1851, Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis
LAIRG, a parish (large), in the county of Sutherland, 19 miles (W. by N.) from the village of Golspie; containing 913 inhabitants, of whom 69 are in the village of Lairg. The name is generally supposed to be derived from the Gaelic word Lorg, signifying " a footpath ", and to be descriptive of the situation of the parish, which lies in the direct line from the northern to the southern part of the county, and the way through which was only a footpath till the present high road was constructed. Some, however, derive the name from the compound term ia-ri-Leig-, "bordering on the lake ", in allusion to the extensive and beautiful sheet of water called Loch Shin. The parish is not remarkable for any events of historical importance. There are several cairns still remaming, concerning the origin of which very little is known, the people of the country, when questioned upon the subject, merely repeating the tradition that they were built by the Fingalians. At a place called Cnoek a chalk, " the hill of the fight ", a number of tumuli are visible, which are reported to be the graves of those who fell in an encounter between the Sutherlands and the Mackays. The PARISH is thirty miles in its greatest length, from east to west, and about ten miles in breadth, from north to south; containing 40,000 acres. It is twenty miles distant from the sea, and is bounded on the north by the parish of Farr, on the south by that of Criech, on the east by that of Rogart, and on the west by the parishes of Assynt and Eddrachillis. The surface throughout is hilly, and by far the larger part of it covered with heath: the hills vary in height in different parts, but are generally lofty, and on the northern boundary towers Ben-Chlibrig, the highest mountain in the county. The whole site of the parish, indeed, is very considerably elevated, and the air in w'inter is bleak and piercing, the cold being often accompanied with heavy falls of rain and snow; the climate, however, is healthy, and the inhabitants are hardy and long-lived. The lakes are about twenty in number: the principal is Loch Shin, extending nearly the whole length of the parish; it is twenty-four miles long, and its average breadth is about one mile, the depth varying from twenty to thirty fathoms. There are five rivers, four of which fall into this loch.