NW of Grantown-on-Spey
Minor road north of B9007
Lochindorb is Gaelic for 'loch of trouble', and during its history it is clear how it earnt that name.
This stronghold is a ruined 13th century enclosure castle built on an island within a loch, with round towers at each corner and traces of a hall block, chapel and other buildings within its courtyard.
Originally a Comyn stronghold, it was captured and held by the English during the Wars of Independence.
It is later referred to as the 'wolf's lair', held by the notorious Alexander Stewart, the wolf of Badenoch.
The castle can be found on a loch surrounded by open moorland in a very barren and isolated location.
A small track takes you the where the Lords of Lochindorb would be ferried across to the castle.
Access is by boat, photo's as we did best by drone.
~ History ~
1297 ~ William Wallace is appointed Guardian of Scotland by the Scottish nobles in the name of King John Balliol, following his and Andrew Moray's armed campaign against the English, culminating in their stunning victory at Stirling Bridge.
He is however never fully accepted by many of the great families of Scotland and rivals for the Scottish throne against the English appointed Balliol, including the powerful Comyn's, led by the 'Black Comyn', Earl of Buchan, Lord of Badenoch and keeper of Lochindorb Castle.
1298 ~ King Edward I of England, incensed by the disaster of Stirling Bridge, personally leads and army north to crush the Scots to press home his claim as Lord Paramount of Scotland. At the Battle of Falkirk Wallace is defeated and he resigns the title as Guardian of Scotland. The Comyn's throw their full support behind the might of the English, John 'The Red' Comyn being married to a cousin of King Edward I of England.
1302 ~ The 'Black Comyn' dies at Lochindorb Castle.
1303 ~ King Edward I of England visits Lochindorb castle to oversee the ousting of the Comyn's whilst hunting in the surrounding woods and countryside.
1305 ~ William Wallace is betrayed by his countrymen to the English. He is taken to London where he is hung drawn and quartered.
1306 ~ Following a heated argument, on neutral and sacred ground in Greyfriars church, between rival claimants to the Scottish throne, Robert the Bruce mortally stabs his rival John, the 'Red Comyn' of Badenoch, son of the 'Black Comyn' of Lochindorb, and nephew of the abdicated King John Balliol.
1335 ~ The English held stronghold is besieged by Andrew Moray, Regent of Scotland, but the garrison hold out, biding for time as an English army led by King Edward III of England approaches. The Scots are forced to withdraw and break their siege.
1371 ~ Robert Stewart is crowned King Robert II of Scotland, being the first of his house is sit on the throne.
1372 ~ King Robert grants Lochindorb Castle to his son Alexander Stewart. The continuous and generous royal patronage from his father greatly enables Alexander to expand his power above all others in the north of Scotland.
1382 ~ Alexander marries the Countess of Ross, expanding his power further still with the Earldom of Ross and north-western lands such as Lewis and Skye, as well as the title Earl of Buchan. His power is now total and unchecked across the whole of Northern Scotland.
1390 ~ Following ongoing tensions between Alexander and the Church at Elgin, armed forces led by Alexander storm through Moray to launch vicious attacks on the burghs of Forres and Elgin. This display of violence and destruction culminates in the burning of Elgin Cathedral. “He also plundered the churches of their sacred utensils and vestments which he carried off.”
1404 ~ Alexander's illegitimate son, also named Alexander, captures Kildrummy Castle and with it Isabella, the recently widowed Countess of Mar. He forces her to execute a charter settling the Earldom on himself and his heirs. She later revokes this, but on being compelled into marrying him, she grants him the Earldom for life.
These events shock the Kingdom and Alexander only escapes punishment because he is a close relation to the Royal Family.
1405 ~ Alexander 'the wolf of Badenoch' dies. His son Alexander of Mar is confirmed as Earl by King Robert.
1411 ~ Alexander, a strong supporter of his uncle, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, defacto ruler of Scotland on account of King Robert's poor health, is asked to lead an army into the north-east to counter the threat from the Lord of the Isles, culminating in a bloody indecisive Battle of Harlaw, leading to the Islemen's retreat into the west highlands.
1424 ~ The Earldom of Mar is confirmed to Alexander by a grant by his cousin, King James I, following the King's return to Scotland from captivity in England. In the same year Alexander sits on a jury of 21 knights and peers that convict his first cousin, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, and his two sons of treason, leading to their execution and virtual annihilation of the Stewart's of Albany by King James I.
1455 ~ Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, holds Lochindorb castle. Following his failed rebellion against King James II later in the same year, the castle comes under the control of the Crown and orders are given to the Thane of Cawder for it to be dismantled. Its ruins are left to decay.
~ Legend ~
1405 ~ The Wolf of Badenoch dies following a game of chess with the devil at Ruthven Castle, later to be named Ruthven Barracks. The Legend has it that he was visited by a tall man dressed in black and the pair played through the night, with a storm conjured when the visitor called “check” and “checkmate”.
In the morning, the Wolf was found dead in the banqueting hall and his men too found lifeless outside the castle walls.