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Strome Castle

This remotely sited castle lies on a rock by the northern pier of the former ferry across Loch Carron. On the east, facing the approach, is a mound of debris marking the site of a tower. Surviving walls four feet thick surround a court. If ever there was a strategically placed fortification it is Strome Castle. Overlooking the once busy waterway of Loch Carron it controlled all waterborn traffic to and from the sheltered agricultural land along the northern shore, as well as the ancient ferry crossing. It's position on a rocky bluff, surrounded by steep drops to the shore and sea on three sides is a commanding one. The castle was blown up following a siege and was never rebuilt.

History of Strome Castle

1400's - The castle is built as part of the Earldom of Ross.

1495 - The son of Alexander Earl of Ross, Celestine, gives the castle to Allen Cameron of Lochiel. This gift is confirmed in a charter by King James IV.

1539 - King James V, undertaking a program around his kingdom to assert his Royal authority over the Highland chiefs, decides to revoke the charter and grants Strome to the MacDonalds of Glengarry. For the next 63 years the MacDonalds hold onto the castle while continually feuding with their neighbours the MacKenzies of Kintail. Battles between warring earls across Scotland, one of which involves 25,000 men, and constant border raids by insurgent Highland clans, leads the King to order the extermination of the Highland rulers.

1602 - Kenneth MacKenzie, Lord of Kintail, besieges Strome Castle. He is just about to give up on taking the castle when a fortunate accident happens. A chronicler writes; " Some silly women went to draw water from the well. On their return they were fearful, and in the poor light they accidentally poured the water into a vat containing gun-powder. When the defenders came to replenish their stock they found this, and cursed the women loudly. A MacKenzie who was prisoner in the castle heard this and managed to escape to his own camp where he informed the Chief. MacKenzie renewed the siege but the MacDonalds now decided to surrender in return for the safety of life and baggage. This was readily granted and the MacKenzies blew up the castle ". The Castle is never rebuilt and is left to decay to ruin.

Castle today

You can park with care on the road that runs down past the castle so access is very easy. It's worthwhile walking down to the loch below to get the best views of this lovely little castle.

Text by Fred Vincent