Castle Stalker in the Gaelic, “Stalcaire”, meaning Hunter or Falconer – is believed originally to have been the site of a Fortalice (a small fortified building) belonging to the MacDougalls when they were Lords of Lorn, and built around 1320. For the Monty Python fan, this castle was the ‘Castle of Aaargh’, the island castle where the Holy Grail supposedly resides. Tours are limited and must be booked in advance, find out more here. It’s on the road to Oban in the village of Appin so not too far away and with a the Old Inn right on the doorstep it’s and ideal drive out.
This is one of our favourites as the drive here and the setting is spectacular. The ruined Castle Tioram is built on the rocky and tidal island Eilean Tioram where the waters of Loch Moidart and the river Shiel meet. It is possible to walk over to the island at low tide and wander around the exterior of the ruins.
Situated on the small island of Lismore this ruined 13th century castle is a delight to explore. It was also said to be haunted by a Norse princess, until her bones were taken back to Norway where she was buried beside her lover. Although, sightings of a figure within the castle walls are still a recent occurrence !!!!! Make a great day of it, and hire some bikes, take the small passenger ferry to the island, and cycle around the almost completely deserted roads. There’s a route on Walk Highlands.
Built on a huge rock overlooking the Firth of Lorn, Dunstaffnage was the mighty stronghold of the MacDougalls. The castle, with its huge curtain wall, was captured by Robert the Bruce in 1309 and remained in royal possession for some years. Dunstaffnage Castle is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland built around 1220, during a period of remarkable struggle between Scotland and Norway for control over the Hebrides. It’s on the way to Oban so this one isn’t too far away either.
The initial structure of Kilchurn Castle was built in the 15th century and it in a spectacular setting on the banks of Loch Awe near to Dalmally. It was the ancestral home of the Campbells of Glen Orchy. This makes a great place to visit either by a short detour on the way to Glencoe or when leaving on the way back south to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Eilean Donan Castle
Historic castles are among the most iconic images of Scotland, and the fabulous Eilean Donan castle is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands. It’s a 2 hour drive away so either a proper long day out or a must if you’re travelling on to Skye.
The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and the Great Glen. Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and in the 14th century, it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. If you’re travelling to or from Inverness and castles are your thing it’s another must see.