Dunderave Castle

Dunderave Castle, Argyll and Bute

~ History ~

1306 ~ Donald MacNaughton takes the side of the MacDougal's of Lorn andtheComyns against Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Independence. However, following the Bruce's defeat at the Battle of Methven where his retreating army is ambushed by the MacDougals, MacNaughton decides to change sides, citing Robert the Bruce's own extraordinary courage during the battle as his reason for doing so.

1513 ~ Sir Alexander MacNaughton is killed alongside his King, James IV, at the Battle of Flodden fighting the English.

1598 ~ Dunderave Castle is built as the seat of the MacNaughton clan chief, replacing an older castle in nearby Glen Shira known as Dubh Loch Castle.

1689 ~ The MacNaughton's fight for the Jacobite cause at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.

Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, Chief of Clan Cameron, sets about forming a confederation of Highland clans loyal to the exciled James as soon as William had arrived in England, and John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee is in contact with him. Dundee goes north and is pursued by a governmental force of about 3,500 men, led by General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, a Highlander who had been in Dutch service with the Scots Brigade for many years. Dundee, moving quickly, outmanoeuvers Mackay, and on 16 May arrives in Glenroy, where the clans had been summoned to meet him on 18 May. With a total of some 1800 men, Dundee marches, in hopes of meeting Mackay on grounds favourable to the Highlanders. Unable to do so, he retreats back to Glenroy, where he arrived on 11 June. Many of the Highlanders returned to their homes, but some remained.

Dundee is determined to intercept Mackay near Blair Atholl, astride the road through the hills that Mackay would have to pass. Many of the clans had not arrived yet, but he set out anyway and ordered them to follow "with all haste." Sir Ewen himself also had a force of about 240 Camerons with him at the time, and tried to catch up while he dispatched his sons to raise support along the path of march. Ewen overtakes Dundee just before he reaches Athole, where they are joined by about 300 Irish troops, under the command of Major-General Cannon.

The Camerons overwhelm Mackay's line. Dundee holds a quick war council with those clan leaders who have arrived, and then immediately sets out for the field with his force, now numbering about 2,400.

He arrives at the pass before Mackay and sets up position on a ridge above the pass. When Mackay's troops arrive, they see they have no hope of attacking Dundee's force. They instead deploy in a line and started firing on them with muskets.

By the time all of the forces are formed up, it is late afternoon, and the Jacobites have the sun in their eyes, so they simply wait for sunset under the desultory fire from Mackay's forces.

At seven o'clock, Dundee gives the order to advance, at which point the entirety of the Highlanders dropped their gear, fired what muskets they had, and charge. Mackay's forces, realising the battle is on, step up their rate of fire.

Eventually the lines meet, and Mackay's men in the centre are "swept away by the furious onset of the Camerons". So fast is the Jacobite charge that many government troops have insufficient time to fix their bayonets, leaving them defenceless at close quarters.

The battle soon ends with the entirety of Mackay's force fleeing the field, quickly turning into a rout in which 2,000 were killed.

However, the cost of victory is enormous. About one-third of the Highlander force is killed, and Dundee is fatally wounded towards the end of the battle.

The Jacobite advance continues until it is stopped by government forces at the Battle of Dunkeld.

Following the Jacobites’ defeat at the Battle of Dunkeld the MacNaughtons’ lands are confiscated, and are given to the Campbells of nearby Inveraray Castle.

~ Campbell Treachory ~

1700 ~ Legend has it that the Campbells gained control of the castle and lands through other means.

The last of the MacNaughton's is engaged to the younger daughter of the wiley Sir James Campbell. The drunk bridegroom awoke the morning after the wedding to find himself in bed with the older daughter instead, having been substituted by the girls father during the night. MacNaughton is forced to flee and with his bride, the younger daughter, flee to Ireland. Thereafter Campbell reigned at Dunderave Castle. MacNaughton's brother is forced to take the humble position of collector of customs at the little port of Anstruther in Fife, so ending the fortunes of the MacNaughon's.

~ Clan loyalty ~

1745 ~ The MacNaughton's remained loyal to the House of Stewart and received a pardon for their part in the earlier Jacobite uprisings.

As a result they did not fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie in the latest Jacobite uprising, but instead sent him his finest horse for the Prince to ride into England and to victory. The MacNaughton servant who is given the task to convey the horse to the Prince is captured, and along with many others tried for treason at Carlisle.

He points out that he has done no fighting for the Jacobite cause, only taking a horse as a gift to the Prince. He is offered a pardon and his life if he reveals the name of the sender of the gift. This, with indignation, the clansman refuses and that his life is nothing to that of his masters life. He is therefore hanged.



Nr Inveraray




PA32 8XQ

Dunderave Castle, on Loch Fyne in Argyll, is set in the most stunning of locations surrounded by mountains overlooking for me one of the most beautiful Lochs in all of Scotland.

It's perfection as a traditional L-plan Scottish Tower House is realised through its total restoration of 1911 to 1912.

The castle is in private ownership, but can be viewed at a distance from the road.