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Netherlorn and its Neighbourhood
Chapter IX - Kilninver


"Is the remembrance of battles always pleasant to the soul? Do not we behold with joy the place where our fathers feasted? But our eyes are full of tears on the fields of their war. This stone shall rise, with all its moss, and speak to other years."--Ossian.

AFTER his futile attempt upon Craignish Castle, Alexander MacDonald, in his progress northwards, invaded Melfort. The laird, John Campbell, was absent with his retainers in attendance upon Argyll, and his wife, endeavouring to appease the fierce enemies of her clan, gave orders to have a sumptuous repast laid in the mansion-house, then at Ardinstur, for their entertainment, while she and all the inhabitants hid themselves in the woods and mountain retreats. The hostile army, having arrived at the house, regaled themselves with the food and drink provided, and being in high good humour, MacDonald issued strict injunctions to his men not to meddle with any of Melfort's property. Shortly after leaving, and as he ascended the hill to pass over into the neighbouring district of Kilninver, he noticed the house in flames. In a great fury he caused enquiry to be made, and hanged three Irishmen, who were found guilty, upon a gallows erected upon the summit of the hill known as Kenmor, at a place called Tom-a-chrochaidh (the mound of hanging).

Alexander and his army thereafter passed over the hill by a place called Doire nan cliabh (the grove of the Creels)-- the mountain track formerly much frequented by wayfarers to and from Easdale roughly indicates the route - and arrived in the evening at the house of Ardmaddie, where the Royalist laird, John Maol MacDougall, resided. Next day the host of armed men proceeded up a pretty little glen called Glen Risdale, over the ridge bounding Glen Euchar on the south, down Allt Timlich, to Reray House, also a seat of the MacDougalls. Here the army rested to allow stragglers to rejoin. A small body of Campbells, under lan beag Campbell of Bragleen awaited battle at a place called Laganmor, and as Alasdair MacColla’s men moved to the fight, the pipers struck up a war-tune, since known as "Mnathan a' ghlinne so" (the women of this glen). The words applied to the composition had a dreadful portent: -

"A' Mhnathan a' ghlinne so, ghlinne so, ghlinne so;
A' Mhnathan a' ghlinne so,
'S mithich dhuibh eiridh"—

words imploring the women of the fateful glen to arise and fly for their lives. The wail of the tune--it might be called a dirge--was well calculated to inspire the inhabitants with the feeling that desperate work was at hand; but none in that sweetest and most peaceful of glens could conjecture the horrors of the day which had just dawned upon the mountains. The action between the opposing forces was short, but decisive; the Campbells were hopelessly beaten, and their leader, a, man of great strength and courage, was taken prisoner. Thereafter MacDonald caused his men to scour the glen and its neighbourhood, and drive all the women, children, and old men to the secluded hollow where the fight had taken place. There these inoffensive people, whose only fault was that they belonged to the execrated clan Campbell, were, together with the prisoners, shut up in a large barn, and the building set on fire. All were consumed, with the exception of the Campbell general, John of Bragleen, who, putting a peat creel on his head, burst through the half-consumed doorway; and a young woman who followed in his wake, and who, being very fleet of foot, quickly out-distanced her pursuers. Her descendants are still in the district. John of Bragleen was recaptured, and being brought before the Royalist general was asked: "What would you do, John, if I was in your place?". "I would give you a chance for life. Form a wide circle of soldiers around me, and if I can break through, let me go," remarked John. This was done, but try as he would, he could not manage to break through by force. Having recourse to stratagem, he made as if to force his way, but suddenly throwing his sword high in the air, his opponents, endeavouring to avoid the sword in its flight, allowed John the chance he desired of slipping past. John Campbell and Alexander MacDonald had many subsequent encounters, but in all their fighting they appear to have had kindly feelings and genuine respect for one another, and in times of strait to have afforded each other what is known as "cothrom na Feinne" (the fair play of the Fingalians).

The barn where this massacre was perpetrated is known as Sabhal nan Cnamh (the Barn of the Bones), and a heap of ruins close to the main road at Laganmor in Glen Euchar marks the spot.

