An impressive Tower House that is remarkably complete. Regrettably, at time of writing, the interior was not open due to concerns over falling masonry but the exterior can still be viewed and the surrounding scenery is impressive.
Notes: The castle is located on the shores on Loch Buie on the south-east coast of the Isle of Mull. From the ferry terminal follow the A849 to Ardura and then follow a long, unnamed road that passes Lochs Spelve and Uisg. If following the lat and long do not turn left when prompted at the small lodge with the white gates but continue straight on until the road arrives at Loch Buie itself. The car park, such as it is, is to the left although you can also park at this junction.
ACCESSING MOY CASTLE
That is the car park on the right - if it has been raining, firmer ground is astern of you! Follow the road on foot until the footpath veers off to the right after which you’ll see the castle dead ahead.
Moy Castle was built in the early fifteenth century to a traditional Tower House design by a member of Clan MacLean. The site had a fairly uneventful history although it saw action in the seventeenth century as the MacLeans became locked in a bitter feud with Clan Campbell.
HISTORY OF MOY CASTLE
Moy Castle was built in the early fifteenth century by Hector MacLean, Laird of Lochbuie. He was the younger brother of Lachlan Lubanach MacLean from Duart Castle and his establishment of Moy Castle created a Manor suitable for a man of his status. Constructed on a rock base, the structure was a traditional Tower House with storage facilities on the ground floor, a Great Hall above and accommodation facilities on the upper storeys. A barmkin (curtain wall) protected a small enclosure at the base of the Tower whilst the vulnerable land approach to the structure was protected by a rock cut ditch.
Today the castle seems remote accessed via a long, single track road through the picturesque but distant landscape of southern Mull. But this belies the once well connected site chosen for the castle for the lochs, inlets and waterways of the Western seaboard were once the main communication arteries. The settlement at Moy would have been well connected with the local area.
The castle seems to have had a fairly uneventful history until the mid-seventeenth century when the MacLeans became embroiled in a bitter feud with the Campbells. The MacLeans had supported James Graham, Marquis of Montrose during his successful campaigns of 1645 which has seen Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll humiliated. The relationship never recovered especially with tit-for-tat raids on each others properties. By the 1670s the Campbells had brought up MacLean debt and, in September 1674, ultimately attempted to force eviction. They sent an armed force to Mull to eject the MacLeans from their territories on the island including Moy Castle which was briefly taken into Campbell ownership. The property was soon returned to the MacLeans however who, despite support for the Jacobites during the uprisings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, managed to retain their lands. Minor modifications were made to the castle until it was abandoned in 1752 at which time it was replaced with a nearby mansion house.