Perthshire: About 5 miles west of Aberfeldy, on minor roads north of A827 or south of B846, 1 mile north-east of Kenmore, just south of River Tay, at Taymouth Castle.
Private NN 785466 OS: 52 PH15 2NT
OPEN: Proposed hotel, spa and golf course. Exclusive residences
Taymouth Castle, a large domineering mansion built between 1801 and 1842, incorporates cellars from an altered and extended 16th-century Z-plan tower house. The property was originally known as
Balloch. The main block rises to four storeys with taller angle towers and lower wings. The old castle was mostly demolished in 1799 and replaced, incorporating wings by William Adam. There were
later alterations and additions.
The building has a sumptuous interior with the central staircase rising some 100 foot, and there are fabulous painted ceilings, ornate plasterwork, wood panelling and stained glass windows.
The castle is depicted on Pont’s map of Loch Tay as a large edifice with bartizans in a large walled courtyard, and called Ballach.
This was a property of the Campbells of Glenorchy from 1432, and Sir Colin Campbell was one of those who captured one of the murderers of James I. Sir Duncan Campbell, ‘Black Duncan’, was made a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1625 and built a castle here, as well as spending much time improving his estates (also see Kilchurn, Finlarig and Barcaldine). In 1645 there was an order for garrisons for the Marquis of Argyll’s regiment in which the house of Balloch is mentioned.
Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy acquired the debts of George Sinclair, Earl of Caithness, and then tried to acquire both the title and the property. This was resisted by the Sinclairs and came to conflict, although the Campbells won the resultant battle with much slaughter. Despite this victory, the claim was ultimately unsuccessful, although Sir John was made Earl of Breadalbane in 1681 as recompense, and the family were created Marquises in 1831.
The existing mansion was built between 1801-42, and Queen Victoria visited in 1842, but by 1920 had become a hotel, with a golf course laid out in the deer park. The house was used as a hospital for Polish troops during World War II.
and in the 1980s was being used as a school for the children of Americans in Europe, although this was closed in 1979.
The castle and estate were put up for sale in 1997 for offers of more than £5,500,000. There were plans to convert the building into a hotel and spa with exclsuive residences, while the golf course is being enlarged and redeveloped. It is not clear at what stage the development is at…
The castle was used as a location in the 1997 movie Mrs Brown, about Queen Victoria, with Judy Dench and Billy Connolly, being used as Balmoral.
The castle is reputedly haunted, and ghostly footsteps have been heard here. During the time it was used as a school, some students were so scared they would not stay in the building, while other visitors are said to have fled their rooms during the night. Some accounts have a harbinger of doom, which foretells events in the resident family. The building is said to have a ‘Green Lady’, possibly the same ghost, as well as the bogle of a young Indian prince.