When I first investigated visiting Loch Doon Castle the mapping program instructions said to take “the unnamed road.” What? Well, since it is pretty remote and you basically follow the loch around to the far side to the end, how hard could it be to get there? Right? So off we went.
Not only was I driving a right hand drive car, the road was what they call a “one track road.” That means there is two way traffic, but the road is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. Fortunately, there were many turn-outs and once we got to the loch you could see quite a ways ahead of you. Helpful when another vehicle was coming towards you. But it was still miles of high stress driving.
The castle turned out to be a great find and well worth the effort. – even on the single lane two way unnamed roads. The ruins of this remote castle in Scotland are something most tourists will never see. It is not very large, but is unique in many ways, and fun to learn about. Even though this is far off the beaten path there was a fairly constant flow of other people visiting. We brought a picnic lunch, which was perfect. We even met a lively group of motorcyclist from Germany, who explored the site for almost as long as we did.
One Track Road – Two-way Traffic
Moving the Castle
When it was decided to build a hydro-electric project on the loch, which would raise the water level by over 25 feet, the castle was moved off the island, to above flood level. In 1935, each stone was carefullymarked and the castle was reconstructed ashore. Where it is today. Through one of the openings you can see the top of the island where the castle once stood.
Unique in Shape
The castle is roughly circular, but made up of 11 sides, making it truly unique. This was considered quite elegant at the time. Standing in the center, the castle circles around you elegantly, with its ornate fireplace, arched windows and pointed arch entryway. Some say the design was based to fit the original islands shape.
In its day, this castle was actually on an island, set out in the loch, but no more. (In the US we would call the loch a lake)
A Bit of History
It is believed the castle was built in the late 1200s, possibly by King Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots. As waterways were an important conduit for communication in Medieval times, its position on an island in the middle of the loch was a great idea.
This castle was the site of many bloody battles between Scotland and England. It was intentionally damaged by King James V and finally abandoned in the early 1600s. In case you haven’t done the math, that means that people lived in this castle for 400 years. That represents quite a number of generations, living in a castle on a small island in the center of a loch. We are glad it has been preserved so all can see and appreciate its history.