Willie’s View: Carnasserie Castle

Shutterstock / bonoc © Willies View Carnasserie Castle

In this week’s Willie’s View, our travel writer is stepping back in time at Carnasserie Castle . . .

Before leaving Argyll’s A816 for a drive along the south side of Loch Awe, I thought I’d stop and take a short walk up the hillside to visit Carnasserie Castle.

It sits on top of a rocky ridge a little north of the village of Kilmartin. It was built around 1565 by Bishop John Carswell.

An important man he was, too, being Chancellor of Stirling’s Chapel Royal and Bishop of the Isles.

By all accounts, he was an exceptionally tall man. So much so, he developed a stoop which gained him the nickname of “The Heron”.

While from the outside his new home may look like a typical mediaeval tower built with defence at the forefront; inside, it was designed with the priority of comfort.

He may have been Bishop of the Isles but, judging by the number of single and double keyhole gunloops that pepper the walls, he wasn’t for placing his faith in God alone for protection!

John died in 1572; his grand home scarcely completed. It then fell to the Campbells. In those days, in order to protect yourself and your property, it was wise to choose carefully who you supported or opposed.

In 1685, Campbell supported the rebellion against James VII. As a result, not only did he pay the ultimate price but the Bishop’s fine castle — one of the last tower houses to be built in Scotland — was blown to smithereens.

I’m glad to say I found it a much more peaceful spot today.



For more from our Willie’s View series, click here.

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Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.