Every year, millions of tourists travel to Scotland to immerse themselves in the country’s turbulent but fascinating history. For visitors, the iconic castles scattered throughout the country provide a unique window to the past. Whilst it’s understandable that many tourists are drawn to the famous royal fortresses of Edinburgh and Stirling, many have yet to discover the magnificent castles boasted by Scotland’s West Coast.
Guarding the sea cliffs on the Isle of Mull stands the incredible Duart Castle, home of the Maclean clan. Built in 1360, the fantastic landmark was restored in 1911 by Sir Fitzroy Maclean from its ruined state in the 18th century. From the months of April to October, Duart Castle now offers visitors an excellent opportunity to walk through its Great Hall, the banqueting hall in the castle.
During their visit, tourists can also walk through the bedrooms of the castle, which boast a collection of military uniforms and memorabilia dating from the 19th century through to the second world war. A stroll through the castle's magnificent gardens and surrounding grounds is also on offer to guests as well as the opportunity to learn about one of Scotland’s oldest clans via the exhibition room at the top of the castle.
After being constructed in the 15th century by Hector Maclean, brother of Maclean of Duart, Moy Castle is now currently under renovation to stabilise its internal and external framework. The castle was originally built using various materials such as using schistose slabs quarried from nearby Laggan, harled stone, and beach boulders.
Moy Castle is situated over three stories on a low rock platform at the head of Loch Buie. One of the castle’s main features is its 1.8m deep well that was cut into the castle's solid rock foundations. Interestingly, despite always containing fresh water, the source of the well's water supply is yet to be fully understood.
The upper works of the tower are another interesting feature for visitors. This part of the castle is composed of small carved windows, which are said to have previously acted as firing holes to defend the castle. As Moy Castle is currently under renovation, public access inside the castle is not permitted at present, however the external views of the castle, the walking routes to it and the sights over Loch Buie are truly breathtaking and worth experiencing.
Built in 1860, Glengorm Castle – sometimes referred to as Castle Sorn - is situated on the Isle of Mull, 3.7 miles North-West of Tobermory, and has terrific views looking out to the Outer Hebrides and islands of Canna, Rum and Uist. With a unique landscape and a haven for wildlife, Glengorm was voted as one of the 50 greatest getaways by The Independent, and is the perfect location for holiday makers looking for a short, tranquil retreat away from the bustling lifestyle of a major city.
Scotland is famous worldwide for its incredible landscape, history and culture. There are over 2,000 castles peppered throughout the country, many of which sadly still lie in ruins. The castles of the west coast however are largely intact and available for visit year round. On your next trip to the West Coast, make sure to include visits to Duart Castle, Moy Castle and Glengorm castle in your travel itinerary!