The rescue of McLean’s wife

Coille Bhar Mill features in one of several versions of the old Knapdale tale of the rescue of Lady McLean.

Lady McLean was the wife of Lachlan Cattanach McLean of Duart. In 1690, her husband wickedly abandoned her on a rock in Loch Linnhe for failing to give him a son and heir.

This punishment meant certain death. Loch Linne is a sea loch and the rising tidal waters would eventually have covered the rock and drowned Lady McLean. Her position looked hopeless as the water crept up the rock.

Fortunately, when all hope seemed lost, some Knapdale fishermen rescued her and brought her back to the mainland. The rescuers took the cold, damp and miserable Lady McLean to Coille Bhar Mill to recuperate from her ordeal. Once well, she went to Inveraray Castle. Locals tell that the rights to the mill were given to her rescuers as a reward.

Other versions of the story claim the mill was at Taynish and the rescuers Tayvallich people, while another version claims that some of her husband’s men rebelled and rescued her.

Today, locals refer to a rock, located near Lismore, as the Lady’s Rock in connection with this story.

lochcollie house

The remains of Loch Coille Bhar Mill, here you can see the archway where the water wheel was located.

lochcollie burn

This image shows the man-made channel, called the lade, which directed water to the mill to power the waterwheel.