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Publication Account

Date 1995

Event ID 1016676

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1016676

Standing in empty countryside against a backdrop of loch and mountains, Ardvreck Castle and Calda House must be counted amongst the best romantic ruins.

The castle stands on the neck of a promontory jutting out into Loch Assynt. It seems to be of two phases, probably built in the 15th century and altered in the 16th. An old record of a 1591 or 1597 date-stone may relate to the alteration. The circular angle tower was an addition to the original oblong block, once fourstoreys high, of which one end remains. The basement of the main block contained two stonevaulted rooms and a passage with several gunports, while above it would have been the hall,originally also vaulted. The lower part of the tower is round and held a spiral stair communicating with the first-floor hall, whi le its upper part is corbelled out to the square in typical 16th-century fashion to form rooms, one of which can be seen to have a fireplace of its own. A stair turret built across the angle between the tower and the hall gave access to the upper floors. This castle was the residence of the Macleod Lairds of Assynt, and here Montrose was held prisoner after his capture in 1650.

Beside Loch Assynt and near Elphin are outcrops of limestone rock and the soil is unusually fertile, a fact appreciated by farmers since prehistoric times. Neolithic chambered cairns can be found scattered along the lin e of the A 837 from Loch Assynt south to Loch Borrolan.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands’, (1995).

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