are about 80 lochs of fair size, and an immense number of smaller lochs and lochans. Of these the principal only can be mentioned here, the figures showing the height of the surface above sea-level. Other information about all the leading ones will be found in separate articles dealing with them. On the Kirkaig are Fionn Loch (357 feet) and Loch Veyatie (366); on the Polly, Loch Skinaskink (243) and Lochan Gainmheich (251), and connected with it farther S is Loch na Doire Seirbhe (222); on the Owskeich are Loch Owskeich (72) and Loch Bad a' Ghaill and Loch Lurgan, both 173; and in Glen Achallt is Loch Achallt (265). At the summit level of the pass of Dirrie More is Loch Droma (about 900 feet); and on the other branch of the Broom river - the Cuileig - is Loch a Bhraoin (813), while to the SE in a corrie of Sgurr Mòr is the lofty Loch a Mhadaidh (1831). In the course of the Gruinard river is Loch na Sheallag (279 feet), and stretching south-eastward from Loch Ewe is the celebrated Loch Maree (32). To the N of Loch Sheallag are Lochan Gaineamhaich, Loch Mor Bad, and Lochan Eich Dhuibh (737 feet); to the E of the centre of Loch Ewe are Loch a Bhaid-luachraich (311) and Loch Fada (498). To the NE of Loch Maree and distant from it 3 miles, across the mountain ridge, are Fionn Loch (559 feet) and Lochan Fada (1000) - the former having a number of smaller lochans connected with it; among the hills between this and Loch Sheallag are Loch Ghiubhsachain, Loch Toll a Mhadaidh, Lochan na Bearta, Lochan Feith, and Fuar Loch Mor; and farther N between Little Gruinard river and Gruinard river is Loch a Mhadaidh Mor. Connected with the river Ewe and the NW end of Loch Maree are Loch Tollie (W, 388 feet) and Loch Kernsary (E); and connected with the upper part of it are Loch Garbhaig (1000) N of Ben Slioch; Loch Clair and Loch Coulin (WNW) on the course of the Ghairbhe and about 280 feet above sea-level; and the small Lochan Coire Mhic Fhearchair at a height of about 1900 feet on Beinn Eighe. On the course of the Kerry are Loch Bad an Sgalaig (353 feet), Dubh Loch close beside it, and at the source Loch na h'Oidhche (1250) between Busbheinn and Beinn an Eoin. On the opposite side of Busbheinn are Loch a Ghobhainn and Loch a Bhealaich (both 1000 feet), the source of the Horrisdale Water, farther down which are Loch Gaineamhaich (900) and Loch Braigh Horrisdale (302); the stream flows N to Gair Loch. To the E of Loch Diabaig, in the SE of outer Loch Torridon, is Loch Mhullaich (443 feet); to the S of Upper Loch Torridon is Loch Damh (129), and farther up the same hollow Loch Coultrie, and on the Amhainn Dubh flowing into Loch Shieldaig is Loch Lundie (753). On the river Carron are Loch Dhughaill (168 feet), and high up near the sources Loch Sgamhain (Seaven, 491); at the source of the northern branch of the river Ling is Loch an Laoigh (877); and on the Elchaig are Loch na Leitrach (281), and at the source Loch Muirichinn (1500); while in Glen Clunie is the upper half of Loch Clunie (606), and on the course of the river Loyne part of Loch Loyne (700). At the top of Glen Cannich - which is mostly in Inverness-shire - is Loch Lungard (761 feet) and about half of Loch Mullardoch (705); at the top of Glen Strath Farrar - also mostly in Inverness-shire - is about 2/3 of Loch Monar (663), and farther W An Gead Loch, Loch an Tachdaidh, and Loch Calavie (1129); near the source of the Orrin are Am Fiar Loch (1000) and Loch na Caoidhe; in Strath Conan are Loch Beannachan (465), Loch Luichart (280), and Loch Achilty (170); and in Strath Bran Loch a Chuilinn (350), Loch Achanalt (365), Loch a Chroisg (508), and, S W of Auchnasheen, Loch Gown (543); while in the tributary hollow of the river Fannich is Loch Fannich (822). In the valley of the Black Water is Loch Garve (220 feet), with the small Loch na Croic at the lower end; and at the top of Strath Vaich are Loch Toll a' Mhic and Gorm Loch; while near the source of Glascarnoch river is Loch a Gharbh Raoin and Loch Coire Lair. In the lower basin of the Conan is Loch Ussie (419 feet); NE of Ben Wyvis are Loch Glass (715) and Loch Morie (622), the latter sending off a tributary to the Alness; 1 mile N by E of Fearn station is Loch Eye (51); on the upper waters of the Carron (Dornoch Firth) is Loch Crom (1730) between Beinn a' Chaisteil and Beinn Tharsuinn; and in Strath Oykell are the Kyle of Sutherland (tidal) near the mouth and part of Loch Ailsh (498); while on Corriemulzie Burn, a tributary of the Einig, is Loch a Choire Mhoir, and on Abhuinn Poiblidh, a tributary of Rappach Water, the main source of the Einig, is Loch na Daimh (672), and NW from it the small Lochan Eilean and Clar Lochan. The whole of the principal rivers and lakes abound with fish of various kinds, and furnish capital sport, but most of them are preserved, being let with the adjacent shootings.

