Hugh Smith’s let­ter from Is­lay

The Oban Times - - News -

Dun Naomhaig Cas­tle’s fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory

ONE OF the noted land­marks on the east coast of the island is the now ru­ined Dun Naomhaig Cas­tle, once a strong­hold of the Clan Don­ald, the Lords of the Isles.

It sits on a rocky promon­tory over­look­ing La­gavulin Bay where the MacDon­alds an­chored their gal­leys and it is from the Gaelic word for these very ships that the cas­tle’s name is de­rived.

The orig­i­nal fort or dun may have been es­tab­lished by the Vik­ings be­fore pass­ing into Clan Don­ald own­er­ship in the 12th cen­tury. For­feited in 1493, the cas­tle came into the pos­ses­sion of the MacIans of Ard­na­mur­chan who then leased it to the MacDon­alds.

It was then handed over to the Clan Camp­bell be­fore be­ing re­turned to the MacDon­alds.

The cas­tle was the scene of much in­trigue, treach­ery, be­trayal and blood­shed and was no stranger to siege dur­ing the 17 th cen­tury. Af­ter a chequered his­tory Dun Naomhaig came into the pos­ses­sion of Sir John Camp­bell of Calder in 1615.

A fur­ther siege in 1647 saw the cas­tle be­ing taken over by the Covenan­ters, led by Sir David Lind­say. This was a par­tic­u­lar grue­some on­slaught as the cas­tle’s oc­cu­pant Alas­dair MacDon­ald was hanged from the ram­pants.

Own­er­ship of the cas­tle then passes to the Camp­bells of Caw­dor who were to play an im­por­tant role in the island’s his­tory. They held on to Dun Naomhaig un­til around 1677 when Sir Hugh Camp­bell pulled large sec­tions of it down be­fore tak­ing up res­i­dence in his new and much more com­fort­able res­i­dence at Is­lay House, Brid­gend.

To­day, all that re­mains at Dun Naomhaig are the re­mains of the 16th cen­tury cas­tle along with traces of a 13th cen­tury court­yard and a 15th cen­tury keep.

In 1998, La­gavulin Dis­tillery car­ried out es­sen­tial re­pairs to the site with grant aid from His­toric Scot­land.

Post Of­fice changes as new owner takes over

BOWMORE Post Of­fice, at the top of the vil­lage’s main street, is un­der new own­er­ship.

Post­mistress Cather­ine Mac­Tag­gart, who has been in har­ness for the past 14 years, handed over the reins last week to Alyson MacGil­livray, a mem­ber of a well-known lo­cal farm­ing fam­ily.

Both Cather­ine and staff mem­ber Sheena MacMillan will stay on to help in the trans­fer and the train­ing of new staff.

Un­der the new regime the post of­fice will pro­vide longer open­ing hours and the Thurs­day and Satur­day half day early clo­sure will be dis­con­tin­ued.

The new owner will con­tinue to op­er­ate the shop premises in the build­ing and a re­tail out­fit, cur­rently op­er­at­ing at the Is­lay House Square shop­ping de­vel­op­ment, is also be­ing trans­ferred to the Bowmore premises. Ev­ery­one wishes Cather­ine and Sheena a long and happy re­tire­ment and the com­mu­nity’s good wishes go to Alyson in her new ven­ture.

Half-marathon ath­letes are ready for the run

UP TO 200 run­ners are ex­pected to take part in the island’s an­nual half-marathon which takes place on Satur­day Au­gust 6.

The race be­gins at Bowmore vil­lage square at 10.45am and fol­lows a looped course via the island air­port be­fore the run­ners head back to the start­ing point where the prize giv­ing cer­e­mony will take place.

The event is now in its 30 th year and con­tin­ues to en­joy spon­sor­ship from Ard­beg Dis­tillery as well as en­cour­ag­ing sup­port from home and over­seas com­peti­tors.

Those im­mune to cal­loused soles and mus­cle strain can con­tinue to keep up the pace at the post marathon Satur­day night jig in the vil­lage hall.

Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bowmore, Is­lay PA43 7JX. Tel: 01496 810658

The ru­ins of Dun Naomhaig Cas­tle.

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