Achnacarry Castle Details
Achnacarry Castle, ruins of C17 tower house of Camerons destroyed C18; also occupied C19 mansion of same name
- Closest To: Spean Bridge
- Access: S.O.A.C. Public Access
- Grid Reference: NN175879
Within the grounds of Achnacarry House is an isolated stone chimney stack which is all that remains of Achnacarry Castle, believed to have been erected in the 17th century for Ewan Cameron of Lochiel, chief of the clan. The Achnacarry Estate does permit walkers across its lands, and there is a small information board about the remains here, but as it is very close to teh mansion house, prior permission should be sought if you wish to look at it in person. It was described as a timber building by Lord MacAuley, who commented that for the Highlands it was a “superb palace”. His cultural bias is likely to mean there was a degree of mockery intended here. What remains and is believed to represent the castle is overgrown with ivy, contains fireplaces on both sides and was therefore a centrally placed feature in a building which in 1727 was depicted as a large house with two chimneys. The chimney has been repaired and bears no features that enable it to be dated; a sign on site states that the building was destroyed by Cumberlands soldiers in 1746 after Culloden.
The lands of Achnacarry formed part of those known from the 15th century as the lands of Loch Arkaig. They was held by the Mackintoshes as vassals of the Lords of the Isles, up until the Lords were forfeited, at which point the Mackintoshes became Crown vassals. When the Captaincy of the Mackintoshes passed to the Dunachton branch of the family, the lands of Loch Arkaig did also, and appear to have been used to guarantee loans from an early date until they were sold in 1666 to the Camerons of Locheil, an earlier lender to Mackintosh of Dunachton. It is only after this date that a house was built on the site, and the name Achnacarry starts to appear in documents. After the destruction of the Jacobite Cameron’s house in 1746, the estates were not returned to the Camerons until 1784, and the chief, Donald, had to accept them being placed in trust until 1818 to prevent him borrowing further against them. In 1834, his son Donald gained the estates and commissioned a grand new castellated mansion. It is likely that any surviving masonry was removed to be reused in the new building, called Achnacarry House.Become a supporter of my work to access a more detailed history