Killin, pp.117-119.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

    KILLIN,1 a large parish in the district of Breadalbane, Perthshire. It consists of a large main body and two detached portions. One of the latter, measuring 3½ miles by 4, stretches southward from Loch-Tay at the distance of 3¼ miles from the eastern extremity of the main body; and is bounded on the east and west by portions of Kenmore; and on the south by Comrie. This district partakes uniquely and strictly of the beautiful and romantic character of the parts of Kenmore which contribute to form the basin of Loch-Tay; possessing at the edge of the lake a broad belt of gently rising arable ground, sheltered and embellished with plantation, and rising up as it recedes toward the southern boundary in grand mountainous elevations: see KENMORE. The other detached portion, a square of 1½ mile deep, lies on the north side of the river Lochy, 2½ miles north of the nearest point of the main body, has Fortingall on the north; Kenmore on the east; and a part of Weem on the south and west, and partakes the general character of Glenlochy. The main body of the parish extends, in a stripe averaging about 7 miles in breadth, from the head or south-western end of Loch-Tay to the boundary of the county with Argyleshire, – a distance or extreme length of 22 miles. It is bounded on the north by detached parts of Kenmore and Weem; on the east by the main body of Kenmore, by Loch-Tay, and by a part of Weem; on the south by Comrie and Balquidder; and on the south-west, west, and north-west by Argyleshire. The district, strictly Highland in its topographical appearances, takes its configuration mainly from the course through its centre of the chief head-water of the Tay. This stream – which rises on the extreme western boundary, bears for 8 miles the name of the Fillan, expands for 3 miles into a series of lochlets which assume the general name of Loch-Dochart,2 and then runs 10½ miles farther under the name of Dochart river – bisects the district through nearly the middle over its whole length, and gives it the aspect of a long glen, bearing the designation first of Strathfillan, and next of Glen-Dochart, and flanked by lofty hills, covered with grass and heath, and running up on both sides to a water-shedding line along the boundaries. But from a point 1½ mile south-west of the head of Loch-Dochart, a glen 4½ miles in length, and watered by the romantic, rock-strewn Falloch, descends south-westward toward the head of Loch-Lomond; and – with the exception of a brief part at its lower end – this, with its flanking hills, and two or three tiny later glens, also lies within the district. See articles STRATHFILLAN, DOCHART, and FALLOCH. Over a distance of 3 miles above the confluence of the Lochy and the Dochart, just before the united stream enters Loch-Tay, the district includes likewise the glen of the former river; though here it has embosomed within it a small detached part of Kenmore, stretching from the side of the Lochy to near the Dochart. Numerous rills or mountain-torrents, all, from the nature of the ground, brief in length, rise near the northern and southern boundaries, and run down to swell the bisecting central stream. Salmon and trout are the kinds of fish that abound most in the larger waters, – lake and river. High hills, few or none of them rocky, and almost all available for pasturage, run in ridges on nearly all the boundaries except the eastern, and roll down in congeries or in insulated heights as they approach the central glen. The highest is the well-known Benmore – not, of course, the Benmore of Mull, with which identity of name and similarity of interest are in risk of occasioning it to be identified. This noble-looking mountain is of a fine conical form, and, according to Stobie’s map of the county of Perth, rises 3,903 feet above the level of the sea. It ascends from the pass between Glendochart and Strathfillan, on the south side of Loch-Dochart, and was, in former times, a deer-forest, but is now occupied as a sheep-walk. A considerable aggregate extent of wood, both natural and planted, decorates the parish, and, in most instances, thrives and is luxuriant. Game, of numerous kinds, abounds. The soil, at the west end of Loch-Tay, and in the bottoms of Glenlochy and Glendochart, where it suffers from frequent overflowings of the rivers, is wet and marshy; but, in other parts it is in general light and dry, and, in favourable seasons, abundantly fertile. The bottoms of the valleys are disposed chiefly in meadows and arable grounds; the hills rise with a gentle slope, and are cultivated and inhabited to a considerable height; and the summits of the hills and the heights of the mountains, in places where grass gives place to rank heath, have been extensively improved into available sheep-walks. More than half of the whole territory is the property of the Marquis of Breadalbane. Limestone abounds. Lead is worked in the vicinity of the village of Clifton. Repeated but vain search has been made for coal. Some interesting antiquarian and historical recollections are connected with STRATHFILLAN: which see. Leading lines of road traverse all the great glens of the parish. The villages are CLIFTON [which see], and Killin. The latter