Eliean nam Faoileag is a crannog made entirely of stones, built on a sand bank base. It measures 17m in length from N to S, and 10m across, although it used to be much bigger - in the last 30 years the level of Loch Rannoch has been raised about 2m. The sand bank curves round from the crannog and connects to the S shore of the loch, and before the loch level rose, was about 1.2m under the surface.
At some point in the past there was supposed to have been a small prison on the crannog, belonging to the Robertsons of Struan. The present tower is said to be a facsimile of the prison, built by a Baron Granbley in the 19th century.
The MacGregors were the fiercest and the most feared of all the clans of Rannoch. They harried the countryside for miles around, driving herds of stolen cattle into Rannoch from all parts. Led by Duncan MacGregor, called Ladasach, they fortified the island, Eilean nam Faoileag, as their headquarters where they planned their daring raids.
Proscribed and outlawed, and forbidden to use their name because of criminal activities, these "Children of the Mist" as they were called, were nevertheless conspicuous for their bravery not only in local fights but also in battles in support of the Stewart cause.
Campbell of Glen Orchy once captured Ladasach and chained him in the underground pit at Finlarig while waiting to be 'heidit.' However, before the sentence could be carried out, Campbell was called up by James IV to march to Flodden where he died in battle. Duncan was saved and celebrated Campbell's death by escaping and returning to Rannoch in safety.
After a 47 year long campaign of rieving, he was caught a final time on 16th June, 1552. He was beheaded by order of Colin Campbell of Glen Orchy, Campbell of Glen Lyon, and Menzies of Rannoch. James MacGregor, Dean of Lismore, wrote of his final words in Testament of Duncan Ladasach:
'Now farewell Rannoch with the loch and isle,
To me thou was richt traist baith even and morn.
Thou was the place that wad me not beguile,
When I have been oft at the king's horn.'
As he awaited execution he distributed his worldly goods as follows:
'To the Curate he gives NEGLIGENCE;
to the Vicar RAPACITY,
to the Parson OPPRESSION;
to the Prior GLUTTONY.
PRIDE and ARROGANCE to the Abbot,
HIS FREE WILL to the Bishop,
and to the Friar FLATTERY and FALSE DISEMBLING.'
There are information boards spaced out around the loch, and one is opposite the crannog on the S shore. I forget the name of the clan it talks about, but presumably it was the Robertsons of Struan. Apparently, if they were being chased by their enemies, they would head for the shore of Loch Rannoch, and run out to Eilean nam Faoileag on the submerged sand bank. Anyone trying to follow them, not knowing where the curved causeway was, would inevitably perish.