BLACK CASTLE OF MOULIN
The Black Castle of Moulin, so named due to its abandonment in fear of the plague, was originally surrounded by a loch. Built in the wake of the first War of Welsh Independence by Sir John Campbell, Earl of Atholl it was a fortified enclosure protected by a tall, thick curtain wall supported by round turrets on each corner but without any central Tower or Keep.
The Black Castle of Moulin, also known by its Gaelic name of Caisteal Dubh Mhaothlinne, was built in 1326 by Sir John Campbell, Earl of Atholl. He had been granted the land by Robert I (the Bruce) for his support during the first War of Scottish Independence. The castle was originally positioned on an island or peninsula surrounded by a loch. It was an enceinte fortification - a site enclosed by a thick curtain wall that stood almost 10 metres high but had no central Tower House or Keep. Configured in a roughly rectangular shape, the curtain wall probably had corner turrets on each angle - only one still exists on the north-west - that would have enabled defenders to fire along the length of the wall.
The castle was occupied until the early sixteenth century at which point it was abandoned and set alight due to fears it harboured the plague. It was never re-occupied and the loch surrounding the structure was drained in the 1720s although it would remain unused marshland for the next one hundred years. By the early nineteenth century the land surrounding the ruined structure was being used as farmland.
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The Black Castle of Moulin was a small fortification dating from the fourteenth century. Fragments of the curtain wall and the remains of one of the four turrets are visible. The ruins can be fully accessible but are unstable.
Island Castle. The Black Castle of Moulin was originally surrounded by water either on an island or narrow-necked peninsula. This was a common arrangement for small Scottish castles and is seen in a myriad of other fortifications including Kilchurn, Loch Doon and Lochleven Castle. Aside from the obvious defensive benefits, the lochs and waterways of Scotland were the main communication arteries throughout the medieval period. Furthermore the loch would have provided both fresh water and acted as a food source for the castle and its associated settlement.
Ruins. Only portions of the curtain wall survive.
The Black Castle of Moulin can be found just to the north of Pitlochry. Parking is available at the village hall (details below) where there are also a couple of information boards on the castle and a footpath leads off to the ruins.
Black Castle of Moulin