Parish of Sleat

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.

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1791-99: Sleat
1834-45: Sleat

Sleat, a parish in the SE of the Isle of Skye, containing the coast village of Isle-Ornsay, 11 miles SSE of Broadford, under which it has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments. It is bounded at its north-eastern extremity by Loch Alsh and by Kyle-Rhea (1/3 mile broad), along all its south-eastern side by the Sound of Sleat, and along its north-western by the Atlantic, Loch Eishort, and Strath parish. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 21 1/3 miles; its utmost breadth is 5 ¼ miles; and its area is 65 ¼ square miles or 41,757 acres, of which 1339 2/5 are foreshore and 458 1/3 water. Loch na Dal indents it on the SE side to a depth of 1 1/8 mile, and leaves an isthmus only 1½ mile broad to the head of Loch Eishort on the opposite side. It thus cuts the parish into two natural divisions, of which the north-eastern, measuring 77/8 miles in extreme length and 2¼ in extreme breadth, is separated from Strath or the rest of Skye by a lofty hill range. The road from Broadford to Kyle-Rhea crosses this range by the pass of Bealach Udal, 911 feet high, and to the NE of that pass rise Sgurr na Coinnicb (2401 feet) and Beinn na Caillich (2396); to the SW, Ben Alask (1984), Beinn na Seamraig (1839), and Beinn Bhreac (1427). The south-western division forms a peninsula between the Sound of Sleat and Loch Eishort, and measures 13½ miles in extreme length by 5 ¼ in extreme breadth. It tapers to a headland, the Point of Sleat, 242 feet high; and elsewhere the coast is generally steep and rocky. The interior is hilly, but hardly mountainous, chief summits from NE to SW being Sgorach Breac (977 feet), Sgurr na h-Iolaire (956), and Sgurr nan Caorach (918). Loch nan Uamh (67 acres) and Loch Dhughaill (50 1/10 acres) are the largest of fourteen moorland lochs, which sometimes afford fair sport to the fisherman, and which send off a number of streams to the sea. The rocks are mainly metamorphic, but they exhibit great variety, and include quartzite, gneiss, clay slate, limestone, sandstone, etc. The soil of much of the arable land on the SE side is a deep and not unproductive clay. With its larch plantations and trim hedgerows, the long promontory of Sleat has been termed ` the best wooded, the sunniest, and the most carefully cultivated part of Skye; ' still, in the Ordnance Area Book, 30,038 ¼ acres are entered as moorland, leaving less than one-fourth of the entire area for arable, green pasture, or woodland. Dunscaith and Knock Castles, the chief antiquities, are noticed separately, as also is modern Armadale Castle, whose owner, Lord Macdonald, is sole proprietor. Sleat is in the presbytery of Skye and the synod of Glenelg; the living is worth £198. The new parish church, at Kilmore, 6 miles SSW of Isle-Ornsay, is a good Gothic building of 1877, and contains 600 sittings. There is also a Free church; and six public schools-Aird, Ardvaser, Duisdale, Ferrindonald, Kylerhea, and Tarscabhaig-with respective accommodation for 68, 46, 145, 90, 31, and 80 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 42,, 35, 53, 13, and 30, and grants of £36, 4s. 9d., £, £, £58, 17s. 1d., £25, 13s., and £44, 18s. 1d. Valuation (1860) £2751, (1884) £.4453. Pop. (1801) 1903, (1831) 2957, (1861) 2330, (1871) 2233, (1881) 2060, of whom 2000 were Gaelic-speaking.

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

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