BARNHILL HOUSE Location - OS map 64 (NS 425-756)
1.5 miles east of Dumbarton. On minor roads north of the A82 at Milton, north of Loch Bowie at Barnhill House.
Barnhill House is a two storey house mostly from the 19th century, it may incorporate part of a 16th century castle.
It was a property of the Colquhouns of Milton who were moved here from Tresmass in 1543.
ROSSDHU CASTLE Location - OS map 56 (NS 361-896)
About 2 miles south of Luss on minor roads east of the A82, near Loch Lomond at Rossdhu, near Rossdhu House, Loch Lomond golf course, near the shore of Loch Lomond.
Rossdhu castle is a very ruined 15th or 16th century tower house, not much remains except one gable which contains the entrance doorway.
The lands were a property of the Colquhouns of Luss from the 13th century. The castle was visited by Mary Queen of Scots, and abandoned in 1770. John Colquhoun was present at the seige of Dumbarton in 1478. James Colquhoun led his clan to defeat in a battle with the McGregors in Glen Fruin in 1603. The tower was mostly demolished to provide materials for the nearby Rossdhu House which was completed in 1774. Dr Johnston and James Boswell visited Rossdhu during their "Tour of the Hebrides", although Lady Helen Colquhoun found the doctor boorish and his manner insufferable.
There was a castle on Eilean Rossdhu (NS360 894), little of which remains except fallen masonry. This was probably the predecessor to Rossdhu Castle, and built on a crannog. It was believed to have been abandoned when Rossdhu was built.
INCHGALBRAITH CASTLE Location - OS map 56 (NS 369-904)
About 1.5 miles south and east of Luss, on island Inchgalbraith, to the west of Loch Lomond, about 0,5 miles east of the A82 at Bandry.
Inchgalbraith is a ruined 16th century tower house, square in plan. The tower occupies most of the tiny island and was ruinous and overgrown by the early part of the 18th century. It seems to have had an outer wall about 1.5m thick enclosing a space of about 15m by 13m in which there were two or three tenement blocks. On the east is the jam of a gateway into the central court. The jam shows evidence of a portcullis groove. The outer wall still stands two storeys high on the north side. The castle plan has similarities with Castle Lachlan in Argyll, which is 15th century.
It was a property of the Galbraiths but passed to the Colquhouns of Luss in the 16th century. It was probably abandoned soon afterwards.
INCHMURRIN CASTLE Location - OS map 57 (NS 373-863)
About 3 miles north of Balloch on the south east of Inchmurrin Island to the south of Loch Lomond about 1 mile east of the A82 at Auchentullich.
Inchmurrin Castle is a ruined 14th century castle and keep, or hall house, of the Earls of Lennox. The building was probably about 16m long originally but seems to have been later sub-divided and an addition made to the east end while a round tower of which little remains was added to the north west corner. One high fragment remains of each side wall with traces of two basement loops and an upper window on the north, and a blocked upper window on the south.
There may have been an earlier castle here that was used as a hunting lodge by Robert the Bruce. Sir John Colquhoun and his followers were murdered here by Highlanders in 1439. It was the home of the widow of Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany who had been executed along with his sons by James I. She was imprisoned in Tantallon Castle for two years and died here in 1460. This part of the Earldom along with the title went to the Stewarts of Darnley. In 1506 James IV stayed at the castle, as did James VI in 1585 and in 1617. The island passed to the Graham Dukes of Montrose around the beginning of the 18th century. The castle was ruinous by 1724.
KILMAHEW CASTLE Location - OS map 63 (NS 352-787)
About 1 mile north of Cardross on minor roads north of the A814, 0.5 miles east of Kirkton, north west of Kilmahew house.
Kilmahew castle consists of a ruined 15th century Keep of five storeys and formerly a garret. It had a corbelled out parapet, and there has been a machicolated projection above the entrance. The castle was remodelled as a Gothic mansion but was never completed. The basement does not appear to have been vaulted, but it contained the kitchen. The hall was on the first floor.
Kilmahew was a property of the Napier family from the late 13th century until 1820. The property was sold to James Burns in 1859, who built a new mansion nearby.
DARLEITH HOUSE Location - OS map 63 – (NS 345-806)
About 2 miles north on Cardross, on minor road north of the A814 at Cardross near Darleith Farm.
Darleith House, a classical ruinous mansion, incorporates a much altered 16th century tower house with one round bartizan. It was extended and altered in later centuries, including 1903.
It was a property of the Darleith family from 1510, but was sold in 1670 to the Yuilles. It was being used as a Seminary in 1962 but is now ruinous.
DUMBARTON CASTLE Location - OS map 64 – (NS 400-745)
In Dumbarton on minor roads south of the A814 on a promontory on the north side of the river Clyde.
Little remains of Dumbarton Castle, which now mostly consists of 18th and 19th century fortifications, except for the 14th century entrance.