On the W coast there are a large number of islands, but most of them are of small size. The chief are:in Enard Bay, Eilean Mor (4 x 2 furl.); in outer Loch Broom, Distal (8 ½ x 8 furl.), Tanera More (1 5/8 x 1 3/8 mile), Tanera Beag (6 ½ x 4 furl.), and Horse Island (8 x 3 furl.); farther up at Strath Kanaird, Isle Martin (1 x ¾ mile); in Gruinard Bay, Gruinard Island (10 x 5 furl.); in Loch Ewe, the Isle of Ewe (2 x ¾ miles); at the mouth of Gair Loch, Longa (1 x ½ mile), and farther in, Eilean Horrisdale (3 x 3 furl.); at the SW point of Applecross, the Crowlins, of which Eilean Mor is 1 ¼ x ¾ mile, and Eilean Meadhonach (8 x 2 furl.); at the entrance to Loch Kishorn, Kishorn Island (2 x 1 ½ furl.); and near the entrance to Loch Alsh, Eilean nan Gillean (2 x 1 furl.). Of these the ones that are or have been inhabited within the last twenty years with their populations in 1871 and 1881 respectively are:- Crowlin (26, 9), Ewe (50, 43), Gillean (10, 6), Gruinard (0, 6), Horrisdale (37, 0), Kishorn (6, 0), Isle Martin (42, 42), Ristal (27, 0), and Tanera (114, 119). The county of Cromarty is scattered all over Ross-shire in twenty different pieces, of which a great many are along the peninsula of Tarbet, to the S of the Dornoch Firth. They cannot all be particularly mentioned here, but the four largest are the portion to the S of the entrance to the Cromarty Firth, extending 12 miles along the shore of the firth, with an average breadth of 3 miles; a portion in Coigach, in the extreme NW, extending 20 miles from Enard Bay to Corriemulzie Burn, and with an average breadth of about 10 miles; a portion extending from the top of Ben Wyvis to Loch Ussie, 8 miles, and with an average breadth of 2 ½ miles; and a portion N of Loch Fannich, measuring 5 miles from N to S, and 7 from E to W, and including all the high ground round Sgurr Mòr. For a detached portion of the county of Nairn, at the top of the Cromarty Firth, reference may be made to Nairnshire.

As might be expected the scenery of Ross-shire is extremely varied. The western part of the county shows little but a sea of hills with brown undulating expanses of moorland and bare rock, intersected by hollows occupied by streams and lochs, and the whole in most places dull and dismal, except when the heather is in bloom. Many of the hollows, however, contain fertile haughs, though except in Mid and Easter Ross there is but little wood. Natural forests appear to have anciently covered almost the entire county, but they are now represented by straggling copses of oak, birch, and Scotch pine. In the early part of last century Lord Seaforth set the example of extensive planting, and subsequently many of the other proprietors followed suit, and extensive plantations now exist, principally, however, along the shores of the Beauly, Cromarty, and Dornoch Firths, and especially about Brahan, Redcastle, Tulloch, Novar, and Balnagowan. The greater part of the land along the firths is also fertile and highly cultivated.

Geology.—The striking physical features which arrest the attention of the observer in the W part of the county are due to the remarkable geological formations in the NW of Scotland. In this county as well as in Sutherlandshire there is a considerable development of those Archæan rocks which formed the floor of the succeeding Cambrian deposits. They are the oldest rocks of which we have any record in Scotland, and whatever may have been their origin, there can be no doubt that as a whole they are now highly crystalline. Consisting mainly of micaceous and hornblendic gneiss with bands of mica schist and numerous veins of granite and pegmatite, they have generally a persistent strike towards the WNW or NW. Nowhere are the characteristic features of these ancient rocks more strikingly developed than on the shores of Loch Maree, between the mouth of the loch and Letterewe, where they form irregular lumpy hills or bosses, retaining the rounded outline imparted to them by the ice-sheet. An interesting feature connected with the series in that district is the occurrence of a crystalline limestone on the shores of Loch Maree above the house of Letterewe. It has been quarried on both sides of the Fuolish, where it is associated with dark grey gneiss and schist intersected with quartz veins. From the S bank of Loch Maree the Archæan gneiss can be traced SW to Gair Loch, while at Shieldaig on Loch Torridon it reappears from underneath the great pile of Cambrian Sandstones. At these localities it possesses the same NW strike, and presents the same crystalline characters.

To these crystalline rocks succeed a prodigious development of red sandstones, grits, and conglomerates, regarded by Murchison as the equivalents of the Cambrian rocks of Wales. They are grandly developed in the mountains of Applecross, on the colossal heights N of Loch Torridon, and again on the shores of Loch Maree. Owing to the comparatively low angles of in clination of the beds, the successive outcrops form a series of terraces in marked contrast with the Archæan rocks, on which they rest unconformably. The unconformable junction is admirably seen on the shores of Loch Maree, Loch Torridon, and Gair Loch. Where the gneiss passes underneath the overlying grits, it presents a rounded contour analogous to that produced by glacial action: indeed the suggestion has been made by Dr A. Geikie that these rounded outlines may be due to such an agency acting in pre-Cambrian time. At the base there is usually a coarse breccia composed mainly of subangular fragments of the underlying crystalline rocks. Behind the hotel at Gair Loch this basal breccia is admirably exposed, and is remarkably coarse; some of the included blocks of schist measuring 5 feet in length. Indeed, this deposit has been compared to moraine matter on account of the angular earthy character of the material. This breccia is succeeded by alternations of brecciated sandstones, fine conglomerates and grits, eventually graduating upwards into fine grained red sandstones.

The series just described is overlaid unconformably by quartzites, fucoid beds, and limestones, which, from evidence obtained in Sutherlandshire, are regarded as of Lower Silurian age. The various subdivisions of these Silurian rocks as worked out in the recent Geological Survey of Sutherland will be given in the general article on the geology of Scotland. At present it will be sufficient to state that the same zones, varying from the basal quartzites to the lowest subdivision of the limestone, are also to be found in Ross-shire. With the aid of these zones it will be possible to unravel the complicated structure of the ground extending along the line of junction between the Silurian rocks and the eastern schists. One of the most remarkable features in the W of Ross-shire is the striking appearance presented by certain lofty mountains of Cambrian Sandstone, the tops of which are capped with a thin cake of white quartzite. In some instances, as on Ben Leagach, the basal quartzites have been isolated by denudation, and hence in the far distance they resemble a thin capping of snow on the sombre-tinted sandstones.

