LOCH DOCHART CASTLE

Loch Dochart Castle was a three storey Tower House built in the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century by Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy. Constructed on a small island in the middle of the loch, it was primarily a residence rather than an effective fortification. It was destroyed in an attack by John McNab in 1646.

History

 

Loch Dochart is a fresh water loch fed by the River Fillan and connected to Loch Tay by the River Dochart. These waterways served as a major artery of movement and communication throughout the pre-industrial era and, via the River Tay, provided access all the way to the Firth of Tay and the North Sea. It was the presence of these excellent logistical links which prompted Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy to build the castle. It was one of several fortified residences - including Achallader, Barcaldine, Edinample, Finlarig and Monzie castles - raised by Duncan between 1585 and 1631.

 

The castle was built on a small island at the western end of Loch Dochart. It was built over the site of an earlier religious house that was probably linked with St Fillan's Priory, located four miles up-river. The main structure was a three storey Tower House constructed from rubble with ashlar dressings. The rectangular main block was augmented with protruding stair towers on the north and south sides. A circular tower occupied the eastern corner at the base of which was a pit prison. A rectangular chimney, that survives to its original height, projected out of the south side. The tower would have been surrounded by ancillary buildings and foundations of two of these structures survive. A landing place was constructed at the eastern end of the island.

 

Duncan Campbell died in 1631 and was followed by his son, Robert, who the owner during the Wars of Three Kingdoms. Robert was an active Covenanter and supporter of the Scottish Government which prompted the Royalist commander, John McNab, to burn Loch Dochart Castle in 1646. It was not rebuilt following this destruction and drifted into ruin. In more recent years the castle has traditionally been linked with the Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor who had supported the 1689, 1715 and 1719 Jacobite rebellions. However, by this stage the castle was a gutted ruin and it is unlikely there was any actual link. During the late nineteenth century the ruins were consolidated.

 

 

Bibliography

 

CANMORE (2016). Loch Dochart Castle. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland

Coventry, M (2008). Castles of the Clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans. Musselburgh.

Dargie, R.L.C (2004). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. GW Publishing, Thatcham.

Donaldson, G (1997). Scottish Historical Documents. Neil Wilson Publishing, Castle Douglas.

Salter, M (2002). The Castles of the Heartland of Scotland. Folly Publications, Malvern.

Stevenson, J B (1985). Exploring Scotland's Heritage: the Clyde estuary and Central Region. Edinburgh.

Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. Historic Scotland, Haddington.

Tranter, N (1962). The fortified house in Scotland. Edinburgh.

Woolf, J (2015). Loch Dochart Castle. The Hazel Tree.

What's There?

Loch Dochart Castle is a ruined Tower House located on an island in the centre of a small loch. The castle can been seen from footpaths on the mainland but there is no internal access to the castle unless you bring a boat with you!

Loch Dochart Castle. The castle occupies a small island in the centre of Loch Dochart. This fresh water loch connected to a series of other waterways that led all the way to the North Sea.

Loch Dochart Castle Layout. The main structure was a rectangular block augmented with protruding stair towers on the north and south sides. A circular tower occupied the eastern corner at the base of which was a pit prison. A rectangular chimney projected out of the south side.

Chimney. A rectangular chimney projected out of the south wall of the tower. Despite the destruction of the tower itself, the chimney still stands to its original height.

Loch Dochart. The castle occupies a small island in the middle of the loch.

Getting There

Loch Dochart Castle is found one mile to the east of Crianlarich just off the A85. There is a small lay-by from which there are a variety of paths that lead down to the loch.

Car Parking Castle

A85, FK20 8QS

56.395495N 4.584685W

Loch Dochart Castle

No Postcode

56.397088N 4.584191W