Sutherland & Caithness: About 1.25 miles north and west of Inchnadamph, on foot west of A837, on promontory on north side of Loch Assynt, at Ardvreck Castle.
Ruin or site NC 240236 OS: 15 IV27 4HL
OPEN: Access at all reasonable times – view from exterior.
Standing on a peninsula in the remote and picturesque Loch Assynt, Ardvreck Castle consists of a ruined square tower of three storeys, with a round stair-turret corbelled out to square. The castle
was much altered in the 16th century, and there was a walled garden. A rampart cut off the peninsula.
The basement was vaulted, and the walls are pierced by shot-holes.
This was a property of the MacLeods of Assynt, who built the castle, and Donald Macleod of Assynt is on record in the 1640s. It was where James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, took refuge in 1650 after losing the Battle of Carbisdale. Montrose was betrayed to the Covenanters, and subsequently executed in Edinburgh, his body dismembered and displayed in public.
The castle was sacked in 1672 by the Mackenzies, and was replaced by Calda House [NC 254234], south-east of Ardvreck by the main road and also on the shore of Loch Assynt, itself burnt out by the MacRaes in 1760 and never restored. The property had passed to the Mackenzies, but they were forfeited after the Jacobite Rising, and it was sold to the Earl of Sutherland in 1758.
The castle is said to be haunted by the weeping ghost of one of the daughters of a MacLeod chief, who threw herself out of one of the windows after being promised to the Devil, as well as the
ghost of a tall man, clad in grey.
The MacLeods has a burial vault at Inchnadamph [NC 249220]. The church dates from the middle of the 18th century but replaced a much older building from the 15th century, in which the burial vault was constructed. There are old memorials in the burial ground.