In Ross-shire there is the clearest evidence in proof of those great terrestrial displacements which intervened between the Lower Silurian period and the Old Red Sandstone (see general article on Geology of Scotland, vol. iii., Ord. Gaz.). Not only do the eastern schists overlie the Silurian rocks, but at certain localities the comparatively unaltered Archæan gneiss is made to rest transgressively on various members of the Silurian series. The latter phenomenon is well seen in Glen Logan, N of Kinlochewe, and on the hill slope on the right bank of the stream. This section is of the highest importance, as showing that the remarkable geological structure which prevails in Eriboll is also to be met with in Rossshire. To Professor Bonney belongs the credit of having been the first to point out that the coarsely crystalline gneiss in Glen Logan is merely a portion of the Archæan gneiss, which has been brought up by a great fault, and made to overlie the quartzites and limestones. On the right bank of the stream the quartzites, fucoid beds, serpulite grit, and limestone follow each other in regular order, till they are abruptly truncated by a massive crystalline rock resembling the Archæan gneiss, which occurs in the bed of the stream, and can be followed up the hill slope to the W. Though it presents in places a highly crushed appearance, still the NW strike is retained throughout a great part of the mass. Veins of granite, pegmatite, and lenticular bosses of hornblende rock occur in the midst of the gneiss. Indeed, the presence of these veins in the foliated rock has, in a great measure, given rise to the controversy regarding the true nature of this crystalline mass. On the E side of the valley the upper great reversed fault, or thrust plane, is met with, which ushers in the eastern schists. At that locality they consist of fine grey and blue flaggy schists, which at the first blush one would be apt to regard as slightly altered Silurian flagstones; but the microscopic examination plainly shows that the constituents have undergone considerable alteration. These rocks are well developed in Glen Docherty, and they are traceable for a long distance across the county above ' the upper thrust plane. ' Inclined at a gentle angle to the SE, they are eventually overlain towards the E by more highly crystalline garnetiferous schists exposed on Ben Fyn. These are followed by flaggy mica schists and gneiss, which are repeated by a series of folds to the E border of the county, where they are covered by the Old Red Sandstone. There is one remarkable zone in the eastern schists deserving of notice, as it possesses peculiar lithological characters. It is admirably seen in Strath Garve near Innisbae, both in the stream section and on the ground by the roadside, where it consists of a coarse porphyritic gneiss, with large crystals of felspar, the long axes of which run parallel with the lines of foliation. The plates of mica envelop the felspar crystals, and the peculiar arrangement of the latter relatively to the other ingredients is identical with that occurring in the augen gneiss of German petrographers. Another remarkable band, found between Garve and Dingwall, is the famous garnet rock, which has become celebrated for the size and beauty of the garnets obtained from it. Finally, reference ought to be made to the occurrence of that rare mineral, zoisite, in the neighbourhood of Garve, as recently described by Mr W. Bell.

Along the E border of the county the metamorphic crystalline rocks are covered unconformably by the representatives of the Old Red Sandstone. The boundary between these two formations forms a sinuous line which can be traced from the neighbourhood of Beauly, N by Strathpeffer and the Ault Graat, to Edderton on the Dornoch Firth. At the base of the series there is generally a coarse breccia or conglomerate forming rounded hills; the pebbles being composed of the underlying crystalline rocks. These coarse conglomerates graduate upwards into red or chocolate sandstonesand flags, with grey bituminous flags and shales, which are seen in Strathpeffer, in the Ault Graat, and in the Alness river. On this horizon the Rev. Dr Joass of Golspie obtained a series of ichthyolites from calcareous nodules embedded in red clays closely resembling the well-known fish bed on the S side of the Moray Firth. These ichthyolitic flagstones are overlaid by an upper band of conglomerate of considerable thickness, through which the famous gorge of the Ault Graat has been excavated. To this zone succeeds reddish sandstones and shales which apparently form a great synclinal fold in the basin of the Cromarty Firth, rising with a steep inclination on the E side of the basin. Along the BlackIsle from Munlochy to the Sutors of Cromarty, there is a great anticlinal fold revealing the ancient crystalline rocks, and the conglomerates marking the base of the series. In the calcareous nodules embedded in the clays overlying these conglomerates at Cromarty, Hugh Miller obtained a fine series of fish remains - a locality which has since become famous through his classic descriptions. The same anticlinal fold is traceable in the ridge to the N of the entrance to the Cromarty Firth, where similar basal beds occur. From the investigations of the Rev. Dr Joass, it would appear that fossils are to be met with in the flaggy strata at Geanies. In the cliff at the W boundary of Geanies there are several bands of calcareous shale resting on red sandstones which have a general inclination to the NW. These beds are traceable along the shore as far as the site of the old Mill of Tarrel, where they have yielded an entire specimen of Coccosteus and other ichthyolites. It is highly probable, therefore, that this series of calcareous flagstones occupies the same horizon as the flaggy strata on Culloden Moor. Beyond Geanies the strata just described are followed by reddish, grey, and yellow sandstones resembling the Upper Old Red Sandstone on the S side of the Moray Firth, which are specially interesting on account of the curious reptilian tracks found in them.

In connection with the Old Red bituminous flags in Strathpeffer, reference ought to be made to the occurrence of the mineral Albertite in veins up to two inches thick. From the descriptions of these veins recently given by Mr Morrison, Dingwall, it appears that in all cases they are vertical or nearly so, and that they trend E and W, irrespective of the geological formation in which they are found. They occur both in the gneiss at the head of the valley and in the micaceous sandstone farther down the strath. The mineral is found even in the E and W fissures in the Conglomerate overlying these sandstones, but, strange to say, not in the cracks with a different trend.

