Dunstaffnage Castle is a MacDougall and
later Cambell castle situated 3 miles north of
the main A85 road that runs between Glasgow and
The Castle is open every day in summer, it
is closed Thur and Fri in winter. There is a
small entrance fee. Postcode: PA37 1PZ
Click On Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
The image top is of the path from the car
park out to Dunstaffnage Castle, under a half
mile. The Visitor Centre is situated next to
the Castle on the right, and Chapel ruins about
100 yards to the left in woodland.
The image second top is of the winding
stairs leading up into the Castle.
Dunstaffnage Castle is situated on a
peninsular at the entrance to Loch Etive, with
water on three sides.
Dunstaffnage Castle History
600s - Norway's Kings ruled the Northern and
Western Isles, and some of the West Coast of
Scotland. They appointed local families / Clans
to help rule their land.
1200s - the building of Dunstaffnage Castle
begins for the Lord of Lorn, Duncan MacDougall,
grandson of Somerled.
one of the last Norse warlords to control the
Western Isles and take part in battles on the
Dunstaffnage Chapel is thought to have been
built around this time.
1240s - Duncan's son and heir Ewen portraid
himself as King of the Isles.
1293 - Ewen's son Alexander was made the
first sherriff of Argyll after helping King
Alexander III reduce Norse influence in
1200s late - the MacDougall's supported John
Balliol and John Comyn against Robert the Bruce
in the First War of
1308 - Robert the Bruce defeated the
MacDougall's at the Battle of the Pass
of Brander, then took control of
Dunstaffnage Castle after a short seige. The
Castle was then run as a Royal Castle with
families in charge that were loyal to the
1463 - keeper of the Castle, John Stewart of
Lorn, was stabbed while walking to Dunstaffnage
Chapel to marry his second wife. The assault
was by men of Alan MacDougall, who claimed they
were the rightfull owners of the Castle. John
Stewart is supposed to have married on his
death bed in the Castle.
His death led to the MacDougall's taking
control of the Castle at that time.
1468 - Alan MacDougall was killed at the
Stalc, a battle between the MacDougall's
and Stewart's. John Stewart's son, Dugald
Stewart, was credited with killing Alan
1470 - King James III forced the
MacDougall's out of Dunstaffnage Castle so his
loyal supporter Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of
Argyll, could take control.
The Cambell's were a Clan that remained
loyal to most Royals. Their Castles were used
by Government troops to prevent uprisings in
the Western Isles and Highlands by Clans such
as the MacDonalds.
1685 - Dunstaffnage was badly dammaged by
Royalist Troops with fire after the Protestant
Earl of Argyll Cambell led an uprising against
the Catholic James VII/II. The Earl was
executed on the Maiden
Guillotine in Edinburgh after the uprising
1715 and 1745 - the Cambell's allowed
Dunstaffnage and their many other Castles to
house government troops during the Jacobite
MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie
escape from Scotland, was briefly imprisoned
here before being taken to the Tower of
1725 - the Cambells added new buildings to
1810 - an accidental fire severly dammaged
the gatehouse, leading to the Cambells moving
to Dunstaffnage House just over 1 mile
1888 - the last Tenants left the Castle.
1903 - restoration work began for the Duke
1912 - a court case ruled Angus Campbell,
20th hereditary Captain, had right of
residence, even though the Duke of Argyll owned
1914 - the outbreak of World War I ended the
restoration before it was completed.
1958 - the 21st Captain and Duke of Argyll
agreed to hand the castle over to Historic
Scotland so it could be used as a visitor
The Castle has a Ghost namrd Ell-maid of
Dunstaffnage, said to be connected to the
Cambells. If she is smiling, everything is ok,
if she is crying, strange thngs are about to
Entry fees pay for the upkeep of the Castle
and repairs. Stonework and Mortar on Scottish
castles need regular repairs due to the wet