Shed Gallery - Ian Biggs, Photographer - Leagag sunrise

Clans of Rannoch

Seven clans lived in this wild and inhospitable area in days gone by.  Encounter stories of heroic deeds and dark terror on the descriptive plaques located at various sites around the Loch Rannoch. Clans who once lived in this area are included on the Clan Trail, which follows a route around Loch Rannoch, are:

Clan Donnachaidh were the important local clan in Rannoch in the olden days, owning much land, including all the south side of the loch, in Gaelic, Slios Garbh, meaning 'the rough side'.  One of their most warlike chiefs was Alexander Robertson of Struan, taking part in three Stewart rebellions.  In 1689 at Killiecrankie, in 1715 at Sheriffmuir and in 1745 at Prestonpans.

Clan Donnachaidh included the names, Duncan, Robertson and Reid amongst others.  Check on the Clan Society for more information.

Those interested in ancestory research will find an interesting leaflet, on local Burial Places of the clans and others, in local shops.

Clan Donnachaidh Chiefs' Burial G...Map clan trail
Highland reenacters

There is a sad spot on the north side of Loch Rannoch known as the Grove of the Hanging Trees, for many unfortunate MacDonald clansmen met their deaths on these oaks.  The last of many was Donald Ban who was hanged there in 1745 by the government troops for cattle thieving, finally quelling the lawless clans of Rannoch.

The Menzies who owned much land on the north side of the loch, called in Gaelic 'Slios Min', meaning 'the smooth side' were hard pressed to hold it against the wild MacGregors who occupied large sections of it illegally.

Of all the clans of Rannoch the MacGregors were the fiercest and the most feared.  They harried the countryside for miles around, driving herds of stolen cattle into Rannoch, often from far afield.  Nevertheless, they were conspicuous in bravery not only in local fights but in battles in support of the Stewart cause.

Robert the Bruce was sheltering in the area when the MacDougall clan, his firm enemies, attacked Rannoch.  The MacDougalls were defeated in the battle at Dalchosnie by a local hero, Duncan Reamhar, and their leader was imprisoned in the island fortress Eilean nam Faoileag.  He managed to escape and landed on shore at what is now called MacDougall's Rock.

A turbulent tribe of Camerons from Glen Nevis settled in Camghouran, but they continued to fight for their chief, Lochiel, particularly at Culloden in 1746.  They were notorious as other Rannoch Clans at the creach or cattle raiding and for their love of fighting.  A tragic legend is told about the Rannoch Camerons here.

The first Stewart clansmen invaded Rannoch in the 14th century led by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, and notoriously known as the Wolf of Badenoch.  He and his illegitimate sons, Duncan and another Alexander, led a very warlike existence, and the clan was much feared, but loyal to the Crown. 

Rannoch Hills