At the base of the cliff formed by the Palæozoic strata of the Black Isle and the N Sutor, there are certain patches of Oolitic rocks which, notwithstanding their limited development, are of great interest. They occur on the beach beneath high-water mark at Eathie, and again at Port-an-Righ and Cadh-an-Righ near Sandwick. The great fault traversing the great glen is prolonged towards the NE, skirting the base of the Old Red Sandstone cliff of the Black Isle, and by means of this dislocation these patches of Jurassic strata have been brought into conjunction with the Palæozoic rocks. Near the village of Sandwick, the strata are composed of hardened shales with bands of argillaceous limestone which are traversed by numerous transverse faults shifting the outcrops of the beds. From the researches of Professor Judd it appears that the patches at Portan-Righ and Cadh-an-Righ belong to the Lower and Middle Oolite, while that at Eathie pertains to the Upper Oolite. The section at Cadh -an-Righ shows the following order of succession: next the talus at the base of the cliff covering the position of the fault, there are estuarine sandstones and blue clays followed by sandstones, clays, and limestones, with fresh-water fossils. These are succeeded by shelly bands and clays yielding both fresh-water and marine shells, overlain by a thin coal seam. According to the classification adopted by Professor Judd, these zones represent the Lower Oolite, the thin coal seam being the equivalent of the Main coal at the top of the Lower Oolites of Sutherland. Here, however, it has thinned away to a few inches, but its position is clearly defined by the ` roof-bed, ' consisting of sandy clay merging into hard sandstone, becoming in places calcareous from the abundance of shells. A remarkable feature connected with the ` roof-bed ' at this locality is the number and size of the belemnites found in the upper part of the band, but otherwise the fossils agree with those obtained from the same horizon in Sutherland. This zone is followed by sandstone, sandy clays, and dark blue clays, with marine fossils belonging to the Middle Oolite. At Port-an-Righ certain dark blue shales, with bands of sandy argillaceous limestone, are met with, which are regarded by Professor Judd as the equivalents of the Coralline Oolite of England. They have yielded, among other forms, Belemnites sulcatus, B. abbreviatus, Ammonites vertebralis, A. cordatus, A. excavatus, Gryphœa dilatata, Pecten demissus. The small patches at Eathie, which have also become widely known through the publications of Hugh Miller, consist of Upper Oolite shales and limestones, which have been thrown into a series of sharp folds, and display a crushed appearance close to the fault. A remarkable feature connected with these patches at Eathie is the occurrence of pseudo-dykes traversing the shales and limestones usually in the direction of the axes of the anticlinal folds. Instead of being composed of igneous materials, these dykes consist of ordinary sediment; indeed, an oolitic shell was found by Hugh Miller in one of the veins. It is evident that the fissures must have been filled from above with the sediment, and that this must have taken place subsequent to the faulting and folding of the strata. They have generally been considered as belonging to the Lias, but on palæontological grounds Professor Judd classifies them with the Upper Oolites of Sutherland. The peculiar species of ammonites and belemnites, the abundance of Lima concentrica, Ostrca Roemeri, with the remains of Conifers, Cycads, and Ferns, seem to indicate close affinities with the types of fossils obtained from the Upper Oolites of Sutherland. In the S patch at Eathie Bay the strata exhibit certain lithological differences from their Sutherland equivalents, as they consist of finely laminated shales with bands of limestone; but in the N patch the intercalation of grits and sandstones in the black shales points to physical conditions resembling those which prevailed during part of this period in Sutherland. The presence of thin bands with plant remains led to unsuccessful attempts in search of coal at this locality. The following fossils have been obtained from these beds: Belemnites spicularis, B. obeliscus, Ammonites mutabilis, A. flexuosus, A. biplex, Lima concentrica, Avicula sp., Nucula sp., Pecten sp., etc. In addition to these fossils numerous fish remains have been found, consisting of bones, teeth, scales, etc., and with these are associated the vertebrae of Ichthyosaurus. From these references it is apparent that, though the patches of Secondary strata at the base of the Rossshire cliff are very fragmentary, they are of great interest as affording means of comparison with their representatives in Sutherland.

The glacial phenomena of Ross-shire are in many respects remarkable, though only a brief allusion can here be made to them. On the W seaboard the general trend of the ice-markings is towards the NW or the WNW. On the area occupied by the Archæan gneiss on the shores of Loch Maree the rounded contour indicating intense abrasion by the ice-sheet is everywhere apparent, the prevailing direction of the striæ being parallel with the long axis of the loch. Round Gair Loch and Loch Torridon the trend of the striæ is WNW. Perhaps the most remarkable examples of the effects produced by the ice-sheet in polishing and striating rock surfaces are to be found in the areas occupied by the quartzites. At the head of Little Loch Broom, at Corryhourachan, there is a magnificently glaciated slope had but recently produced them. On the E side of the watershed the general direction of the ice-markings is towards the Moray Firth.

In the lower parts of the valleys bordering the Moray Firth there is a considerable development of boulder clay, and on both sides of the great watershed the moraines belonging to the later glaciation cover extensive areas. Indeed, there is no more striking feature in the glacial phenomena of the W part of Rossshire than the great extent and size of the moraines. Most of the main valleys and the tributary streams possess great groups of moraines. Further, we find on the shores of the Beauly, Dornoch, and Cromarty Firths a considerable development of gravels which probably belong in part to the 100-feet sea beach. This high-level terrace is very imperfectly preserved compared with the 25-feet beach which forms a belt of flat land round the fiords on the W coast and the firths on the E seaboard.

Soils and Agriculture.—The soil varies very much, the western hill districts having it mostly very poor and bad, while the other parts of the county include some of the best agricultural land in Scotland. All the arable land lies on the E coast or in the glens and haughs- of the streams, the rest of the surface being pastoral or under game. In the Black Isle the soil varies considerably, being light and gravelly along the centre of the ridge, while all along the coast it is rich black-loam, and good clay with a subsoil of sand, gravel, and clay. Deposits of Moray-coast or pan (see Elgin shire) have been mostly broken up and removed. The clay subsoil is in some places on the Cromarty Firth side of great depth. On the SW it is a light but fertile loam. Round Dingwall the soil varies from a good clayey loam, which produces excellent crops of wheat, to light rich friable mould, and through this to mountain clay, sand, and gravel, and poor mossy mould. Along the upper part of the Cromarty Firth, on the N side, the land is, on the low ground, heavy loain overlying clay, and, on the higher ground, a gravelly loam, but farther to the NE it becomes lighter. In the flat between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths it varies from loam to clay or to sand, but the loam is the prevailing soil, and is in some places very deep, and yields excellent crops. The E coast is much drier than the W coast, the rainfall along the former averaging about 50 inches, and in the E about 24, the difference being accounted for by the prevailing wind, which, being westerly and south-westerly, comes in from the Atlantic laden with vapour. Between Loch Carron and Loch Alsh, where no outlying islands protect the mainland, the rainfall is sometimes excessive, and has been known to exceed 70 inches in a single year. The average mean annual temperature is about 46o, the greater summer heat on the E coast being counterbalanced by the milder winters on the W. Complaints were once common that the seasons were becoming gradually colder and harvests later, but this seems now to have ceased to be the case.

