Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Counting Cairnburgh Castle on the Treshnish Islands (just off our north coast) there are seven castles on the island. On a fine warm afternoon we decided to visit our first one, Aros Castle. As usual this was combined with a walk so our trusty Land Rover was parked off road by the Aros River which we crossed on the old pack bridge to walk along the side of the river estuary to the castle. It is set on a hill top with spectacular views down the Sound of Mull though I suspect the beauty of the view was not foremost in the Chief of Clan MacDougals mind when he planned and built it. Aros Castle, otherwise known as Dounarwyse Castle, would have been easy to defend from seaward, and although less so from landward potential enemies would have to get across a deep ditch. On our visit the only protector of the now ruined castle was a beautiful resplendent cockerel probably more interested in his hens as soon as he determined that we were not bringers of food. The castle dates from the 13th century and was later the stronghold for the Lords of the Isles but by 1690 it was known to be in ruins and subsequently never repaired. Its demise I think inevitable once powerful ship mounted guns rather than claymores were available to enemies.

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