It was in the 5th and 6th
centuries AD that the Christian missionaries fro Iona moved into the wild
country beyond the Dumalban Ridge. To the pagan Celts of Rannoch, the
story of Jesus, the brave young god who came from an equivalent of Tir nan
Og presented similar attractions to their own beliefs in eternal life, but
what impressed them most was the bravery and sincerity of the priests.
Brave they had to be to cross difficult mountains, to face not only the
imaginary dangers of wizards and demons but the real dangers of flooded
rivers and barbarous men; and sincere they had to be to devote their lives
to others. These holy men lived as hermits in their chosen districts or
they set up cells which they continued to visit year after year.
was the first missionary to visit
Rannoch. He established his cell in the old Druidís Grove of
Lassintullich where the early inhabitants worshipped by the ancient
standing stone. Here also was the sacred healing well which became known
as St. Peterís Well which had been commonly used in pagan times. His
church was built on the place which has become known as Tom an t Seipel or
Chapel Hill, and it was consecrated with sacred dust from Iona. The
present ruin occupies the site of the ancient chapel and the present
building recalls the primitive architecture of the Celts with its small
round headed window. The standing stone has been inscribed with a cross
by the Christians in later years. St. Blane died in AD 590.
who gave his name to Innerhadden was
said to have found the people in this area in a sad state but he laboured
in the fields with them and encouraged them so that it was said that he
brought a new hope to one and all. The grave yard said to be the site of
his cell is set in a most peaceful and beautiful grove overlooked by
Schichallion. He had many other cells to visit but he came to Rannoch
once a year.
had a reputation for extensive journeys
and it is not surprising that he had frequent visits to this region. Both
Dunalastair and Carie claim to have connections with him.
consecrated the old church of St.
Conanís with the sacred dust from Iona. Killichonan burial ground is said
to be the old churchyard. A St. Congan is also mentioned as having been
buried here so there may be a confusion of names.
Other burial ground in Rannoch have the names of Saints
attached to them; St. Lukes at Dunalastair with its ancient spring called
Argentine; St. Michaels of Camghouran and St. Maronaig of Carie being
examples. Although some say that there would appear to be more saints
than sinners in Rannoch at that time, there is no doubt that these men
brought great benefit to the area.
In later days the graveyards became particular clan burial
grounds. Killichonan contains the MacGregors, St. Michaelís, the
Camersons, St. Lukes the Robertsons and Innerhadden and Lassintullich the