The current castle, with its long southerly views down Loch Fyne, was built in the late 18th century. It replaced Old Castle Lachlan, bombarded from the loch by an English ship in retaliation for the Maclachlans' part in the 1745 Jacobite Rising, and now a picturesque ruin. As we climb over its green ramparts—perfect for a picnic—Euan tells the story of the horse of Colonel Lachlan, who was killed at Culloden. According to legend, the animal found its way back from the other side of Scotland, and swam across Loch Fyne to bring news of the chief's death. It took up residence in the ruined fortress and died there. On moonless nights, some claim to have heard the sound of hooves clambering over rocks, and a ghostly whinnying.
Here in the western Highlands such tales are still told with the immediacy of news. And when you consider that Maclachlans have lived here since the 13th century, family stories—whether of a dust-hating sprite or a riderless horse—are harder to dismiss as mere legend.
STAY AT Castle Lachlan, Strathlachlan; 44-1369/860-669; www.celticcastles.com; from $3,300 per week for up to 12 guests.
Strachur Estate Cottages, Strachur; 44-1369/860-627; www.strachurcottages.co.uk; doubles from $393 per week. [Editor's note: Owned by the author of this story.]
Creggans Inn, Strachur; 44-1369/860-279; www.creggans-inn.co.uk; doubles from $133.
Creggans Inn (see above)
Inver Cottage Restaurant, 44-1369/860-537; dinner for two $31. Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Clachan, Cairndow; 44-1499/600-264; dinner for two $63.
George Hotel, Inveraray; 44-1499/302-111; dinner for two $63.
CHECK OUT Inveraray Castle, Inveraray; 44-1499/302-203; www.inveraraycastle.com; open April 5-October 26.
Benmore Botanic Gardens, Dunoon; 44-1369/706-261; www.rbge.org.uk.
Kilmartin Glen & House, 44-1546/510-278; www.kilmartin.org.
CLAN MACLACHLAN WEB SITE www.mazinaw.on.ca/maclachlan
Sir Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Knight of the Thistle
26TH CHIEF OF CLAN CAMERON
If you want the best of the Highlands in one region, Lochaber has it all. It's as rich and varied in natural beauty—from the oak woods of Loch Sunart to Mallaig, fishing port and gangway to the Inner Hebrides—as it is in historical associations. Lochaber is, above all, Bonnie Prince Charlie country, and, from earliest times, the homeland of the Camerons.
At the age of 92, the distinguished scholar, soldier, and businessman Cameron of Lochiel smokes half a pack of cigarettes a day and enjoys walking over his 60,000-acre estate in the Lochaber hills. A true Highland patriarch, he has lived at Achnacarry House, seat of Clan Cameron, for half a century.
The old castle of Achnacarry was burned down by English troops after Culloden to punish the 19th chief, "the Gentle Lochiel," whose support for Bonnie Prince Charlie influenced other Jacobite clans to join the Rising. It was 40 years before his great-grandson was allowed to buy back the forfeited Cameron lands and rebuild the house.