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Battle site of the Red Ford (1294) ***

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By 1294 the MacDougall Lordship of Lorn was being challenged by the rising Campbells of Loch Awe encroaching on MacDougall territory in Nether Lorn. The 4th Chief’s son Iain Bacach or “Lame John” took some of his armed warriors to a meeting at the Stream of the Conference (Allt a’ Chomhlachaidh) to discuss setting these borders. South of Loch Scammadale they were surprised to see the Campbell Chief Cailean Mor (“Big Colin”) and his followers who had come past their designated meeting place and onto MacDougall lands. The two factions fought so ferociously that the river ran red with blood from the casualties which caused the conflict to be called The Battle of the Red Ford. Cailean Mor led the charge as the outnumbered MacDougalls retreated. Then a MacDougall archer crept up behind a rock and fired an arrow at the distant Cailean Mor. It killed him and ended the battle instantly. There is a cairn called Carn Chailein (National Grid: NM 991 043) (https://canmore.org.uk/site/297408/carn-chailein) that marks the exact spot where Cailan Mor supposedly died. His body was carried to the church of St. Peter the Deacon at Kilchrenan on Loch Awe side and buried there.

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