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Eilean Dearg, Loch Ruel

Castle (Medieval), Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Vitrified Stone (Period Unassigned), Scraper (Tool) (Flint)

Site Name Eilean Dearg, Loch Ruel

Classification Castle (Medieval), Fort (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Vitrified Stone (Period Unassigned), Scraper (Tool) (Flint)

Canmore ID 40448

Site Number NS07NW 1

NGR NS 0081 7709

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Inverchaolain
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NS07NW 1 0081 7709.

(NS 0081 7709) Castle (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1900)

The castle situated on Eilean Dearg was destroyed by naval action during Argyll's rising of 1685. Excavations which were carried out between 1964 and 1967 revealed (i) the foundations of a curtain wall 3 1/2 ft thick on S, E and N; (ii) a building, possibly of hall-type rather than a tower, in the SE; (iii) a sea-gate in the NW corner; (iv) a chapel along the N curtain, measuring internally 27 ft by 13 1/2 ft, with its altar base still intact; no graves were found within its area, and its usage as a chapel was superseded by that as a builder's yard prior to the 17th century; and (v), on the W, a rhomboidal tower measuring 30 1/2ft by 22 1/2ft within an 8ft thick wall. The castle well - a rock basin trapping a spring - lay some 25ft E of the NE corner of the E curtain. All finds, which are now at Castle Bay, included a Bronze Age flint scraper, a quantity of vitrified rock, indicating that the site may have been occupied earlier by a vitrified fort, a number of medieval artifacts eg. pottery, where datable, dating to between the 14th and 17th centuries.

H B Millar and J Kirkhope 1964; 1965; 1966; 1967.

There are no intelligible remains to be seen, though the excavations have exposed several disconnected stretches of walling which are now overgrown.

Visited by OS (I A) 28 November 1972.

There are no surveyable remains of this castle.

Visited by OS (B S) 13 October 1976.

Charter evidence indicates that this castle was a property of the Stewarts at the end of the 13th century.

G W S Barrow 1980.


Publication Account (1990)

Small island in Kyles of Bute, formerly ‘castrum inexpugnible domini de Lauquhaw’ (‘an impregnable castle of the [Campbell] Lord of Lochawe’; Walter Bower, c.1445). Used as principal magazine in 9th Earl of Argyll’s invasion, captured and blown up by Government naval force, 1685. Excavation 1960s; foundations of tower, hall and chapel identifiable.

Information from ‘RCAHMS Excursion guide 1990: Commissioners' field excursion, Argyll, 7-9 May 1990’.


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