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Clan Seats of Scotland – Dunderave Castle – Clan MacNaughton

Dunderave Castle, Loch Fyne – Clan MacNaughton

dunderave castle - clan macnaughton

Sandwiched between the peaceful banks of Loch Fyne and the base of the forested slopes of the Grampian Mountains, Dunderave Castle is a stunning piece of 16th-century architecture that was first constructed as the home of the historic MacNaughton Clan.

Built by Iain MacNaughton in 1593 to signify his strength, the clan moved from the nearby Dubh Loch Castle in the aftermath of a Black Plague epidemic that almost wiped them out completely. It was for this reason that the MacNaughtons decided to construct a new home as they rushed to leave Dubh Loch after its association with the illness.

Trying to convey their prestige and power as they struggled to fend off the dominant Campbell family, the MacNaughtons would construct a grand castle using stones from their previous home to maintain a connection with the area.

They would remain distrustful of the Campbells and their expansionist policies in the subsequent years as their rivals grew in stature and would eventually be forced to give up the castle after the marriage of a young MacNaughton chief to the older daughter of Sir James Campbell in 1702. It is said that MacNaughton had fallen in love with James’ younger daughter and, despite being promised her hand in marriage, was tricked into marrying her older sister after he was given enough alcohol to cloud his memory on the wedding day. Upon waking up the next morning, the chief would realise his mistake and would flee to Ireland where, in his absence, Dunderave would be placed under the possession of the Campbells in court.

MacNaughton would die in exile without an heir and the family would vanish from Argyll as Campbell influence grew stronger. They would control the castle until the beginning of the 20th century, leaving it to rot as the roof caved in and the once great structure became a shell. Luckily, it would be saved in 1911 when it was commissioned for restoration by Sir Andrew Noble. Noble would completely refurbish the castle and would turn it into an asset for the local area. It remains a hidden gem of the Scottish countryside to this day and after plans to turn it into a hotel fell through, it was purchased by private owners.

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