||||||| 4,000 B.C.

First human habitation around Loch Awe.

||||||| 2500-800 B.C.

During the Bronze Age there was a hill fort or dun at Barrachaistealain – the remains of a circular stone building 15 metres in diameter suggests a pre-Christian settlement where the ruins of the old village now stand.

||||||| c500 BC – c.1500 AD.

There is evidence suggesting the existence of about twenty crannogs in Loch Awe.
Crannog on Loch Awe, photo by Patrick Mackie

||||||| 6th century

Christian missionaries arrived from Ireland and built places of worship on sites originally chosen by Neolithic people and used by the local population.

||||||| Late 7th century

St Conan arrived in the area (died 684). Legend has it that he blessed a well that he found near the River Orchy and it became a place of worship. For many centuries the waters were believed to have healing properties and attracted many pilgrims.

||||||| 1040

John of Glenorchy, a quo the MacGregors, married an English lady in the train of Queen Margaret and had two sons. As a reward for saving the king’s life during a boar hunt the eldest son was made Baron of Glen Strae and Kilchurn. The second son, Gregor, was a scholar and traveller and became Abbot of Dunkeld. He founded the family of MacNab (son of abbot).

||||||| 13th – 14th centuries

Glen Orchy was held by the Fletchers – traditionally,  arrow-makers to the MacGregors. (Later, in the 16th  century, they built their stronghold at Achallader on the shores of Loch Tulla.)

||||||| 1308

The Battle of the Pass of Brander – Robert the Bruce defeated the MacDougalls of Argyll, kinsmen of John Comyn.

||||||| 1315

The MacDougall land at the head of Loch Awe was granted to Colin, eldest son and heir of Sir Neil Campbell, Bruce’s great supporter. Taking advantage of the exile of the chief of the MacGregors, Sir Neil married his second son, John, to MacGregor’s daughter, Mariota, thereby securing the lands of Glen Strae for the Campbells.

||||||| 1357

John Campbell received a formal charter to his wife’s land from King David II. The Campbells were now free to occupy the ancient stronghold of the MacGregors, Kilchurn Castle.

||||||| c.1382

The Campbells occupied the lands surrounding the eastern end of Loch Awe and the valley of the River Lochy as well as large areas of Argyll in Lorne and south towards Campbeltown.

||||||| 1390

Written evidence of a church only dates from this time but there were probably earlier buildings. The church at Dalmally, known as Clachan Dysart (saint’s retreat, possibly Saint Conan’s) stands on an islet between two branches of the River Orchy. Chiefs and warriors of the Clan Gregor were buried in the church and in the churchyard over the following century and a half.

||||||| 1432

The land surrounding Loch Tulla, including Achallader, formed part of a grant of land made to Sir Colin Campbell by his father, Sir Duncan. From then onwards, although the Fletchers still occupied the land by the loch, they were resentful tenants of the Campbells.  At this time the MacGregors still held the land in Glen Strae. Their castle and attendant township was in Stronmilchan.

||||||| 1440

The superiority of Glen Orchy was passed to Colin Campbell by his father, Sir Duncan Campbell, later Lord Campbell. Glen Strae remained in the superiority of Lord Campbell, himself, and the MacGregors were retained as his tenants. While Sir Colin was away on crusade his wife, Mariota, was left in charge of re-building Kilchurn Castle. Traditionally, the MacNabs of Barachastlain are descended from a blacksmith summoned by Mariota to forge the ironwork at Kilchurn.

||||||| 1445

Sir Duncan Campbell was created Lord of Loch Awe and his successor became the first Earl of Argyll. The descendants of Sir Duncan’s younger son, Colin of Glen Orchy, became the Earls and Marquises of Breadalbane.

||||||| 1566

Sir Colin Campbell (“Grey Colin”) succeeded in buying the overlordship of Glen Strae and the ward and marriage of Gregor MacGregor from the Earl of Argyll. As a result the MacGregors lost the support of the senior branch of Clan Campbell. Sir Colin refused to enfeoff their young chief, Gregor Roy, and so henceforth the landless MacGregors were forced to live in any way they could on the wastes of Rannoch Moor.

||||||| 1615

Sir Duncan Campbell (“Black Duncan of the Cowl”) ordered the re-building of the medieval church in Dalmally and the construction of the bridge across the Orchy at Stronmilchan.

||||||| 1618

The Parish of Glenorchy (Glen Orchy, Glen Lochy and Glen Strae) was united with the Parish of Inishail (Cladich and Loch Awe).

||||||| 1712

Rob Roy MacGregor was captured and brought to trial. He was an eighteenth century “Robin Hood” figure as he had a reputation for stealing cattle from the rich and distributing money to the poor. At his trial he called upon the protection of his kinsman by marriage, the Duke of Argyll, and was spared the gallows. However, he was stripped of his lands and property and forced to leave Glen Strae. He spent the remainder of his life at Balquidder where he was buried.

||||||| 1750’s

Major Caulfeild (General Wade’s successor) constructed the military road linking Inveraray, Dalmally and Tyndrum.

||||||| 1754

The Dalmally to Bonawe road was opened.

||||||| 1757

The Inveraray-Dalmally-Tyndrum road was opened.

||||||| 1769

Thomas Pennant published “A Tour in Scotland” which included references to Glen Orchy and, in particular, to the old gravestones in the churchyard.