Up till the end of last century farming was in a very backward state, but in 1798 the farm of Meikle Tarrel, in the parish of Tarbat, ` was taken on a nineteen years' lease by a farmer [Mr George Mackenzie] who had studied the most approved mode of agriculture in East Lothian. The farm, which then consisted of about 250 acres of arable land, was occupied by several small tenants, whose lands were in a state of wretchedness, and their house afforded accommodation for neither man nor beast. This farmer brought with him horses and implements of husbandry of the very best description from the south, as also farm servants of his own training. This was the first introduction of modern husbandry into this part of the country, from which the introducer obtained the name of Farmer George. In bringing his system into practice he had at first to contend with many deep-rooted prejudices. Even the proprietor could not then understand how his interests were to be forwarded by encouraging his tenants. In the first place a dwelling-house was to be built, as also a set o f suitable offices, houses, and a thrashing-mill and garden. expense, without any assistance from the proprietor and at an outlay of £1500. The soil being good, and the new system bringing it into favourable operation, the farmer soon began to reap the reward of his expense and labours, and in the seventh year after his entry he had the satisfaction of obtaining for his wheat and oats the highest price in Mark Lane-circumstances which dissipated the opposition of prejudice and raised up a spirit of imitation. ' H e was soon followed by others, and ` during the first fifty years of the present century, says Mr James Macdonald in his paper ` On the Agriculture of the Counties of Ross and Cromarty, ' in the Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society for 1877, ` it is not too much to say that the agricultural and social customs of Ross and Cromarty were completely revolutionised. Large tracts of land were reclaimed, draining and fencing were executed extensively, new dwelling-houses and farm-steadings were built, roads were made, improved farm implements were introduced, threshing-mills brought into the country, a regular and systematic course of cropping was adopted, artificial manures introduced; the barley, oats, and potatoes of the olden times supplemented by wheat, turnips, and clover; better horses, better cattle, and better sheep were bred; and, in short, almost every trace of the primitive. simplicity and rude barbarities of the feudalistic time were abolished for ever.' In the latter part of the century the changes have been equally great, fencing, draining, squaring fields, and reconstruction of buildings having been extensively carried on; the introduction of artificial manures and further improvements on the system of cropping have made great changes for the better; and the communication established by the construction of the Highland railway has given a great impetus to the breeding and rearing of stock for the market. Since 1850 over 51, 000 acres of land have been reclaimed, and the rental in some districts has increased over 100 per cent., and on an average probably over 40 per cent. everywhere. The principal reclamations have been carried on by Mr Fletcher of Rosehaugh, the Hon. H. J. Baillie of Redcastle, Mr Mackenzie of Ord, Mr Davidson of Tulloch, Sir Alexander Matheson of Ardross, and the late Mr Kenneth Murray of Geanies, and Mr John Fowler of Braemore. In 1854 the whole area under crop of all kinds, including hay, grass, and permanent pasture, was about 87, 919 acres, and in 1876 this had risen to 1 224, 826 acres; while in 1884 it was 134,187 acres, a percentage of arable land to whole area of only 6.7, that for all Scotland being 24.2, and for Fife 74 8. The areas under the various crops at different dates are given in the following tables:—

Grain Crops.—Acres

Year. Wheat. Barley or
Bere.
Oats. Total of
All Grains.
1854 7527 7,551 16,645 32,717
1869 7356 7,370 28,806 46,746
1876 6019 10,461 29,509 47,413
1884 2182 12,729 31,701 46,612

Grass, Root Crops, etc.—Acres

Year. Hay, Grass, and
Permanent Pasture.
Turnips. Potatoes.
1854 19,641 10,467 5394
1869 28,547 16,735 9524
1876 29,987 17,126 9256
1884 59,850 16,155 9335

while there are about 1500 acres annually under other root crops or lying fallow. Harvest in Easter Ross begins usually about the second or third week of August. The farms are worked mostly on the five-shift rotation, but for some of the lighter lands the six-shift is adopted, and on a few of the very rich soils the fourshift. The average yield of wheat is from 28 to 36 bushels are produced; barley, 32 to 48 bushels; oats, 32 to 48 bushels; turnips, 20 to 35 tons; and potatoes, from 4 to 8 tons. The last are very variable, and the figures given are too high for the product of the poorer class of crofts. The great decrease of the area under wheat within the last 10 years is as well marked here as elsewhere, and is the more noteworthy as Ross was formerly the fifth wheat county in Scotland, and in point of quality and amount produced per acre ranks even higher. It is to be accounted for partly by the effect of recent wet seasons on the rich land on which it is grown, but still more by the great decline in the price of wheat.

The agricultural live-stock in the county at different dates is shown in the following table:—

Year. Cattle. Horses. Sheep. Pigs. Total.
1854 15,850 3975 251,619 4583 276,027
1869 36,671 6681 390,788 4664 438,804
1876 41,609 7079 362,980 6535 418,203
1884 42,028 7208 309,888 6876 366,000

