Castle Urquhart

(Urquhart Castle)

Castle Urquhart
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Castle Urquhart

Located 1¼ miles (2 km) east of Drumnadrochit at the eastern end of Glen Urquhart, Castle Urquhart stands on a highly defensible rocky promontory overlooking Loch Ness with commanding views along the Great Glen to Inverness in the northeast and Fort Augustus in the southwest. The most recent structure is a ruined early 17th Century tower, but other ruins and archaeological suggest much earlier settlement. There are traces of Iron-Age fortifications and the site was certainly a defensive structure in the 6th Century when St. Columba visited the area and apparently encountered a sea creature. Ownership of the site passed from the Durwards to the Comyns in the 13th Century, and the castle was occupied by Edward I in 1296 and 1303. Castle Urquhart was regularly attacked by the MacDonalds of the Isles and was occupied by Covenanters (1645) and then Jacobites (1689) before being destroyed by the government (1691) to prevent its use as a Jacobite stronghold.

Today, the ruined castle provides an excellent viewpoint for those seeking the Loch Ness Monster. It is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland on behalf of its owner the National Trust for Scotland, and has recently been subject to a £4 million project to improve facilities and create a new exhibition centre for the 250,000 people who visit the castle every year.

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