The rather tart but amusing stories Three Days in the Highlands and Among the Lochs are fictional accounts of Margaret Oliphant's travel adventures while staying in Rosneath village on the Gareloch. The village, located near the tip of the Rosneath peninsula, is referred to in these stories as Knocktarlitie - a name which Margaret Oliphant borrowed from Sir Walter Scott who used it to describe the same locale in The Heart of Midlothian. The stories are essentially travelogues with some characters and plot mixed in.
At the time of these stories (1861), Mrs Oliphant was 33 years old and had been in mourning for her husband for nearly two years. A few months earlier while doing research for her Life of Edward Irving, Margaret had met the witty, flirtatious minister of Rosneath, Robert Herbert Story, then age twenty-five. As described in her Autobiography, that summer she rented a house at Rosneath to which her family and friends came and went, while his own many friends came and went at the manse. She describes "boating and singing and Highland expeditions - all very amusing, almost gay, as I had seldom been in my life before."
Among the Lochs in particular gives us glimpses of her close friends - "Reginald" bearing some resemblance to Robert Herbert Story; "Arabella" to Isabella Blackwood; the "Archdeacon" and his wife to Principal Tulloch of St Andrews and his wife Jane; and "Mrs Kate S" to Mrs Oliphant herself. However it must be emphasized that her characters are fictional, and in some important ways do not resemble her friends or herself. That summer cemented these friendships, so that she and the Tullochs, and Isabella Blackwood, and Robert Herbert Story remained friends for life.