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Campbell and MacDougall feud: Castles

Medieval MacDougall castles

Medieval MacDougall castles, photo by author from display at Dunollie Castle, Oban

Once upon a time the MacDougalls were Lords of Lorn, sovereign princes in the Western Isles.

They’d built at least nine castles and claimed 250 square miles of land at a time Clan Campbell had little power.

Ten years later King Robert the Bruce was crowned, having been supported by the Campbells.

The MacDougalls, alas, had fought against him.

The first record of strife between the Campbells and MacDougals occurred in 1296 when Cailean Mor Campbell, the head of their clan, was killed in a skirmish with the MacDougalls.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

Two years later Bruce defeated the MacDougalls in the Pass of Brander. Dunstaffnage Castle was taken and placed under a Campbell constable.

This is where the Highland Ménage series differs, as the fictional Duncladach was kept in MacDougal hands.

Over the years Robert the Bruce awarded the Campbells many castles and land, taken from Clan MacDougall and many others.

Castle Stalker, famous for its stark beauty and the ease it can be seen from the road, was built by the MacDougalls. In 1308 the Lordship of the Isles passed to the Stewarts, along with this castle.

Around 1620 it was passed to the Campbells due to a drunken wager, in exchange with an 8-oared wherry. It is now in the hands of the Stewart Allward family.

Castle Stalker, from a ridge by the road, September 2014

Castle Stalker, photo by author from a ridge by the road, September 2014

Another was Duntrune Castle, where in Bedding the Enemy, Highland Ménage 9, Lady Margaret Campbell is found to have lived with her first husband. The real John Campbell of Duntrune was listed in Scotland’s Act of Parliament of 1587.

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