Places to Visit in Scotland
- Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll
Located north of Oban, on a promontory on the shores of the Firth of Lorne, Dunstaffnage was built before 1275 by the MacDougall> clan, Lords of Lorne. However, there had been a stronghold here built by the kings of Dalriada (the kingdom of the Scots who invaded from Ireland) in the 7th century and it was one of the places in which the Stone of Destiny was kept. Dunstaffnage was captured in 1309 by Robert the Bruce> and remained a royal castle for many years. It was transferred to the Campbells> in 1470 and the hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage remains the keeper of the castle. Flora MacDonald>, who helped Prince Charles Edward Stewart> to escape after the Jacobite Uprising> in 1745/46, was imprisoned in the castle in 1746. The castle is said to be haunted by a ghost in a green dress who appears when some significant event is about to happen to the Campbells.
The layout of the castle has been determined by the rocky outcrop on which it stands and the towering curtain walls (60 feet high) and towers look formidable. Access is by a steep staircase and there is a ruined chapel to the south-west of the castle. Historic Scotland> now maintain the building (the car park overlooks the sailing boats in a sheltered part of Ardmucknish Bay).
If you are in the area of Oban> then Dunstaffnage is well worth a visit and if you have time, Dunollie Castle> (on a coast road just north of Oban) and Ardchattan Priory (established in 1230 by Cistercian monks and includes medieval gravestones, including that of Somerled McDougall who died in 1502.
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