Loch Doon Castle, Ayrshire
~ History ~
1306 ~ Robert the Bruce assassinates his rival, Sir John Comyn, and has himself crowned King of Scotland in defiance of King Edward I. English forces under Aymer de Valence, Comyn's brother-in-law, are sent north to deal with Bruce and defeat him at Battle of Methven. Only a few of Bruce's followers escape the slaughter, including Sir Christopher Seton, brother-in-law to Bruce. He escapes to Loch Doon Castle.
The castle is held for the Scots by Sir Gilbert de Carrick, but the English pursue Seton to the castle and force its surrender. Seton is captured and executed.
1307 ~ An English garrison is installed but following the death of King Edward, Bruce finally gets the break he sorely needs to revitalise his rebellion. With the new English King, Edward II, being unable or unwilling to campaign in Scotland, Bruce starts a systematic campaign of sieges to dislodge English forces from their castles in Scotland.
1314 ~ Loch Doon Castle is recaptured by the Scots and following the defeat of King Edward II's army at the Battle of Bannockburn, any hope of recovering the castle are lost with it.
1328 ~ The first War of Scottish Independence comes to an end with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.
1330 ~ King Edward III of England starts the Second War of Scottish Independence. The English march north to renew their campaigning across the Borders.
1333 ~ The Scots are defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill which allows the English to surge deeper in Scotland. Loch Doon Castle is besieged by a veteran of the wars, John Thomson, but the castle holds out for the young King David II.
1446 ~ The area comes under the control of the powerful Kennedy family. They become embroiled in a power struggle with the equally powerful Douglas's, resulting in Loch Doon Castle being besieged and taken by William Douglas.
The castle is eventually returned to the Kennedys.
1450 ~ The castle is resigned by John Kennedy.
1511 ~ The Castle is attacked by William Crawford.
1520's ~ A Royal army under King James V besieges the castle as part campaign to reduce the power of his more unruly magnates in the area. His forces quickly captured Loch Doon Castle. Before they leave the Royal army burn the castle throwing the iron portcullis into the loch.
Following the attack by King James V, Loch Doon Castle is abandoned for the final time.
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Loch Doon Castle, which is also known as Balliol Castle, was originally built on a rocky island in the middle of the loch. Today you will find it has been moved higher up to the side of the loch as part of a hydro-electric scheme. This results in the water level being raised some 30 feet. It is decided not to relocate the Tower House part of the castle.
When we visited the castle, it was snowing and absolutely freezing cold.
There is a car park just below the castle following a long drive from the main road alongside the loch.