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From the head of Loch Lomond at Ardlui a coach used to run up the beautiful eight-mile valley of the River Falloch to Crianlarich on the Dochart, in the wild Breadalbane country. In the eighties of last century the building of the West Highland Railway up Loch Long and Loch Lomond sides, and through Glenfalloch to Glenorchy and beyond, superseded the coach. But to-day the road is populous again. It is part of the favourite route for motor-cars making for Oban and the West Highlands. Its pleasant hotels at Ardlui and Inverarnan are also, like those at Balloch, Luss, Rowardennan, Tarbet, and Inversnaid, favourite holiday resorts, and pilgrims make their way in considerable numbers to the noble Falls of Falloch, some four miles up the gorge, and the Garabal Falls in Strath Dubh.
Here it is that the possessions of the Clan Campbell touch the loch. Glenfalloch has been the property of the Campbells of Glenorchy since the time of James VI, when Colin Campbell of Glenorchy secured a feu of the lands of Breadalbane, which he had previously held as a tenant of the Carthusian monastery at Perth. Many of the fine trees in Glenfalloch were probably planted by Colin's son, Black Duncan of the Cowl, the first baronet, who was the first of the Highland lairds to devote attention to rural improvement.
But a more curious interest and romance belongs to the old mansion of Glenfalloch House, some three miles up the Glen. In consequence of the action of Sir John Campbell, the fifth baronet of Glenorchy, and first Earl of Breadalbane, who seized the earldom of Caithness and engineered the massacre of Glencoe, a curse was popularly believed to haunt his descendants. His line, at any rate, came to an end with his grandson, the third earl. The title and estates then passed to General John Campbell of Mochaster, representative of the third son of the third baronet. He was a distinguished soldier and F.R.S., and was made a Marquess, but according to the popular tradition he also was tainted with the "curse of Glencoe", his father's mother having been a daughter of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, the officer who commanded the Government troops on that occasion. Accordingly, when his only son, the second Marquess, died childless in 1862, the curse was popularly believed to have once more taken effect.
The succession was then claimed by John Campbell of Glenfalloch, as representative of the fifth son of the third baronet. He was opposed by Campbell of Borland, his second cousin and next representative of the same third baronet, on the plea that there was a flaw in the Glenfalloch pedigree. A hundred years previously, it appeared, a gay young captain of Fencibles, a younger son of Glenfalloch, had run away with a lady of Bath. The inheritance hinged on the question as to whether they had ever been legally married. At the trial of the case, however, it was shown that the captain and the lady had been duly received and entertained at Glenfalloch by his father and mother, and as the old laird was known to be of strict principles, which would not countenance any moral obliquity, the court held that Captain Campbell and the lady had been by Scots law husband and wife. The laird of Glenfalloch, grandson of this pair, accordingly became sixth Earl of Breadalbane.
"Green Glenfalloch" has sometimes been stated to be the scene of the well-known song, "Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch". But Aldivalloch lies within the grounds of Taymouth Castle, at the eastern end of Loch Tay, and as Taymouth itself was formerly known as Balloch, the song clearly belongs to the Braes o' Balloch of that district.
Ellen's Isle, Loch Katrine
Greater mystery, however, attends the song of "The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond". The late ingenious Andrew Lang, in his causerie "At the Sign of the Ship" in Longman's Magazine, discussed the question, and even furnished from his own pen an improved version of the song. The accepted idea is that the song represents the farewell of a Jacobite prisoner, about to be executed at Carlisle in 1746, to his sweetheart who had attended his trial there and must travel home alone. While she took the ordinary "high road", his spirit, by the "low road" of the grave, would be on Loch Lomondside before her. There is reason to believe, however, that the song is really a version of the well-known ballad, "The Bonnie, Bonnie Braes o' Binnorie". As a matter of fact, there is a striking resemblance between the airs of the two compositions.