Castle Stalker, Western Highlands, Scotland

Originally believed to have been the site of an earlier fortification dating from 1320 at a time when the MacDougalls were the 'Lords of Lorn', Castle Stalker as seen today was erected in 1446 after the lordship had passed to the Stewarts in 1388. It was built largely by Sir John Stewart, whose son, Dugald, became the 1st chief of Appin.

During the late 15th century the castle was thought to have been frequently visited by James IV of Scotland, who was keen on hunting, and the addition of upper storeys of the Tower House dating from this period, seem to support this possibility. The Stewarts' occupation continued until c1620 when the 7th chief of Appin lost Castle Stalker in a drunken wager, with ownership passing to the Campbells. Remaining with the Campbells until it was abandoned at the beginning of the 19th century, Castle Stalker was breifly retaken once by the Stewarts in 1689.

At the time of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising Castle Stalker, still held by the Campbells, was garrisoned by some 60 government troops. Although suffering an attack by 300 clansmen supporting 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', and led by the Stewarts of Appin, Castle Stalker proved too strong and could not be taken. It then became an important supply post on the route from Inveraray to Fort William in the north. After the battle of Culloden and the defeat of the Jacobites, Castle Stalker was used as a collection centre where clansmen were forced to surrender their arms.

The Campbells resided at Castle Stalker until 1800 when they moved to a new house at Airds. In 1840 the castle roof was mysteriously removed, possibly to avoid roof tax, although there remains some debate on this subject. Subsequently the remaining structure was left to decay until, in 1908, Charles Stewart of Achara purchased the site, bringing it back into the hands of his Stewart forebears. In 1965 Lt. Col D. Stewart bought Castle Stalker, and spent the next ten years restoring it into a habitable residence, still occupied by his descendants today.

Although it remains a private house, not publicly accessible, it is worth looking out for when touring the Western Highlands, as Castle Stalker is a prominent sight, overlooking Loch Linnhe.

Kilchurn Castle
Also in the area...
CastleKilchurn Castle
read more about this location
The London Pass – find out more here