THE BLACKFORD LEGEND
Blackford has its very own legend, and remember every legend has a kernel of truth. The story goes that the prefix ''Black'' in the name of the village denotes a tragedy that happened at a ford over the Allan Water. Back in the antiquity of time, before the Romans arrived in Britain it is stated that between Kinbuck bridge, (close to Dunblane) and the foot of Gleneagles, a distance of about fourteen miles, there was a beautiful loch, varying from one mile to three miles in width.
This loch was a favourite spot of the Caledonian Kings for fishing and the like, and a royal fishing boat was constantly kept at the ready. One of those Kings, reputedly called King Magnus, on a fishing trip to this loch, was accompanied by his Queen, Queen Helen or “The Fair Queen Helen'' as she was affectionately known to the people of the land, for she was fair of face and full of grace and kindness.
This Queen was accidentally drowned at the fordable place on the loch, where a hamlet, now Blackford stood, her horse stumbled, and threw her into the water where she was swept away by an undercurrent and lost. It is said that the King in the Celtic dialect of the day, declared that it was a black ford, the black in this case meaning iniquitous. And so the hamlet by the ford, came to be known as the place of the black ford, and to this day is the name of the village.
After a long search for the body of his Queen, the King decided to have the loch drained for the purpose of recovering the body. After draining the loch and searching for a long time, the remains were at last discovered, but they were in such a state of decomposition they could not be moved. Because of this a monumental mound of earth was thrown over the body of Queen Helen. This mound is still in existence today, named “The Deaf Knowe”, oval in shape at the base, considerable height and sloping. It can be seen below Blackford by the riverside and is highlighted on the map.
Fact or fiction? It's hard to say as there are no written records of the event, yet every local resident of Blackford and its immediate surrounding area knows the story. And although the story varies with each telling, the basics are the same. It has even been said that after the 'burial" of Queen Helen, the Strath was named in her honour "Strath Helen" which through time and usage has changed to Strathallan. It also has to be noted that the whole area is almost level. Between Blackford and Kinbuck Bridge there is barely a twelve foot difference, and therefore it would have been comparatively easy to drain the loch in this direction. So, fact or fiction?