Eilean Tighe Bhain Castle, Argyll
The scant remains of Eilean Tighe Bhain Castle can be found on Loch Tromlee on Clan McCorquodale Bealach a' Bharain estate. Take the track onto the estate and head towards the loch where you will find plenty of parking for walkers and mountain bikers. The island is quite a distance from the shore and contains just the fragments of the 15th century fortified island house utterly destroyed in the 17th century by the infamous Alasdair Colkitto MacDonald.
The remains are those of a rectangular structure with walls about 3 feet thick and standing to a maximum height of eight feet. The rest of the island is littered with a mass of fallen stones indicating that the building may have had two storeys, although there is no clear evidence of this. The walls are of local rubble masonry containing much schist and are bonded with clay mortar, but no dressed stones are visible either in situ or in the surrounding debris. There is a small, splayed slit in the west wall, and similar openings may have existed in other walls. Near the east end of the south wall there is an opening which may have been a raised entrance doorway. In the south-east angle of the building there is a small, modern enclosure formed by a curving dry-stone wall.
~ History ~
834 ~ Alpin mac Echdach, king of the Scots kingdom of Dal Riata at Dunnadd, is killed in battle by the Picts. The victorious Picts carry off his head to display their trophy in the Pictish settlement of Camelon.
Thorkil, a loyal member of the Scots army under Aplin's son and successor, king Kenneth MacAlpin, later recovers Alpin's head returning it to his son. For this dead, Thorkil is rewarded with lands on Loch Awe side.
843 ~ Kenneth MacAlpin, king of Dal Riata is crowned king of the Picts and so begins the building the of Kingdom of Alba.
1400's ~ The Barons McCorquodales, ancestors of Thorkil hold sway over the Phanteland area of west Loch Awe. Their seat is Fionnt Eilean, or the "white island". , Eilean-a-Bharain "the baron's island" is located in Loch Tromlee, on which they build their stronghold.
1434 ~ Ewan, son of Ewan Makcorquydill receives a grant of land. In his charter, Ewan is recorded as Lord of Maintelan of Phanteland. As time passes the McCorquodales of Phantelands become the most prominent family of the McCorquodales.
1542 ~ The lands held by the Barons McCorquodale are incorporated into a free barony.
1612 ~ The McCorquodale's are declared by the Privy Councilas "notorious thieves and the supporters of Clan Gregor". These MacGregors being wanted for many crimes, including the theft of a brown mare from the deceased Duncan.
The barony passes to Duncan who has sons by different wives, as the legitimacy of his heirs is "hotly disputed between the two litters".
1645 ~ The McCorquodale's support Clan Campbell in the Cival wars. Whilst campaigning, the notorious Alasdair Colkitto MacDonald, arch enemey of the Campbell's, orders his men to march along the shore of Loch Tromlee but to leave the castle and lands of the McCorquodales to be left un-molested. At the same time, Baron McCorquodale orders his men not to fire. However, one of McCorquodale's men opened fire upon the MacDonald's, and as a result one Macdonald clansman is killed.
In retaliation Alasdair Colkitto orders the destruction of the island castle of the McCorquodales.[
1656 ~ Duncan McCorquodale of Phantelane is made one of the Justices of the peace for Argyllshire byOliver Cromwell.
1700's ~ The last Baron McCorquodale to hold the clan lands around Loch Tromlee dies, leaving the clan without a chief to this day.