The number of cattle bred is small, but the number fed is very large. The animals are mostly Highland or crosses, and at Udale is a herd of shorthorns. From the table it is seen that in 30 years the number of cattle has been trebled, but the figures by no means represent the actual number of cattle fed in the county, as cattle bought in autumn are fattened during the winter and sold off in spring before the Board of Trade returns have been collected. The farm horses were formerly broad low-set ` garrons, ' and though now greatly improved by the introduction of good Clydesdale stallions, they still want bone and substance, and among the smaller farmers and crofters ponies are common. The area in Wester Ross under sheep is enormous, and, indeed, Wester Ross is almost as celebrated for its sheep farms as Easter Ross for its arable land. Systematic sheep-farming was introduced into the county about 1764 by Sir J. L. Ross of Balnagowan, who, taking one of the sheep farms on his estate into his own hands, replaced the native smallgrowing Kerry breed of sheep with black-faces, and for 7 years-the only sheep farmer north of Aberdeenshire-he, in spite of all opposition, stubbornly stuck to his purpose of introducing a better breed of sheep. By and by, however, others joined him, and the beginning of the present century saw sheep-farming firmly established in Ross-shire. In the first 10 years of the present century Leicester tups were introduced, and about 1815, Cheviots. Half-bred sheep from Leicester tups and Cheviot ewes are now common, as well as grey-faces bred from Leicester tups and black-faced ewes. Sheep-farming reached its point of greatest prosperity about 1860-70, but since then it has begun to decline, owing partly to the low price of wool brought about by the large quantities now imported from abroad, and also to many of the grazings having, under sheep entirely, deteriorated, so that they will no longer carry the same number of animals. The total decrease since 1869 has been about 11 per cent. Ewe lambs and ewes are sold at Inverness Wool Fair, or in autumn at Muir of Ord, while wethers are generally sold at the Wool Fair. The young sheep are generally sent to winter in the lowlands, as far sometimes as Aberdeenshire, but from the higher and bleaker districts both young and old sheep have alike to be removed during the winter months. The best land rents at 40s. an acre, the medium at about 22s., and the poor at 10s.; and the rents of sheep farms are on an average about 4s. per head. Almost 93 per cent. of the holdings are under 50 acres, 87 per cent. under 20 acres, and 69 per cent. under 5 acres, and of the remainder two-thirds are over 100 acres. The county has double the number of holdings of under 5 acres of any other county in Scotland, and the only county that exceeds it in the total number of holdings is Aberdeenshire. In 1876 there were 4510 holdings of under 5 acres, 1189 between 5 and 20 acres, 355 between 20 and 50 acres, 175 between 50 and 100 acres, and 286 above 100 acres, some of the latter being, of course, enormously large sheep farms.

The area of the county may be estimated as follows:- Arable land under crops and permanent pasture, 134,298 acres; under deer, 719,305; under wood, 43, 201; lakes, rivers, and foreshore, 93,012; under sheep alone, about 500,000; and waste heath and grouse moor, about 600,000. The whole district under heath amounts probably to about 1, 000, 000 acres, but over a large part of the county this is mixed with fine pasture. The deer forests given up to deer alone number 39, and some of them are very extensive. Their area is 719, 305 acres, and the rental £45, 628, while in addition there are forests where sheep and deer graze together. There are also a number of excellent grouse moors and all the usual high and low country game. The largest proprietors are the Duchess of Sutherland, Lord Middleton, Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, Sir Alexander Matheson, Sir A. G. R. Mackenzie, Sir C. W. A. Ross, Mr R. C. M. Fergusson, Mr Bankes, Mr D. H. C. R. Davidson, Mr A. J. Balfour, Mr John Fowler, and Mr H. Mackenzie. According to the Miscellaneous Statistics of the United Kingdom (1879), 1, 971, 682 acres, with a total gross estimated rental of £269, 342, were divided among 2044 landowners, five together holding 1, 051, 507 acres, (rental £70, 210), four 268,913 (£11,088), twelve 366, 063 (£37,738), twelve 154,704 (£34,145), seven 47,163 (£27, 410), fifteen 47,733 (£19, 081), etc.; and of these 2044 landed proprietors about 85 per cent. hold less than one acre. The principal mansions, etc., most of which are separately noticed, are Allangrange House, Amat Lodge, Applecross House, Ardross Castle, Ardullie House, Avoch House, Balconie House, Balnagowan House, Bayfield House, Belmaduthy House, Birchfield House, Brahan Castle, Calrossie House, Castle Leod, Conan House, Corriemoillie Lodge, Coul House, Cromarty House, Dalbreac Lodge, Duncraig House, Dundonnell House, Flowerdale House, Foulis Castle, Geanies House, Highfield House, Inverbroom Lodge, Invergordon Lodge, Inverlael Lodge, Kerrisdale House, Kildary House, Kinbeachie House, Kindeace House, Leckmelm House, Ledgown Lodge, Letterewe, Loch Luichart Lodge, Loch Rosque Lodge, Morangie, Mountgerald, Newhall House, Newmore House, Novar House, Ord House, Pitcalnie, Poyntzfield House, Raddery House, Redcastle, Rockfield House, Rosehall House, Rosehaugh House, Shandwick House, Stornoway Castle, Strathmore Lodge, Teaninich House, Tarbat House, Tarlogie Lodge, Tarradale House, Tulloch Castle, and Westfield House.

Industries and Communications.—Except the distillation of whisky at Dalmore, Teaninich, Ord, Dingwall, Glemnorangie, and Balblair distilleries, there are no manufactures. The salmon fisheries, however, in the rivers and estuaries are extensive and valuable, and there are also large sea-fisheries. Of the 26 fishery districts into which Scotland is divided, Ross-shire contains Cromarty on the E coast, and on the W coast Stornoway, and Loch Broom and part of Loch Carron. In 1883 there were employed in these districts (taking half Loch Carron as belonging to Ross-shire), 415 firstclass, 700 second-class, and 1332 third-class boats, or 8.1, 15.8, and 24 4 per cent. of the boats in their respective classes in the whole of Scotland. In the same year these gave employment to 8970 fisher men and boys, 107 fish curers, 116 coopers, and 8162 other persons; the value of the boats employed-a large proportion of which do not, however, belong to the county-was £43,719; of nets, £67, 274; and of lines, £14,272. The number of barrels of herring cured was 74, 249, and the number of cod, ling, or hake taken was 445, 253. Commerce enjoys considerable physical advantages from the many bays and inlets, and with many of those on the W coast communication is regularly maintained by lines of steamers from the Clyde. The principal articles of export are cattle, sheep, wool, grain, and fish. The fairs, markets, and trysts for cattle and sheep, some established by act of parliament, others by custom, are numerous, and are held at convenient places. Regular communication was established with the S in 1839, when the steamer Duke of Sutherland began to trade between Leith, lnverness, and Invergordon, and subsequently two steamers were put on the passage. These were, however, superseded by the Highland railway; which was opened in 1862 as far as Dingwall, in 1863 to Invergordon, and in 1866 to Tain and Bonar-Bridge, and the line from Dingwall to Strome Ferry in 1865-68. The portion of the system within Ross-shire enters the county on the SE at Muir of Ord station, passes N by the valley of the lower Conan to Dingwall, and from that skirts the N shore of the Cromarty Firth as far as Logie-Easter. There it sweeps inland by Fearn, and reaching the Dornoch Firth near Tain skirts its southern shore all the way to Invershin at the upper end of the Kyle of Sutherland, where it passes into Sutherlandshire. The Dingwall and Skye section strikes westward by the valley of Strathpeffer and the valley of the Black Water to the mouth of Strath Garve, and to Loch Luichart; thence up Strath Bran, and then south-westward across the watershed, down Glen Carron, and along the SE side of the loch to the terminus at the narrows at Strome. The whole railway system follows the line of the old main roads, and, besides these, district roads run up almost all the glens that have been mentioned, and provide the necessary communication for the different parts of the low country, or between one part and another. The opening of the railway system has been of the utmost advantage to the county, both from the opening up of trade, and from the great influx of summer tourist traffic brought about by its means.