The history of Sir Alexander MacDonald is one long record of war and rapine. He was of that branch of the MacDonalds represented by the Antrim family: his father, the notorious Colkitto (Colla ciotach--left-handed Coll), played a prominent part in the wars of the previous half-century, when the Crown's method of pacification was ''garring ane devil dang anither"; his mother was of the Campbells of Achnambreac in Cowal. Macdonald was a fearless soldier, and a skilful leader of irregular troops. A Celt himself, he thoroughly understood the nature of Highland soldiers, and led them in such a manner as to develop their fighting power to its fullest extent. He may have been no great strategist, and his defence of Kintyre, before the final expulsion of the Royalist troops, was puerile; but his hardships during the previous years, his life of constant danger and excessive exertion, added to an inclination for huge potations of "aqua vitae," had by that time dulled his intellect, and made him at times more of an unreasoning savage. It was different when he first landed at Knoidart from Ireland in July 1644. His march thence across Scotland to join Montrose near Perth was carried out in a soldierly and skilful manner. His ships were burned by the enemy, and retreat thus impossible; he was closely pursued by Argyll’s army; a large force of the northern clans under the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness lay at the head of Strathspey, ready to take him in flank; and yet by a swiftness and boldness which imposed upon his enemies and paralysed their movements, he executed the difficult flank march with no loss, and showed that he possessed tactical qualities of no mean order. Thereafter he took part with Montrose in the battles of Tippermuir and Aberdeen. Argyll, who had, with a greatly superior force, followed the Royalist army, but had failed to engage them owing to the celerity of their movements and his own ponderous method of conducting a campaign, now made a serious attempt to bring about an action. Montrose, choosing suitable ground at Fyvie, turned about, although much outnumbered, and accepted battle; but Argyll, failing to dislodge him at the first irresolute onset, retired his army which he shortly thereafter disbanded, he himself proceeding to Edinburgh, where the Committee of Estates received him in no good humour. It was at this juncture, although it was now midwinter, and against all the rules of war to campaign, that Montrose and MacDonald determined to glut to the full their appetite for revenge upon Argyll and his clan. The army was divided into three parties, under the command of the Marquis, MacDonald, and Clanranald. The whole of central Argyllshire was wasted by fire and sword; Clanranald's force killed, it is said, nine hundred men; but none did the execution of Alexander MacDonald and his host. He had a century of family wrongs, one might say of racial feuds, to spur him on; and in his lust of fury and hate he spared neither sex nor age, house nor cattle. It was at this time that his expedition to Netherlorn was made; and his name has remained such a, terror in the districts inhabited by the Campbell clans, that mothers, to quieten unruly children, still speak of "Alasdair MacColla, fear tholla nan tighean" ("Alasdair, son of Coll, the man who destroys the houses").

Argyll, hearing of this invasion of his territory, left Edinburgh hurriedly for Inveraray, and sent round the fiery cross to gather his clan in defence of the district. So speedy, however, were Montrose's movements, that he was within two miles of Inveraray ere the Campbell chief was aware of his presence in Argyllshire. Here, and again at Inverlochy, Argyll proved that, however bold he might be as a statesman, however brave politically, he was no soldier. On this occasion he entered a fishing smack and fled to Dumbarton, leaving his country and his people to their fate. There was thus do organised resistance, and many hostile tribes too willing to help in the work of destruction, so that for six weeks there was wholesale murder and rapine: the fair land was left a desert of smoking ruins.