is beautifully and romantically situated about half-a-mile from the head of Loch-Tay, within the peninsula formed by the confluent rivers Dochart and Lochy, 15¾ miles from Kenmore, 21⅝ from Callander, 20⅝ from Inverarnan inn at the entrance of Glenfalloch, 18⅝ from Tyndrum, 27 from Crieff, and 40 from Stirling. The windings of the rivers in the plain around it, – the precipitate advance of the Dochart, over a ledgy and declivitous bed in a profusion of little cascades, – the calm and gliding movement of the gentler Lochy, – the aspect of the surrounding hills, frilled and gemmed in many places with wood, – and the long expanse of the exulting Loch-Tay, with its gently ascending and tufted and ultimately magnificent heights of flanking hills, – serve to render the site and neighbourhood of this village grandly picturesque. So pleased was Mr. Pennant with the majestic joyousness of the scenery around it, that he gave a view of it in his tour. “Killin,” says Dr. McCulloch, “is the most extraordinary collection of extraordinary scenery in Scotland, – unlike everything else in the country, and perhaps on earth, and a perfect picture-gallery in itself, since you cannot move three yards without meeting a new landscape. A busy artist might here draw a month and not exhaust it. * * Fir-trees, rocks, torrents, mills, bridges, houses, these produce the great bulk of the middle landscape, under endless combinations; while the distances more constantly are found in the surrounding hills, in their varied woods, in the bright expanse of the lake, and the minute ornaments of the distant valley, in the rocks and bold summit of Craig-Cailliach, and in the lofty vision of Ben-Lawers, which towers like a huge giant in the clouds, – the monarch of the scene.” A bridge which bestrides the Dochart, with five unequal arches, offers good vantage-ground for surveying some of the most striking features and groupings of the landscape. Immediately below the bridge, is a picturesque island formed by the Dochart, covered with a fine verdant sward, and richly clothed with pine-trees, in the dim centre of which is the burial-place of the Macnabs, once the potent chieftains of this district, but whose lineal representative emigrated to Canada, with a number of his clansmen. The village, though straggling and small, is a place of considerable importance; and has an excellent inn, and four annual fairs, and is the seat of the baron-bailie-courts of the family of Breadalbane. The fairs are held on the 3d Tuesday of January, the 12th day of May, the 27th day of October, and the first Tuesday, O.S., of November. Most of the villagers are tradesmen, who pay rent to the Marquis of Breadalbane for a house, a garden, and an acre of ground. In the neighbourhood of the village is a small rising ground which tradition points out as the grave of Fingal, but which on perforation half-a-century ago, afforded no evidence of having been a tomb. Population, in 1801, 2,048; in 1831, 2,002. Houses 365. Assessed property, in 1815, £3,770. – Killin is in the presbytery of Weem, and synod of Perth and Stirling; Patron, the Marquis of Breadalbane. Stipend £240 19s. 5d.; glebe £13 10s. Unappropriated teinds £566 19s. 6d. The church was built in 1744, and repaired and considerably enlarged in 1832. It is situated at the village, and has 905 sittings. The district of Strathfillan was disjoined in 1836 by the presbytery, and annexed to the new quoad sacra parish of STRATHFILLAN. Another portion of the parish is included in the mission of LOCH-TAY-SIDE. See these articles. But on the other hand, parts of the parishes of Weem and Kenmore have, by private arrangement, been placed under the care of the ministers of Killin. The quoad sacra population, corresponding with these distributions, amounted, in 1836, to 1,982, – 1,082 of whom were in Killin; and 900, including 55 dissenters, were in Weem and Kenmore. The population of Killin, quoad civilia, was stated by the minister, in the same year, to consist of 1,952 churchmen, and 50 dissenters. – A Baptist congregation in the village was established about the year 1810, yields an attendance of from 8 to 30, and meets in a rented schoolhouse. – An Independent congregation, also in the village, was established upwards of 25 years ago, yields an attendance of from 40 to 80, and assembles in a schoolroom. – The parish-school is attended by a maximum of 80 scholars, and 9 non-parochial schools by a maximum of 351. Parochial schoolmaster’s salary £34, with £9 fees, and £10 other emoluments. Three of the non-parochial schools are supported by the Society for propagating Christian knowledge, and two by the Marchioness of Breadalbane. 

1  The Rev. Patrick Stuart, the minister of the parish at the close of last century, doubted whether the word CillFhinn, signifying ‘the Burying-place of Fingal,’ or CillLinn, meaning ‘the Burying-place of the Pool,’ and pointing to the ruins of a chapel and cemetery on the banks of the Lochy, were the original of the modern name Killin; yet he seemed to give his vote in favour of Cilllinn

2  A little north of Loch-Dochart are the lochlets Essan and Maragan; and near the western boundary is Loch-Yoss, – all three, of inconsiderable extent. 

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