Ardvreck Castle

Ardvreck Castle

This is a ruined late fifteenth century castle that is said to be haunted and is located on a promontory on the southeast of Loch Assynt/Loch Asainte in Sutherland. Loch Assynt is east from Lochinver/Loch an Inbhir and the castle is off the A837 toward the village of Inchnadamph/Innis nan Damh.

The ruins of Ardvreck Castle stand on a rocky promontory at the edge of the fresh water Loch. Built towards the end of the 15th century it was the seat of the MacLeods of Assynt (Scottish Gaelic: Asainte). Originally a three or four storey rectangular building it was later extended and the accommodation improved with the addition of a tower.

It has been the site of sieges, murders and executions involving inter-MacLeod fighting as well as battles with traditional enemies. It was the place where James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was imprisoned in 1650 after defeat at the Battle of Carbisdale. He met a very grisly end after being transported to Edinburgh where he was executed on 21 May 1650, by hanging, drawing and quartering. Ardvreck Castle was lost to the MacLeods in 1672 when the MacKenzies took the Castle after a 14 day siege.

Not far from Ardreck Castle stands the ruins of Calda House. This was commissioned by Kenneth MacKenzie of Assynt in 1726. The aim being to provide more luxury than the austerity offered by Ardvreck Castle. After falling into debt the house was eventually obtained by the Earl of Sutherland. This did not prove popular with MacKenzie supporters who did not want a Sutherland living there. The house was looted and burnt on 12 May 1737. Ardvrek Castle was also not able to avoid destruction when it was struck by lightning in 1795 causing considerable damage.

So standing at the side of the Loch are the two ruins. Given the history of the site maybe it is of no surprise that the Castle is said to be very haunted. Ghosts include that of the weeping daughter of a MacLeod chief. She took her own life and drowned in Loch Assynt after being fooled into marrying the Devil. It was said to have been part of a pact entered into in order to save the castle for her father. It is reported that she can be seen walking along the beach close to the castle. Another ghost is that of a mysterious man dressed all in grey who roams the ruined castle walls.

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Ardvreck Castle 9
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Calda House ruins near Ardvreck Castle

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