Saturday, 17 November 2012

PORTNACROISH AND CASTLE STALKER

In a previous blog post I waxed lyrical about the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, sitting pretty on its island just off the shore of Loch Duich. Loch Linnhe has its own version of Eilean Donan in the form of Castle Stalker, which is also perched on a tiny island offshore. The original fort was built in the 14th century by the MacDougall clan, who ruled Lorn, as the area was then known, but after the Stewarts took over the Lordship of Lorn the following century, Duncan Stewart of Appin rebuilt it in the form we see today. The castle was used as a hunting lodge - in fact the gaelic version of the name, Caisted an Stalcair, means "Castle Of The Hunter - and King James IV, who was a keen hunter, was frequently entertained there by Duncan, who was his cousin. Like Eilean Donan, Castle Stalker has had its moment of fame in the movies: it featured towards the end of Monty Python And The Holy Grail, where it appeared as the Castle Of Aaaargh with John Cleese standing on its battlements taunting Arthur in a ridiculous French accent, followed by a battle scene. The castle, which is accessible on foot at low tide, is privately owned, but a limited number of tours can be arranged by prior appointment. Aside from stunning views of Castle Stalker, the village of Portnacroish has a yacht marina and windsurfing centre. Clan warfare is recalled in the churchyard, where a memorial commemorates a battle in 1468 between the Stewarts and the MacDougalls during which "many hundreds fell".

Map of the area.



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