Glenlyon History Society
Comann Eachdraidh Ghleann Lìomhann
The Glenlyon HS, Scotland, is run by local residents of Glenlyon (map) with an interest in the local history of the glen.
The Glenlyon HS, Scotland, is run by local residents of Glenlyon (map) with an interest in the local history of the glen.
GLENLYON is long, narrow and winding. It is specially narrow for the first two miles as one goes west from the Pass. There the mountains rise straight up from the banks of the river. At Chesthill, a little farther up, the glen widens into level fields, behind which are well-marked terraces. These, geologists believe, were the banks of a series of lakes that filled the bottom of the valley in pre-historic times. In the course of ages the river forced its way through the barriers which dammed it back and the scene began to assume its present appearance. In early times, however, the hillsides were more thickly wooded than they are now or have been in recent times.
The old names which the glen bore were descriptive of its condition at different periods. The oldest that is known to us is Glen Fasach, desert glen; later it was called Crom-ghleann nan Clach, or the crooked glen of the stones. This is the name by which it is referred to in the old saying, "Bha da chaisteal deug aig Fionn ann an Crom-ghleann nan Clach" -i.e. , "Fionn had twelve castles in the crooked glen of the stones." At a still later period it was called Gleann Duibhe, the glen of the black water-a name derived from the river which flows through it, and which at that time was called Duibhe.
This seems to have been the current name till about the time of the battle between Stewart of Garth and the Macivors, after which the present one came into regular usage. The name Glenlionn, however, was used at a much earlier date, in the charter given to William Olifant in 1328. Most authorities are now agreed that the present name is derived from the root, lithe, a flood, and that it was applied on account of the rapidity of the current of the river Lyon when in flood. Another suggested explanation connects it with the battle just mentioned; but the fact that it was used in the charter above referred to before the date of the battle is enough to disprove that derivation. The word is nearly the same as Lee, Leven, Lyons, lnnerleithen, and many others.
Loch Lyon, a sheet of water about three miles long and half a mile broad, still remains near the head of the glen; but, from the appearance of the surrounding land, it would seem that it may have been much larger in comparatively recent times.
On either side of the valley are ridges of high mountains. That to the south divides it from Loch Tayside, and through it is a pass in which a road has been constructed; that to the north divides it from Rannoch, and through it also there is a pass, but the road in the pass is a very indifferent one. There are several other higher passes on both sides, but they are frequented only by shepherds and sportsmen. In rainy weather many beautiful cascades flow down the hillsides. The falls opposite Chesthill, with the old Roman bridge at their base, are very picturesque. In a series of leaps, which in high flood appear as one fall, the descent is nearly 700 feet.
Owing to the winding character of the glen, the scene changes every few miles, and the impression left upon tourists traveling through it is highly pleasing. The part at the head where the glen branches into three, one leading to Ashantian, one to Auchglen in Argyllshire, and one, Glen Mearan, to Gorton on Rannoch Moor, is famed for its luxuriant pastures, which are very suitable for blackfaced sheep and Highland cattle.
Between Glenlyon and Rannoch stretch a number of side glens that are worthy of separate mention. The principal of these is Lochs, which at one time formed the sheiling ground of the Roro tenants. In more recent times it was an extensive sheep farm, but in 1895 it was turned into a deer forest and the farm house converted into a shooting lodge. Next in importance is Glenmore, which stretches for five miles along the southern base of Schiechallion, and which formed part of the ancient forest of Osshiechailis. In it are still to be found in abundance roots of fir and oak; and in it are also a famous cave and a well which has a high reputation for medicinal virtues. Glen Muillinn lies to the south of Glenmore, from which it is separated by a narrow ridge. It has a fine summer grazing. To the south of it again is Craigmore, the front range of the Glenlyon House hills. Glen Sassun - so called after the Englishmen who marched through it on their way to the battle of Inverchadden - stretches towards Rannoch behind Invervar. It contains a great quantity of timber buried near the surface. Glen Caillich and Glen Mearan are at the head of Glenlyon, and Glen Comrie and Glen Duibh .at the head of Rannoch. These are all high and suitable for summer grazing.
