"If the past could talk what stories this could tell"
Looking out from the derelict window of Ardvreck Castle Loch Assynt Scotland
The castle is thought to have been constructed around 1590 by the Clan MacLeod family who owned Assynt and the surrounding area from the 13th century onwards. Indeed Sutherland, the area in which Ardvreck is situated, has long been a stronghold of the clan MacLeod. The most well known historical tale concerning the castle is that on April 30th 1650 James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, was captured and held at the castle before being transported to Edinburgh for trial and execution. Montrose was a Royalist, fighting on the side of Charles I against the Covenanters. Defeated at the Battle of Carbisdale, he sought sanctuary at Ardvreck with Neil MacLeod of Assynt. At the time, Neil was absent and it is said that his wife, Christine, tricked Montrose into the castle dungeon and sent for troops of the Covenanter Government. Montrose was taken to Edinburgh, where he was executed on 21 May 1650, using the traditional method for traitors: hanging, drawing and quartering.
Ardvreck Castle was attacked and captured by the Clan MacKenzie in 1672, who took control of the Assynt lands. In 1726 they constructed a more modern manor house nearby, Calda House, which takes its name from the Calda burn beside which it stands. The house burned down under mysterious circumstances one night in 1737 (see below) and both Calda House and Ardvreck Castle stand as ruins today.