Finlarig Castle is an early seventeenth century Tower House built by Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. Possibly raised on the site of an earlier fortification, Finlarig was briefly in the national spotlight when it hosted a session of Parliament in 1651 although only three members actually attended.
Finlarig Castle was built in 1609 by Duncan Campbell, Seventh Laird of Glenorchy (also known as Donnchadh Dubh). He was a Royal favourite and had prospered during the reign of James VI (I of England). Whilst his main residence was at Balloch (now known as Taymouth Castle), he also made extensive upgrades to his other estates and along with Finlarig Castle he also raised Achallader, Balcardine, Edinample, Loch Dochart and Monzie castles. The name Finlarig derives from the Gaelic meaning 'White Pass'.
The castle was built upon a peninsula sandwiched between the River Lochay and Loch Tay. The structure was built upon a man-made mound surrounded by a moat, both of which were probably associated with an earlier fortification on the site. The seventeenth century Tower House seems to have originally been configured in a Z-plan layout, namely the main four-storey rectangular block was flanked on opposing sides by towers, but only traces of the north-east tower still survive. A barmkin (curtain wall) enclosed a courtyard which hosted all the ancillary buildings associated with such a settlement.
Finlarig Castle briefly entered the national spotlight in 1651 when it was selected as the location for a meeting of the Scottish Parliament. In June 1650 Scotland's ruling body, the Committee of Estates, declared their support for Charles II. Suspecting this would be a source of trouble, English forces under Oliver Cromwell invaded and won a decisive victory at the Battle of Dunbar (1650). English troops overran much of Scotland and most of the Committee of Estates was captured at Alyth in August 1651 whilst the Royalist army suffered another decisive defeat at the Battle of Worcester the following month. Retreating to the Isle of Bute, the remaining members of the Committee called for the Parliament to muster at Finlarig in November 1651 in order to consider how best to resist the English forces. With the Royalist cause lost, only John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun and three other Members of Parliament attended. Finlarig Castle continued as a residence until the late eighteenth century and in 1713 hosted a visit by Rob Roy MacGregor.
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Finlarig Castle is a freely accessible site but the ruins are dangerously unstable and therefore extreme care should be taken when exploring.
Finlarig Castle. The main structure within the castle was a four storey Z-plan Tower House.
Castle Platform. The castle was built upon a man-made mound which was probably associated with an earlier fortification on the site.
Breadalbane Mausoleum. This was erected in 1829 on the site of an earlier chapel founded by Sir Colin Campbell.
Finlarig Castle is found just to the north of Killin and is accessed via Pier Road off the A827. The castle itself is not sign-posted so instead look for the turning marked Killin Cemetery. There is a small car park in the vicinity.
Pier Road, FK21 8TB