On entering the Pass of Glenlyon from the east a magnificent view is presented to the eye. The river, after coming round the bends of the rocks to the west of Artrasgart, leaps over the Sput Ban (the white cascade), and at one point seems to enter in below the frowning crags, which serve to deflect its course into the fine broad channel through which it flows until it passes the picturesque Bridge of Lyon. Here both banks of the river are well-wooded, and this makes the sight all the more pleasing. The woods not only add variety to the scenery, but they tend to soften .and subdue the effects of the wild rocks and foaming river.
A little further up, where the river has to fight its way through a narrow, rocky bed, is the famous MacGregor's Leap, where Gregor MacGregor of Glenstrae performed the wonderful feat of leaping across the Lyon from north to south to escape from pursuing bloodhounds. The story of the hero whose name is associated with the Leap has become rather confused in recent tradition and literature. During the proscription of the MacGregors in the 16th and 17th centuries several members of the clan had many adventures and narrow escapes in Glenlyon and the neighbouring districts. Some recent writers weave together into one story incidents which happened to different members of the clan. Accordingly the account they give of the circumstances under which the leap was performed contains items from three or four different incidents spread over a period of half a century . No doubt such embellishment of the actual story makes more thrilling reading, but accuracy demands that the different incidents should be kept distinct. It is therefore necessary not only to give some account of the hero and the circumstances in which he performed the feat, but also to distinguish these from the other incidents which have been mixed up with them in recent tradition.
Alexander of Glenstrae, father of Gregor of the Leap, and a chief of the Clan MacGregor, led a turbulent life and roused the enmity of many powerful foes. The early training of his son is likely to have been in keeping with his father's character. After his father's death Gregor was, for a time, under the tutorship of Duncan Ladossach, the famous Rannoch freebooter, and the influence of such a tutor no doubt confirmed Gregor in the ways of his father. And not only was his early training such as naturally to lead him to a career of adventure, but the code of honour of the day demanded that, as Chief of the Clan, he should continue the family feuds and avenge the wrongs inflicted on his clan in byegone days, as well as in his own time. Gregor was true to the tradition of his clan, and as a result his life was in constant danger, especially after the proscription of 1563. He was, however, married to a daughter of Duncan the Hospitable, one of the early Campbell chiefs of Glenlyon, and for a time the influence of his father-in-law protected him from the wiles of his enemies. But after midnight on the 11th June, 1565, two members of his clan, Gregor, son of the Dean of Lismore, and Robert McConil or Gregor, were murdered, and their house burnt to the ground, by James McGestalcar and his accomplices. This McGestalcar was the son of a famous archer, but became a sort of professional assassin. It was at the instigation and in the pay of the Campbells of Glenorchy that he perpetrated the crime. Gregor, as chief of the clan, was bound to avenge the murder, and swiftly and summarily was his vengeance executed. The very next entry after the record of the murder in the Chronicle of Fortingall is, that on July 27 "James McGestalcar or Patrick was killed with his accomplices by Gregor MacGregor of Stronmelecan at Ardowenec." The Chronicle adds that "McGestalcar was a most wicked man and and oppressor of the poor," and by way of justifying the action of Gregor it quotes the text, "Thou wilt not suffer evil-doers to live upon the earth." From that day Gregor was doomed. The whole of the Clan Campbell of Glenorchy was on his track.
The rocks and woods were his abode, and on many occasions his agility and endurance alone saved him, from his pursuers. Sometimes he managed to visit his wife at her father's castle at Carnban. There he many a time remained concealed for days until some unfriendly visitor appeared. On some occasions, however, his visits to his wife were made known to his enemies, and he had at once to flee for his life. It was on one of those occasions that, pursued by his enemies' bloodhounds, he made the daring leap across the Lyon at the place which still bears his name. It is not known whether he leapt from the higher or lower part of the rock. Both are equally difficult and dangerous. If he leapt from the higher part, one would think that all his bones would be broken. From the lower part the distance is so far and the landing place so rocky that it seems almost incredible that any one would attempt it. But what will man not do for his life!