Towards the end of January 1645 Montrose withdrew his forces to the north, and had reached Kilchuimein (now Fort Augustus) on his way to Inverness to engage the army of Seaforth, when he received the startling intelligence that Argyll, with a mixed force of Highlanders and Lowlanders, had reached Inverlochy in pursuit; while another army was being organised in the south under the command of General Baillie to prevent his retreat there. He resolved to beat these armies in detail. Turning round and concealing his movements as much as possible, he led his army through unfrequented and snow-covered passes, descended upon Lochlinne and completely surprised Argyll and his army. To Alasdair MacDonald, as Major- General, the leadership in the actual fighting fell; indeed, in local tradition Montrose is not mentioned as being in the engagements at all. The onset was vehement: the Covenanting army was almost annihilated: the pursuit was more dreadful than the battle. Argyll, with his usual caution, had taken refuge on his galley before the fight began, leaving the army in charge of his cousin, Achnambreac, who was taken prisoner. When brought before Alasdair, the Campbell general was roughly asked what death he would prefer. Achnambreac spoke of his relationship to MacDonald. Alasdair replied: "I do not doubt that you are my uncle, but would you rather die by sword or rope?" " 'S truagh mi fhiein," replied Achnambreac, "da dhiu gun aon roghainn" ("Woe is me, two evils and one choice"), a saying which has become proverbial. MacDonald thereupon drew his sword and killed him. This is probably the Campbell version of the story. According to another version Alasdair was most anxious to save his uncle, and after the battle enquired of the leader of the Irish contingent, a Major Manus MacNamara, if any one knew aught of his relative. Manus replied: " Tha e air an raon ‘ud thall 's e thar os a chionn 's feuch an, d'thoir thusa beo e" ("He is on yonder field with his back to the ground, see if you can bring him to life"). The battle was fought on 2nd February 1645.

MacDonald fought subsequently along with Montrose in the siege and sack of Dundee, the battles of Auldearn and Alford, and the crowning victory of Kilsyth, which laid all Scotland at the feet of Montrose. At this battle, so great was the carnage, that of six thousand Covenanting foot, not more than one hundred, it is said, escaped with their lives. In. the retreat, Argyll, who was present as one of the Committee of Estates, "never looked over his shoulder," says Guthrie, "until, after twenty miles' hard riding, he reached the South Queensferry, where he possessed himself of a boat again." Wishart sarcastically refers to the same circumstance, "and it is evident that the Marquis's fondness for an ark of safety had become a bye-word". Alasdair MacDonald was knighted after this battle.

Montrose was now paramount in Scotland, but a sad disappointment awaited him, for shortly thereafter MacDonald and the Highlanders returned home with their booty. The former, unable to sacrifice his private inclination for the good of a cause, proceeded to satiate his feelings of animosity in further harassing and, if possible, exterminating the Campbells. He held out in Argyllshire for two years, but the cautious and indefatigable Leslie was now on his track, and MacDonald for the last time rallied his troops around him. The spot chosen for rendezvous was near the south end of Loch Awe, and on striking the pole of his standard into the ground a silver piece of money was thrown out of the soil. Alasdair asked the name of the place, and was told it was Goc am go. He now remembered the prediction of his nurse: "All will go well with you until you fix your standard at Goc am go, and the place you will know by a piece of money leaping from the ground as you plant your flagstaff." He was now seized with superstitious terror and incontinently fled to Ireland, making no attempt to defend the passes into Kintyre, and leaving his men to the tender mercies of the Covenanting army. Three hundred of his best troops were left to defend the Castle of Dunaverty at the Mull of Kintyre. After a lengthy siege, the castle, which had no proper water supply, surrendered; and, at the instigation of a Presbyterian minister of the name of Neaves, the garrison were massacred in cold blood. Three people escaped this fate, MacDougall of Kilmun in Lorn, and an infant, saved through the compassion of a Campbell who cut off a piece of his tartan plaid and wrapped it round the child, whose nurse was thus enabled to pass through Leslie's lines.

Shortly afterwards Sir Alexander MacDonaId was killed in an obscure fight in Ireland.

The public road from Melfort, emerging from the pass, skirts the side of the River Oude for some miles, and at Blaran the entrance to the Corrie of Lorn is passed. A lonely mountain lake, Loch Tralaig, from which the Oude takes its rise, occupies the basin of the glen: the sloping hills surrounding it are known as the Braes of Lorn. From Blaran the road rapidly descends through a delightfully wooded ravine, called Glengallan, to the valley of Euchar, occupied by a river of the same name, which, after a meandering course of 3 miles, enters the sea at Kilninver, close to the mouth of Loch Feochan.

