Gylen Castle, Isle of Kerrera, Argyll
South West of Balliemore
B Road / Track
Gylen Castle, or Caisteal nan Geimhlean, given its Gaelic name, today stands alone on a beautiful, isolated spot on the remote island of Kerrera.
However back in the 16th century the waters around Kerrera was one of the busiest shipping lanes in the Inner Hebrides, and Gylen Castle a key strategic stronghold controlling this important Highland highway.
The Isle of Kerrera is a very tranquil place to visit with just 34 residents enjoying the remoteness of this beautiful island.
The castle itself occupies the full width of a rocky peninsula with sheer cliffs on either side.
Access to the 'L' Plan Tower House is via a long walk as there is no roads or tracks that go near the castle, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the trek.
The 'walkhighlands ' web site provides an excellent start point to plan this 4-5 hour walk, and any other long walks to visit castles in the Highlands (Link below)
For us we found a far quicker way of visiting the castle and that was by air.
(see home page for link)
~ History ~
1581 ~ The lands of Gylen are 'set in tack' by Dougal MacDougall to his brother and heir, Duncan.
1582 ~ Duncan MacDougall of Dunollie builds Gylen Castle.
1647 ~ A detachment of Government troops besiege the castle held by the Royalist MacDougall's. The siege becomes a significant problem for the garrison. Although a natural spring exists in the outer bailey, it is insufficient, especially as unusually there has been little or no rainfall. Ever mindful of the fearful massacre at Dunaverty Castle earlier in the year, the clansmen surrender their castle. This did not save them however and they were all massacred save John MacDougall who is spared on the grounds he was just a child. Gylen is sacked and burnt, never to be restored.