The royal burghs are Dingwall (the county town), Tain, and Fortrose including Rosemarkie; the only parliamentary burgh is Cromarty; the only town of over 2000 inhabitants is Stornoway-which is a police burgh; and smaller towns and villages are Alness, Avoch, Back, Ballallan, Ballintore, Barvas, Lower Bayble, Upper Bayble, Bragar, Breascleat, Carloway, Coll, Conan Bridge, Evanton, Twelvepenny Borve, Garrabost, Gruver, Hilton of Cadboll, Inver, Invergordon-which is a police burgh-Jeantown, Knockard, Laxdale, Leurbost, Maryburgh, Melloncharles, Plockton, Portmahomack, Rarnish, Saltburn, Shandwick, Shawbost, Swainbost, Swordle, Tolsta, Tong, Ullapool, Valtos, and Vatskeir.

The civil county contains the thirty-one entire quoad civilia parishes of Alness, Applecross, Avoch, Barvas, Contin, Cromarty, Dingwall, Edderton, Fearn, Fodderty, Gairloch, Glenshiel, Killearnan, Kilmuir-Easter, Kiltearn, Kincardine, Kintail, Knockbain, Lochalsh, Lochbroom, Lochcarron, Lochs, Logie-Easter, Nigg, Resolis, Rosemarkie, Rosskeen, Stornoway, Tain, Tarbat, and Uig, two parts of parishes, viz., Urqubart and Urray; and includes also the quoad sacra parishes of Carnoch (Contin, Fodderty, and Urray), Croick (Kincardine), Cross (Barvas), Fortrose (Rosemarkie), Kinlochluichart (Contin, Fodderty, and Urray), Knock (Stornoway), Poolewe (Gairloch), Shieldaig (Applecross and Lochcarron), and Ullapool (Lochbroom). These are included ecclesiastically in the presbyteries of Chanonry, Dingwall, and Tain in the synod of Ross, and the presbyteries of Lochcarron and Lewis in the synod of Glenelg. Except in Avoch, Cromarty (which has a Gaelic chapel), Fortrose, Rosemarkic, and Alness, the services are conducted in Gaelic. There are also 43 places of worship connected with the Free Church, 3 in connection with the United Presbyterian Church, 1 in connection with the Congregational Church, 5 in connection with the Episcopal Church, 2 in connection with the Roman Catholic Church. In the year ending September 1883 there were in the county 126 schools, of which 121 were public, with accommodation for 16,137 children, 11,828 on the rolls, and an average attendance of 8495. The staff consisted of 151 certificated, 9 assistant, and 74 pupil teachers. Ross-shire, with (1884-85) a constituency of 1746, returns one member to parliament; while Fortrose, Cromarty, Dingwall, and Tain have shares in other two. Ross and Cromarty arc each governed by a lord-lieutenant and a vice-lieutenant, and the former has 56 deputy-lieutenants and about 230 justices of the peace. The sheriffdom is Ross, Cromarty, and Sutherland, with resident sheriff-substitutes for Ross and Cromarty at Dingwall and Stornoway. Ordinary and small debt courts are held at Dingwall every Friday during session for the parishes of Alness, Applecross, Avoch, Contin, Dingwall, Fodderty, Gairloch, Glenshiel, Killearnan, Kiltearn, Kintail, Knockbain, Lochalsh, Lochbroom, Lochcarron, Resolis (partly in Ross, the rest being in Cromarty), Rosemarkie, Urquhart, and Urray; at Stornoway every Tuesday during session for the parishes of Barvas, Lochs, Stornoway, and Uig; and at Tain every Tuesday during session for the parishes of Edderton, Fearn, Kilmuir-Easter, Kincardine, Logie-Easter, Nigg, Rosskeen, Tain,- and Tarbat. Small debt courts are also held quarterly at Invergordon and Fortrose in January, April, July, and October; at Ullapool and Jeantown half-yearly in April and October; and at Cromarty as required. The police force consists of 40 men (1 to each 2120 of the population), under a chief constable, with a salary of £310 a year. In 1883 the police dealt with 391 cases, in 273 of which convictions were secured, in 61 proceedings were subsequently dropped, and 3 were- disposed of otherwise than at the police court. Of the whole cases 230 were in Wester Ross and 93 in Easter Ross. In the former division, with a population of 34,830, there are 89 licensed houses; and in the latter, with a population of 16, 027, 48 licensed houses. The number of registered poor in 1882 was 2819; of dependants on these, 1068; of casual poor, 69; of dependants on these, 62. The expenditure for poor law purposes was £34, 328. All the parishes are assessed, and seven of them form the Black Isle Poor Law Combination, with a poorhouse near Rosemarkie; while ten form the Easter Ross combination, with a poorhouse near Tain. The proportion of illegitimate births averages about 4.6 per cent., and the average death-rate about 16 per 1000. Connected with the county are the 3d (militia) battalion Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany's), with their headquarters at Dingwall; Rossshire Artillery Volunteers, with companies at Stornoway and Lochcarron; and Ross-shire Rifle Volunteers, with companies at Tain, Dingwall, Fortrose, Munlochy, Ullapool, Invergordon, Evanton, Brahan, and Gairloch. Valuation (1674) £7683, (1815) £121, 557, (1850) £160, 565, (1866) £210, 991, (1876) £262,817, (1885) £266,601, plus £28, 623 for railways. Pop. of registration county, which takes in part of Urray parish from Inverness-shire and of Urquhart and Logie-Wester parish from Nairnshire, (1871) 82,093, (1881) 79, 467; civil county (1801) 56,318, (1811) 60, 853, (1821) 68,762, (1831) 74, 820, (1841) 78, 685, (1851) 82, 707, (1861) 81,406, (1871) 80, 955, (1881) 78, 547, of whom 37,027 were males and 41, 520 females. In 1881 the number of families was 17, 524, of houses 15,665, and of rooms 51, 475. Of the total population 1431 males and 629 females were connected with the civil or military services or with professions, 441 men and 2938 women were domestic servants, 1090 men and 13 women were connected with commerce, 14, 600 men and 4882 women were connected with agriculture and fishing, and 5741 men and 1048 women were engaged in industrial handicrafts or were dealers in manufactured substances; while there were 13, 200 boys and 12,576 girls of school age. Of those connected with farming and fishing 9445 men and 4436 women were concerned in farming alone, and 5219 farmers employed 1706 men, 325 boys, 621 women, and 448 girls.

