you turn whether researching or just plain reading about
the Clan Campbell it is difficult to keep track of their
wide achievements. Not least among these is the fact that
there are no less than 18 Houses or branches, including
Argyll, in the Campbell pedigree. Not all the  houses
are still extant of course, but the history of the United
Kingdom, let alone that of Scotland, would be the poorer
without their contribution.

It is with
the greatest of the branches, that of the Campbell`s of
Glenorchy and Glenfalloch, that there is an interesting
tale to be told. Sir Colin Campbell of 

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was, among other things, responsible for the building of
Kilchurn Castle the ruins of which can be seen on a
peninsula in Loch Awe.  He was also responsible for
building Inveraray Castle for his nephew, the first Earl
of Argyll, and both Sir Colin and the Earl married into
the Stewarts, Lords of Lorn, thereby acquiring further
large estates.

He was born
about 1400 and although we know little of his early life
we do know that he was a valiant warrior and a Knight
Templar who was honoured as a knight of Rhodes. In this
role he spent time away from home in Europe and in
Palestine in the Crusades. The Lady Campbell knew the
absences of her Lord were long and with scanty news of his
doings, so in his absence she is said to have spent time
extending Kilchurn Castle and making it an imposing
stronghold with a great tower five stories high.

Aware of
the need to let his Lady know of his well being, Sir Colin
took with him men of his own clan whom he trusted. Thus he
was able to send a messenger home from time to time. He
was in Rome having been absent for some seven years, when
he had a particularly vivid dream about his home and his
wife. He was unable to forget the dream and was so filled
with unease that he sought the wise counsel of a monk who
advised him to go home because, in his opinion, a serious
calamity threatened.

Sir Colin
departed for Scotland and after a hazardous journey
arrived, disguised as a beggar, at a place called Succoth,
near Glasgow. Here he sought food and lodgings at the home
of an old woman, a former nurse of his when a child.
Having settled  him by the fire the old woman
prepared food and watched as he reached out to warm
himself. In so
his rags fell back from his wrist and she caught sight of
a scar that she knew . Like so many others , she had
feared he was dead and was overjoyed at his return. She
soon told him of all that had happened while he was away
and the reason for his uneasiness following the dream
became a reality.

It appeared
that despite his sending messengers back no word of him
had been heard nor any letters recieved by his wife. Not
only that, but it was rumoured that he had been killed in
battle in the Holy Land. Sir Colin knew that he had sent
messengers and letters and it was highly unlikely that all
of them had failed to get through.

His old
nurse explained that the rumours emanated from a
neighbouring laird, MacCorquodale, who was seeking the
Lady Campbells hand in marriage and was set to marry her
soon. It seems that MacCorquodale had intercepted the
messengers and had them killed and was inducing the Lady
Campbell to believe her husband was dead. She had finally
fallen for his blandishments and agreed to marry him.

indignant at this news Sir Colin set off for Kilchurn ,
hastening to reach his home as the wedding feast was due
the next day. It is said that as he followed the winding
River Orchy he heard the sound of bagpipes and shouts of
his clansmen gathering for the wedding. Reaching the
castle he entered unchallenged with nobody taking a close
look at his beggars rags. He stood and watched for a while
until a servant asked what he wanted. Sir Colin asked for
his hunger to be satisfied and his thirst quenched which
hospitality was soon brought him. He ate but refused to
drink requesting that the Lady of the castle give him a
cup with her own hands. Strange though the request was,
the Lady Campbell honoured the hospitality of the day and
came and handed him a cup. Drinking her health Sir Colin
handed the cup back into which he had slipped his signet
ring. Observing this the Lady Campbell took the ring from
the cup and recognised it as that of her husband, given to
him when he departed all those years ago. Greatly upset
she demanded to know where he had got it from but all was
revealed as Sir Colin stood up and shrugged off his rags
to reveal the white cloak and scarlet cross of the Knight

So there
was a happy ending  and MacCorquodale slunk off,
lucky to still have his life. Like all family tales there
is possibly a smattering of truth in it. The one thing I
can vouch for and share with you is the very real beauty
of Glen Orchy in late spring, with the River Orchy
sparkling in the sunshine and gorse and heather blooming.