Castle Sween, Knapdale

Castle Sween, Knapdale, Scotland

 

Castle Sween, Knapdale

Castle Sween, Knapdale, Scotland

 

This evening, I am focusing on Clan Macmillan which has long association with Knapadale on the West of Scotland, Lochaber in the central west Highlands (around Fort William and the Great Glen) and Inverness.

Macmillan translates from the Gaelic Maolanach meaning the tonsured one. It may be that the Macmillans are descended from an official of the Celtic Church who followed the practice of shaving the hair from the front half of his head. 

The principal physical legacies of the Macmillans in Knapdale are:

In the middle ages water power was key to control of the west of Scotland and in this context it was logical to construct a castle on the edge of Loch Sween which offered not only good defensive capabilities but also fine  navigation and beaching facilities for the war galleys of the time.

Castle Sween is a candidate for the oldest stone castle in Scotland. It may have been built before AD1100 albeit using latest military architecture from Europe. It is ironic that Castle Sween was probably built by an Irish war lord and destroyed by another one (Alasdair MacColla)  some 500 years later, in 1644 since when it has been a ruin.

The Macmillan cross is in memory of Alexander Macmillan and is about 12 feet in height ( 4 metres).

The Macmillans lost their lands in Knapdale and were ruthlessly cleared from Lochaber.

Knapdale and Loch Sween are pleasant, but relatively remote, spots to visit. I have visited there in the past in context of a Clan Macmillan tour.

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