Even this wonderful feat did not avail to save the devoted MacGregor for more than a short time. In 1569, while on another visit to his wife at Carnban, he was captured and taken to Belloch (now Taymouth) Castle. After some months of imprisonment there the unfortunate Gregor was beheaded in April, 1570. His sorrowing wife bewailed his fate in a most pathetic Gaelic ballad, which begins: [Entire song and translation in Appendix A]
"I was daffing with my loved one
Early on the Lammas morn,
But ere noontide I was weeping,
For my heart with grief was torn.
Ochain, ochain, ochain darling,
Thy father hears not our cry."
Such was the hero of MacGregor's Leap and the circumstances in which the leap was performed. But as we noted he is sometimes confused with other members of the proscribed clan and the circumstances are inaccurately described. More than thirty years after Gregor's death, another Gregor - Gregor Mor Ban, or Big Fair Gregor - one of the fugitives from the battle of Glenfruin in 1602, after untold hardships and many narrow escapes, placed himself under the protection of Duncan Ruadh MacCailean of Glenlyon, the grandson of Duncan the Hospitable. To Duncan, Gregor offered his sword, but Duncan replied that he was not pursuing the MacGregors, and if he wished to surrender he had better go to Lawers, who had a commission to deal with the Clan Gregor. ' , No," replied Gregor, " I will not. Since I must die, let me receive my death-blow from a brave man as a warrior should." "By :Mary, you say well," was Duncan's reply. "Will you go to Lawers in the morning with a letter from me?" Gregor consented and went. He arrived at Lawers just as the laird was preparing for a hunt of the MacGregors with blood-hounds. But Lawers was a cowardly man, and, on perusing the letter of Duncan of Glenlyon, he was glad to let Gregor go free. Now, though this incident of Gregor Mor occurred over thirty years after the Leap of Gregor of Glenstrae, the two incidents are woven into one story by recent writers, with the result that the Leap is supposed to have taken place from the south side and not from the north side as actually happened.
And an incident from the career of a third MacGregor is added. One of the proscribed clan, who was being pursued by Campbell of Glenorchy, managed to foil the pursuing blood-hounds by wading along the north shore of Loch Tay. At night he arrived in an exhausted condition at Lawers, where he was allowed to sleep in the corn kiln. But somewhat apprehensive as to the fate that would await him in the morning, he left during the night and made his way to Glenlyon. The story is further embellished by including in it elements from yet another source. A proscribed MacGregor, pursued by Lawers and his blood-hounds, crossed the river near his namesake's Leap. One of the hounds in trying to jump across fell.into the swift current and was drowned, but another managed to cross and was hot on the scent of MacGregor. Near Craigianie the exhausted man met a clansman from Roro, and to him he confided that he was being pursued by a hound and that his condition was well-nigh desperate. "Never mind the dog," came the ready reply, " I'll settle him.' , No sooner was the pursued MacGregor gone than the hound appeared, but the Roro man laid it low with a kick. When the Lawers men came upon their hound dead, they accused the Roro man of having killed it. With characteristic Highland evasiveness he answered that he could swear that he never laid a hand on it. The Lawers men returned home discomfited, and MacGregor fled across the hill to Rannoch, where he joined his kinsfolk about Dunan and the Sliosmin.
Incidents culled from such stories, freely handled and woven together into a continuous whole, form the account given by some recent writers [Cf. T. Ratcliffe Barllett: The Road to Rannoch and the Summer Isles, Chap. 9.] of the circumstances in which the "MacGregor's Leap" acquired its name. But though it is more thrilling to connect all the stories with one man, and regard all the events related in them as having taken place within 48 hours, the incidents in fact relate to several people and were spread over a full half-century.
Many years after Gregor of Glenstrae's death, an acrobat or showman who came into the district confidently believed that he could emulate the feat. In the attempt the unfortunate man lost his life. At the roadside, a few yards from the scene of his death, a cairn, known as Carn an duine Ghointe, or the fated man's cairn, was raised to commemorate the tragic event. At one time the man was believed to have been buried under the cairn, and until the middle of last century no country person would think of passing the spot without throwing a stone on the cairn. Many years ago road contractors removed the cairn, but no human remains were found beneath it. It is unlikely, therefore, that the fated man was buried there. He was probably buried in the Fortingall churchyard. When Sir Donald Currie heard that the cairn was removed, he ordered it to be replaced by a mound of earth, which still marks the spot at the road-side.
