Folklore

At the Dunstaffnage Castle, several green ladies, haunting other castles in the country, seem to meet here quite often.

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     Until 1729, 12th century Duntrune Castle was the home of the Campbells of Duntrune and is
haunted by the ghostof a piper who was sent to spy out the land and was killed violently as a result.  In the 17th century Ulsterman MacDonnel Coll Ciotach, known as "The Left-Handed One" landed at Kintyre and marched northwards, destroying everything in his path that was associated with the Campbells.  Finally he reached Duntrune and sent his piper in to spy out the strength of the castle's fortifications and garrison. 

     The piper was admitted immediately and locked in one of the turrets.  Realizing the Duntrune was impregnable and that he himself had no way to escape, the piper decided that the only way to warn his Irish Lord was to signal him with his pipes.  Looking from the turret window he saw MacDonnel Coll Ciotach's ship at anchor on the Loch and immediately began playing the Pibroch - "The Piper's Warning".  The Irishman heard the warning and turned his ship about.  Realizing what the piper had done the Campbells cut off his fingers and then had him butchered. 

     For many years the castle was haunted by the sound of the Pibroch.  In 1910, during alterations, the fingerless skeleton of a man was found hidden in the ancient walls.  In the 1960's, when the kitchens were being modernized, workmen found the skeletal remains of two hands under the kitchen floor.  Although the skeleton, minus hands, was given a "Christian burial" in 1910 by the then tenant, who was a Scottish clergyman, this does not appear to have stopped strange happenings that have occurred from time to time since.  Strange knockings on doors have been reported, pictures have fallen from walls for no apparent reason, and on one occasion a number of heavy pewter pots were thrown to the floor as if by invisible hands. 

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     Inverary Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, is haunted by "The Harper of Inverary" who was hanged by Montrose's men on the site of the castle before it was built.  His music has been heard and he has been seen in various parts of the castle, including the Green Library, and on the stairs.  He always wears the Campbell tartan and never seems to harm or frighten people who see him.  He is normally seen and heard by women, very rarely men. 

     Before the death of a chief of the Campbell Clan, or a near relative, a ghostly galley, bearing a strong resemblance to the ship on the clan's coat of arms, is seen on the Loch, with three spectral figures on board.  It is said to pass up the Loch and then disappear overland.  Inverary Castle was once the scene of a martial vision during the fighting in North America between the British and the French.  Sir William Bart, a noted doctor of his day, was walking with a friend on the grounds on 10th July, 1758, accompanied by a servant.  Suddenly, he and his two companions saw the enactment of a battle in the sky in which men in the uniform of a Highland Regiment appeared to be attacking a fort defended by French troops.  After a short fight, they were to witness the Highlanders retreating, leaving behind them a large number of dead.  The same scene was simultaneously witnessed by two ladies on the road to Kilmalieu. 

     Weeks later news came from Canada that on that same day a British force of 15,000 men, under General Abercromby, had attacked the French fort of Ticonderoga, held by the Marquis de Montcalm, and after a bitter battle, had been forced to withdraw leaving behind 1,994 dead.  In this action,the 42nd Regiment Black Watch lost half of its men, including 25 officers killed or wounded. 
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     On a warm and sunny day in 1765, a farmer and his son walked from their home in Glen Aray to neighbouring Glen Shira, where both had business to tend to. As they walked over the hills on their return journey they decided to walk home the longer but easier route through Inverary.  They had just turned northwards when they were astonished to see a great number of soldiers marching in regular order towards them. 

     Both farmer and son watched the marching columns for a considerable time, marching six and seven abreast.  The rear ranks were observed to be continually running forward in order to catch up with those in the front of them.  The farmer remarked at the time that this invariably happened on a long march and advised his son that should he ever join the Army he should always volunteer for the front ranks, where the pace was always that much more leisurely.  Accompanying the soldiers were women and children on either side, carrying pots and pans and other items of culinary.  The soldiers were clothed in red and the sun was seen to gleam on their muskets and bayonets.  They were led by an officer on a horse, the only mounted man in the large convoy.  He was wearing a gold-laced hat with a blue Hussar jacket, boots and spurs, and was riding a grey dragoon horse. 

     The father, who had served with the Argyllshire Highlanders twenty years previously and had actually fought at the Battle of Culloden, said that the troops must have come from Ireland and were probably on their way to England.  In his experience he had never seen such a large army and estimated the number to be far greater than the total combatants at the decisive battle in 1746. 

     Both men watched for a considerable period of time until the younger man, fearing possibly that he might be taken with them if he remained in view, climbed over a stone wall to hide.  The older man, being far too old for military service, had no such fears and remained watching the endless convoy of Redcoats.  Then suddenly the army vanished.  Both men were completely astounded at the sudden disappearance of such a large body of men. 

     On their way home they met an old man called Stuart, from Glen Shira, an old friend of the farmer.  They asked him if he knew what had happened to the mysterious army.  The old man was startled at the question because, although the army should have passed him, indeed it had not. 

      No other person had seen the phantom army and there was no record of any troop movements of such a large number of men in that area at that time.  Both men were regarded as being totally honest and incapable of telling a lie.  All they had to drink that day was milk.

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     There were three brothers in the clan country of the MacRaes who lived at Carr on Loch Duich, and they were said to have married selkie women.  Two of the brothers hid their wives’ sealskins when they discovered they were selkies, having found skins that they had tucked away.  But the wives found the hiding places and disappeared into the sea waves, never to be seen again.  The third brother found a wet seal-skin which his wife had failed to hide after one of her afternoon disappearances, and picking it up, he folded it and left it on a chest, saying to his wife that "someone" might have need of that skin from time to time.  She stayed with him through the years and finally, in old age, disappeared into the sea.  She had given him a son, who would often swim out to the rocks and stay there through the night, and many of the fishermen would speak of the beautiful young male seal on the rocks on a moon-lit night.  As the man became old and could fish no more, his son always kept him in fish, and finally when the man died, the son was seen stripping down and plunging into the waves.      

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