Glen Euchar presents excellent examples of river terracing. It is a debated question whether the successive falls in the level of the river were caused by a corresponding elevation in the coast-line or by a progressive diminution in the size of the river due to altered meteorological or climatic conditions, such as oscillations in rainfall or the retreat of glaciers. Probably in this case we have a glacier-worn valley filled up by the detritus of the diluvial period, the river thereafter, with the retreat of the ice and from other causes, assuming successively smaller proportions, each period being marked by a deposit of alluvium during floods on its banks, forming the flat terraces in question, the process being repeated as fresh, deeper, and more contracted channels were cut. In Glen Euchar three distinct terraces are to be noted: the middle one is broad enough to be cultivated, and on one of the fields the old mansion-house of Reray is built. The Euchar affords good salmon fishing, the fish travelling upwards to the spawning-ground in Loch Scammadal. At one time, indeed until very recently, the farmers of the glens provided themselves with a winter's supply of salmon from the pools of the river, by the aid of torch and spear. The fish, often of great size, were cut up, and salted in barrels, and, being a staple article of food during the winter, were not considered much of a delicacy. The rivers are now more carefully watched, so that, if the practice still persists, it is carried out with such precautions as to render discovery improbable.

At Kilninver the road divides, one branch passing along the east side of Loch Feochan to Oban; the other, up the steep gradient known as Bealach 'n Daimh Dhuinn (the Pass of the Brown Stirk) or Kilninver Brae to the Easdale district. From the top of this brae a good view of the hills of Mid and Upper Lorn is got. Among the peaks visible are Deadh Choimhead (the Pleasant Prospect), the twin peaks of Cruachan, Ben Starbh (the Stalwart Ben) at the head of Loch Etive, Bidean nam Bian (the Peak of the Pelts), the highest mountain in Argyllshire, Buachaill' Eite (the Herd of Etive), and many others.

About a mile from Kilninver on the shores of Loch Feochan, quite close to the public road, there is a natural pier of rock, where vessels discharge cargoes of coal and other material for the use of the farmers of the glens: the rock is known as Creag na Marbh (the Rock of the Dead). Fifty yards from the shore the remains of what must have been a huge heap of stones, known as Carn Alpin, still withstand the tides and waves. Alpin was a great warrior King of the Scots, and father of Kenneth, the reputed conqueror of the Picts and the founder of the undivided Scottish monarchy. The district round about Kilninver appears to have been the scene of much of the strife betwixt the rival houses of Fergus and Loarn for the overlordship of Dalriada; thus we hear of the fight at Rossfoichne (congressio Irroisfoichne), the promontory of Feochan, between those tribes, and again of the battle of Finaglen (A.D. 719) at the head of Glen Euchar, between Ainbhceallaig and Sealbach, two brothers of the house of Loarn, for the chiefship of the race, in which the former was slain. The battle is remembered as Cath Fhionnaghleann or Blar nam Braithrean (the Battle of the Brothers). The little nation, probably in consequence of these internecine struggles, had much to do to protect itself from the warlike Picts and Britons; but we find it clinging tenaciously to the shores and islands, growing slowly, not by immigration from the parent country, but by its own natural increase, a growth which hardened and educated, which engrained a spirit of caution and self-reliance still characteristic of the descendants. It was not for many centuries after its establishment in Argyll that it found itself powerful enough to make a decisive move across the Ridge of Alban (A.D. 844), then its progress was rapid. Coming like a flash out of the darkness of those days, we hear of the king transferring his seat from Lorn to Forteviot and Scone, and in a few years afterwards becoming the undisputed lord of much of what is now modern Scotland. But still the veneration for their homeland was such that, however afar they met their death, the bodies of the princes were carried slowly and reverently across the borders of Argyll, and through their beloved Lorn to the place of embarkation on the shores of Loch Feochan, where, at Creag na Marbh, the galley awaited the remains for removal to Iona; and where, to this day, stands the lonely cairn amidst the waters in memory of the Royal Race of Alpin and Fergus, a race which in unbroken succession is represented to-day by our gracious sovereign King Edward. As Father Innes, the historian, wrote: "From King Fergus the Second, son of Erc, till James the VI, the last of our kings who resided in Scotland, and the first of Great Britain, we have 63 kings hereditarily succeeding one another during the space of 1100 years, which is a greater antiquity than any hereditary monarch in Europe of one uninterrupted race can pretend to."

