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Mallaig, with the Isle of Rum in the background: both once parts of Inverness-shire
Mallaig, with the Isle of Rum in the background:
both once parts of Inverness-shire

Inverness-shire was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided. It was also known as the County of Inverness or, in Gaelic, Siorrachd Inbhir Nis. As the name implies, Inverness was the county town.

Inverness-shire, 1890 to 1975
Inverness-shire, 1890 to 1975
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Inverness-shire Before 1890
Inverness-shire Before 1890
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Inverness-shire must have been a remarkably unwieldy county to manage. It reached the east coast at Inverness itself, and extended from there south to Fort William and west to the coast of Morar. It also included the Isle of Skye, plus Harris, The Uists and Barra in the Western Isles. Its boundaries were also awkward on its eastern side, having an exclave within the County of Moray and containing two enclaves belonging to other counties.

Some of these oddities were tidied up in the reorganisation of counties in 1890. This involved an exchange of enclaves with the County of Moray, and some rationalisation of the boundary with Nairnshire. It also gained the Small Isles from Argyll. Inverness-shire also had boundaries with the counties of Ross & Cromarty, Banffshire and Aberdeenshire.

The 1975 reorganisation removed the traditional counties from the map, replacing them with a two-tier structure of 12 Regions, many of which were subdivided into districts. What had previously been Inverness-shire became part of Highland Region, which formed the upper of two tiers of local government. The lower tier in Highland Region was formed by eight district councils. Four of these were closely related to earlier counties. The other four were largely produced by chopping up Inverness-shire, in places supplemented by additions from neighbours. These were Badenoch & Strathspey, Inverness, Lochaber and Skye & Lochalsh. Meanwhile, those parts of Inverness-shire beyond the Isle of Skye formed the southern part of a new region called The Western Isles.

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