The Appin Murder

Just north of Cuil, close to the site of the old Ballachullish ferry are two memorials that tell the story of the Appin Murder.

The first memorial, on the old Ballachullish-Oban road through Lettermore wood, marks the spot where, on 14th May 1752, Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, also known as the Red Fox, was murdered by a single musket shot.

This was the famous Appin Murder. an event immortalized by Robert Louis Stephenson in the book ‘Kidnapped’ and which led to one of Scotland’s most notorious miscarriages of justice.

Colin Roy Cambell was the government-appointed factor for several estates forfeited by Stewarts after the unsuccessful 1745 uprising. His red hair led to him being called the Red Fox. Among other things he was responsible for collecting rents and, on the day the murder took place, was rumoured to be on his way to evict Stewarts from their homes on the Ardsheal estate close to Cuil.

He crossed Loch Long by the Ballachullish ferry and was shot in the back as he passed through Lettermore wood. The assailant fled and was never found.

James Stewart, also known as James of the Glen, was later arrested for the murder and tried in Inverary. Despite having a solid alibi, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. The judge at his trial was the 3rd Duke of Argyll and chief of the clan Campbell, 11 of the 15 man jury were Campbells. On 8th November 1752 James of the Glen was hanged at Ballachulish ferry and a memorial stands on the spot today.

A more detailed exploration of the history and speculation around the murder can be found here.

The cottage where James of the Glen was born is now a mountain bothy association bothy where you can pass the night or walk up to the remote spot that it stands. Info here

And the mystery still holds a fascination today with historians and forensic scientists recently publishing some new research on the murder. Reported here on the bbc website .

1 thought on “The Appin Murder

  1. Pingback: Mountain Biking | Cuil Things to do

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