Oban Bay Sunset

Maiden Island

Maiden Island is the small grassy island overlooked by Dunollie Castle and lies between Dunollie Point on the Ganavan road and the northern tip of Kerrera.

Maiden Island Oban Argyll Scotland
Calmac ferry "Isle of Mull" entering Oban bay between Maiden Island and the Northern tip of Kerrera. In the background is Lismore and the hills of Morvern.

King Malcolm first Scotland There's some debate over where the name Maiden Island was derived from - some will tell you it named in memory of King Malcolm 4th of Scotland (1153 - 1165) who had connections with Kerrera.

King Malcolm was only 11 years old when he came to power and it was during his reign that the first written references to Scotland as a kingdom can be found.

However some locals will tell you that legend has it that a young girl was tied up on the island to persuade her to admit to a crime. She did not admit to the crime as the tide came in and she drowned.

In a similar vein, other more romantic notions have it that Muireadhach (Murdoch), celtic heart a fiercesome warrior, was in love with Mhairi (Mary) daughter of a local tradesman.

A jealous would be suitor cast doubts as to her chastity while he was away at war and he was convinced that to prove her purity she should be tied by her hair to a rock on the island at low tide and let nature degree her fate.

It was the witches chair catch 22 scenario - if she had been unfaithful her hair would break and he could punish her, if her hair was strong and she remained tied to the rock then her fidelity was proven - and she would drown! The tide came in and her purity was proven when the water began lapping over her head.

In a final herioc effort to save her he dived in and and began swimming out to the island. Strong undercurrents swept him away and they both drowned.

The small island, up until then nameless was christened that day in her memory -- Maiden Island.

I have a good idea which is the factual version but I also know which version I'd prefer to believe .....


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