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60 years : 60 sites : our anniversary tree

    As part of our 60th anniversary celebrations in 2023 we created a tree of 60 local heritage sites that went to the Argyllshire Gathering and to the St Conans Kirk Christmas tree festival 

    If you want to know which of the very many local heritage sites we used to create the 60 CD’s 
    This is just a drop in the ocean of what we could include – and some of the inspiration that we could use to create a local history resource on this website. 

            60 Local HERITAGE SITES celebrating OUR 60TH ANNIVERSARY 2023

    1. Caisteal Suidhe Cheannaidh – One of the best preserved duns in Lorn. Occupies a commanding position overlooking the valley that runs between Taynuilt and Kilchrenan.
    2. Beinn Lora – Standing at 308 meters, Beinn Lora commands breathtaking views of the Nether Lorn region. Located near the village of Benderloch, this hill is easily accessible and well worth the short hike. 
    3. Pass of Brander cairns (potential battle site) – It is speculated that the cairns on this site are for the fallen MacDougall men, killed during the battle of the Pass of Brander, 1308. Other sources claim the cairns hold much older origins, with others suggesting that they are clearance cairns. A very interesting site nonetheless. 
    4. Innish Chonnel Castle – This castle can be found on an Island on Loch Awe, directly across from Dalavich. It is not known exactly who built the original castle, although it is speculated that it was either the MacDougalls or Campbells. Phases of construction date from the 13th-17th century.
    5. Fraoch Eilean Castle – Located at the north end of Loch Awe, 1 km NE of Inishail. The castle is first recorded in 1267 in a charter of Alexander III to Gilechrist MacNachdan (MacNaughton). Laterly, this prominent family became vassals of the Campbells. 
    6. Caisteal Na Nighinn Ruaidhe – The ruins of this castle can be found on a small island on the west side of Loch Avich. Likely a Campbell castle, though the early history is unclear. The castle of the red haired maiden, as it translates in English, may derive from Bridget, daughter of the toiseach of Loch Avich, who married Donald Campbell of Craignish.  
    7. Battle site of Lagganmore – This battle took place in 1647 as part of the Scottish civil war, resulting in a Royalist victory. Clan Donald, MacDougall and MacAulay were victorious over Clan Campbell, MacCallum and MacNaughtan. 
    8. Carn Chailean – Located above loch na sreinge on a track leading from Loch Avich to Loch Scammadale. This cairn is said to commemorate the death of Colin Campbell of Loch Awe whilst fighting the MacDougalls at the battle of the red ford, 1294.
    9. Appin murder cairn – The cairn stands in a forestry commission plantation near craigallan cottage. The cairn marks the spot of Campbell of Glenure’s murder.
    10. James of the Glen memorial – A memorial to James Stewart who was executed at this site in 1752 for the notorious Appin Murder. 
    11. Battle of Stalk memorial – To commemorate the battle between the combined forces of the Stewarts of Appin and the MacLarens, and the MacDougalls and MacFarlanes. 1468.
    12. Connel Bridge – The bridge was built by Arrol’s bridge and roof company to carry the Ballachulish branch line of the Callander and Oban railway, which opened on the 20th of August 1903. 
    13. Hutchison’s Monument – This landmark was erected in 1883 as a memorial to the entrepreneurial ship owner, David Hutchison, who founded the regular ferry service to the Islands from Oban. The company would later become Caledonian MacBrayne.
    14. Easdale Island slate industry – In the 18th and 19th century, the slate quarries of Easdale, along with other neighboring islands helped room the world.
    15. Tirefour Broch – This great defensive structure located on the east side of Lismore was built around 2500 years ago. Very little is known of the history. 
    16. Achanduin Castle – The ruins of this ancient castle can be found on the west side of Lismore. Likely built in the 13th century by the MacDougalls, the fortification was long held by the bishops of Argyll until the mid sixteenth century. 
    17. Coeffin Castle – This ruined castle, on the west of Lismore, is said to have been built upon the site of a previous viking fort. The name is said to derive from a danish prince, Caifen, whose sister supposedly haunted the castle until her remains were taken back to Norway. The current ruins dates to the 13th century and was likely built by the MacDougalls.
    18. Lismore Parish Church – The present church, built in 1749, stands on the foundations of a 13th century cathedral and is dedicated to Saint Moluag. It is said that Saint Molouag likely had a church located on this site in the 6th century. 
    19. Gylen Castle – Built in 1587 by Duncan MacDougall, then chief of the clan. As a stronghold Gylen had a short existence being burned in 1647 by the covenanter forces under General Leslie. 
    20. McCaig’s Tower – Built in 1897 by local banker John Stewart McCaig, the aim of the tower was to provide work for local stonemasons and a lasting monument to the McCaig family. 
    21. Keil Chapel and Burial Ground, Duror – A designated scheduled monument, Keil chapel and burial ground sits just to the SW of Keil House, Duror.First described in 1354 this late medieval church fell out of use sometime after 1630. The burial ground continued to be used up into the 1800’s and contains many beautifully carved gravestones, and is also the resting place of James Stewart, Seamus a’ Ghlinne.
