Mill Wheel at St. Fillan's Mill, Killin
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Mill Wheel at St. Fillan's Mill, Killin

A village in NW Stirling Council Area, Killin is situated at the west end of Loch Tay, where it is joined by the River Dochart and the River Lochay. In 1694 Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, 1st Earl of Breadalbane (1636 - 1717), erected a burgh of barony close to Finlarig Castle which takes its name from early associations with St. Fingal. He had acquired the land here from the bankrupt MacNabs. The village developed as a resting place for drovers and industries based on spinning and then linen developed in the 18th C. The largest and oldest of the settlements of Breadalbane, Killin is now a service centre for the surrounding rural community and a centre of tourism with hotels and facilities for walking, fishing and watersports. In 1995 a traditional music and dance festival was inaugurated here. St. Fillan's Mill re-opened in 2013 as a community space and visitor attraction. Killin benefits from being designated a conservation area and lies within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. To the north Ben Lawers and the Tarmachan Ridge forms a dramatic backdrop to the village. At the south end of the village are the scenic Falls of Dochart, where the A827 road crosses the historic Dochart Bridge that dates from 1760, although partially rebuilt in 1831. The village once had a station on a branch of the Callendar and Oban Railway which connected to a steamer pier on Loch Tay. This railway opened in 1886 bringing tourists to the area for the first time but closed in 1965, although the trackbed now provides a walking route which connects with the Rob Roy Way. Killin still benefits from a primary school, post office, two churches and several shops, serving a population of around 650.

Kinnell House was long the seat of Clan McNab and their historic burial ground lies on the little riverine island of Inchbuie beneath the Dochart Bridge. The area around Killin is noted for its standing stones and crannogs. Kinnell Stone Circle is located immediately to the east of the village and the site of a stone axe factory lies in the hills to the north. Nearby is the Moirlanich Longhouse, a rare surviving example of the Scottish longhouse maintained by the National Trust for Scotland.

Author Charles Dickens stayed here while on a tour of the Highlands in 1841. Killin has provided a location for several films, including The 39 Steps (1959), Casino Royale (1966), where David Niven (1910-83) is seen fleetingly driving past the Falls of Dochart, Kidnapped (1971) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

A major electricity substation to the northwest of the village connects the Lochay, Finlarig and St. Fillans Power Stations of the Breadalbane Hydro-Electric Power Scheme to a similar substations at Tummel Bridge and to the north of Loch Lomond, and hence to the national grid. This is operated by Scottish and Southern Energy Electricity Networks.

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