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Duart Castle, Isle of Mull - Click image to enlarge

Duart Castle  
 

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Duart Castle
 
Anyone sailing into the Sound of Mull cannot fail to be impressed by the sight of Duart castle standing proudly on a rocky outcrop projecting into the Sound and protecting the entrance to Loch Linnhie. Dubh Ard in Gaelic means "Black Point" and this majestic castle was surely a strategic stronghold during the times of the Norse and Viking raiders.

Duart Castle is one of the classic residences of a highland Chief and remains  today the seat of the Clan MacLean, in whose family it has been since at least the 14th century. The history of the castle, however, is long and fascinating.

The MacLeans of Duart descend from the lineage of Gillean of the battleaxe. The earliest reference to Duart is when one Lachlan Lubanach the fifth chief married Lady Elizabeth, daughter of the Lord of the Isles, and granddaughter to Robert II King of Scots.

Lachlan was granted the first charter for Duart as her dowry and in 1390 went on to build the large keep to the exterior of the curtain wall.In following years, clan feuds claimed the life of Red Hector the sixth chief at the battle of Harelaw in 1411.

Ewen MacLaine of Lochbuie also fell in battle and was beheaded. His spirit, the Headless horseman is said to ride in Glen Mor.

On the matrimonial side, things did not go all that well for the eleventh chief, Lachlan Cattanach. He chained his wife to the rocks in the Firth of Lorn in an attempt to drown her. Retribution was swift and merciless, she escaped, informed her father, Campbell, Earl of Argyll and Lachlan was murdered in his bed in Edinburgh by Sir John Campbell of Cawdor.

Bad luck dogged the MacLeans. In 1604 the clan chief was kidnapped along with others while aboard ship lying off Aros castle.

In 1674, the castle passed into the hands of Campbell, Earl of Argyll.

After the Jacobite rising of 1745 the castle was abandoned. Roofless and derelict it remained in that sorry state until 1911. Purchased by Sir Fitzroy MacLean the castle was rebuilt as a permanent residence.