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Learn the Rich, Yet Dark History of Castle Stalker

When talking about castles, you quickly think of one that is in ruins. Sometimes, you might even think of the many kings, queens, and other high-ranking officials who have lived in the castles. Out of the hundreds of thousands found worldwide, there is one specific castle you need to know about, and that is the Castle Stalker.

You can find this castle on the north-east of Port Appin, Argyll, Scotland. It is situated on a small tidal island visible when you take the A828 road. The only way to gain entry to this castle is when the tide is low from the shore or through a small boat. Many believe that the castle was built around the 1440s and is one of the best-preserved medieval tower-houses in western Scotland.

From Small Fort to a Castle

You may think that Castle Stalker was built as an entire castle right away, but that is not the case. Initially, it was a small fort that Clan MacDougall built in 1320, which he was part of the Lords of Lorn. The Lords of Lorn was a powerful clan and had owned several lands in Argyll, but they were linked with the Comyn family and came into opposition with Robert the Bruce during the First War of Scottish Independence. During 1388, the Clan Stewart of Appin took over the Lords of Lorn through marriage. After taking over, they finally decided to build a castle over the small fort some time in the 1440s.

Castle Stalker is one of the most well-preserved castles in Scotland, but the castle’s history has gruesome murders behind it.

Killings that Centred Around Castle Stalker

Alan MacColl, an affiliate of the MacDougalls, murdered Sir John Steward in 1463. Sir John Stewart’s son, Dugald, defeated the MacDougalls and later killed Alan MacColl during the Battle of Stalc in 1468, which they fought on the opposite shores of Castle Stalker. In 1947, MacDonald of Keppoch killed Dugald during a skirmish and Castle Stalker passed to Dugald’s son, Duncan.

During Duncan’s tenure, he made a strong relationship with his cousin, King James IV, who frequently travelled to Castle Stalker to show off the area’s hunting facilities. In 1512, Duncan was murdered and his younger brother, Alan, took over the castle. Duncan was present at the battle of Flodden in 1513, where Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey pinned down king James IV and other Scottish magnates. Alan Stewart was there when it happened and luckily survived the encounter.

Campbell of Airds

The Campbell of Airds occupied Castle Stalker in 1620 because Duncan Stewart lost it during a bet. However, the Stewarts of Appin seized the castle in 1689 but were defeated once again during the Battle of Killiecrankie. The siege lasted for two months until the Campbells regained Castle Stalker again.

But during the 1800s, the Campbells used the castle as a residence until the Stewarts purchased it in 1908. Lieutenant Colonel Steward Allward was the one who started the restoration project, and it is now the castle you see today.

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