Claig Castle, Heather Island, Jura, Scotland

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Last year, 2016, we stayed on the Isle of Jura an island off the west coast of Scotland, to attend the ‘Whisky Festival’…….it was brilliant, more to come about that.  Part of this trip was for my husband, who is an avid whisky collector, mind you by the end of the visit, I got a liking for a wee dram.  The other part of the visit, was for me to explore the island and find interesting sites, which I did.  But the one thing I thought I wouldn’t find was a castle, as everyone told me there wasn’t one.  In the hotel we were staying. I found a small old book about the island and low and behold there was a reference to a castle.  Ok not much left, but I have seen less, now to find out where it was……no one in the hotel knew, some of the locals had no idea there was a castle or the ruins of one.  I was beginning to think maybe it had crumble away to dust, when one of the gamekeepers came in for a drink in the bar and told me exactly where it was.  As we left the next day and I had been told the exact spot to look right, we found it, otherwise you would miss it.  This was as close as we got, plus we did have a ferry to catch, so a zoom view had to do, but you can see the reason it was built there to control the sea traffic.  I have added a small amount of history.

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The castle ruins are situated on a very small Island, Fraoch Eileen, in English, Heather Island, off the coast of Jura, but still in the parish of Jura.

The castle was once a massive fort described as a sea fortress, which allowed the Macdonald Lord of the Isles to dominate and control the sea traffic north and south through the Hebrides for more than four centuries.

The castle remained a stronghold of the MacDonalds until they were subdued in the 17th century by the Clan Campbell.

All that remains now from the slight historical evidence and features suggest a late medieval, probably 15th century tower house. Only a ruinous ground floor remains but it is likely that it comprised two main storeys, together with perhaps a garret contained within the roof.

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15 comments

  1. Two of my favourite subjects, Scottish history and whiskey. I prefer the island malts, I love the distinctive flavours they have, though I’m an Islay whiskey fan at heart. I an understand why you look forward to going back.

    1. Oh you and Steve should get together, he is a big Islay fan, we went to all of them, bar one when we on Islay. I have to have my two weeks on the west coast otherwise I go into withdrawal…and not a drop of Scottish blood in me 🙂 Plus all the other chances to get up there, Inverness and Edinburgh soon 🙂

      1. I think the ruins are Claig Castle 😦 My clan were the poets and historians for the lord of the Isles over many generations and can only find Claig Castle mentioned.

      2. Ha ha , I should not do posts so late at night, I had got it in to my head it was Craig, because of the Craighouse, the name of the village. Thank you for pointing it out 🙂

  2. So excited to have found your blog! My husband and I have been meaning to go to Scotland and exploring churches and castles, and natural wonders, right up our alley! Thanks for sharing your photos and tidbits of history, looking forward to more 🙂

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