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St Fillans

River Fillan

Falls of Dochart
Falls Of Dochart

Clan MacNab

Clan MacNab History

Tour Glen Dochart

Glen Dochart is about fifteen miles long from Crianlarich to Killin. Near Crianlarich the Water of Fillan enters the small Loch Dochart. In this loch is an island which has the ruins of a castle formerly said to belong to the lawless clan MacGregor, although some accounts state it to have been a stronghold of the Campbells of Loch Awe and to have been one of the homes of Black Duncan Campbell of the Cowl (Black Duncan of the Seven Castles). There used to be another curious island in this loch. It was small, measuring approximately fifty feet by thirty feet and was a floating isle. Its formation was over a long period of years by the gradual interweaving of stems and roots of the aquatic vegetation in the loch and the combining together of the sediments contained in the water. A strong wind was able to blow this curiosity from one part of the loch to another.

Slightly further along the glen is another small loch, Loch Iubhair, this name signifies the Loch of the Yew Tree. The two lochs are joined by a stream of less than half a mile in length. It is actually the river Dochart, it having issued of course from the loch of that name and after flowing through Loch Iubhair continues on along the glen.

Glen Dochart saw much of famed Rob Roy MacGregor
throughout his turbulent and colourful life. He had two
homes in it, one at Port-an-Eilein, Port of the Island, this was where the crossing to the island castle in Loch
Dochart was made from; his other home was Coire-
chaorach, Corrie of the Sheep, in the shadow of Ben
More, 3843 feet. This mountain and its neighbour Stob
Inneoin, 3,821 feet, are both on the south side of the

The valley also has strong associations with St. Fillan and his relics were entrusted to certain Glen Dochart people and the office was hereditary. Various of these are still in the locality, most of them at the village of Killin at the lower end of the glen. Amongst them are St. Fillan’s healing stones. They are kept in a niche in the wall of the old St. Fillan’s mill close by the Falls of Dochart. Each stone was for a different part of the body and they do bear something of a resemblance to the respective parts. It was laid down that no person must work in the mill on St. Fillan’s Day, January 20th, January 9th, old style and this custom continued for thirteen centuries. When it was once disobeyed the man concerned was involved in a serious accident.

One of the oldest Celtic fonts still in use in the Highlands is the one in the little white church at Killin. This is reputed to belong to the ninth century. Behind the old schoolhouse is a standing stone said to be the burial place of Fionn, leader of the Fingalian warriors.

The history of the glen is also bound up with that of Clan MacNab whose origin dates back to the lay Abbots of Glen Dochart and still further again to the far off days of St. Fillan thirteen centuries ago. The MacNabs fought against King Robert the Bruce and so lost their lands but regained possession again some years later. During the remainder of the fourteenth century and the following century the chief’s home was Bovain on the opposite side of the river Dochart from the glens junction with Glen Ogle. By the early sixteenth century the money was becoming scarce but not so were the colourful characters of the clan. “Smooth John” MacNab for example lived in the middle of the seventeenth century and he and his brothers all had powerful arms which could drive their dirks through a two inch board. Under this chief the clan supported the Stuarts during the Civil Wars and served under the Marquis of Montrose. This same chief was later killed at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. His residence was Ellanryne at Killin but about 1655 Kinnell House became the home of the chiefs. it was in the early eighteenth century whilst Archibald was the seventeenth chief that the lands fell into the hands of the Campbells of Glenorchy.

Glen Dochart has a high rainfall and the colours of its vegetation are predominantly dark green, thus giving it something of a gloomy appearance. For the most part its river flows quietly through it but at Killin it divides around the island called Garbhinish, Rough Island, on which stand tall and aged Scots firs, then it crashes over the rocks here forming the scenic Falls of Dochart and roars under the bridge to divide again around Inchbuie as though guarding the sleeping chiefs of the clan MacNab who are buried there, shortly after wards being joined by the Lochay and then drops into the western end of Loch Tay. Kinnel House stands on one side of the junction of the rivers Dochart and Lochay whilst on the other side is ruined Finlarig Castle which was originally possessed by Drummonds but was sold to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy in 1503. His successor, the notorious Black Duncan, added to the building.

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