CC BY-SA, © Richard Webb

Location: Fort William and the Great Glen
gaelic language and placenames, archaeology

Clach nan Caimbeulach

Partway along the West Highland Way there is a large and sprawling stone cairn. According to legend the first cairn here was built by MacDonald clansmen pursuing a group of Campbells after the 1645 Battle of Inverlochy. This marked the spot where they stopped the chase and turned for home. At the same time they erected a small standing stone.

According to tradition, for centuries afterwards whenever a Campbell passed the site they would remove a stone from the cairn and knock down the standing stone. A MacDonald would add a stone to the cairn and re-erect the standing stone. Eventually, in the twentieth century, a Campbell who was living locally demolished both, throwing the standing stone into a deep pool. Eventually, under pressure, he was forced to reassemble the cairn, but the standing stone was lost forever.

The full story is told in the 'Beyond the Cattle Grid 3' podcast by West Highland Museum.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.