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Lochranza Castle

Cross a narrow peninsula to a lonely castle incorporating a rare hall-house of the 1200s

At first glance, Lochranza Castle looks like a classic Scottish L-plan tower house of the 1500s. But looking closer, we can see that it's been redeveloped from a much earlier medieval hall-house. Lochranza Castle is situated on a peninsula extending into beautiful Loch Ranza in the north of Arran.

The castle dates from the 13th century when it was owned by the MacSweens. In 1262, King Alexander III granted the castle and its lands to Walter Stewart, the Earl of Menteith. It is believed that Robert the Bruce landed at Lochranza in 1306 on his return from Ireland to claim the Scottish throne. By 1371, the castle was the property of Robert II. It is thought that at this time it was used as a royal hunting lodge.

During the 1490s, James IV used the castle in his campaign against the Lord of the Isles and the Clan MacDonald. In 1600 Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie recovered the castle for the Marquess of Hamilton from Alastair McAlastair and his followers. In 1614 it was occupied by the king and in the 1650s it was used by Cromwell.

By 1705, Lochranza Castle was the property of the Hamilton family, after it was purchased by the Duchess of Hamilton. The Hamiltons had owned other estates on the Isle of Arran so eventually sold it to the Blackwood-Davidson family who used it as their principal seat. During the 18th century, the castle fell into disuse and was abandoned. The castle is now in the care of Historic Scotland and is free of charge to visit.

More on Arran visit our destination page. 

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