Neish Island - summer from St Fillans
Neish Island - summer from St FillansNeish Island - summer from St Fillans
St Fillans is one of Scotland's picture perfect villages boasting, breathtaking views over Loch Earn, naturally beautiful terrain and diverse historical associations.
Located 7 miles east of Lochearnhead on the A85, this linear village is set against a backdrop of wooded hills and towering mountains that rise steeply from the loch. The shore line is decorated with grand stone buildings from the Victorian era, well maintained gardens in seasonal bloom and a boating centre. Parking spaces and benches are dotted along the banks of the loch where visitors regularly stop to admire the view. 18th century cottages, older forms of settlement, sheilings and ancient land-use patterns are also evident in the area.
The man made island that is close to the shore stems from a Pictish crannog . It was mapped as the Isle of Morell when inhabited by a branch of the Neish clan in the 13th century. They erected Earn castle there which remained the family stronghold for centuries. During Christmas 1612 the island was raided by rival clan, the McNabs of Killin. They outsmarted the islanders in a surprise night raid by boat with only one Neish child surviving the ordeal. Twelve sons of McNab were said to have carried the boat over the mountains from Loch Tay as part of their cunning plan. Too exhausted to carry it home, they abandoned the boat half way up the hill where it could be seen for 300 years until it was destroyed in a peat fire. Descendents of the McNabs are said to own a walking-stick made from the keel. There is no trace of the castle today and the renamed Neish Island remains uninhabited.
St Fillans was once a small clachan of thatched cottages and smallholdings named Port Lochearn or Meikleport. It was during the early 19th century that major landowner Drummond Estates fostered a wave of development, renting out land for new homes and holiday houses. Lord Gwdyr, husband of heiress Clementia Drummond renamed the village in 1817. He named St Fillans after the 6th century celtic missionary who preached Christianity to the Picts from Dundurn hill (also known as St Fillan's hill). This site is highly valued today landmarking a rare example of a Pictish Fort.
The River Earn flows east from Loch Earn basin eventually joining the Tay estuary some 75km away. Follow the road to the east end of the village, turn right onto the south road across the River Earn and you will come to St Fillans Golf Club . Professional Willie Auchterlonie designed this charming yet challenging nine hole course in 1903 on the grounds of West Dundurn Farm belonging to the Drummond Estate of the Earl of Ancaster. East of the golf course is St Fillans chapel in the Dundurn burial ground which is the traditional resting place of the Stewarts of Ardvorlich. Half way along the South road is Ardvorlich House, home to the Clan Stewart chiefs since 1589, with the distinctive peak of Ben Vorlich rising majestically (958m) behind.