Many fine, artistic & atmospheric photographs of Ardvreck Castle have been posted on RedBubble, & I have commented upon & favored some. But I feel it is time for me to add a new & different view, if not a different viewpoint.
Ray & I had visited Loch Assynt & Ardvreck in years past, but the photos we had taken with our trusty Kodak Instamatics & such were not what you’d call artistic. In fact, they were just barely competent. And so we were very pleased at the prospect of getting the definitive shot as we motored along Loch Assynt en route to Lochinver in Sutherland, Scotland. Anticipation mounted… the weather was the perfect Scottish blend of clouds & sun & sun & clouds, racing, chasing, never quite raining. We stopped along the A837 a couple of times to photograph scenery & just to drink it all in, & then, suddenly, Ardvreck hove in sight… or perhaps it was the Ardvreck Holiday Inn, or maybe a more upscale hostelry such as the Ardvreck Hilton. What ho! What gives? Ardvreck was undergoing some much-needed repair, so that brides & grooms & their minions who slogged their way (when the loch level was particularly high, anyway) over to be married beneath the walls of this most intriguing of ruins would not be beaned by boulders & finer rubble. We groaned, & then we laughed. But you have to admit… it DOES look like some kind of modern hotel, at least from a distance.
Ardvreck was built in the late 16th Century by the MacLeods, & is perhaps best known as the site of James Graham’s, the Marquis of Montrose, betrayal by Neil MacLeod in 1650. The facts surrounding this evil deed are shrouded in historical mystery, but it was ever thus. In any case, it led to Montrose’s being placed upon a pony & led in ignominy to Edinburgh where he was hanged. Later, Ardvreck & the lands of Assynt were taken by the MacKenzies.
Ardvreck is now back to normal & looks like the historical heap that it should be. It is a place of great energy, great beauty, great history, & great atmosphere.
Loch Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland. September 2003