The entrance to Loch Feochan from the Firth of Lorn is between Rudha nam Boghanan (the Promontory of the Reefs) near the Toad of Lorn, and Minard Point, the southern extremity of Kilbride pariah. On each of these headlands we find a. specimen of the "curvilinear" fort. One of these, Dun Mhic Rhaoul, is in a fair state of preservation; it is built upon the top of a tower-shaped rock 30 feet high, rising from a broad terrace 90 feet above the sea. The building is roughly quadrangular; and access was given to the fort, from the landward side only, by a slope or glacis, which was defended by two outer ramparts of stone. There are traces of a circular building inside the walls, probably the foundation of a hut-dwelling, similar to those found in Dunchonail.

Hut circles are found in many places apart from the interior of forts, generally upon the slope of a hill facing the warmer aspects. They were, for purposes of defence, segregated into little village communities; but occasionally we find a solitary hut circle in the most lonely place; an example is found at the summit of the pass known as Bealach 'n daimh dhuinn. Its isolated position gave rise to the tradition that here was an ambush for unwary travellers; hence the name by which it was known - Leaba fhalach (the Bed of Spying): and in all probability the circular depression in question may have been used as such, ages after the superstructure of turf and wattle had disappeared; while its position, commanding the passes on both sides of the ridge, made it very suitable for the purpose.

Until a few years ago, a large "standing-stone" stood upon the alluvial flats formed at the entrance of the Euchar into Loch Feochan; the gradual alteration in the course of the river led to its downfall. We do not know what was the special significance of these monuments of a distant age; they may be tombstone or cenotaph, or commemorative of some great event in the history of the tribes; or more likely have had some connection with the mysteries of their religion. We have already referred to the association of this district with the funeral processions of the early Scottish kings, and half a mile from the mouth of the Euchar, on the Melfort road, there is a steep defile whose name, Bealach an t-sleuch-daich (the Pass of Prostration), refers, in all likelihood, to some ceremonial in connection with burial customs or worship. Or it may be that here, where the traveller from the interior gets a first glimpse of the outlet of Loch Feochan and the great sea beyond, the primitive inhabitants were in the habit of prostrating themselves in adoration and prayer before that element which in all--and much more in the untutored minds of a simple folk---gives rise to feelings of awe and reverence; and ideas of indefinable mystery. The same place-name is attached to a defile in the hills betwixt Inveraray and Cladich; and a cross, lately removed - the Cross of Prostration - marked the spot where the glorious expanse of Loch Awe, with its inset of verdant islands, Innistrynich and Innishail - the Hesperides of ancient Celtic mythology - bursts into view. The scenery around Loch Feochan is very attractive. Half a mile from the entrance the loch trends sharply to the left, and continues in a north-easterly direction for the remaining four miles of its length. On the west side, the peninsular part of Kilbride parish presents a typical example of the terraced, volcanic hills of Lorn; on the east the slopes are dotted with plantations of larch mottled with the darker colour of spruce and other evergreens, with occasional stretches of natural growth in which the birch and rowan predominate. Towards the head of the loch, the valley widens, and an expanse of broad pastures and cultivated fields, sheltered by belts of trees, interposes between the loch and the engirdling hills. Through the flat meadow-land the rivers Nell and Feochan pursue a serpentine course. From Kilmore, the pleasant hamlet occupying the centre of the landscape, four natural lines of communication radiate between the mountain spurs: the main-road leads to the left to the town of Oban; another road passes along Loch Nell to Connel and up Glen Lonan to Taynuilt; a third passes through Glen Feochan over the Monadh Meadhonach (Mid Muir) to Taychreggan on Loch Awe-side; while the fourth - a mere bridle-path - leaves the loch-side at Balinoe, and passing over the col between Glen Feochan and the upper reaches of Glen Euchar, descends along the Pas Ruadh (the Ruddy Waterfall) on Loch Scammadal. The road up Glen Euchar skirting Loch Scammadal deviates to the right by Bragleen, over the hills at Finaglen, across the String of Lorn, along Loch Avich to Portinsherrich ferry on Loch Awe. A century ago this was the principal line of communication between Netherlorn and the Low-country; and the district being then in point of population and industries quite as important as Mid-Lorn, it was proposed, after the passing of the Roads and Bridges Act in 1803, to construct a main line of road in this direction. People in those days thought little of a foot journey from Easdale to Glasgow, which an able-bodied man completed in one day; indeed, the story is told of a shepherd who accomplished the distance from Glasgow to Bunessan in the Ross of Mull in twenty hours, making use of the ferries then existing on Loch Long, Loch Fyne, and Loch Awe, and that between Ardencaple on Seil Island and Crogan in Mull. With the advent of steamer communication between Glasgow and the West Coast, the practice was discontinued; but until 1878, when the railway to Oban was completed, it was a common event for Netherlorn farmers who had estate business to transact to do the journey on foot, to and from Bealach, as Taymouth, the residence of Lord Breadalbane, is still called, a distance of 180 miles, in three days.

