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Kilmorack

Kilmorack

The Parish of Kilmorack is forty miles long by about three broad, and is bounded on the north and west by Ross-shire, on the east by Kiltarlity and on the south by Urquhart. It is separated from Kintail and Lochalsh by ranges of mountains, the Highest peaks being Mam Soul, 3862 feet; Cairn Eige, 3877; and Squir-na-Lapaich, 3773. Ranges with peaks over 3000 feet also separate it from Strath Conon on the north and Glen Urquhart on the south. Kilmorack is watered by the river Beauly, which is formed by the confluence at Struy of the Farrar (18 miles), and the Glass, with its tributaries, the Affric and the Cannich, and after a course of ten miles in a north-east direction falls into the Firth of the same name. The Firth (the "Simus Farraris" of Ptolemy) is 6 ¾ miles long and 1 ¼ miles broad at high water, with a narrow entrance commanded by two bold headlands surmounted by the vitrified forts of Craig Phadrich and the Ord of Kessock. The Firth is very shallow and full of sand banks, which are often covered with seals. An occasional whale is seen and caught; hundreds of wild ducks frequent its waters; the heron is a constant and the wild goose an occasional visitor. Here the oyster used to abound, and the shells lie embedded in great numbers in a deposit of blue silt at high water mark. The upper and western parts of the parish are diversified by mountains and valleys. Sometimes the hills are bare, and much denuded by sub-aerial agents; and sometimes the present pleasant slopes, beautiful with green patches of cultivation, surrounded by forests of dark scotch pine, light green hazel, and silvery drooping birch. There are also wide stretches of flat upland of moss and heather, with numerous lochs of various sizes and at different elevations, each with its own variety of fish and wild fowl, and frequently occupying depressions in the grey metamorphic mountains, which are still the haunts of the eagle, hawk and raven; and where the fox and wild cat can rear their young almost undisturbed. At other places the hills close in upon the valleys and compel the smooth flowing streams to force a passage, in foaming floods, through steep and tortuous channels. In this way one is often suddenly transported from a quiet, peaceful vale into a scence of rugged and turbulent grandeur. This description of Kilmorack was taken from The Guide to Beauly and District by John R. Pollock, August 1902.

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