    22. Boat Noust , Airds Bay Appin – A boat shelter or ‘noust’ is described on the 1st edition OS map. Built on a natural inlet in the rocks, facing away from the sea, it is very well hidden. It has been built up several times evidenced by the differing stonework, and was last used in the 1950’s. 
    23. Fish Trap , Airds Bay, Appin – A very large stone fish trap extends from the southern shore of Airds Bay. It has a significantly sized gap of about 2m where a ‘gate’ would have been fixed when trapping the fish on the outgoing tide. There is also the remains of an older and much less obvious fish trap across on the northtern side of the bay. 
    24. Victorian Bathing House, Airds Bay, Appin – An intact but derelict circular bathing hut sits just above the rocks on the southern side of Airds Bay. 
    25. Cladh Churiollan Chapel, Burial Ground and Well, above Creagan Inn, Appin
    26. Viking Runes, Oban – Located on the cliffs of Barra Mor.  
    27. Medieval Graffiti at Kilchattan church – Originally thought to have been carved by Scottish mariners from Alexander II’s fleet. However, recent interpretation suggests Norse origin, possibly from King Haakon’s fleet in 1263. 
    28. Dunollie Castle – Ancestral home/seat of the Clan MacDougall. The keep of the castle dates to around 1400, however, previous archaeology shows that the site has been occupied since at very least, the Iron Age. 
    29. Dunstaffnage Castle – Early MacDougall stronghold. The construction of the castle is credited to Duncan MacDougall, circa 1220. The fortification was seized from MacDougall hands following the clan’s defeat to Robert Bruce at the Battle of the Pass of Brander in 1308. After which it became a Campbell castle
    30. Lismore Lighthouse – Despite its name, the Lismore lighthouse is actually situated on the small neighbouring island of Eilean Musdile. Constructed in 1833, the structure cost £4,260. In 1965 the lighthouse was converted to automatic operation resulting in the lightkeepers being withdrawn. 
    31. Tom a’Chrochaidh – Located at the southern end of the Saulmore straight, this mound is said to have been a place of execution. Notably, Colla Chiotaich, is said to have been hanged on this hill in 1647. 
    32. Castle Stalker – Not much is known of the early life of the castle, however, it is speculated that it was originally built by the MacDougall’s. From the late 14th century, the castle became a stronghold of the clan Stewart. 
    33. Strontoiller stone circle – The site is speculated to be the only stone circle in Lorn. The circle consists of roughly 21 rounded boulders of varying size, with a 20 meter diameter.
    34. Clach na Carraig (Diarmaids pillar) – A large granite monolith that stands tall at 3.81 meters. Folklore dictates that the pillar marks the spot of Diarmaid, the Fingalian hero, that was killed and buried here.
    35. Rockfield School building – Rockfield school opened its doors for learning in 1877 and was known as, ‘the new public school’. The school was required to accommodate approximately 400 children in response to the education act of 1872. 
    36. Oban railway station – The Oban Railway Station opened in 1880, linking the port town to Callander. The old railway building, including the clock tower and train shed were demolished in 1987.
    37. Oban fishing industry – Oban’s growth can be linked to the establishment of a fishing station by the government fishery board in 1786. Although this scheme was partly unsuccessful, fishing played a key part in Oban’s expansion, especially in the 19th and 20th century. 
    38. Carraig Nam Marbh (Rock of the dead) – It is said that this rock was the stop off point for the bodies of early Scottish Kings before they embarked on their final voyage to Iona for interment. 
    39. Beinn Cruachan – Standing tall at 3,694ft, Beinn Cruachan is the tallest mountain in Lorn and dominates our scenery in all directions. Interestingly, Cruachan, is also the battle cry for the Macintyres and the Campbells. The mountain is guarded by “Cailleach nan Cruachan” who guarded the well, but fell asleep, the well overflowed creating Loch Awe. 
    40. Cruachan Power Station (Dam) – Construction began in 1959 before being officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965. At the peak of construction there were 4000 people working on the project. 
    41. Glen Orchy Parish Church (Church of Dysart) – The current church was built in 1811, although the site has been a place of worship since at least 1390. The church contains the grave slabs of MacGregor clan Chiefs.
    42. St Conans Kirk – Located in the village of Loch Awe, St Conan’s Kirk was built between 1881 and 1886. The building was extended between 1906 and 1914. The kirk was voted one of the top 100 buildings in Scotland. 
    43. Barr a’chaistealain – This township is said to have been occupied by the MacNabs, who were prominent armourers and blacksmiths from the 15th century onwards. There is also said to be the remnants of a dun within this site.   
    44. Bonawe Iron Furnace – Built in 1753 the Bonawe Iron Furnace produced pig iron using a charcoal fired blast furnace. The site employed 600 people at its height. The site was closed in 1876. Notable items of production were cannonballs. 
