Loch Tay Black Dog
The following account was published in “The peat-fire flame : folk-tales and traditions of the Highlands & Islands” by Alasdair Alpin MacGregor (1937). ‘There is told among the clachans fringing the shores of Loch Tay, and indeed throughout Breadalbain, the story of a ghost that haunted the farmhouse of Claggan, on the south side of the loch. On one occasion at least, this ghost, when on its nocturnal errands, assumed the form of a dog. So disturbed became the countryside as the result of ghost rumours, that the inhabitants eventually refused to pass anywhere near Claggan after dusk. One evening an elderly man crossed Loch Tay from the Lawers side, with the intention of paying a visit to his sister, who was married to a tenant-farmer at Ardtalnaig. No sooner had he reached within shouting distance of the farmhouse of Claggan than a huge, grey dog appeared by a heap of stones known locally as An Cam Mor, the Big Cairn. The old man did his best to continue his journey without showing any fear ; and he observed that the dog moved forward with him in a parallel line, some yards away, that it stopped when he stopped, started again when he started, and hastened when he hastened, for all the world like an ominous shadow. At length the old man reached Claggan farmhouse, where, in passing by the front, he received some temporary relief on finding that his escort had disappeared. But no sooner had he reached the farther gable than he again was confronted with this eerie creature. Terror-stricken, he turned back, and dashed into the farmhouse, where he fainted in the arms of its occupants.
When he came to, the MacKays, who were tenants of Claggan Farm, addressed him : ” What was it frightened you, John? Were you seeing anything?”
John then proceeded to tell them of his experience with the strange dog. By this time he was so unnerved that he asked three or four of the younger men about the farm to escort him the remaining mile of his journey to Ardtalnaig, where his sister lived. But MacKay himself had been so moved by the supernatural nature of John’s story that he would not hear of anyone quitting his hearth that night.’