ARCHIE McKerracher, who died at home in Dunblane last week, spent the past 23 years working for the Redland Group. His alter ego was A C McKerracher, FSA Scot - author, historian, writer, storyteller, and legend investigator, known to an enormous audience at home and overseas.

Archie McKerracher was in that fine Scottish tradition of the chronicler of folk tales, of the curious self-trained layman who delves below the surface of the ancient yarns, and then makes them live again for a new generation.

He wrote three books, all of which have been reprinted more than once. Portrait of Dunblane 1875-1975 (1980), Perthshire in History and Legend (1988), and The Street and Place Names of Dunblane (1992). He wrote regularly for the Scots Magazine and an amazing range of international magazines catering for those fascinated by Scottish folklore. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland in 1990.

Archie Cunningham McKerracher was born in 1942 in Glasgow and educated at Kelvinside Academy. After leaving school, he was offered a traineeship with D C Thomson, the training ground for many famous writers and journalists. Turning it down was one of the biggest regrets of his life. He entered the construction industry, spending a brief period in London where he played rugby for the London Scottish Colts. He returned to Scotland, marrying Mary in 1970. He started writing in his spare time, supplementing an income varying with the fortunes of the construction trade. His career with Redland took him to a senior position in the Stirling branch.

But historical research and writing was Archie's real love and he delved with relish and enthusiasm into the background and texture of Scotland's past. Living in Dunblane gave him a location of unique historical richness which he explored with detailed thoroughness. He was a popular speaker at clubs and societies all over Scotland.

He rarely stuck to conventional history because he loved the colour of the legends. His friends were amused with one pet theory, that King Arthur's round table and court had, in reality, been situated near Stenhousemuir. He allowed only a wry smile when some heavyweight historians arrived at the same conclusion a few years later.

Another legend of his was of the lost Roman legion sighted over many years in Dunblane trying to find their marching camp on top of Roman Hill. The condition of the sighters was always in question, but the camp had certainly been there and it was a grand tale, especially for those living on the hill.

He told and wrote and researched and archived many stories which will live on simply because Archie took the trouble and had the touch to make them live. He was also a great historical tour guide, an organiser of memorable expeditionary hill walks for family and friends, and a real individualist. He fought his cancer with a courage and tenacity that dazzled and inspired his wide range of friends.

Just a few weeks before it finally beat him, he insisted on a pint and a tale or two with us in the Tappit Hen, his favourite pub, in the shadow of Dunblane's historic cathedral.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, his sons, Angus, Ruari, Niall, and his daughter, Sarah Rose.