The Appin Murder: The Killing of the Red Fox

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The wild weather having delayed the proceedings, it was five o’clock before the blacksmith hung the body in chains and the onlookers turned for home through the gloaming. Margaret probably stayed overnight at Ballachulish House. She had bought sugar and a quarter pound of tea on the previous day, presumably to serve to sympathisers at the wake. The laird had layed in six bottles of wine and spirits and a barrel of coal. No doubt his fires burned late as the mourners drank to the memory of the man whose corpse was visible from the windows. With its dark undercurrents of Jacobitism, intrigue, greed and revenge this incident has caught the popular imagination. Theories abound as to who actually fired the fatal shot at Colin Campbell of Glenure and brought down the wrath of Clan Campbell on the intransigent Stewarts of Appin. The murder inspired Stevenson’s Kidnapped and Catriona. Its consequences sent tremors into the highest reaches of Scottish society. Seamus Carney’s account remains the definitive account of this still baffling mystery.

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