Port Appin Loop
Home to a murder that inspired a classic novel, some seriously stunning scenery and the Holy Grail.
It’s one of our Top 10 Things We Love – Port Appin Loop.
The whole loop is a 15 mile track, but there are smaller sections you can tackle with ease if that sounds a little much. The track has a low gradient throughout, so if you’re travelling on two wheels it’s very manageable, even for the littlest peddlers.
Exploring the loop, you’ll find yourself at the heart of an unsolved clan murder mystery, while surrounded by stunning natural archways and lochs. It’s a great route for birdwatchers, and you might even spot a seal lounging. This easy coastal route has a brilliant combination of history and scenery throughout.
You’ll come across Castle Stalker, which is a photographer’s dream. You can’t miss it sitting on its own little island out in Loch Linnhe. If you’ve seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you’ll recognise it from the final scene. The Knights of the Round Table hunt for a Holy Grail, and it just so happens to be hiding in this beautiful castle.
But the Python boys weren’t the first to put Appin on the map. The village found infamy as the setting of a murder that caused one of the most celebrated miscarriages of justice in Scottish history – and inspired the Robert Louis Stevenson classic – Kidnapped. The Appin murder was committed 250 years ago, and people are still trying to figure out who dunnit.
It all started when Colin Roy Campbell was shot in the back. To this day, neither of the clans involved have admitted who the real culprit was, but it certainly wasn’t the man who was hanged for the crime, James Stewart.
Poor James stood no chance. His trial was a farce, he was made to stand before a jury of 15 men, 11 of which were from the recently deceased’s clan – Campbell. The presiding judge also happened to be the Campbell clan chief. James was sentenced to hanging, but the injustice wouldn’t end there. His dead body was left to hang for 18 months on the tall gallows, to send out a message to any Jacobites passing on the Ballachulish Ferry.
The West Coast is rich in clan history and we know it’s important to remember our roots, but we tend to greet our guests with a much warmer welcome these days.