    45. Lady Margaret’s Tower – reputedly built for Lady Margaret Campbell in 1754 to provide views to her homelands of Appin, The history of this tower was largely lost when Lochnell Castle was ravaged with fire in 1853. However, local tradition has it that Duncan Campbell, 7th of Lochnell, commissioned the construction for local men who had suffered after the final Jacobite rising. 
    46. Kilchurn castle – Built in the mid 15th century, the Castle became the primary stronghold of the Campbells of Glenorchy. Kilchurn castle was later used as a government garrison during the Jacobite uprisings. The castle was badly damaged by a lightning strike in 1760 and abandoned. .Battleship Hill (cnoch carnach) – This rocky prominence a little to the north of Oban commands perfect views of the surrounding landscape. The name originates from WW1 
    47. Arduaine Gardens – Founded by J. Arthur Campbell in 1895 upon his return to Scotland from Ceylon. Campbell acquired much of his wealth from tea estates, which he used to bring over 220 species of rhododendron to the gardens by 1929. The National Trust for Scotland took over the gardens in 1992.
    48. Barnacarry Quarry – Situated at the mouth of Loch Feochan, barnacarry’s sandstone has very likely been utilised from the medieval period. It is said that building stone of Dunollie Castle, Gylen Castle and the west wall of Lismore Cathedral were quarried from Barnacarry. The quarry has also been used for producing millstones. 
    49. St Brendan’s Seat – On the hillside above Loch Seil there is a stone shelf that can be found, known locally as St Brendan’s seat. It is said that the devout Irish missionary gave out words of wisdom to his followers from this location in the 6th century. 
    50. Duachy Standing Stones – A group of four standing stones can be found in a field west of Duachy farmhouse. Three of the stones are upright, with the fourth being reduced to a stump. Other standing stones stood in close proximity, however, these have collapsed. 
    51. Pass of Brander Battle Site – The scene of a battle between Robert the Bruce and John MacDougall of Lorn. The MacDougall’s attempted to block Bruce’s forces from entering Lorn, however, they were outmanoeuvred and outfought by Bruce’s superior forces. The MacDougall’s went on to spend the next 40 years in exile. 
    52. Clachan Bridge – Designed by John Stephenson and constructed by engineer Robert Mylne in 1792. This single arched iconic bridge has been styled, the bridge over the Atlantic, as it passes over the Clachan sound. 
    53. Tigh an Truish – This wee Inn on the Island of Seil holds an enthralling story. Following the final Jacobite uprising of 1745, the Dress Act of 1746, made wearing the highland dress illegal. Islanders heading over to the mainland would stop here to swap their kilt for trousers to avoid persecution. The reverse would apply following their return to the island. 
    54. Kilbride Church – The current ruins of Kilbride church were built in 1706, however, it is said that this has been a place of worship since the 6th century. The church is named after St Bride. The churchyard also holds the MacDougall burial aisle, used for interment of clan chiefs since at least 1737. 
    55. Barcaldine Castle – Early 17th century tower house, likely built by Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. The castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century before being restored around 1911. Duncan Campbell’s ghost is said to haunt the castle. 
    56. TS King George V :Built in 1926 the passenger steamer TS King George V was a popular sight in Oban Bay from 1935 until the mid 1970s. Owned by David           MacBrayne Ltd, she spent the summers cruising round Mull, to Iona, Staffa and Fort William. In WW2 she was requisitioned as a troop carrier, involved in wartime evacuations, including Dunkirk. Having spent time on the Clyde she returned to Oban in 1947 until her retirement.
    57. Queen of Benderloch : Portrait of Sarah McKillop taken around 1900 for a local postcard. She lived on the shores of Loch Etive at Achnacreebeg crofts. Sarah was a crofters wife, something of a character of the area,”Queens Brae” at the junction of the Moss and Etiveside road was named for her. Born on Torsa (one of the slate isles) in 1822. She married Archibald McKillop, in 1851 and they moved back to Ardchattan. Neil would often be away working in the area, Sarah managed the crofts and children until she died in 1906.                                     
    58. Duncan Ban MacIntyre memorial, Dalmally : Memorial to Duncan Ban MacIntyre (1724 – 1812  born in Glenorchy, and worked as a gamekeeper/forester for Campbell of Breadalbane. He was illiterate, native Gaelic speaker. His poetry captured the lives and places of the area, written down by the Lismore Minister for publication. Described as “the zenith of Gaelic nature poetry” After fighting in Falkirk as one of Breadalbanes fencible men, he moved to Edinburgh, working as a City Guard. His grave is marked in Greyfriars Kirkyard.      
    59. Cairn Ailpean – This cairn, visible at low tide within Loch Feochan, is said to mark the garage of an ancient clan chief, Alpine. 
    60. Ardchattan Priory – established for the Valliscaulian monastic order. Ardchattan Priory has been home to monks and later Clan Campbell, and it holds a fine collection of sculptured stones.
    61. Claigh na h’annaid (Stonefield) – Medieval church/burial site on old road at Achnacloich.