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III.

NOTICE OF THE EXPLORATION OF THE CASTLE ON THE ISLE OF LOCH
DOCHART, PERTHSHIRE. BY MRS PLACE OF LOCH DOCHART. WITH
DRAWINGS OF THE OBJECTS FOUND, BY MR GORDON PLACE, AND PLANS AND
VIEW OF THE CASTLE BY MR THOMAS ROSS, ARCHITECT, F.S.A. SCOT.

This ruined castle is situated on an island in Loch Dochart, about 11⁄2 miles down the river from Crianlarich Railway Station. The loch, island, and castle are all of small dimensions. The island is not much beyond a stone-throw from the level southern shore, along which the road and railway pass, and a little more from the northern, which is, however, the descent of a lofty precipitous mountain. It is fully an acre in extent, is thickly wooded, and is generally rocky and precipitous, rising perhaps about 18 feet at the highest part above the water. The landing place is on the east side, in a little bay which just holds a rowing boat. (See fig. 1.) Besides the Castle, there are on the island the ruins of two buildings, probably offices, and on the highest part the foundations of a small round structure.

Few oral traditions appear to have gathered around this castle, probably because it was long ago burned with such intent and complete finality. There is a tradition that it was once (or that there was on the island) a religious house. We have in our house at Loch Dochart a very curious old coloured print called "Loch Dochart, Western Highlands. I. Walmsley, pinxit; F. T. Sargent, Sculpt, 1718." This, although like the rocky island and possibly like the road before the railway was made, and in outline like the castle, gives large ecclesiastical Gothic windows. Now, the window in the east gable, very ruinous and broken, has been a lofty narrow one going through two storeys, and probably had a pointed form at the top, which may have given rise to the religious-house tradition. Otherwise the windows are small.

Some guide-books say that Bruce sheltered here after the battle of

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Dalry, a few miles further up the glen; and quite recently photographers have begun to print views of the building as "Rob Roy's Castle, Loch Dochart," neither statement resting on any foundation—as from the Black Book of Taymouth (p. 35) we learn that Sir Duncan Campbell, seventh Laird of Glenorchy, "biggit the howss of Lochdochart, for the workmanship quhairof he gaiff twa thowsand markis, anno" ; the date is not filled in, and can only be fixed as between

LANDING

++++++++ |100 FEET

Fig. 1. Plan of the Island in Loch Dochart. By Thomas Ross, F.S. A. Scot.

the year of his succession, 1583, and the year of his death, 1631. The house cost him about £1333. The broken stone tablet with his coat of arms (fig. 2) was found near the doorway. It is quartered 1st and 4th, Campbell; 2nd, the Lordship of Lorn; 3rd, Stewart of Lorn. The ninth Laird of Glenurchy, Sir Robert Campbell, who succeeded in 1640, gave to Alexander Campbell, his fourth son, "the lands about Loch Dochart, viz.:-the Yll of Lochdochart and Loch, the port of Lochdochart, Cremlarich, Innerhariff, Gynith, Innerhaggerney beg and Innerhaggerneyemoir, with the scheillis of Conench, Doonich, and Learagan, quhich ar holdine in feu of the house of Glenurquhay."

The estate of Loch Dochart was acquired by my husband's grandfather, Mr Edward Place, of Skelton Grange, York, after his marriage with Lady Ann Gordon in the year 1798 or 1799.

Till about the year 1890 the castle was completely buried in its own

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Fig. 2. Stone Tablet with Armorial Bearings of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy.

ruins. The great tower-like chimney stood up on the south, and the outer corner of the walls could be traced, and a good height of both east and west walls remained. The place was in a state of great confusion, and one had to force one's way through brushwood and midges, and somehow found oneself on a most uncomfortable and unaccountable heap of stones, greatly overgrown with nettles and garlic, wild rose bushes and rowans, with quite a large ash-tree in the middle, while a few

currant and gooseberry bushes and a real white-heart cherry-tree bore testimony to an ancient garden outside.

We used to picnic on the island, and there was only one spot where we could have luncheon free from the stinging, prickly, strong-smelling vegetation. It stood rather out to the loch, on the sunny south side, commanding a splendid view of Ben More.

Here on one occasion about the period indicated, after luncheon, the boys and girls of the party began a stone-throwing competition, and soon

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Fig. 3. Earthenware Jug found in the dungeon (6 inches in height).

great blocks began to be flung into the loch. Then I spoke out the wish of my heart for many a day. "Oh, I do wish we could clear all these stones away, and see what the castle was really like, and put it right and take an interest in it." As happens when there is a proposal of sport being turned into work, some were willing and others were not; the latter thought they had better go a-fishing-and to fish they went. Well, we who remained and two boatmen set to work, and by the time the fishers returned to tea, what had we to show them? A dungeon 8 feet deep, quite cleared out! This was the projecting round tower on which we used to encamp, then a mere heap of stones clear of vegetation.

The dungeon seems strongly built on the solid rock. An iron staple fixed in the wall, and another knocked out by the falling masonry, was suggestive of the poor prisoner, as were the remains of a knife found on the floor, which had been worn into a hollow, possibly by an endeavour to file a chain; also the small pieces of a jug, of coarse ware (fig. 3), which we pieced together.

There were also quantities of bones found, charred beyond recognition of their kind. From the bottom of the dungeon there is a flue 20 inches wide by 12 inches high, which runs along below the east wall of the castle, -a contrivance not unlike what is found in connection with the dungeons at Craigmillar Castle.

After our first day's work, we consulted as to the prosecution of the undertaking, and decided that on such days as could be given up by the votaries of sport, we would take time at the castle and try to see what it had been like- and on off days, perhaps four in a season for ten years, we worked at it. We had men who worked splendidly, often kind and enthusiastic visitors, and always a band of busy, sharp-eyed boys and girls looking out for curios. The result of our labours is that whereas we used to climb over heaps of stones, now we walk in through a doorway which had been secured with a sliding bar, and find ourselves in a hall (see fig. 4) 28 feet long by 17 feet wide, with a projecting ingle nook about 9 feet square, having a small window on each side, and one in the centre, thus commanding the whole length of the loch and the glen. There is a round arch at the back, 7 feet 6 inches above the floor, to support an intake of the wall above, shown by a dotted line on the plan. This ingle nook, the hearth of which is paved, probably served as the kitchen. Leading off the hall is a private room, up one step, about 8 feet wide, with a good fireplace and a small window. There are several presses in the walls, all about 3 feet above the floor, except one, a garderobe, with a rounded end, which comes to the floor- it is situated at the door leading to the private room. Near this is a wheel stair in a projecting turret leading to the upper floors. On the south side another wheel stair in a similar turret has led to the

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