Welcome to Arrochar
Arrochar names a pretty village in the southwest Highlands at the head of Loch Long, the area that surrounds it, and a mountain range; the "Arrochar Alps".
Arrochar is associated with the MacFarlanes. For over five centuries the lands of Arrochar were dominated by this clan. Their stewardship of Arrochar is said to have begun in the late 12th century when Gilcrist, son of Alwyn, Earl of Lennox, received the lands to govern as a vassal - in feudal Scotland this meant that he would govern the land with the protection of the crown in exchange for homage and allegiance. Originally the relationship between vassal and overlord was established by rituals of domination and subservience but by the 13th century this had started to change. In about 1225 AD Gilcrist was given the lands of Arrochar by Royal Charter - a document expressing the rights and duties of both parties, crown and vassal; an early legal contract.
Ben Arthur - "The Cobbler"
Gilcrist's son, Malduin, is said to have been a friend of Robert I (Robert the Bruce). It was Malduin who raised the men of Arrochar to fight in the 'Wars of Independence' against English occupation. Malduin led these men in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Yet the clan had still not received its enduring name! Malduin's son was called Parlan; it is the corruption of "Mac-Parlan", son of Parlan, from which MacFarlane is derived.
The MacFarlanes came to prominence by cultivating a warm relationship with the crown, but before the end of the 17th century the crown had reason to keep its distance from what had become a profligate band of outlaws. Over the centuries the MacFarlanes became famous as cattle rustlers: by moonlight they would creep stealthily into the lands of their wealthier neighbours, to the south and east, and drive their beasts back to Arrochar. They became so adept at thievery that the full moon began to be known commonly as MacFarlanes' Lantern. Despite these exploits, by 1767 the house of MacFarlane had fallen into serious debt and the lands were sold off.
Loch Long at Arrochar
The wild days of the MacFarlanes are now gone and people come to Arrochar to enjoy its scenery and to use it as a base for exploring the Arrochar Alps. Above all, today's Arrochar is famous for being the starting off point for climbs of Ben Arthur, more commonly known as 'The Cobbler'. The Cobbler is famed for the strange rock formations at its summit (approximately 2946 ft). The Cobbler has three peaks: the north and centre peaks are said to resemble a cobbler working at his last, while the south peak is The Cobbler's wife, who according to legend is called Jean. Whether you see the comparison or not, The Cobbler is one of many majestic peaks in this stunning area.