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The name appears to derive from the Gaelic Cam Beul, meaning Crooked Mouth; while those who bear it are called "Clan Diarmaid as the supposed descendants of the handsome Ossianic hero with whom the wife of Fingal fell in love. In revenge Fingal challenged Diarmaid to slay the wild boar that harried the neighbourhood, and then to measure its carcass against the lie of its bristles with his bear feet. A bristle pierced Diarmaid's Achilles heel and Fingal refused him the draught of his healing cup as Diarmaid lay dying. Scotland's supreme interpreter of Gaelic song, J.M. Campbell, is among those who have left a recording of this ballad.

Such are the legendry origins of a clan that was already of considerable consequence in the lands of the earliest Scottish kingdom of Dalriada by the time these had evolved into Lorne and Argyll. The support their chief Sir Colin Campbell of Loch Awe and his two sons gave to Robert Bruce was rewarded by a marriage with King Robert's sister, and the Campbells began their rise to supremacy in the Highlands by assisting in the downfall of Bruce's opponents. From this time their chiefs were named as the descendents of Sir Colin of Loch Awe, "Mac Cailein Mor" - "Great Son of Colin". (Ian Grimble)

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  • For more information on the Campbell Clan write to : Chief Executive, Clan Campbell, Inveraray Castle, Argyll PA32 8XF, Scotland.

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