Mission Statement

To Submit Content

An excerpt from Topographical Notices of Scotland
by Timothy Pont
circa 1610

Mamoir is a cowntrey of Lochabyr, it hath Lochlieven upon one syd, the long bay of Lochyell upon another syd, then the river Nevesh and upon the last syd ar the hills, looking the way to Rennach far of, and all betuix wast grownd taken up with hills mossis and deserts.

Innerlochy doth ly a myle from the mouth of Nevess build as is supposed be King Eugenius, certanlie it is most old and wes sumtyme the habitation of the kings, standing in a most commodious seat both for sea and land.  hard by it is the hill cald Bin-Neves one of the hiest (if not the very hiest) of all the hills of Scotland , and so much the more to be admired as it joyneth not to any hie hills or is set in anie desert, but in a good cowntrey and hard by a long bay.

Glen-Neves lyeth along the river nevess, plentifull according to the cowntrey and litle inferior, it is ten merk land (for al Lochabyr is onlie 160 merk land aItho the cowntrey be both good and large) and is devyded in twa parochins.  the southsyd of the river is of the paroch of Iland Mown, and the northsyd is of the paroch of Kil-ma-nevag which is at the end of Loch lochy.

Loch lochy runneth the way from Lochness, twell myles long, of breadth a myle for the most part, it cumeth from the north and northeast, and looketh to the south and southwest.

At the end of Loch yiell is a litle river called Keand lochyiell, cuming from the northward, among rough grownd, ther is plentie of great firrwood, but difficult to transport and on the north syd therof great store of fair oaken wood, and spceally one fair wood, ther ar in Loch-yioll manie small glennis fitt for pasture.  Not two Myles from the Churche of Kilmaille whiche is at the syd of the loch, ovir aganis the Iland cald Loch-yioll, is the castell of Torriechastell, upon the west bank of the river Lochy.  Sum supposs thir to have bene the place of Berigonium so much spoken of in our old monuments, how truelie or upon what grownds I cannot judge.  The clan-chameron the cheeff inhabitants alledge themselvis to be cum of the Danis, and thair first habitation to have been Glendarvan in Argyll, and at that tyme that they were called Sleick-Allen-wick- Oggri-wick-Millananay-wick-Ardan &c.

Glenluy or Glengluy is after, a draught of land upon the river Luy or Gluy which cuming down betuix the river of Roy and Lochlochy falleth in the said loch.

Upon the uthir syd of Loch lochy to the west therof is loch-Argaig sum twell myle of lenth and not one myle of breadth, upon the southsyd of thir loch ther is a firrwood upon fourteen myles of lenth and upon the northsyd fair oaken wood, the cowntrey about is fitt for pasture, but no cornis heir.  the river Airkgaig cuming from the loch, falleth after short running in Loch-Lochy at the nordeast head of Locharkaig ar two glennis viz Glenpean and Glendessorie, the river pean hath pasture and salmond.  

Thir two glennis ar devyded be a ledge of hills, at the sowdermost end of Loch-arkgaig is a church in ane Iland called Iland Columb-kill, it is ten myll betuix this Iland and the kirk of Kilmaille in Loch-yiell.

Spean or Speachan river cuming out of Lochlagan at the marchis of Badenoch, falleth in the river Lochy, at the southeast end of Loch-lochy, hard by is the churche of Kilmanevag, the uthir best river is Roy cuming directly from the head of Spey river, and not a myl betuix the springs of both, it falleth in Spean about the Keppach, the draught of thir two rivers have much good grownd, and manie dwellings upon them.

The Cumins were of old Lords of thir cowntrey of Lochabyr.  After it fell out that one of them wes mislykead be the people who therwpon be a devyce of a hous built upon the water and a trap in the floor therof destroyed manie of the people, wherof they relate a long storie, but it succeeded so avill, that he left the cowntrey and never dwelt anie more therein.  the two part therof doth now pertyne to the house of Huntley, and the rest to Mackintoise, sum the Earls of Argyl pretend to hold about Lochyiell whiche the Cheeff of the Clanchameron hold in possession.

It is two myles from Innerloquhy to the kirk of Kilmaille, of old ther wes a church build in thir town upon a hill, above the Church which now is, and standeth in the town, the people report of a battell focht in old tyme hard by thir churche, and how long after, hirds feeding ther cattell in that place, in a cold season, made a fyre of dead mens bones ther scattered, who being all removed except one mayd who took up her cloathes and uncovered herself sum part hir, a sudden whirle wind threw sum of the ashis in her privie member, wherwpon she conceaved and bore a sone called Gillie-dow-mak-Chravolick that is to say the black chyld sone to the bones, who after becam learned and relligious and built thir Churche whiche now standeth in Kilmaille.

Editor's Notes:  pp. 85-86.  These topographical notices are generally attributed to Pont, though they seem to have been transcribed by others, and amended over the early portion of the seventeenth century.  Pont's maps, for which he is more widely remembered, also detail Lochaber from about the same era.  A portion from one of these maps is also preserved within the Clan Cameron Archives.  Also see the 1620 annotation from this same work.