Castle Stalker is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. The MacDougalls lost the castle when they were defeated by King Bruce at the Pass of Brander in 1308. It was then passed onto the Stewards in 1388. King James IV of Scotland was a frequent visitor who used the castle as a base for his passion of hunting and hawking. In 1640 the castle passed to the Campbell’s of Airds on a drunken wager. The Stewards regained the Castle briefly 1689 before the Campbell’s reoccupied the fortress after a lengthy siege. The roof collapsed in 1840. In 1908 Charles Stewarts purchased the shell before it was sold again to Duncan Stewart in 1947. In 1965 Lt Col Stewart Allward bought and renovated the castle. In 1975, I played extra and joined the cast of Monty Python to assault ‘Castle Aargh’ in pursuit of the Holy Grail.
Kilchurn castle was built in c1440 by Sir Colin Campbell the 1st of Glenorchy and located at the north eastern aspect of Loch Awe. It has had many modifications throughout its life and its central in-land location has ensured that it has had its share of the bloody inter-clan and national disputes. The distinctive castle walls, the loch and the dramatic mountain scape beyond make it one of the most atmospheric and photographed castles in the Scottish Highlands. The castle was once owned by Sir Elton John.
Inveraray Castle is a country house near Inveraray on the shore of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch. It has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century. The Campbells’ were politically astute with a canny knack of picking the winning side during inter-clan and national disputes. The hugely influential clan played an important role in shaping modern Scotland; however the contentious massacre of the MacDonalds in Glencoe in 1692 has tarnished their reputation and will never be forgotten.
Dunadd was originally an Iron Age hillfort that dominates a raised rocky outcrop. Standing proudly above the Moine Mhor (the great moss) it became the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dal Riata between AD 500 and AD900. This was one of the most important places of its time with a buoyant crafts industry and strong trading activities across Europe. It was thought that kings were anointed here. The original Scots were migrants from Ireland who settled across Argyll in ever greater numbers. They were known as Gaels because they share the common language of Gaelic. The Latin speaking fraternity in the south referred to them as Scotii, thought to be a derogatory term that scribed them as pirates.
Return to Oban
The Castles Tour will initially travel north on the A828 to Appin to view Castle Stalker. We will then return to Connel and veer east through the Pass Of Brander where Robert the Bruce defeated the MacDougalls in 1308. Continue to Kilchurn Castle on the north east aspect of Loch Awe before taking the A819 to Inveraray Castle. From Inveraray, travel west to Lochgilphead then turn north onto the A816 towards Kilmartin. Just short of Kilmartin lies Dunadd the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada and the birthplace of a nation. Thereafter continue north to Oban.