Age: Heritage (<400 yrs)
Access: Private
Site Type: Cliff
Location: Ballachulish House, Ballachulish, Highlands PH49 4JX
OS Map Grid: NN 048 592
Coordinates: 56.683599, -5.188500

Ballachulish House is a strictly private residence incorporating a bed and breakfast facility. It was built in 1746 to replace a partially destroyed house – the seat of the Stewarts of Appin – dating to around 1640. A multi stemmed male yew tree stands near to the house and has a place in history involving the notorious assassination in 1752 of Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, known as the Red Fox. Known as the infamous Appin Murder, an allegedly innocent man, James Stewart, was hanged for it. The story inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his famous novel Kidnapped. The yew’s place in this story is that the murder weapon, a gun, was hidden in this very yew after the incident. It was retrieved and is now on display in the museum at Fort William, as advised by the owners of the house.

The yew has four stems suggesting it may have bifurcated when very young due to predation probably by deer or rabbits and would have had a bushy appearance when the Appin Murder occurred over 250 years ago. The girths of three stems measured at 50cm high (no measure was possible at this height on the fourth stem) varied from 280 cm, 190 cm to 162 cm. The root crown girth measured 500 cm (all measurements SYTHI 2021). How old it may have been in 1752 is not known, however, perhaps a planting soon after 1640 when the original Ballachulish House was built could be likely, and if so, then the yew would be around 350 years old at most.

SYTHI would like to express gratitude to the Tree Register which supported the fieldwork to this site with a Vicky Shilling Bursary.

Access: Private
Age: Heritage (<400 yrs)
Site Type: Cliff
Location: Ballachulish House, Ballachulish, Highlands PH49 4JX
OS Map Grid: NN 048 592
Coordinates: 56.683599, -5.188500