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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Crinan, a village, a sea-loch, and a canal, in Argyllshire. The village, called sometimes Port-Crinan, stands in Kilmartin parish, on the northern side of the sealoch, not far from the W end of the canal, 5¼ miles WNW of Lochgilphead, under which it has a post office; at it are an excellent inn, a wharf and slip, and a lighthouse. The steamers, in the line of communication between Glasgow and Oban, call at it; and here the Queen and Prince Albert spent the night of 18 Aug. 1843 on board the royal yacht.—The sea-loch, extending 4½ miles north-westward, opens into the upper part of the Sound of Jura, adjacent to the mouth of Loch Craignish; and leads the way, round Craignish Point, to the passage, between Scarba and Luing islands, to the Firth of Lorn. Its head is narrow and tame; but most of its north-eastern side is rich in interesting features; and its mouth, 3 miles wide, between Craignish and Ardmore Points, with a group of islets in its own waters, and with the northern extremity of Jura in front, is strikingly picturesque.-The canal goes from the middle of the W side of Loch Gilp, 9 miles west-north-westward, to Loch Crinan, in the vicinity of Crinan village, and enables vessels of 200 tons burden, from the upper Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Lorn, to avoid the difficult and circuitous passage of 70 miles round the Mull of Kintyre. Projected by Sir John Rennie in 1793, at an estimated cost of £63,678, it was opened in 1801 at an actual cost of £141,810; and even then other loans had to be obtained, which by 1814 had burdened the Company with a debt of £67,810. It is cut chiefly through chlorite schist, traversed by trap dykes, and showing indications of great geognostic disturbance; and has eight locks between Loch Gilp and the summit-level (59 feet), and seven between that and Loch Crinan, thirteen of these locks being each 96 feet long and 24 wide, and the other two 108 feet long and 27 wide. The average depth of water is only 10 feet, the canal being fed by reservoirs on the hill above, whose bursting (2d Feb. 1859) washed away part of the banks and choked the channel for upwards of a mile with debris. The repairs took a sum of £12,000, which was disbursed by Government. The canal is used chiefly by small coasting and fishing vessels, by goods steamboats plying between the Clyde and lnverness, and by an elegant, roomy, and well-appointed steamboat conveying passengers between large steamers at Ardrishaig and PortCrinan. Since 1818 the canal has been managed by the Commissioners of the Caledonian Canal. Its revenues arising from the tolls have, on the average, been barely sufficient to cover the current expenses of maintenance and repair. The receipts and expenditure, in most years, have been nearly equal, in the year ending 30th April 1864 being £3605 and £4545; in 1869, £4316 and £4394; in 1873, £4614 and £4727; in 1876, £5057 and £4341; in 1878, £5966 and £4381; and in 1879, £5730 and £4929, whilst the passages in the last-named year numbered 2668.

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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