Places to Visit in Scotland
-Castle Campbell, Clackmannan
Set in a magnificent situation, perched on a promontory between the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow, high in Dollar Glen, in Clackmannan, Castle Campbell (or Castle Gloom as it was once called, derived from the Gaelic "glom" meaning chasm) is one of the most romantic castles in Scotland. On a clear day, the view from the castle ramparts over the small town of Dollar far below and across Fife to the estuary of the river Forth is spectacular. The approach to the castle, up a very steep, narrow road (in first gear if you are in a car) brings home how defensible it must have been in the days when only a fortunate few owned a horse.
Originally, the lands in this area were held by the Stewarts but Colin, 2nd Lord Campbell married Elizabeth Stewart and thus acquired the "Lands of Glume." The principle seat of the Campbells> was Inveraray Castle>, but Castle Gloom (renamed Campbell in 1489) was their main base in the Lowlands of Scotland. Colin Campbell was Master of the King's Household and chief law officer during the reigns of King James III> and King James IV>.
The 4th Earl of Argyll, Archibald, fought at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, during the "Rough Wooing" of by King Henry VIII of England who wanted Mary Queen of Scots> to marry his son. Archibald also embraced the Protestant faith and John Knox> is said to have preached from a rocky knoll in the south-west corner of the castle, now called "John Knox's Pulpit." As a stronghold of the Covenanters, Castle Campbell was attacked by the forces of James Graham, Marquis of Montrose who supported the Catholic King Charles I>. The actual attack was carried out by the clan Maclean>, who had a long-standing feud with the Campbells but it appears that the castle withstood the assault. However, in September 1650, Oliver Cromwell defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar. Castle Campbell was later used as a garrison for the English soldiers and during this time the castle was set on fire. Charred floorboards were found in 1982 during excavations at the castle.
The castle was sold by the Duke of Argyll early in the 19th century and is now looked after by Historic Scotland>. Although it is a ruin, large parts of the castle are well preserved and there are stairs to the top of the 15th century tower house from which there are breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Dollar Glen is owned by the National Trust for Scotland> and is a popular area for walks, used by locals and visitors alike, with frequent glimpses of the castle through trees.
In the early 19th century, Lady Carolina Nairne wrote:
"O Castell Gloom! on thy fair wa's
Nae banners now are streamin.
The houlet flings amang thy ha's, howlet=owl
And wild birds there are screamin."
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