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The Chatelaine's Scottish Castles

Lochindorb Castle

near Grantown-on-Spey

Lochindorb castle ruins, Cairngorms, Scotland
Photo © Joe Wilkins

Lochindorb Castle is located on the bleak Dava Moor south of Nairn and Forres on the way to Grantown-on-Spey and Aviemore, in the south-eastern heart of the Scottish Highlands.

It sits on a partly man-made island in this remote loch, 6.5 miles north-west of Grantown-on-Spey and is not accessible by public transport, so you will need a car or bike to get here - and then of course a boat if you want to go across! The best time to visit is when the heather is in bloom and the moor is a carpet of purple.

Lochindorb comes from the Gaelic meaning 'Loch of Trouble' and the castle has certainly had its fair share of that! Dating back to the 13th century, it was originally held by the Comyns, but later occupied by the English and was visited by Edward I in 1303 when he stayed here for 9 days, hunting out on the moor. Later it was used as a prison and also a garrison for English troops. At the end of the 14th century, it was gifted by Robert II to his third son, the notorious Wolf of Badenoch, Alexander Stewart, who rampaged around quite a bit of the local area. Lochindorb was said to be his favourite haunt.

When the Scottish Privy Council instructed the Thane of Cawdor to dismantle Lochindorb after it had been forfeited by the Earl of Moray in around 1455, the huge iron yett was transported to Cawdor Castle and can now be seen in the bowels of the building.

Although now in ruins, the castle was still in fairly good condition up until the end of the 18th century when its four 7-metre high round towers were intact. The main quadrangular courtyard is 48 x 38 metres in dimensions and is enclosed by a 2-metre thick wall which stands 6 metres high. A later extension to the south was made probably to give the island extra protection from assault. Apparently it was bought by the Cawdor Campbells in the 1970s.

RCAHMS file on Lochindorb Castle

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