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Preserving Our Clan Heritage

by Glenda Dickson on January 9th, 2015

Ellan VhowThere is an island in the middle of Loch Lomond, Scotland that is known by various names: Elanvow, Ellan Vhow, Eilean A Vow, Island I Vow.

On this very small uninhabited island lie the ruins of a MacFarlane castle. Built in 1577 by Andrew MacFarlane, hero of the Battle of Langside, and once the stronghold of the Clan, this castle had virtually disappeared amidst the overgrowth before the Ellan Vhow Preservation Fund (EVPF) came to the rescue. Below is a picture of the Cellar (Dungeon) entrance:


Cellar or Dungeon EntranceUS high school student, Katherine McFarlin, is credited with having started this independent project under the supervision of local Scottish archaelogist, Fiona Baker. Many more people and organisations have now come to support this project. The Ellan Vhow Preservation Fund have their own website: which covers the history surrounding the castle and the island, updates on the status of the project, and also includes many facts, suppositions and myths surrounding the island. There are wonderful pictures including 3D images of the castle. The only way to visit this island is by boat and our Membership Secretary, Anita Renfrey, was privileged to do so on her trip to Scotland last year.

Preservation work on the island has been slow going due to a number of reasons, financial constraints, weather conditions, and even the need to consider the welfare of a resident bat population! We are pleased to report, however, that the project is now in its third stage but it does need help with donations to progress further.

Our Society has made a significant contribution to the funds, and our members have also responded previously to the call for donations, but hopefully there are many more donations forthcoming to help preserve our MacFarlane heritage. All donors are acknowledged on the EVPF website.  If you are able to help, or would like further information please visit

We have also published information on this project previously in our quarterly newsletter, particulary an article with the same name as this in our December 2012 issue. A copy of this is available in the Members Area.

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