Near the top of the short brae to the west of the Leap is a sweep in the road, made to allow the richly decked four-horse carriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to turn, in case they should think of penetrating the romantic part of their domains known as Glenlyon when they visited Taymouth in 1842. But during that great pilgrimage of festivities the time of the Royal visitors was so occupied that they saw no more of "the crooked glen of great stones" than the entrance into the Pass. This they could see as they drove round the west shoulder of Drummond Hill.
A few yards to the west of this is to be seen a green mound overshadowed by a small ash tree. It marks the grave of a soldier who died at the roadside while marching to or from Rannoch Barracks or lnverlochy sometime after the' 45.
Still a few yards more and Glenlyon's famous mineral wishing well is seen gushing up, surrounded by its wall of rough stones now sadly in need of repair. It has a stone shelf to receive the offerings of those who still retain a trace of superstition or like to uphold old customs as they partake of its waters. The offerings usually consist of small pebbles, but occasionally something more valuable is found among them. The roadmen may clear that shelf as often as they like, but it is seldom empty for long. Opposite the well, on the other side of the road, is a magnificent lime tree that has been the trysting place of lovers and local cronies for four generations. Sheer down below those objects of interest is Poll-a-Chlaidheamh, the pool of the sword, a favourite sheet of water with salmon and their angling enemies. How the pool came to be called by this name no one seems to know: the connecting legend is lost.
Before entering the Black Wood at Woodend, the glen widens out for a little space, only to contract again at Cregan an t-Suidhe, the rock of the seat or table, below which the Lyon, especially when in flood, rushes with a mighty roar. Here the river is spanned by a handsome bridge, from which can be got a magnificent view of foaming water, wild rocks, grand woods and, in the background, towering mountains. Among those rocks the deep cleft now known as Prince Charlie's Cave, but known to older generations as Charlie's Kitchen, is well concealed from the road. It seems to have acquired royal associations when tourists began to frequent the district.
Before coming to the tree-embosomed mansion of Chesthill the glen again widens. This mansion, successively possessed by Campbells and Menzieses, is now the property of Major Wisely. Opposite it on the other side of the river are the beautiful falls of Allt da Ghob, where the stream comes down in one foaming mass over rocks nearly 700 feet in height. Across the stream, at the bottom of the falls, is a parapetless Roman arched bridge which has often delighted pilgrim's eyes. Here also the road for more than half mile along the river side is shaded by a fine row of Sycamores and forms a grand piece of sylvan scenery.
At Balantyre a terrace that marks the banks of a prehistoric lake is still very distinctly recognisable. A little to the west of the farmhouse is the site of one of Glenlyon's castles of the Feinne. The narrow gorge a little farther west is known as MacNab's Hollow. The MacNab from whom the name is derived seems to have been the governor of a castle older than that of Duncan the Hospitable. He is said to have carried things with a high hand, and to have been bewitched by the mother of girls whom he compelled to cut his corn in a state of nudity. While riding along the hollow his horse threw him and he broke his neck.
Beyond this, on a commanding eminence, part of the walls of Duncan's castle still braves the storm. A few years after this castle was built it was burnt down by Lochaber raiders, one of whom shot an arrow with a wisp of burning tow attached to it across the river into the heather thatched roof. After passing the feudal keep of Carnban, or Dunan-glas, as it is called in the Chronicle of Fortingall, one reaches the site of the old hamlet of Carnban, now marked only by one ruined cottage.
A short distance farther along the little graveyard of Invervar, or Cladh-ghunna, comes in sight. Some authorities now think that it ought to be Cladh Mhungo, or St. Mungo's grave, but this mode of changing the initial letter is not found in Gaelic, either in place names or in other words. No one can now say definitely how this pretty little God's acre came to bear its present name. Old Gaelic speakers in our younger days pronounced the name quite distinctly as Cladh-ghunna. Long ago a chapel must have been attached to it, for a strip of land behind it was called Radhar a Chluig, or the Bell's acre. Below it is the 'sacred well, or Tobar Ghunna. On the south side of the river is a deep pit [near Dericambus] where the Invervar priest used to keep pike or perch to supply him with fish on Fridays. By diverting the little stream that flows near by, so as to fill it up, the pond could even now be easily used for a similar purpose.
