Kinlochaline Castle
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( Caisteal an Ime )

Author:  Micheal Ruby


Table of Contents:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - Kinlochaline Castle, The History
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- Directions to Kinlochaline
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- Bibliography
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- Glossary of Terms


Kinlochaline Castle, The History

(It should be noted that this text was compiled from sources some of which date back to the previous century before subsequent restorations. It may therefore be somewhat inaccurate in relation to the modern condition of the castle. This aside I believe that it offers the best description currently available for electronic publication. The owner of the castle has restored it and lives there today.. ~Grahame MacInnis, Project Kinlochaline)

. . . . .This 15th century rectangular keep was the seat of the MacInnes Clan, hereditary archers to the MacKinnons of Skye. It occupies a commanding position atop a rocky summit at the head of Loch Aline. This Keep is four stories tall, with 10 foot thick walls. Atop the walls is a parapet walk with open rounds. The walls have deep square recesses for the small narrow windows. According to MacGibbon and Ross; " The walls are to a considerable extent composed of blocks containing the fossils of the Lias limestone – a very rare thing in Scotland." Entrance to the castle is in the south side; with a guard chamber carved out of the wall, attached to it. Originally there was an exterior corbelled machicolation over the entrance. The Hall has an arched fireplace with a stone panel featuring a woman. The design of the fireplace shows where it was used to heat lead and oil to deter attackers. a wheel-staircase in the east wall and a straight stair in the recess of a window in the west wall. The straight stair originally led down to the vaulted basement, access to which is now limited to a trap door. The vaulted basement is lighted only by narrow window slits.

. . . . .The most notable event in the castle's history is the 07 July, 1644 attack by 400 of Alasdair MacColla's troops led by Manus O'Cahan. Kinlochaline was occupied by the Campbells and surrendered the next day. The castle was left well provisioned and garrisoned against the counter attack, which occurred sometime after the 29th of July. The Campbells returned to siege Kinlochaline and the nearby Mingarry castle, once the forces of MacColla headed north. The siege lasted until approximately the night of Oct 5th. The siege commander, Sir Donald Campbell, struck camp and withdrew, upon hearing of MacColl's return. ( Campbell was commander of the Mingarry siege. ) On or about the 16th of October, MacColla judged Kinlochaline to be too small to contain a sizable garrison, and too vulnerable to attack. He abandoned and burnt Kinlochaline, in order to deprive the Campbells of it.

. . . . .Kinlochaline was apparently restored, but suffered damage from Cromwell's troopers in the 1650s. The last attack on Kinlochaline was by the Earl of Argyll in 1679, during a feud. Kinlochaline was abandoned about 1690, and restored in 1890. The castle is, once again, deserted.



Directions to Kinlochaline: Aprox. 2.5 miles north of Lochaline, "on minor roads" east of A884, at the northern end of Loch Aline, on the west side of the River Aline. Use Ordnance Survey map #49 ( 1:50,000 ), grid: NM 697 478.

 


Bibliography

The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland D. MacGibbon and T. Ross

The Heritage of Fort William and Lochaber; Castles and Historic Houses Fort William and Lochaber Tourist Board

Highland Warrior; Alasdair MacColla and the Civil wars. David Stevenson 1994, Saltire Society, Bell and Bain Limited, Great Britain. ISBN 0 85411 059 3

The Castles of Scotland; a Comprehensive reference and gazetteer to more than 1700 castles. Martin Coventry, 1995, Goblinshead, Edinburgh. ISBN 1 899874 00 3


Glossary of Terms

Machicolation : A slot for dropping stones or shooting missiles.

Corbel : A projecting bracket supporting other stonework or timbers.

Rounds : A roofless tower, usually crowning the corners of the walls.

Parapet : a low wall erected at the side of a wall-head or wall-walk for protection from missiles or to keep people from falling off. ( Kind of like a solid railing.)

Wheel-staircase : a spiral staircase around a central post, usually stone.

Vaulted basement : This basement has an arched ceiling of stone. It is very strong.


Notes : Although this was some time ago; one source told of a key, available at the nearby castle cottage.