Dumbarton means Dun or fortress of the Britons. The fortress is first mentioned around 450 AD as the stronghold of Alcluith of the kings of Strathclyde. In 756 it was captured by Picts and Northumbrians, and in 870 was besieged by Irish raiders, who captured the rock, only after four months of fighting, starving the garrison into surrender. Owen then Bald, the last King of Strathclyde, died at the battle of Carham in 1018, and Strathclyde was absorbed into the Kingdom of Scots. Dumbarton became a royal castle, and was a formidable fortress. William Wallace was held here before being taken to London for execution in 1305. In 1333 the young King David II and his Queen Joan sheltered in the castle during fighting with the English. In 1489 James IV besieged Dumbarton twice to oust the Earl of Lennox, the second time was successful. He then used the castle as a base to destroy the Lord of the Isles. The Castle changed hands many times in the 16th century, between various factions, but after the disastrous Battle of Pinkie in 1547, the young Mary, Queen of Scots, was kept at Dumbarton for some months before being taken to France. The castle changed hands again, but was retaken in 1562 and held for Mary until 1571.
The Earl of Morton and Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, were imprisoned here in 1581 and 1614 respectively. The castle was captured and recaptured several times in the 1640s, but in 1654 a Royalist Force made a successful surprise attack on Cromwell's garrison. The old castle was badly damaged during this period, and improvements were begun in 1675 and carried on until the middle of the 18th century. Further renovations were made to develop the castle for coastal defence during the 1790s. Nothing remains of the medieval castle except for the 14th century portcullis arch. In Dumbarton itself is a 17th century town house of the Cunningham Earls of Glencairn (NS39 752), known as the "Earl of Glencairn's Greit House" or "Glencairn Tenement". It was built in 1623 and was a acquired in 1923 by the Town Council.
Dunglass Castle with 14th century sea gate
DUNGLASS CASTLE Location - OS 64 (NS 436-735)
About 2 miles east of Dumbarton, south of the A82 on the site of an ESSO oil terminal just north of the shore of the River Clyde.
The property passed to the Colquhouns, one of whom was Chamberlain of Scotland in the 15th century. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss built the 16th century house. Having been defeated in a skirmish and being pursued, Colquhoun fled to Bannachra castle.
A treacherous servant however, pointed him out at a window, and a skilled bowman shot and killed Colquhoun. The castle passed to the Edmonstones in 1738 but became ruinous soon afterwards, and in 1783 was partly demolished to build a new quay. In 1812 Buchanan of Auchintorlie bought the castle and extended and remodelled it.
Not much of the 14th century castle of Dunglass remains, except a wall with a sea gate and a ruined range with turrets. In the 16th century, a turreted house was built within the walls of the old castle, and this was extended and remodelled in the 19th century.
KILMARONOCK CASTLE Location – OS map 57 (NS 456- 877)
About 1 mile south west of Drymen, on minor road north of A811, just south of the Endrick Water at Kilmaronock.
The lands were the property of the Earls of Lennox, but given to the Flemmings in 1329, then passed by marriage to the Dennistouns later that century. The property was held by the Cunningham Earl of Glencairn from the end of the 14th century, then by the Cochrane Earls of Dundonald, then passed to John McGoune in the 18th century. Kilmaronock house built in 1901 stands nearby.
Kilmaronock Castle consists of a ruined 15th century keep, formerly of four storeys, with thick walls. Part of the vaulted basement and the second-floor hall survive. A stair in one corner led down from the hall to the basement, while that in another corner led to the private chambers on the upper floors.
GARTARTAN CASTLE Location - OS map 57 (NS 530-978)
About 2 miles south of Aberfoyle on minor road west of the A81, just north of Gartmore house, at Gartartan Castle.
The property belonged to the Lyles, but passed to the McFarlanes in 1531, who built the castle. It was allowed to decay after it passed to the Grahams of Gartmore, who had moved to Gartmore house by 1780 although Gartartan may have been partly habitable until the 19th century. The Grahams sold Gartmore in the 20th century.
Gartartan is a ruined 16th century z-plan tower house, consisting of a rectangular main block and two round towers at opposite corners. Both had corbelled out stair turrets, one containing a wide turnpike stair from the entrance to the hall on the first floor. Not much remains of the chambers above the hall.
DUCHRAY CASTLE Location - OS map 57 (NS 480-998)
About 3 miles west of Aberfoyle, on minor roads south of the B829 at Milton, about 1 mile south of Loch Ard, at Duchray Castle.
Duchray was sold to the Grahams of Downie in 1569, who built the castle. It was the mustering point for an army lead by the Earl of Glencairn, who defeated a Cromwellian force at Aberfoyle in 1653. In the 1690s two Graham sisters entertained Red Coat officers of, William and Mary, while Rob Roy McGregor was smuggled out of another door. The castle was torched after the Jacobite rising of 1745, but was restored and remodelled in 1825. It is still occupied.
Duchray Castle is an altered rectangular 16th century tower house of three storeys with a round tower at one corner, and a turret crowning the opposite corner. The building has corbiestepped gables, and the basement is vaulted.
THANKS TO OUR HOSTS
Details here are extracted from –
Nigel Tranter – The Fortified House in Scotland – Volume 5 – North and West Scotland
Martin Coventry – The Castles of Scotland - 2nd and 3rd Editions
Mike Salter – The Castles of The Heartland of Scotland