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Saddell Castle

Saddell Castle is a historically important 16th-century castle on the shore of the Kilbrannan Sound in Kintyre. The Castle originally served as a bastion of the MacDonald family for several centuries. The tower house was built near the abbey founded by and once housed the remains of Somerled, the progenitor of the MacDonald clan. Several MacDonald Lords have resided at Saddell over the centuries, once giving refuge to Robert the Bruce for more than a year during Scottish War of Independence.

History of Saddel Castle

1160 ~ Somerled, King of Man and the Hebrides, grants the land of Saddell for the building of a monastery, 'Lord Sorlius Maderdi, ruler of Kintyre, founded there the monastery of Sandal'.

1163 ~ The building of Sandell Abbey begins.

1164 ~ Somerled is killed in the Battle of Renfew against the Scots.

1165 ~ Ranald, Somerled's son ensures the building of the Abbey at Sandell continues to his father's wishes. (more in the History section)

Castle today

Today the castle is better known for being the backdrop to Paul MacCartney's Wings hit single, Mull of Kintyre, and is a castle you can hire to stay. The castle is quite easy to miss from the road. Heading south after you pass the signposts for Saddell Abbey and cross the bridge, near a bend in the road look for a track that takes you to a small private parking area. Here with consideration you are allowed to park and take the pleasnt walk along the tree-lined lane towards the castle and wonderful beach. Make sure you take in Saddell Abbey during your visit as this is of critical importance in the history of Argyll and Clan MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. The ruined Abbey also houses spectacular Highland tomb stones similar to those found at Kilmory Chapel near Castle Sween, and of course those found at Iona Abbey where they were carved. A wander along the beach at Saddell to view the castle followed exploring the Abbey makes for a fabulous day out.

Text by Fred Vincent