History

A church was built at North Ballachulish in 1829 where the churchyard still exists at Creag Mhor, the manse being built at Onich and the minister also had under his charge the church built at Ardgour. These churches were part of a government scheme when about forty three churches and manses were erected throughout the Highlands and were all designed by Thomas Telford who engineered the Caledonian Canal which was completed in 1822.

The first minister was John MacMillan, son of a Kilmallie farmer, who left the Church of Scotland in 1843 at the Disruption to join the newly created Free Church. A new church building and manse was built for him at Cuilchenna, but he left to become the Free Church minister at Cardross.

His successor was Alexander MacKellar who left the parish after one year to take over the Gaelic Church in Edinburgh.

John MacLeod was minister from 1847 to 1851. He left to become minister at Laggan parish. One of his sons, Donald, born in Onich manse, became the founder and first minster of St. Columba's Church of Scotland in London.

In 1851 Dr Alexander Stewart, a native of Benbecula, became minister.

Dr Stewart became a legend in his own lifetime being honoured throughout the world by all of Celtic origin. He was better known as "Nether Lochaber", the pen name he adopted when he became district correspondent of the Inverness Courier. His articles on birds, beasts and flowers, as well as his intimate knowledge of Highland folklore, Gaelic history and natural history were read throughout Scotland. In 1884 St. Andrews University honoured him with the degree of LLD in recognition of his eminence as a scientist and writer.

He was also one of the founders of the Mod. A monument erected in his memory, in the form of a large twenty foot high Celtic Cross, was erected by the roadside in Onich but was later moved to Innis a Birlinn.

1901 - 1938 John Norman MacLennan: during his ministry he realised that a new church was called for, as the old church had become unsafe for public worship. The present day church, next to the old manse at Onich, was completed in 1911. At the same time the Ardgour Church became a parish of its own. In 1933 a union with the former united Free Church at Cuilchenna took place. Mr MacLennan is buried on the site of the old church at Creag Mhor.

1938 - 1948 John MacDonald, a year after being inducted to the charge, left to become a Chaplain to the Forces until the end of the war in 1945, when he returned to the parish until 1948.

1948 - 1957 Dr W Gardiner was instrumental in having the name of the church changed from Ballachulish and Onich to Nether Lochaber Parish Church. Dr and Mrs Gardiner gifted the church hall to the congregation and organised a successful youth club which proved to be most beneficial and appreciated.

1958 - 1964 A Mullo Weir - during his Ministry a pipe organ was gifted to the church by the congregation of Dalry parish, where his brother, the Rev Harold Mullo Weir, was minister.

1965 - 1981 James H Kerr was the last Minister to reside at the manse as the congregation was linked in 1981 with Kinlochleven and the manse was sold.

1981 - 1983 Edgar J Ogston became first minister of the linked charge having been Minister at Kinlochleven since his induction in 1977. Mr Ogston resigned in 1983 to become a missionary to the Cayman Islands. He later became minister of North West Lochaber which includes Mallaig and Arisaig but retired in 2018.

1985 - 1999 Klaus Buwert was responsible during his ministry for the visit of the moderator of the Church of Scotland. A new organ and speaker system again improved the experience for his congregation. Klaus moved to Wishaw and then Muthil, but is due to retire in 2021.

2002 - 2006 Archie Spiers was minister. He left to take up a charge at St. Martins in Port Glasgow, but still retains a great interest in the congregation. He has since become the minister in the linked charge of Skelmorlie and Inverkip and is due to reire in June, 2021.

2006 - 2010 the charge remained vacant.

24th April 2010 the Ordination and Induction of the Rev Dr Malcolm Kinnear as minister.