A little farther west are a few houses that mark the place where the once busy industrial village of Invervar stood. Here still stands as a memorial of other days a lint mill (with a quaint circular outline) that once employed several workers as hecklers, dressers and weavers; but its wheels have long since crumbled into decay. Of the meal mill not a vestige remains; and the little grocer's shop and the workshops of the joiner, shoemaker, tailor and weaver are seen no more. In the smithy a horse may yet get shod, for a disciple of Vulcan's attends there once a month. There are now to be seen there two fine mansions, Invervar Lodge and Wester Invervar, and a little school where half a dozen children attend. These are the only remnants of a once flourishing little community that have managed to survive the depopulating changes that have overtaken the longest glen in Scotland.
Still farther west is Dun Oisean, the dun of Ossian. Campbell in his Lairds of Glenlyon suggests that the proper rendering is Dun Oswin, but Highlanders will prefer to think of it as commemorating the sojourn there, even if but for a single night, of the great father of Celtic poetry. Opposite it on the south side of the river is Suidhe Inian, or the seat of St. Ninian. In the den of Innerinian burn, tradition says, the Bodach Odhar, or grey goblin, a being of no very high reputation, had his abode. At the roadside, at the march between Ruskich and Slatich farms, lies a flat boulder-Leac-nan-cuaran-where the men of Garth each left a sandal before joining battle with the Macivors at Laggan a Chathe (the hollow of the battle), about half a mile farther up the glen.
On the south side of the Lyon, extending westwards from the march between Innerinian and Dericambus to the march between Roroyare and Kerremore, a distance of nearly six miles, lies the Toiseachd or the MacGregor's lands of Glenlyon. The inhabitants of this district, the MacGregors of Roro, are famed in Highland song and story, but no one is left to represent them now. On Roromore farm we meet the site of another of the Fingalian towers; and at Balnahanait, the farm to the west of it, there was at one time a church and a churchyard. On Roroyare, the farthest west farm of the Toiseachd, there is a larae sithean, or fairy mound, where in more superstitious ages unbaptised children were buried.
On the north side of the river is Craigianie, which may mean either Craig Fhianaidh, the rock of the Feinne, or Craig Dianaidh, the rock of defence. Whatever its etymology, it was at one time used as a motehill where criminals were sentenced and perhaps also received punishment, and even the death penalty. Here on the rock is to be seen a footmark, said to be that of St. Palladius. At the road-side, a little farther west, is a stone cross, said to have been erected to mark the deliverance of the Glenlyon people from the great plague. This is supposed to have been brought about by the intercession of Eonan [The traditional Glenlyon form of Adamnan], but it may equally well have been the result of the sanitary precautions that he took to prevent its spread. A little farther along is a big round stone with a hole through it, and it has excited the wonder of antiquarians for some generations. It is almost hidden in a tangle of briar bushes, and the passer by may easily miss it. The local tradition of the origin of the hole is that when Eonan interceded for the Glenlyon people, he prayed that the plague should enter the stone, and the hole marks the miracle that was accomplished.
On the side of the road next the river there is a big recumbent boulder with a few cup marks on it. Near it are some upright stones that seem to have been put into position by human hands. They almost suggest that a miniature stone circle existed here at one time. To the west of Craigianie are the Free Church and manse, occupying the site of another of the Fingalian towers which was in a fairly good condition until it was demolished to make room for the present buildings. Here one can obtain a very good view of Ben Lawers, Perthshire's highest mountain. On the west side of Cambusvrachain burn another little fairy mound is to be seen; and on the hill behind is Ruigh Pheallaidh, or St. Palladius' sheiling.
The next object of interest is a huge boulder in a ploughed field a little farther west. It seems to be a memorial of something, but no one knows its story. Near it is Tulaich Challum, or Callum's hill, where one, if not more, of the Malcolms of Scotland had big shooting butts in the days when the bow and arrow was the most effective shooting weapon.