The Synod of Ross, which meets at Dingwall on the third Tuesday of April, contains the presbyteries of Chanonry, Dingwall, and Tain, all of which are separately noticed. There is also a Free Church synod of Ross, containing three presbyteries, with the same names as those of the Established Church. The Episcopal Church bishopric of Moray, Ross, and Caithness is noticed under Moray.

The territory now forming the mainland districts of the combined counties belonged to the ancient Caledonii or Dicaledonæ, and afterwards to the same tribes under the name of the Northern Picts. The eastern territory formed one of the mortuaths (see Moray), but of its mormaers there is no account, though Macbeth, mormaer of Moray, seems to have held sway in Ross as well. The eastern portion between the watershed and the Beauly, Moray, and Dornoch Firths was the Ross proper of this early period, while the portion W of the watershed was included in the province of Aregaithel or Ergadia. The history of the island division is traced under Hebrides. After the middle of the 12th century the district seems to have been annexed to the Crown, for Malcolm IV. granted it to that Malcolm Macheth whose career is noticed in the article Moray, and who held it till 1179, when, after his rebellion, he was driven out by William the Lyon, who, in order to secure his authority, erected forts at Dunscaith, to the N of the entrance to the Cromarty Firth; and at the site of the modern Redcastle. William had hardly quitted the district when a fresh insurrection broke out in favour of Donald Ban MacWilliam, who was defeated in 1187, and the province along with Moray again annexed to the Crown. Nominally the earldom had been granted to the Count of Holland, but we find him complaining that he had been deprived of all real power though he had not been forfeited, and in reality, probably the whole district remained in a very turbulent state. Alexander II. granted the earldom to Ferchard Macintaggart, the heir of a line of lay abbots of Applecross, and thus the eastern and western portions of Ross were united, and the foundation of the present county formed. Subsequently an heiress carried the earldom to Walter de Lesly, and afterwards to Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (see Harlaw), but it reverted thereafter by another heiress to the Celtic Lords of the Isles, by whom, in the person of John of Isla, it was in 1476 resigned to the Crown. Both before and after this the shire was constantly disturbed by the turbulence of the Lords of the Isles and the clans who inhabited it. Notices of some of the conflicts and disturbances will be found under Inverness and the various parishes. The present county was constituted in 1661. The bishopric was founded prior to 1128, as a charter granted by King David in or about that year is witnessed by, among others, Macheth, bishop of Rosemarkie. The defeat of the Marquis of Montrose in more recent times is noticed under Kincardine. For the Celtic and Scandinavian remains, reference may be made to the articles on the various parishes.

During the clan period the greater part of the county was in the possession of the powerful sept of the Mackenzies; the Munroes occupied a district round Fowlis Castle and Alness, measuring about 8 miles square; the Rosses or Clan Ghillanders, possibly representing one of the older tribes, held the district between the lower parts of the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths, and extending north-westward as far as the Einig; a branch of the Macleods of Lewis held the territory bounded NE by the line of Loch Ewe and Loch Maree, and on the S by a curved line, extending from the southern end of Loch Maree to Loch Diabaig on outer Loch Torridon; and the Glengarry Macdonalds held two small patches -one all round Little Loch Broom, and bounded eastward by Loch Broom and Abhuinn Cuileig, and westward by the line of Strath na Sheallag and the Gruinard river; and the other, in the point between Loch Kishorn and Upper Loch Carron, and along all the SW side of the latter loch. The common language in Wester Ross is still Gaelic, and many of the inhabitants speak no English, but the number of these is rapidly diminishing. In Easter Ross, Gaelic is confined to the labouring classes. As has been already noticed, the county contains a large number of small holdings, and these are scattered everywhere, occupying the poorer soils in the eastern division, the ridge of the Black Isle, and most of the seaward glens and straths in the W. The crofters on the E coast are fairly well off, but on the W coast the poverty is extreme*, the holdings being too small to maintain a large family, and the system of cultivation miserable-indeed the cultivation is mostly marked by an absence of system, grain-crop following grain-crop-, or potatoes, potatoes, without any break or rest. In such a poor life superstitious beliefs and observances still linger, and witch-doctors are by no means rare, though outsiders can find them out with difficulty, as they generally keep out of the way of those who are thought to come to scoff. Illicit distillation seems also to be still extensively carried on in the more inaccessible regions all along the western seaboard, and within the last three years (1881-84) a number of the ` sma' stills ' have been found and destroyed by the inland revenue officers.

* In the period of distress, in the beginning of 1883, the proportion of paupers to population in eight of the western parishes was 1 in 17, and n Lochbroom parish it was as nigh as 1 in 13.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better