Castle Stalker

Appin, The Great Glen, Scotland. Day 22-23 , 20th-21st July.

Lighthouses, Photography, Scotland, Sgeir Bhuide Lighthouse, The Great Glen, Travel

When we returned from the St Kilda cruise to Oban, I was not far from my next destination but my rental car was still on Mull.  So I took the ferry to back to Craignure on Mull and drove back to Port Appin the long way.  This is Sgeir Bhuide Lighthouse taken from a Port Appin Hotel where I had a meal and near where I was staying.  It looks as though it is on the point but it is in fact on a rock some distance behind.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

And this is Castle Stalker, which I had come to see.  You can go inside but the tours are once a week and did not coincide with my visit.

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Lighthouses, Photography, Scotland, Sgeir Bhuide Lighthouse, The Great Glen, Travel

Loche Linnhe with Sgeir Bhuide lighthouse again, in the middle distance.  The original lighthouse was built in the late nineteenth century but this is a replacement one from 2002.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

Castle Stalker was built in the mid-fifteenth century, replacing a smaller fortified building which had been built around 1320.  It is a monolithic keep, typical of early Scottish castles.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

For nearly the first two hundred years, it was in the hands of the Stewarts, relations of the Scottish royal family.  Most of the lairds in the first hundred years ended up murdered by people from rival clans, which says something of the times and why they needed to have castles.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

In 1620, the castle changed hands to the Campbells as a consequence of a drunken wager by the seventh Stewart laird, and in exchange for an eight-oared wherry (or cargo boat).

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

Old buildings beside the road

In 1689, the Stewarts retook Castle Stalker as part of a campaign for James VII of Scotland (James II of England) against William and Mary.  The Campbells regained it in 1690 following the Stewart defeat at the Battle of Dunkeld though it took a seige of several months.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

In 1840 the roof either fell in or was removed to avoid roof tax and the castle was abandoned.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

In 1908 a Stewart bought the castle back from the Campbells and the castle was restored in the 1970s.

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Castle Stalker, Castles, Photography, Scotland, The Great Glen, Travel

Click for much larger image

This is a multiple-image panorama.  Click to zoom around in a much larger image.

The mountains in the distance are the far side of the Loch Linnhe (an estuary, not a lake).  The green area in the middle distance is the Island of Lismore on which there was a monastic settlement from about 563AD.  The land on the mainland on the left is Appin, from the Gaelic Apuin, which means “Abbey Lands”.

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7 comments on “Castle Stalker

  1. leecleland says:

    What a mixed history! I just wonder what happened to the women and children with all these exchanges of castle (wager or war). And did the servants go as part of the castle throughout all this mess or were they dispensable. So many unanswered questions 🙂 and we’ll probably never know. Torrid times to live in.

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    • Murray Foote says:

      The women and children and servants would still have belonged to the clan so they probably would have had somewhere to go if all their menfolk were killed and their castle lost. However, I think it is impossible for us to understand how savage and barbaric life could be in mediæval times, anywhere in Europe. And life was always particularly tough in Scotland.

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      • leecleland says:

        I’m just glad I didn’t live in those times, I had forgotten that women were possessions 🙂

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      • Murray Foote says:

        Not so much in earlier times for the Norse, though. If you read the Icelandic Sagas, there are a number of strong women in charge of their destinies.

        And even in Mediæval Scotland, a wealthy widow would have control of all her ex-husbands lands and possessions – at least until she married again. There again, even Mary Queen of Scots was abducted by Bothwell.

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  2. […] Return to Inverness via Loch Ness (20 to 21 July) […]

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  3. Loch Linnhe and Lismore are perhaps my two most favourite places in the world and of course any self respecting Monty Python fan would recognize that Castle Stalker stands in for Castle Arrrggg

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