Fully half a mile to the west of this is the site of Bruthach nam Bord, or the brae of the planks or tables. Here, up till 1881, a flourishing little community of crofters and country craftsmen lived contentedly. Their departure furnishes another instance of what used to be done to suit estate arrangements and the acquisitive desires of large farmers. Now a solitary farm house and steading occupy the site, but its modern name of Ballinloan, the village on the meadow, is a glaring misnomer. Instead of being placed on a meadow, it is situated on a gravelly knoll. Old Ballinloan, as the word signifies, was surrounded by the meadow to the west of the present site.
About forty years ago, when the ground around the present farm-house of Ballinloan was being cleared, the workmen discovered a stone coffin in which was the recumbent skeleton of a very tall man. The head, however, was missing. Beside the coffin was found a rude earthenware urn. with some ashes in it. These are supposed to have been the cremated remains of the missing head. Before the clearance of Bruach, the little village that used to occupy the site, one of the inhabitants, an old beadle of the name of MacDiarmid, used to warn the children against going near or playing at the place where the remains were found, giving as a reason that a ghost might spring upon them. The old man died before the discovery was made, but the Glenlyon people were of opinion that he must have heard of some tradition regarding the burial of the unknown hero there. The urn is now in Meggernie Castle.
At Innerwick, half a mile farther up the glen, are the Parish Church, the war memorial [at the time of writing this would be the great war 1914-1918], and some faint traces of one of the Glenlyon round towers. Opposite it, on the south side of the river, stand the farm buildings of Kerremore. About 120 yards behind them is the neglected graveyard of Brenudh. Here also once stood a church, but it fell into decay about 1780. In the Chronicle of Fortingall mention is made of several persons of note who were buried there more than four hundred years ago. On the lands of Kerremore are also the sites of two more of the Fingalian castles, one at Kerruclach and the other in the side glen of Kerremore, about a mile and a half above Milton Eonan. The latter is specially styled An Castul, or the castle, because it occupied a strategic position on the pass between Glenlyon and Loch Tay. Through this pass runs the road from Bridge of Balgie across Larig an Lachan to Loch Tayside.
A little to the west of Bridge of Balgie, on the south side of the river, may be seen the picturesque hamlet of Milton Eonan. The name commemorates Eonan, the famous abbot of Iona and the biographer of St Columba, who is believed to have been the evangeliser of Glenlyon and the instructor of the people in many useful arts. He is said to have erected the first meal mill on the Milton stream. A mill was in operation there till about 1880, and its stout walls and arched doorway suggested a semi-ecclesiastical origin. About the above date it was denuded of its covering of Ben Lawers slates, and a few years ago its walls were carried away to repair Meggernie Drive - a proceeding which in our opinion should have been prohibited by the Ancient Monuments authorities.
From Bridge of Balgie starts the beautiful avenue which leads to Meggernie Castle. It stretches for a mile and a half along the bank of the Lyon through a double row of limes, elms and sycamores, and constitutes one of the finest avenues in Scotland. The castle to which it leads is situated on a fiat plain near the Lyon. The main portion of it, including the principal tower, was built by Mad Colin towards the close of the sixteenth century. More than a century later additions were made to it by Captain Campbell, of Glencoe fame. About the middle of the nineteenth century it was further extended by Ronald Stewart Menzies of Culdares, but his son sold the estate, in 1882, to the late John Bullogh, of Accrington. It is now the property of Sir Ernest Wills of Bristol.
Near the castle is Leachd nan Abrach, the Slab or Rock of the Lochaber men, where thirty-six of them were hanged on one tree. Their leader was shot by Mad Colin himself, at a spot since known as Carn Dughail, or Dugald's cairn. The entire band were caught red-handed by Colin and his followers while in the act of taking away a creach of cattle, sheep and horses from the glen. Colin was not scrupulous in carrying out his revenge, and he was accordingly cited to appear before the Privy Council to answer for his high-handed deeds; but nothing came of the trial.
