Dunderave Castle has a rich and interesting history spanning more than six centuries.
A Rich History
Dunderave Castle was built on the shores of Loch Fyne in the 1590s on the behest of clan chief of the MacNaughton clan chief.
A previous castle had to be destroyed following a plague outbreak and its remains can still be seen on Dubh Loch at the head of Glen Shira.
The name Dunderave is of Gaelic origin and it is suggested that the name derives either from Dun-an-Rudha, meaning 'The Knoll on the Promontory', or else from Dun-da-Ramh, 'The Castle of Two Oars'. The latter is taken to imply that there was a ferry near the site of the castle.
The building consists of a four storey L-plan tower house with a large round tower on the outside. This tower contains chambers, while a spiral staircase is enclosed in a small square tower towards the inside.
The ground floor is vaulted, and one of the rooms originally had the opening of a well shaft in the floor.
The MacNaughtons fought on the Jacobite side at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, but following the Jacobites’ defeat at the Battle of Dunkeld the same year the MacNaughtons’ lands were confiscated, and were given to the Campbells of nearby Inveraray Castle.
In the early 18th century, ownership of Dunderave passed to the Campbells. The last of the MacNaughtons of Dundarave married a daughter of Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglass across the loch in about 1700.
It is claimed 'The Macnaughton groom' woke up next morning to find himself in bed with, and married to, the wrong daughter. Legend has it that the father-in-law, for reasons of his own, had substituted his unmarried elder daughter. The story goes that Macnaughton and his truelove, the younger daughter, fled to Ireland, and the Campbells took over Dunderave.
There seems to be little written or known about the castle in the 18th and 19th centuries but it fell into a state of disrepair.
In the early 20th century Sir Andrew Noble, the physicist and artillery pioneer, bought the Ardkinglas estate, which included Dunderave Castle, now in ruins. He commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to restore the castle to its former glories, which he did magnificently, completing the work in 1912.
Throughout the 20th and 21st century the castle changed hands.
In the late 1980s it was bought by businessman Barry Weir who undertook his own refurbishment programme and turned it into a top five star hotel. Mr Weir and his wife, Roma, brought up their three daughters at the castle where they were able to enjoy an idyllic childhood.
The castle is now in private hands.