This is one of several articles written by Louis Stott who generously offered local aspects of his scholarship to the archive of Loch Ard Local History Group–our thanks to Louis and his family for this material.
The Lake of Menteith is the only lake in Scotland. It was once known as the Loch of Menteith but local legend has it that a Dutch man was employed to chart a map of the area and wrote “lac” instead of loch. It was then charted as a lake and so it became.
The lake boasts several islands, the largest being that which houses Inchmahome Priory. It was an Augustine priory founded in 1238 by Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith. This was a display of his wealth as a landowner and also a final resting place for his family.
Robert the Bruce visited the island three times in the early 1300s before the Battle of Bannockburn. Mary Queen of Scots used the island as a refuge in 1547 when she was just a young child. Her safety became paramount after the Battle of Pinkie in September of that same year. She was kept on the island until safe passage to France could be obtained.
On the southern shore of the lake, opposite the priory is a long, sandy peninsula called Arnmach. Legend says that this stretch of land was created by the faery folk. The Earl of Menteith is reputed to have set them free from a fairy book and they asked him for work. He set them the task of making a rope of sand. When they grew tired of this job, they annoyed him again. He gave them The Goblin’s Cave on Ben Venue as their meeting place.
There is also a faery hill called Bogle Knowe at the lake.