||||||| 1775

Samuel Johnson wrote about his travels in the area (Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland).

||||||| 1780

Dalmally Bridge over the Orchy was built at a cost of £650.

||||||| 1781

Ludovic Picard built a three-storey, three–bay hotel on the site of the present-day Dalmally Hotel. (The original Dalmally Drovers’ Inn stood on the site of the present auction mart). Later (1841- 44) the hotel was extended with the addition of a west wing.

||||||| 1784

The 4th Earl of Breadalbane ordered the township of Stronmilchan to be divided into crofts. The adoption of more modern agricultural practices meant that landlords moved away from a system of multi-tenancies to single tenancies.

||||||| 1791-99

In the First Statistical Account of Scotland the Reverend McIntyre commented – “There are few under fifty or sixty years of age in the parish who cannot read”.  The original school which was beside the lime kiln at Auchtermally had a good reputation and apart from local children also had children from the West Indies. (There was a strong trade of roof slate from Easdale to the West Indies which may have accounted for the presence of these children in Glenorchy).

||||||| 1811

The 4th Earl of Breadalbane completed the re-building of the church in Dalmally.

||||||| 1812

Death of Duncan Ban MacIntyre, the Gaelic poet. His memorial stands on Dunnock Hill where the old military road climbs south west from Dalmally to Inveraray.

||||||| 1843

On “The Disruption” of the established Church of Scotland the Rev. D. MacLean led about 100 members out of the parish church to the Free Church (on the site of today’s “Alt Fearne”; the manse was today’s  “Tullich”)

||||||| c.1850

Opening of the granite quarry on Ben Cruachan to provide stone for road building. Roads in the area were extended when the railway came through.

||||||| 1861

Public and private steam boats entered Loch Awe.

||||||| 1874

Dorothy Wordsworth’s “Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland AD 1803” was published. This included a description of her visit to Glenorchy with her brother, William.

||||||| 1877

Dalmally Station opened. At this time it was the end of the Callander-Oban Railway Line.

||||||| 1880

The Callander-Oban Railway Line was completed.

||||||| 1881

The Loch Awe was built as a railway hotel.

||||||| 1886

Walter Campbell’s first design for St Conan’s Kirk was completed.

||||||| 1895

The Tower of Glenstrae was built.

||||||| 1900

The Free Church joined with the United Presbyterian Church to form the United Free Church. However, some of the members of the Free Church refused to join the union and the Free Church (continuing) claimed the Free Church property (church and manse). The United Free Church members had to meet in the school.

||||||| 1908

The “tin tabernacle” was erected to serve as the United Free Church of Glenorchy

||||||| Early 1900’s

The Earl of Breadalbane began selling off parcels of Glen Orchy land to nouveau riche industrialists. This led to the removal of crofters from hill pastures and fertile lower slopes. By way of compensation the Earl offered the crofters the alluvial plain on both sides of the river – land prone to flooding. Some crofters took up the offer but others left the area. Without intensive grazing the land quickly became covered in gorse and bracken.

||||||| 1914

The Marchioness of Breadalbane gifted the mechanism for the church tower clock.

||||||| 1914-18

The Glenorchy War Memorial records the names of twenty-six local men who lost their lives fighting for their country during World War I.

||||||| 1930

St Conan’s Kirk was dedicated for worship.

||||||| c.1933

The A819 road was built along the east side of Loch Awe.

||||||| 1937- 45

The Bridge over the Orchy (“The Yellow Bridge”) was completed.

||||||| 1939-45

The Glenorchy War Memorial records the names of five local men who lost their lives fighting for their country in World War II.

||||||| 1950’s-60’s

Glenview Estate was built jointly by the Forestry Commission and the County Council.

||||||| 1953

After a history of 500 years the Portsonachan to Taycreggan ferry ceased to operate.

||||||| 1965

The Cruachan Power Station (“The Hollow Mountain”) was opened by the Queen.

||||||| 1967

The Craig Estate in Glen Orchy was sold to the Forestry Commission.

||||||| c.1970

The Dalmally Village bypass was opened.

||||||| 1976

The old Dalmally School was closed and the children were transferred to their new building in Glenview.

||||||| 1985

The Dalmally Golf Course was opened. The Golf Club bought the land in 1991.

||||||| 2003

A new surgery, pharmacy and post office were opened close to Glenview.

||||||| 2011

The Church celebrated its bi-centennial anniversary and the Dalmally Community Centre replaced the old village hall.

||||||| 2012

The Church of Scotland granted a long lease on the glebe beside the river and the planting of the Community Orchard and Woodland Garden was begun.


“A History of Clan Campbell” (Vo. I & II) by A. Campbell of Airds, (2000 – 2002)

“Kilchurn & the Campbells of Glenorchy” by M. McGrigor (2016)

“Glenorchy Parish Church” the church (2012)

“Villages of North Argyll” by M. Withall (2004 )

“The Statistical Accounts of the Parish of Glenorchy & Inishail” (1st – Dr J MacIntyre,1792; 2nd– Rev. D MacLean,1843; 3rd – Brigadier J.C.Martin,1953)

“Ferry Tales of Argyll & the Isles” by W Weyndling (1996)

“The Creation of the Military Roads”

“Callander & Oban Railway” by J. Thomas (1966)

“West Highland Steamers” by Duckworth & Langmuir (1967)