The History of Glen Dochart and Portnellan
Once upon a time there lived a great warrior called Taileachd, who lived on the island on Loch Dochart.
He was a noble and successful soldier – but like most he had his enemies. One of these was another warrior, the great Fingal – Finn to his friends – of myth and legend. Typically enough they both fell in love with the same woman. And one day Fingal arrived to settle things with Taileachd.
They decided to have a competition to see who could jump backwards from the island to the shore. After an argument – that threatened to turn into another fight before the previous one had been settled – Taileachd went first. He threw himself into a great backflip and, neatly projected himself across the loch, to land on the gravelly beach with his feet dry.
Then came Fingal’s turn; but he was not so lucky. He misjudged his jump, slipping on the damp edge of the island, and his backflip wasn’t high enough. So he splash-landed a few feet from the shore, and sat in the shallows of the loch, winded and spluttering.
Taileachd saw his chance, rushed forward to his enemy, drew his sword and with a great heave cut off Fingal’s head. But as soon as he realised what he’d done, he became afraid. Fingal had been a popular man, and, after all, it wasn’t quite sporting to end the contest this way.
So Taileachd hid Fingal’s body in the reeds of the lochside, put the head in a sack and carried it away with him. He was never seen again.
The headless corpse, however, managed to float free from the reeds, and sailed all the way down to the Falls of Dochart, where his friends found him and buried him, marking his grave with a stone. The place became known as ‘Cill Finn’ – nowadays pronounced ‘Killin’.
No one knows what happened to the woman they were arguing about…