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RGYLESHIRE, Argathelia, is of a very irregular figure, oni the north bounded by Inverness-shire, en the east by the counties of Perth and Dunbarton, on the south and west by the Frith of Clyde and the Atlantic ocean"; lying between 55° 15' and 56° 55' N. latitude, and between 40-39 and 6 6' W. longitude from Greenwich ; being 9c miles from north to south, and, in some places, upwards of 49. miles from west to east; consisting of about 2400 square'miles, or 1,536,000 English acres, exclusive of its islands. In 1811, it contained 37 parishes, 15,240 inhabited houses, 17,368 families, 40,675 males, 44,910 females, and 85,585 inhabitants, including the islands-The valued rent is 149,5951. iOs. Scots; and, in 1811, the real land rent was estimated at 192,0731. 14s. 2d. sterling.
This county is intersected by so many inlets of the sea, that no correct estimate can be formed of its extent. It consists alternately of chains of mountains, and of valleys covered by the ocean.
The NE. division is bleak, rugged, VOL. II.
and mountainous, interspersed with narrow and sheltered glems; the western division is very irregular, and deeply indented by seven large bays. The greatest proportion of what may be called arable land is on the level tracts along the coasts.
Soil, &c.—The soil consists of the following varieties: 1. Gravel' mixed with vegetable mould, occurring chiefly in the more lofty mountains, and along the banks of the rivers which have their sources in these mountains. 2. Peat moss, occupying the extensive moors and low grounds, from which the water does not flow freely. 3. Decayed limestone. 4. Decayed slate, mixed with coarse limestone: Of the two last, the former is a light soil, the latter more stiff; but both are fertile, and found in tracts not greatly elevated above the level of the sea. They form the great mass of the soil in the fertile districts of Mid Lorn, Nether Lorn, Craignish, &c. 5. A barren sandy soil, originating from freestone, or micaceous schistus, prevalent in the westerly parts of the mainland, and in some of the islands.-Besides these, other kinds of soil are found in this county; and sometimes several species graduate-:insensibly into one another.--In general a ligbt. Ioam, mixed. With-sand, on a bottom of clay or gravel, prevaits::: On the acclivities of the hills, the most common soil is a‘light gravel on till. In the lower grounds, there is sometimes, à mixture of clay and moss, and sometimes a coat of black mossy earth. The soil appropriated to pasture is partly dry, and partly wet and spongy. A considerable proportion of what is either flat or hilly is covered with heath. The summits of the highest hills are generally bare and barren rocks.
After the Jurisdiction act, in 1748, improvements were carried on with great rapidity. Excellent roads were made in every direction—the kinds of grain best suited to the soil and climate were cultivated-villages were built in various quarters--and a spirit of industry and enterprise diffused itself through the whole county. But, as this shire is fitter
for pasture than for grain, the grazing system has been lately introduced with success, and sheep are now the chief article of export. The arable land does not exceed one thirteenth of the whole, and its product is not equal to the consumption of the country.
Woods. A great part of this county was once covered with wood, of which every moss shows still the remains; but, in process of time, most of it has been destroyed. Of natural wood there may be 20,000 acres, and in the course of last century, extensive tracts have been covered with plantations.
Minerals.---Lime is found in almost every part of the county. In Lismore, the lime is a durable cement under water, In Easdale and Bailichelish are quarries of excellent blue slate. Veins of lead are frequent in the limestone and other strata; mines of this metal are wrought at Strontian and in Islay; and in this latter place a vein of copper is also wrought. There is abundance of plumpudding stone at Oban, Dunstaffnage, and northward alcug the coast. In Ardnamurchan, a new species. of" ésith, called strontites, was discovered in 1791, which ccaverts vegetable blues to green, and communicates a purple colour to flame. Other minerals, at present neglected, may, at 'a future period be discovered.