The best view of Loch Scammadal is got from Laganbeg, a small all shelf of arable land in the hills on the west side of the loch; and the climb imposed is amply compensated by the typically Highland valley scene displayed. If by further effort the summit of An Creachan (1,200 feet) is attained, the difficulties of the ascent increase the pleasure of the view we obtain from the top. The prospect, which is in a way similar to that got from many of the lower eminences in the district, attains its attractiveness by the proximity and proud preeminence of Cruachan. From here the Ben looks its best, its grand cone bursting heavenwards like the giant it is, dwarfing all its neighbours. The graceful contours of the plateau ridges, the sinuosities of the coast-line, the numerous silvery threads of sea, loch, and strait are enhanced in beauty by the greater height from which we see it all. The view from the topmost peak of a country, whence we can see a more or less uniform horizon, is apt to strike the perception as curious and interesting: we gaze upon a completed picture which leaves little to the imagination. It does not appeal to one so much as that which we now contemplate from an intermediate height, where one-fourth of the circumference is filled with towering hills striving to attain the zenith: the mind, comparing the beauty of the landscape unfolded below, pleasurably exaggerates the probabilities of the unknown scenery beyond the barriers.

At the head of Loch Scammadal is the small estate of Bragleen, once the property of a family of the name of Campbell. This family was intimately associated with the history of the supposed loss and subsequent recovery of the Brooch of Lorn. The famous ornament was at one time the property of King Robert the Bruce. After the disastrous battle of Methven, the King was obliged to hide in the wilds of the West Highlands, where the MacDonalds of the Isles gave him protection. The MacDougalls of Lorn, however, whose chief, Alexander de Argadia, had married a daughter of that John of Badenoch, the Red Comyn, whom Bruce had slain in the Greyfriars church in Dumfries, were his implacable foes. They opposed Bruce with relentless animosity, and on one occasion at Dalrigh (the King's field), near Tyndrum, his party was assailed with such fury that he escaped with the greatest difficulty. During the retreat three MacDougalls waylaid him near Loch Dochart. Bruce, who doubtless was clad in armour, managed to slay the three, but left the brooch which bound his plaid in the dying grasp of one of the heroic Highlanders.

"Whence that brooch of burning gold,
That clasps the Chieftain's mantlefold,
Wrought and chased with rare device,
Studded fair with gems of price?

"No! thy splendours nothing tell
Foreign art or fairy spell,
Moulded thou for monarch's use
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn
By the victor hand of Lorn !"

--SCOTT, The Lord of the Isles.

