Clan Campbell is one of the most ancient clans of Scotland, it's origins being in Clan Alpin, named after Kenneth MacAlpin who was the first ancient king of the early united Scotland. The Campbells were a powerful Clan with a burning desire to expand their lands, indeed the ambition of the 16 the century Black Duncan Campbell of the cowl was to be able to travel on his own lands from the east to the west coast of Scotland. It was an ambition he achieved to the cost of many of his neighbours. The Campbells acquired their lands mainly through guile and legal process, largely with the support of some of Scotlands kings. It was the Campbells who hounded the MacGregors, the McEwans and many other unfortunate clans to the verge of extinction. The Campbells were also great castle builders, owning at one stage castles spread over the full width of Scotland, included were: Dunstafnage and Barcaldine near Oban, Kilchurn on Loch Awe, Lock Dochart Castle, Finlarig at Killin, Ardeonaig castle on Loch Tay and Balloch castle (later known as Taymouth) at Kenmore.
The area is steeped in history, much of it recorded in ancient records, recorded in ancient pictish carvings. Evidence of early occupation lies in 'cup and ring' markings which are found carved in the rocks all over Breadalbane.
From Taymouth, the later Earls of Breadalbane ruled over a single estate of 437,696 acres. Today all is dispersed and no longer belongs to the estate. Presumably, successive Earls failed to take care after the first of them, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy (1635-1716), the doubtful Jacobite, described as 'grave as a Spaniard, cunning as a fox, wise as a serpent, and slippery as an eel'.
The 3rd Earl was responsible for building the handsome bridge over Tay in 1774, with the inscription proclaiming the great generosity of King George who subscribed a large sum towards the cost out of the fortified Jacobite estates. It was the view from this bridge which inspired Robert Burns to write his poem, in pencil, on the chimney-piece of the Kenmore Inn, now the Hotel.
The 3rd Earl, was also responsible for the building of Kenmores' attractive church on its green hillock which dates from 1760,replacing the one of 1579.