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Clan Castles of Scotland – Taymouth Castle – Clan Campbell

Taymouth Castle, Kenmore – Clan Campbell

Built during the 19th century, Taymouth Castle is a grand mansion that is closely associated with the historic Clan Campbell.

Originally known as Balloch Castle, the property would replace an older structure that had sat on the site until it was demolished in 1799.

Originally controlled by the Campbells of Glenorchy, the first castle would be built in the area during the 16th century and would originally be used as a tower house. Extended over the years, It would go on to serve as the Clan Seat of the Campbells as they used it as a base to oversee their vast lands across Scotland. It would serve as the spot where the long-running feud between the Campbells and the Gregors would boil over as Sir Colin Campbell would behead his Gregor counterpart at the castle in the presence of the Earl of Atholl. This event would lead to a bitter and bloody war between the two clans that would continue until an agreement was reached between them in the winter of 1570.

Following in Sir Colin’s footsteps, his namesake, Sir Colin Campbell, would usher in a more peaceful period for the castle, repairing and extending the estates. It would then remain in the same state, other than a few changes to the grounds before it was eventually demolished at the turn of the 19th century by the 1st Marquess of Breadalbane.

It is then that the current Taymouth Castle would be constructed, and it is said that the original castle was destroyed as the Marquess wanted to build a grand structure to overshadow the Duke of Argyll’s Castle in Inveraray. Whether he achieved this or not is up for debate but it is of no dispute that the castle he would build would be one of Scotland’s most impressive and certainly at least a match for Inveraray.

Taymouth Castle would receive a visit from Queen Victoria in 1842 but would then become a hotel as the grounds were converted into a golf course. It would later be used during World War Two as a hospital for Polish Troops before being used as a school for the children of American families until the late 1970s.

In more recent years, the building has been used as a location in the filming of the 1997 film, Mrs Brown, around the same time it was placed on the market for £5.5 million. It would eventually be sold for over double the asking price as a consortium purchased the estate for £12 million with plans to convert it into a ‘six star’ hotel and resort. While some progress has been made towards this goal, the castle is currently in a state of limbo as the ownership of the estate is unclear. It is hopeful that this issue can be resolved soon and the building can continue to be restored but, until it is, the future of Taymoth remains murky.