23 October 2016

Castle Sween, Shores of Loch Sween, Knapdale, Scotland

Castle Sween

Welcome Sign
Welcome to Castle Sween, on the shores of Loch Sween, in Knapdale, Scotland; the last of my castles to Blog about. 

Castle Sween was built for/by Prince Sween of Denmark in 11th Century. The round tower on the seaside of the castle is named for Prince Sween. Before, there were any roads in this area, this castle would have only had to worry about attacks from the sea via Loch Sween, a loch that connects to the sea. The Danes that called this castle home, would have ensured to keep scouts watching the approaches for any enemies.
Castle Sween
In the 15th century, this castle came into the possession of one Alexander MacMillan. Under his ownership, had the castle expanded by building the large square tower on the back of the castle. This tower is now known as MacMillan Tower. Inside this tower on the lower level was where the great kitchen was built, with huge stone ovens and it even had running cold water.

Later, the MacMillans, lost ownership of this castle. The Lord of the Isles and the Campbells factor into this change of ownership. Legend has it an inscribed stone once stood on the shore of the property, which had words to the effect of.....So Long As Waves Wash Upon This Stone, Shall The MacMillans Claim These Lands.......or something similar. Rumour has it the Campbells had the stone dropped into Loch Sween, somewhere offshore. Now, I again caution you, I am not a historian. So, do your own fact checking, please.
Castle Sween
I first visited Castle Sween in the '90's. The caravan park beside the castle was still a small and welcoming place. I found this visit to be less welcoming. I am not sure of the why's, but the fact is, if you wish to visit this beautiful ruin you have to park your vehicle on the public road and walk in. The walk in is pleasant on a paved road, it is the principle that has rubbed me wrong. I will get over it. Just be fore warned.
Main Gate, Castle Sween

Courtyard Looking to Sea Gate, Castle Sween

MacMillan Tower, Castle Sween

Sween Tower, Castle Sween

MacMillan Tower, Castle Sween
The new camera sure did capture the extreme of the greens of the grass and the contrasts of the grey stone and skies. These pictures were very vivid.

You can almost imagine what it would have been like to reside here....almost. The roofs and inner woodwork maybe missing, but I can imagine what this castle must have looked like in its glory days.

This would have been a tough castle to get to, without a vessel of some kind. Even today, with paved single track it is not easy to get here with an automobile. Much less, trying to ride cross-country on horseback. 

The biggest changes I noticed between my two visits were the number and locations of chain-link fences and the changes to the signage. I am not sure if this is a Historic Scotland site, but my pictures from the '90's had more signs on the grounds. Also, in the 90's more of the castle was accessible, like Sween's Tower.

This was a long day for us. We started our day in Ullapool at the Broomfield Holiday Park, before driving to Inverness and back across the Great Glen to Fort William. Then we made haste for the Kintyre Peninsula. We drove a different route in the '90's, but the route we took was equally as pleasant. We departed Fort William around 1420 hours, arriving at Castle Sween, not sure forgot to write that in my journal. We finished taking photos at Castle Sween around 1815 hours and made our way to Kilmory Knap Chapel to take pictures of the MacMillan Cross. (That will be a different Blog post.) We depart Kilmory around 1850 hours and went to Lochgilphead, Argyll Pizza & Cafe for a late supper. After supper we made our way back to Fort William. After driving around Fort William a few times (2347hrs) and finding no room at the inns, we headed for Glen Nevis in hopes of finding a camping spot. We finally, found a friendly place called Glen Nevis Caravan Park. By 0130 hours we had camp pitched and twelve minutes later we were all sawing logs. Later that morning we would climb Ben Nevis. I promise to post that adventure in due time.

Until next time.......research some family history and go explore!!!


For more information about the Clan MacMillan visit: http://www.clanmacmillan.org

For Kilts and Accessories in MacMillan Tartan see the fine folks at; Duncan Chisholm & Sons Kiltmakers: http://kilts.co.uk
Castle Sween

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