Two of the most fascinating and romantic things are castles and islands. Now imagine a place that is a combination of both of those things! That place is the four-storey tower called Castle Stalker, situated off the beautiful West Coast of Scotland.
Introduction to Castle Stalker
Sitting proudly on a rocky outcrop surrounded by water, Castle Stalker is in a tidal islet called Loch Laich – off Loch Linnhe – not far from Port Appin, Argyll. It is a stunning sight.
When the tide is out it is possible to walk to the fort house but this is not recommended in case you get caught by the incoming waters!
The Castle is believed to have its origins in a small residential fort built in 1320 and used by the MacDougalls who were the Lords of Lorn. In about 1388 this title and the lands that included the castle were given to Stewarts. The Castle you see today owes its character to Sir John Stewart when he was Lord of Lorn around the 1440s. This was a Scottish family interwoven with the bloody and often tragic clan wars of that time. Among the local tales is the story of a baby, Donald Stewart, hidden in the Castle by a nurse to save his life during an incident in 1520.
Another feature of its intriguing history is that around 1620 the Castle was lost in a drunken wager and became the property of the Campbells of Airds, though it was reclaimed and then lost again by the Stewarts shortly after!
When the Campbells built a new house on the mainland at Airds in the 1800s (which is still there) the castle became a storehouse, before being abandoned and neglected. However, in 1908 it was bought by Charles Stewart of Achara – so coming back to the Stewarts yet again – who carried out preservation work to stop its decline.
Successive generations of the Stewart family have restored and protected this truly unique Scottish castle.
Getting there and things you should know
To get to Castle Stalker, head for Appin on the A828 between Ballachulish and Connel.
It is important to note that the only practical way to get to Castle Stalker involves a boat ride, and there are numerous steps to navigate. So, there is no access for wheelchairs or those with other mobility issues.
Tours of Castle Stalker are generally held from April to September. The cost reflects the need for funding to maintain this intriguing place to visit in Western Scotland.
Things to see nearby Castle Stalker
Castle Stalker is one of the most popular detours when exploring nearby Oban. It’s also a highlight for anyone rambling on the Jubilee Walk, from Port Appin. Make sure to view the tidal marshes of Loch Laich which are teeming with ecological riches.
Places to eat and drink nearby Castle Stalker
The best place to eat near Stalker Castle is the apply named Stalker Castle View cafe, across the water in Appin (Portnacroish). This offers good disabled access and is an incredible vantage point to see the Castle and Loch Linnhe. For evening refreshment, The Old Inn at Appin is highly recommended, a characterful place that often features a lovely open fire.
Did you know?
Why ‘Stalker’? The Gaelic name of Castle Stalker is Stalcaire, which can mean both Hunter or Falconer.