About a mile to the west of the castle the Lyon flows through a deep gorge, where it rushes over rocks and boulders. The water here is broken up into little cataracts, and when the river is low the salmon have difficulty in surmounting the largest fall. At one time leisters and spears in dexterous hands took a heavy piscatorial tribute at this spot. This whole stretch of the river is very wild and grand, but, as it is situated far below the road, tourists generally miss it. The river is here spanned by a slender bridge, which affords a fine swing to those crossing it. Beyond this is the erased hamlet of Ross, near the Connait stream. This stream, which here joins the Lyon, drains Lochs Damh and Girre. When the MacGregors owned that portion of Glenlyon, Lochs was the sheiling ground of the Roro tenants, but it was afterwards turned into a large sheep farm. It reared some four thousand blackfaced sheep, as healthy and as large as could be found anywhere in Scotland. Now it is a deer forest, and its contribution to the resources of the nation is negligible.
A little to the west of Connait is the large sheep farm of Cashlie, which derives its name from the number of Fingalian castles that were situated on it. Here within a distance of not much more than a mile of one another were to be found four of the twelve Glenlyon round towers. One was in the field below Cashlie farm; another in the enclosed field to the west of this; the third above the road, not far from the second; and the last on Dail na Tulachain at Cambuslai. There was a fifth on the south side of the Lyon, a little to the east of Dalchierlich farm-house, but very few traces of it remain. The castle above the road is called Caisteal an Deirg, the castle of the red man. Campbell would like to identify the red man from whom the name is derived as Macbeth, and he also suggests that Linne mac Deargaidh, the pool of the red man's son, commemorates the son of that great figure in history and legend. The castle on Dail na Tulachain was known as Caisteal an Duibhe, or the castle of the dark man, whom Campbell would identify as King Duff, or Thane Macduff of Cawdor. The ,castle below the farm-house was known as Caisteal mhic Reill, the castle of MacNeill or MacRonald. The other Cashlie fort was called Caisteal Con a Bhacain, the castle of the dog's stake, a. name derived from a wonderful upright stone pillar, resembling the figure 7, to which, according to tradition, the hounds of the Fingalian huntsmen used to be tied. There is a legend that food used to be thrown to them from the castle, and they had to scramble for it as best they could.
Not far from this is Camus nan Carn, the hook of the cairns, where a number of the fugitives from the battle of Laggan a Chatha were slain. The cairns that mark their graves are still visible on the south side of the Lyon.
The farm to the west of Cashlie is Pubal, and near. it is a pool on the Lyon where, according to tradition, nine brothers of Sitheag, daughter of -the Earl of Lennox, and second wife of John of Lame, who. is usually called Black John of the Spears, were drowned while attempting to cross the river on the ice. According to the story, their sister, on hearing the news, went mad with grief and ran wild among the hills. Campbell, the authority to which we have repeatedly referred, suggests that the disaster associated with the pool may have occurred to the brothers of Sir John Stewart of Lorne's second wife. There is, however, nothing to corroborate this, and it isn't even certain that he had a second wife. On the other hand, it is known that Janet MacIsaac, the first wife of Black John of Lorne, who lived in the 14th century, died a long time before her husband, so that the latter may quite well have married a second time. Indeed Campbell himself elsewhere states that he did so, and that his second wife was the widow of Campbell of Lochawe. In any case, the Glenlyon tradition, our only source of information regarding the disaster, very definitely connects it with the brothers-in-law of Black John of Lorne, not with those of Sir John Stewart. [The view stated in the text is based on the identification of John of Lorne, who got the charter of Glenlyon in 1368, with Black John of the Spears of Glenlyon tradition, an identification which is accepted by Campbell, but which, as we shall see later, is not beyond doubt.] Some miles west of Pubal is the farm of Invermearan. The principal memorial connected with this, district is Macnee's Cairn in Glenmearan, the place where one of Colin Campbell's dairymaids was slain in a skirmish between cattle-lifters and their pursuers. About two miles to the west of Tomachaorin, in the glen through which the Abhainn Glas flows, is the last of the Glenlyon forts. It stands at the foot of Beinn a Chastuil, and to it the mountain owes its name. Near this is the Argyllshire march. In this remote region the very names of the mountains are classic. Among them are Beinn a Mhanach, the ben of monks; Beinn Dorain, which overlooks Glenlyon from the west; Ais an t-Sithean, and Achnahanait, the field of the mother church. The last named, however, is slightly over the Argyllshire march.
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