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Cairnburgh Castle

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Cairnburgbeg and Cairnburgmore, two of the five principal isles of the Treshinish group in the Argyllshire Hebrides, 3 miles W of the mouth of Loch-Tua in Mull, 5 NNW of Staffa, and 5½ SE of Coll. Their coasts, in general, are cliffs from 40 to 45 feet high; and their surfaces rise in hemispherical outline to an altitude of about 300 feet above sea-level, and look, at some distance, almost like models of two ancient shields. A fortalice of the Macleans was on Cairnburgmore; is supposed to have been erected on the site of a Scandinavian work of the 13th century; became, at the time of the Reformation, the receptacle of books and records from Iona; sustained a siege by a detachment of Cromwell's army, with the result of destruction to the Iona documents; was the scene of repeated conflicts in the rebellion of 1715; and is now in a state of ruin. A barrack was built on Cairnburgbeg in the 17th century, and, as to its walls, is still tolerably entire.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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