Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Avoch

Avoch (Gael. abh-ach, ` field of the stream '), a village and a parish on the E side of the Black Isle district of Ross-shire. The village stands on a small bay of the Moray Firth, 1¾ mile SW of Fortrose, and 9 NNE of Inverness. It carries on an extensive fishery, mainly for the supply of the Inverness market; exports some grain and wood, whilst importing coal, lime, bone-dust, and salt; and has a post office under Inverness, with money order and savings' bank departments, a good inn, a commodious and substantial pier, a parish church (1760-92; 600 sittings), and a Free church. Pop. (1861) 1597, (1871) 1114.

The parish is bounded N by Resolis and Rosemarkie, SE by the Moray Firth, S by Munlochy Bay, separating it from Knockbain, SW by Kilmuir-Wester, and W by Urquhart. Its greatest length, from NE to SW, is 4¼ miles; its greatest breadth is 3 miles; and its area is about 6198 acres. The surface, in a general view, is a declination from the lower part of the Ardmeanach or Mullbuie broad range of hills to the Moray Firth; but, over the lower half, is crossed by several ridges running parallel to the main range; so that it presents an agreeable diversity of hill and dale. A steep romantic ridge of conglomerate rock extends along the coast from the village to the northern boundary, and is covered with wood and with a rich variety of indigenous plants. A large mass of conglomerate rock occurs also at the entrance of Munlochy Bay, and is so completely denuded of soil, and so weathered into small corries and rounded summits as to present a close resemblance to a miniature volcanic hill. The intermediate parts of coast and all the beach are sandy and gravelly. Devonian sandstone and conglomerate rocks predominate; but a high granitic ridge, to the NE and N of the village, has so upheaved them as to tilt their strata into all sorts of irregular inclinations, yet does not, to any great extent, overtop them. The Moray Firth is 5 miles wide here, from Avoch village to Campbelltown; looks, in consequence of the projection of Chanonry Point at Fortrose, like an inland lake; and, with Fort George at one end of its reach beyond Chanonry Point and Inverness at the head of its reach beyond Kessock Ferry, presents a highly picturesque appearance. Avoch Burn rises mainly within the parish, runs to the Firth at Henrietta Bridge close to the village, and has water-power enough to drive a wool-carding mill and 3 corn mills. A beautiful pool, called Littlemillstick, lies near the burn's source; and another sheet of fresh water, Scadden's Loch, lay near the north-eastern boundary, and covered 14 acres, but many years since was drained. Vast improvements in reclamation of waste land, in planting, in building, and in the introduction of the best methods of husbandry, have been effected by Mr James Fletcher, since his purchase in 1864 of the estate of Rosehaugh from Sir James Mackenzie for £145,000. To Rosehaugh he has added the estates of Bennetsfield, Ethie, and Avoch; and on Rosehaugh he has built a fine new mansion in the Renaissance style (Trans. Highl. and Ag. Soe., 1877, pp. 104-107). Avoch Castle stood on a rocky mound, about 200 feet above sea-level, ¼ mile W of the village; appears to have been a structure of great strength; was the death-place of the regent Andrew Moray (1338); belonged afterwards to the Earls of Ross; and passed eventually to the Crown. Arkindeith Tower stood on a hill-side a short way above the offices of Avoch; be longed to a castellated mansion of no great antiquity; and is now represented by only the lower or dungeon story. Avoch is in the presbytery of Chanonry and synod of Ross; its minister's income is £369. Two public schools, Avoch and Killen, with respective accommodation for 160 and 78 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 161 and 59, and grants of £113, 2s. and £48, 7s. 6d. Valuation (1881) £7395, 10d., of which £7030, 10s. 10d. belonged to Jas. Fletcher of Rosehaugh. Pop. (1831) 1956, (1861) 1788, (1871) 1828, (1881) 1693.—Ord. Sur., sh. 84,1876.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Avoch ScoP       Ross Shire ScoCnty
Place names: ABH ACH     |     AVOCH
Place: Avoch

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.