Loch Gorm Cas­tle

The Oban Times - - News -

LOCH Gorm in the Kil­choman dis­trict and sit­u­ated a lit­tle over a mile from Is­lay’s western At­lantic coast is the largest body of fresh wa­ter on the is­land. Stand­ing a few hun­dred me­tres from the loch’s south- east shore is Eilean Mòr which houses what lit­tle re­mains of Loch Gorm cas­tle.

It had a che­quered his­tory and was built as a strong­hold and reg­u­lar fort for the rul­ing MacDon­ald dy­nasty.

In the late 16th and early 17th cen­tury, the is­land cas­tle played a prom­i­nent role in the con­tin­u­ing con­flict be­tween the MacDon­alds of Is­lay and the Mull MacLeans of Duart who kept a gar­ri­son at the Loch Gorm fort even if its ten­ure was of short du­ra­tion.

The cas­tle be­came an op­er­a­tional base for fur­ther inter- clan war­fare be­fore it was se­verely dam­aged by Lord Ochiltree and the King’s sol­diers in 1608.

A fur­ther re­bel­lion in 1614 saw a resur­gence of mil­i­tary ac­tion at Loch Gorm be­fore the is­land fortress was retaken by the MacDon­alds in 1615 and who, shortly af­ter­wards, fi­nally sur­ren­dered to the Earl of Ar­gyll.

De­spite the end of the hos­til­i­ties, the is­land strong­hold re­tained a mil­i­tary pres­ence and a pri­vate gar­ri­son was main­tained on Eilean Mòr un­til the early 1640s.

To­day, lit­tle re­mains of the cas­tle. What is left is al­most com­pletely cov­ered with veg­e­ta­tion which is also steadily en­croach­ing on the 48 me­tre wide is­land.

The wa­ters of the loch are now a mag­net for trout fish­er­men but they once wit­nessed less tran­quil scenes in­volv­ing fight­ing, blood­shed and in­trigue. Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bow­more, Is­lay PA43 7JX. Tel: 01496 810658

The unas­sum­ing Eilean Mòr, which houses what lit­tle re­mains of Loch Gorm cas­tle.

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