Dunstaffnage Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles.

Dunstaffnage Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles. This mass of masonry guards the seaward approach from the Firth of Lorn to the Pass of Brander – and thereby the heart of Scotland. It still overawes visitors today.
The castle was built before 1240, probably by Duncan MacDougall, son of Dubhgall, Lord of Lorn, and grandson of the great Somerled, the self-styled ‘King of the Isles’. These were stirring times in Argyll, because of the struggle between the Kingdom of Scotland and Norway for control of the Hebrides.
The King of Scots won control of the region in 1266, but Dunstaffnage continued to see plenty of action during the Wars of Independence (1296–1356). Robert the Bruce famously besieged the mighty fortress around 1308, after his victory over the MacDougalls at the Pass of Brander.
Dunstaffnage remained a royal castle until it passed to the Campbell earls of Argyll in the 1460s. From then until the last Jacobite Rising in 1745–6, Dunstaffnage’s story is inextricably interlinked with the constant struggles by the Crown and the Campbells to control their unruly western subjects.

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