Mingary Castle

Situated a mile (1.5 km) southeast of the village of Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Mingary Castle occupies a dramatic location on a promontory overlooking the entrance to Loch Sunart and the island of Mull. Today a careful restoration has brought a ruin back into domestic use. This substantial castle was most-likely begun in the 14th century. Its outer wall takes the form of an irregular hexagon, is up to 2.7m (9 feet) thick and was once up to 14m (46 feet) high. The walls are thickest on the seaward side, which also provided the main entrance; the landward side was additionally defended by a rock-cut ditch some 7.5m (24 feet) wide which was once spanned by a drawbridge providing a second entrance. Most of the castle dates from a succession of building works between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The castle was the seat of the MacIans of Ardnamurchan, a sept of the MacDonalds of the Isles. King James IV occupied the castle when he tried to subdue the MacDonalds in the late 15th century. MacLean of Duart Castle captured the MacIan chief and then besieged Mingary using the guns of a Spanish galleon, the Florida, which had taken refuge in Scottish waters to escape the rout of the Armada by the English. However the galleon blew up and sank in Tobermory Bay. The Campbell Earls of Argyll took possession of Mingary around 1612 but it was then taken by Alasdair Colkitto MacDonald in 1644 for the Royalist cause. However, only two years later David Leslie recaptured the castle for the Covenanters and returned it to the Campbells. In 1696, all of Ardnamurchan, including Mingary, was given to Alexander Campbell of Lochnell, who set about a series of improvements to the castle which hid most of the remaining 14th century features. These additions included a Georgian block built within the walls which housed Government troops during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. It was here, in 1746, that the Jacobite MacDonalds of Glencoe surrendered to the government in the form of the Campbells. Mingary was drawn in 1815 by William Daniell (1769 - 1837) with the resulting aquatint published in his Voyage Round Great Britain and held by the Tate Gallery in London. The castle was probably still habitable in 1848, but fell into ruin thereafter. In danger of collapse, the owner of the Ardnamurchan Estate invested £2.3 million in a painstaking restoration which began in 2013 to bring the structure back into use. It opened its doors as luxury visitor accommodation in 2016.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better