Scenery. The boldest scenery in nature is exhibited in all quarters of the country, especially on the west side of LochLong, and on both sides of Loch-Goil, where the coasts are bold and steep, and the hills high and craggy; but the 'tremendous wildness is partly concealed by extensive natural woods. Some of the mountains are of great height, and interspersed with huge rocks, caverns and frightful precipices; and others are covered with heath. In the valleys, and on the coasts, are patches of cultivated soil. The caves and grottoes in Lochgoilhead are of various forms and dimensions. One of these is below a high rock, from which a number of
smaller rocks seem to have been torn by some convulsion of the earth. Among these smaller rocks is the cave already mentioned, the entry to which is in the form of an arch, about 4 feet high and 3 broad. The cave itself is spacious, upwards of 70 feet in circumference, and 10 feet in height. All around it are vaults resembling cellars. It is covered by rocks thrown upon one another, without any order. But the most remarkable of all the caves in those parts, is one, the mouth of which is concealed by thick heath and ferns. This narrow passage, about 6 feet long, leads to a subterraneous apartment, 10 feet long, 6 broad, and 8 high. Four feet above the bottom of this cave, there is a small opening between two rocks, which leads to a second apartment, 15 feet long, 12 high, and of irregular breadth : it is quite dark. From this cave, there is a narrow and rugged passage to a third apartment, 24 feet long, 15 broad, and as many feet high. Two rocks cover it like the roof of an house. Beyond this, there is another darkicave, nearly of the same dimensions with the first. Theses and many other apartments in this parish, were the hiding-places of banditti, who committed depredations on țre neighbourhood. In the parish of Strachur, there are several remarkable caves in the hills, near the east coast of Loch-fyne.:: One of these, called Turn'an-catman, is noted for the length of time a stone thrown in at the mouth of it continues to tumble down with a noise as if it weré rolling over sheets of copper. There is another on a hill, called Carnach-mhor, with an entrance sufficiently wide to admit four men abreast. It then expands into an apartment where 50 men in armour could stand. Afterwards it narrows and widens alternately, as far as it has been explored. There are several smaller caves on the side of the same hill. In the fárm of Ballimore, there is a cave, called Uambachorlaich, i. e. the strange fellow's cave, from an unknown person who carried his family thither, and supported them many years by plunder. Castle Lachan, an ancicrit edifice, and Strachur-park, a handsome modern house, are pleasantly situate on the east border of the lake.-By a Scotsman, this shire is considered as classic ground, for the heroes of the race of Fingal here resided; and this was the scene of their exploits.
A correct map of this shire was constructed and published by George Langlands.
Argyleshire comprehends the following districts, which are thinly inhabited, some parts of the sea coast and the borders of lakes excepted.
1. CANTYRE, or Kintyre, so called from Ceann, a head, and Tire, of the land, is a narrow peninsula that extends southward into the Irish sea; being above 40 miles from north to south, viz. from Loch-Tarbert to the Mull, and 5-9 in breadth; comprehending an area of 294 square miles, or 188,160 English acres, of which 29,000 are arable. Hilly, not mountainous, it contains a mixture of heath and cultivated fields, and is diversified with flats, hills, valleys, woods and lakes. The soil along the shore is light and gravelly; inland, it is light loam. The hills are low, and their summits are covered with heath.—On the east, this peninsula is separated from the island of Arran by Kilbrannan sound. Near Skipness point, opposite to the northern extremity of Arran, are the ruins of Skipness castle, a structure of great antiquity, built with a cement of lime, sea shells and earth. Considerable parts of the walls remain, and below there are excellent cellars. Upon almost every projection along the coast, there are small Danish forts; one of which is the case tle of Aird at Carradell, 15 miles N. from Campbelton, on a high rock bathed by the sea. On the land side it is secured by a deep ditch. Nothing remains but a part of the outer wall built with mud. At the extremity of the point of land which forms the bay, of Carradell, there is a small island, in whose centre is the foundation of a vitrified wall of an elliptical form, surrounding about a rood of ground. Respecting this monument of antiquity, no tradition exists. In that neighbourhood, the abbey of Saddel was founded for