String of Lorn (Sreang Latharnach)
Start location: Lochavich House (NM 937 153)
End location: A816, Balinoe (NM 875 245)
Geographical area: Argyll and Bute
Path Type: Pilgrimage Route, Coffin Road, Drove Road
Path distance: 12.75km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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From Lochavich House, a ScotWays signpost indicates NNW up the track past Loch na Sreinge (loch of the string) beyond which is Carn Chailein where Macailein Mor was slain in 1294. After the cairn take the path on the left which continues NW above the Allt Bragleenmore, gradually descending to the glen. From the farm of the same name go W for 2km along the north side of Loch Scammadale, then N up a track by the Eas Ruadh to enter the forest, where the route is well cleared and signposted and leads NW to Balinoe, 1km south of Kilmore on the A816 road.
OS Landranger 55 (Lochgilphead and surrounding area) and 49 (Oban & East Mull)
This wild and lonely route is one of the most ancient & historic hill tracks of Argyll. It was undoubtedly used for droving cattle. From Mull, via Kerrera, the droves would have had the option of going south-east on the String of Lorn or east along the Midmuir Drove Road.
The road must surely also have been used by pilgrims on their way to Iona, following exactly the route taken by the drovers and their cattle, but hundreds of years earlier.
It is also traditionally said to have been a coffin road and so must have been used by people carrying their dead to Kilmore to be buried in consecrated ground. Kilmore Old Kirk stands in its graveyard to the south-east of Kilmore. It is first recorded at the beginning of the 14th century, although the present ruins only date back as far as the 15th or 16th century. Its roof and fittings were dismantled in 1876, presumably it was replaced by the present Kilmore Church to the west of the village.
The String of Lorn is also the site of an ancient battle, a boundary dispute between the MacDougalls and the Campbells in 1294. Ath Dearg (NM 9257 1831) is traditionally thought to be the burial place of those slain. The cairn, Carn Chailein or Colin's Cairn, is said to commemorate the death of Sir Colin Campbell of Lochawe who was killed by a MacDougall archer. The cairn dates back to at least the end of the 17th century, but how much older it is than that is unknown.