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Six of the best castles to visit on or near Argyll’s Secret Coast

Six of the best castles to visit on or near Argyll’s Secret Coast
Argyll’s Secret Coast is rich in Highland history. The area is dotted with fascinating ancient sites and is home to two castles, with many more ruined castles and historic houses within easy striking distance. If you’re coming to visit Argyll’s Secret Coast, don’t miss out on a trip to these cracking Scottish castles.

1. The ruined Ascog Castle sits on the shores of Ascog Loch. The castle dates back to the 15th century and was the ancestral home of the McInnes Lamonts. The Lamonts of Ascog are on record in 1477, but there is indication that the square keep of the castle is of an earlier date. The castle was destroyed by the Campbells of Ormsary during the 1646 massacre, where over 100 clansmen were taken to Dunoon and either hanged or buried alive. There’s not much left of the castle today, but it’s a beautiful, haunting place. You can walk there from Portavadie by following the Cowal Way or from Millhouse.

2. Dunans Castle sits at the head of Glendaruel. The seat of the Clan Fletcher, the historic structure was shown on maps as far back as 1590. The castle is set in 16 acres of ground. The heritage woodland garden is accessed over the unique listed Dunans Bridge designed by Thomas Telford. The ravine walk is open to the public between April and October, but you’ll need to book on a guided tour.

3. Castle Lachlan lies on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, near Newton, just beyond the boundaries of Argyll’s Secret Coast. The original castle dates back to the 13th century but was replaced in the 15th century with the keep or tower that today is in ruins. There’s an easy walk across the bay to see this unique and atmospheric fortress. The new Castle Lachlan, about a ten- minute walk away from the ruin, is the seat of Clan Maclachlan. Inver, a fabulous award-winning restaurant, sits overlooking Lachlan Bay.

4. Tarbert Castle is a great wee trip from Argyll’s Secret Coast. Catch the CalMac ferry from Portavadie to the bustling fishing village of Tarbert on the Kintyre Peninsula. The ruined castle sits above the village overlooking the harbour. Robert the Bruce played an important role in its reinforcement and enlargement in 1325. The castle location is an excellent spot for a family picnic and there are way-marked walks further up the hillside, including the first section of the Kintyre Way. Look out for the resident lawnmowers - a flock of Hebridean black sheep who provide conservation grazing on the site.

5. From Tarbert it’s a short journey to reach Skipness Castle, a ruin on Kintyre’s east coast. You can explore inside the castle and climb up a narrow staircase to the roof where you'll be treated to wonderful views across the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran. The main structure of the castle was built in the early 13th century by the Clan MacSween with later fortifications and other additions made to the castle through the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries. Look out for the crosslet arrow slits in the west range – these are rare features in a Scottish castle.

6. Inveraray Castle is located in the handsome town of Inveraray, about an hour’s drive from Argyll’s Secret Coast. The iconic castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell, and is one of Scotland’s most magnificent buildings. The castle’s imposing size and impressive turrets are visible for miles around. Inside, view the lavish State Dining Room, the tapestries and the stunning Armoury Hall with its walls adorned with muskets, pole-arms and axes. The castle’s beautifully maintained garden and estate offers wonderful walking with stunning Highland views.

Find out more about history and heritage on Argyll's Secret Coast.
Inveraray CastleAscog CastleDunans Castle
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