Air cùl Bhallachan
Behind the Walls
You can see how these high walls and the single entrance made the castle safe. Its life as a private residence lasted until 1888, when most of its buildings were in ruins.
Changing Times, Changing Needs
Duncan MacDougall built Dunstaffnage as his family home 800 years ago. Later, in more peaceful times, people no longer needed to live in fortresses.
1 This wall walk gave defenders views right around the castle.
2 The west tower accommodated the castle's favoured visitors on the main floor; less welcome guests spent time in the prison below.
3 The 'new house' was built in 1725 for Aeneas Campbell, the captain of Dunstaffnage. He held the castle for his clan chief, the Earl of Argyll.
4 The well was dug through the bedrock in the 1100s to provide fresh water. The well-head is a 19th century addition.
5 The donjon or keep-the largest tower-dates from around 1250. It housed the lord's private rooms, a cellar and a latrine.
6 The great hall connected with the lord's apartments and was the castle's most important room. You can see its fine windows from outside the walls.
7 The gatehouse you see was largely built by the Campbells after they were given possession
of the castle in 1470. The captain of Dunstaffnage lived here. Look for the earlier entrance — now blocked.
8 The curtain wall is 3.5 metres thick. Soldiers defended the castle from the battlements and from arrow slits that were later converted into gunholes.
An Aristocratic Dispute
In 1908, the 20th captain wanted to restore and live in the castle. His landlord, the 9th Duke of Argyll (below) disagreed and a court ruled in favour of the captain. Soon after, the captain was taken prisoner in the First World War. By this time, the roof of his 'new house' had collapsed and its dormer windows were moved to the gatehouse.