Alness River

(River Averon)

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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Alness, a river, a village, and a parish of Ross-shire. The river rises among mountains 4 miles WNW of Loch Moir, and, traversing that loch, which is 2½ miles long, and about ¾ mile wide, runs thence 11 miles east-south-eastward, along the boundary between Alness and Rosskeen parishes, to the Cromarty Firth at Alness village. Its vale is upland, wild, and romantic: exhibits numerous scenes- highly attractive to painters and poets: and at one place, in particular, called Tollie, is impressively grand. Both its own waters and those of Loch Moir are well stocked with trout.

The village stands on both banks of the river, and on the Highland railway, 10 miles NNE of Dingwall: consists of two parts, Alness proper in Alness parish, and Alness-Bridgend in Rosskeen parish: and has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, an hotel, 2 large distilleries, and fairs on the second Tuesday of January, the first Tuesday of March, the Wednesday of April before the first Amulree May market, the day in May after Kildary, the second Wednesday of June, and the Wednesday of July, of August, and of September after Kyle of Sutherland. In 1878, during the construction of a branch line from Alness station to Dalmore distillery, which is close to the sea-shore, 18 pre-historic graves were discovered. All were short cists, formed of flat stones, and contained human bones, urns, flint and bronze implements, etc. (Procs. Soc. Ant. Scot., 1879, pp. 252-264). Pop. (1871) of Alness proper, 202: of Alness-Bridgend, 709.

The parish is bounded N by Kincardine, E by Rosskeen, S by Cromarty Firth, and W by Kiltearn. Its greatest length from N to S is about 20 miles, and its average breadth is 5. The lands along the shores of Cromarty Firth are prevailingly flat, cultivated, and beautiful: those inland and northward are hilly, heathy, and bleak. The hills, though not arranged in ridges, are high, and in some cases mountainous, Fyrish Hill rising 1478 feet above sea-level. Springs of excellent water are everywhere numerous: and the Aultgrande river, following the Kiltearn boundary, presents very grand features. The rocks are Devonian and Silurian, the former occurring in conglomerate, while the Silurian merge into gneiss. Vast erratic blocks or boulders abound in many parts, and have with great difficulty been blasted or otherwise removed in the cultivated tracts. Great improvements have been effected within the last forty years on the Culcairn and Novar properties, in the way of reclaiming, draining, fencing, building, etc. The rental of the latter estate increased from £2413 in 1868 to £3124 in 1877, one cause of such increase being the great extent of waste brought under larches and Scotch firs. Three proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500, and 2 of from £20 to £50. Two cairns and a ruined pre-Reformation chapel are the chief antiquities. Alness is in the presbytery of Dingwall and synod of Ross: its minister's income is £261. The parish church, built in 1780, contains 800 sittings, and there is also a Free church: whilst 2 public schools, Alness and Glenglass, with respective accommodation for 100 and 50 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 63 and 31, and grants of £44,14s. and £35,16s. 6d. Valuation (1881) £8531, 4s. 9d. Pop. (1831) 1437, (1861) 1178, (1871) 1053, (1881) 1033.

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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