Local History

View of the glen from the Manse Rock

The Braes of Balquhidder

Muirlaggan

Muirlaggan was originally owned by the Mac Intyre clan and has now been in the Fergusson family for seven generations and the present proprietor was born and brought up there.

The present Muirlaggan house is the fifth on the property and was built around 1700 and was extended in 1750. The remains of three of the previous houses are still discernable on the low ground.

 

Old House

Balquhidder
Balquhidder Victorian church and the ruins of an earlier church dating from 1631, but standing on 12th century foundations contains a number of interesting memorials of the Maclaren family, who were the hereditary clan of Balquhidder, and who suffered brutally at the hands of the MacGregors. Rob Roy visited the old church occasionally, and the church bell was stolen by Rob Roy at one point. Outside the ruins stands Rob Roy's grave, buried next to his wife Mary and his two sons. The road leads South towards Ballimore and Glen Buckie, past the characteristic single-story Scottish cottages into Gleann nam Meann, which was used by local people, cattle drovers, whisky smugglers and soldiers. From Ballimore the path leads up Gleann Dubh, through a landscape of birch and rowan trees. This whole area was once well farmed, reflecting its position on a major hill route. To the south of the glen is Glen Finglas, now its lower valley flooded to provide a water reservoir. Glen Finglas served as the background to Sir Walter Scott's romance The Lady of the Lake, a poem that brought the first influx of tourists to the Trossachs. It was in Glen Falloch, just beyond the west end of Balquhidder Glen that a band of MacGregors clashed violently with the Colquhouns in the key dispute that produced the fugitive life of Rob Roy MacGregor and his clan.

Rob Roy MacGregor was born in the mid 1650's the second son of Donald MacGregor at Inverlochaig at the head of Loch Doine. His life as an outlaw started when he was unable to repay money that he had borrowed form the Duke of Montrose to fund his growing cattle trade. The Duke seized his lands and property and Rob Roy fled with his debt unpaid. From this time onwards Rob Roy and the followers he had gathered, at one time as many as 500 men, profited from raiding lands of the Duke and those of his neighbours. Though he relieved many of their property it is said that he was never brutal or cruel with his victims and never stole from the common man, there was after all no profit from robbing a poor man.

His success allowed him to send each year a cow and a fat sheep to the minister of Balquhidder who in turn made no inquiries about the source of his wealth. It was during this time that the Duke of Montrose captured Rob Roy but he made a famous escape, with the aid of a friend in the employ of the Duke at the ford in the river near Balquhidder. Rob Roy died in his home in 1734 and was buried in the small churchyard in Balquhidder.

The local scenery has been used as a backdrop for a number of film makers in the past, featuring in 'Geordie', 'The Thirty Nine Steps' and more recently 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'

  Altogether a beautiful part of the world full of history and romance.

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