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Iain Min cut off the head of the chief of Clan Neish and instructed his brothers to cut off several others. With the heads stuffed in a sack, they set on the long journey home. They rowed back up Loch Earn, and pulling the boat fro the water, struggled up Glen Tarken, probably stopping to rest at the giant monolith that lies a short distance up the glen. From here it was a lung-wracking climb to the head of the glen. Eventually they could carry the boat no farther and left it in the heather.


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Then they hurried on and down to Loch Tayside, to make their way along the shore to Ellanrayne Castle. About mid-morning they arrived back, to be greeted by their anxious father. His stepmother appeared, looking disappointed, and the chief turned to her and said in delight, "Tonight was the night - and the lads were the lads! The girl who had hidden under the table during the massacre was the daughter of the Neish chief, and she eventually married the Laird of Torwood in Stirlingshire.

The boy made his way to South Perthshire where he settled. The MacIlciowie families in this area are descended from him - their name meaning " Son of the Black-haired Lad. All traces of it were destroyed in a peat fire early this century, although a walking-stick made from the keel is supposed to be still in existence. Iain Min later fought for Montrose and was captured while defending Kincardine Castle. He was condemned to death, but escaped from Edinburgh Castle. In he fought for Charles I at the battle of Worcester along with three hundred of the clan.

He returned home, but was killed in in a skirmish with Cromwellian troops who were raiding his cattle. The following year Ellanrayne Castle was burnt to the ground and the chiefs moved residence to Kinnell House on the other side of the River Lochay. From that time the fortunes of the clan went into decline. Of later chiefs, probably the most famous was Francis, born in , whose celebrated picture by Raeburn now hangs in the London offices of the Dewars whisky firm. It epitomises the proud arrogance of a Highland chief, even if Francis conducted himself in a manner more appropriate to an earlier age while his debts steadily increased.

His nephew, Archibald, who succeeded him in , inherited impossible debts, and a writ of foreclosure was served in Archibald fled to Canada where he obtained a grant of 80, acres in the valley of the River Ottawa. He named his estate Macnab, and his house Kinnell. Many clansmen were persuaded to leave Scotland and join him, although he continued his feudal jurisdiction.

Some clansmen objected to this when they learnt the land was free, and the chief had to repay all the rents. His intentions were not altogether dishonourable - he was hoping to recover the ancestral lands. Alas, these were sold in to the fourth Earl of Breadalbane, even the beautiful burial ground of Inch Buie on the Falls of Dochart. Nothing was left, and curiously at this time the prophecy of the Lady of Lawers came true - that when a fir tree fell against another in Inch Buie, and grafted on to it, then that would be the end of the Macnabs.

Archibald died in poverty in France, and his Canadian house of Kinnell was burnt to the ground in by a clanswomen to prevent it being turned into a museum. The clansfolk are scattered to Canada, Australia, British Honduras where they became celebrated pirates , United States and to almost every corner of the globe. However, in the late Archibald Corrie Macnab, 22nd chief, repurchased Kinnell House, and about acres of the old clan land from the Breadalbane estates.

Strange to relate, the tree graft on Inch Buie which had marked the fall of the clan, withered and died shortly after. While researching for this article I visited Kinnell House and was welcomed by the present chief J. Go Search.


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John Macnab by John Buchan

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John MacNab John Buchan Poaching hijinks among the elite on Scottish estates. Reprint, green hardcover, gilt titling. Text clean.. Hard Cover.

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John Macnab

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