For centuries thereafter the brooch remained a priceless possession in the hands of the MacDougall family. Bruce, when securely seated upon the Scottish throne, visited the lands of the MacDougalls with fire and sword, besieged and took their principal stronghold of Dunstaffnage, which he placed in charge of "an individual of the name of Campbell", who was installed there as Royal Constable. The lands of Alexander de Argadia were forfeited and bestowed upon the already powerful family of MacDonald, whose leader, Angus Og, had remained the loyal supporter of the King during the great struggle for the independence of Scotland. John de Argadia, having married a niece of the King's, regained possession of much of his father's property in the reign of David II, who desired, before entering upon his unfortunate war with England, to conciliate this powerful family. Of this marriage there was an only child, who as heiress carried Lorn Proper, with the exception of the old Dunolly estate, which reverted to a collateral branch, to her husband Robert Stewart, who afterwards sold the lordship of Lorn to his brother, John Stewart of Innermeath. In the third generation the estate was bequeathed to the three daughters of the last Stewart Lord of Lorn, through whose marriages the ancient patrimony of the MacDougalls passed into the hands of their hereditary enemies the Campbells of Lochaw and Breadalbane. It is from this connection that the latter family, and many others of the name of Campbell, bear upon their coats armorial the "fess chequy" of the Stewarts. The MacDougalls of Dunolly continued to enjoy the small territory left them until the rising of 1715, "when the representative incurred the penalty of forfeiture for his accession to the insurrection of that period; thus losing the remains of his inheritance to replace upon the throne the descendants of those princes whose accession his ancestors had opposed at the expense of their feudal grandeur." The estate was, however, restored in 1745.

It is related that after the defeat of Montrose, and the ruin thereby of Royalist hope in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament sent an expedition under Colonel Montgomery to besiege the MacDougall strongholds. Dunolly successfully resisted attack, but Gylen Castle in the island of Kerrara was sacked and burned. Among the treasures of the castle was the Brooch of Lorn, and it was supposed that the famous heirloom was destroyed by fire: the MacDougalls preferring to believe this, than that the jewel had fallen into the hands of their enemies. The Campbells of Bragleen, whose ancestor of Inverawe had taken a principal part in the siege of Gylen, made no mention of their possession of the Brooch until one hundred and seventy years afterwards, when under the will of the Laird of Bragleen it was sent to a firm of auctioneers in London to be sold, and the proceeds divided among the testator's family. It is said that the Prince Regent made an offer; but eventually it was bought by Lieutenant-General Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, who, in 1826, presented it to his friend and neighbour, the late Admiral MacDougall of MacDougall, the representative of its ancient possessors.

Whether or not the Brooch so recovered is the Bruce's Brooch is open to doubt. It is more likely that it is of much later date, probably the early fifteenth century. It belongs to the class known as Reliquary brooches, which contained below the dome-shaped centre a small cavity in which a relic of a saint or other religious token was kept. Its workmanship is not of the best Celtic character, but of a somewhat depraved type. The Lochbuie Brooch, figured by Pennant, and the Brooch of Ugadal are of the same class. The latter, a beautiful reproduction of which may be seen in the Scottish Museum of Antiquities, is also said to be a gift from Bruce to Mackay, the ancestor of the Ugadal family.

Note: Artificial reef hailed a success
Scottish scientists say experiments using artificial reefs made of concrete to boost fish stocks are proving successful. The project has been undertaken by a team from the Oban-based Scottish Association for Marine Science. The concrete habitat is located off the west coast of Scotland in the Lynn of Lorn, near the island of Lismore. The site was chosen for its lack of fishing activity, but is teeming with life just a year into the project. Research director Dr Martin Sayer said the reefs offer a potential lifeline for Britain's struggling fishermen. Larger-scale constructions could serve either as a commercial fisheries in their own right or as providers for commercial fisheries. Blocks weighing up to 40 kilograms were used to create the reef structures, which act as a shelter for fish and shellfish to breed. It is anticipated that over a million blocks will be in use by the time the project is completed in 2005. [Story filed: 14:52 Monday 6th January 2003]


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