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September 29th 1250

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The Stone of the Heads

On the south side of Loch Rannoch is the small hamlet of Camghouran, and close by, near to the loch itself is a graveyard which was used as a Cameron burial ground.

A long time ago it happened that a young woman from the village of Dunan, beside the River Gaur to the west of the loch, was courted by two men, a Cameron from Camghouran and a McIntosh from Moy. Both were fine looking young men, but it was the young Cameron that won her heart. They married and lived very happily at Camghouran together with their family of five young boys.

One St Michael’s day, it happened that McIntosh went to Perth to buy arrows. He inspected the arrow-smith’s stock and chose the finest examples of his craft. However, as he was seeing friends in the town he decided to leave the arrows until he was to return to Rannoch.

Later the same day, Cameron also visited the arrow-smith and seeing McIntosh’s arrows would have none but them. Eventually he prevailed upon the arrow-smith to sell him McIntosh’s arrows and departed with them to the town.

When McIntosh returned to find his arrows gone his anger and resentment knew no bounds. He swore to be revenged on Cameron who had stolen both his arrows and, more importantly, the woman he had loved. He gathered together his friends and kinsmen and they made straight for Camghouran.

Once there he confronted Cameron’s wife and told her she must leave her husband and go with him. Contemptuously she refused. “If you don’t,”  threatened McIntosh, “I shall kill every one of your sons.”  “And if you dared I would not shed a tear.” 

She believed that he would not carry out his threat but he took the boys one by one and dashed their heads against a stone. When he had killed three of the boys, their mother broke down and pleaded with him to stop. McIntosh promised to do so only if she would come away with him. She was on the point of agreeing when her husband returned with a number of friends.

The fight between the rival parties was bitter and bloody until in the end every McIntosh was killed save one who swam across the loch to escape the Camerons; but on the other side he found not safety but a McGregor who wasted no time in killing him also.

The three young boys were buried and because the murders took place on St Michael’s Day the graveyard became known as St Michael’s graveyard. The stone on which the boy’s heads had been dashed can still be seen on the left-hand side of the entrance to the graveyard.

It is still known as Clach nan Ceann or the Stone of the Heads.

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