Mull has a rich past, and the island’s castles tell a fascinating series of stories. Discover ruins, forts and tower houses in beautiful locations across Mull. As you explore castle gardens, walk battlements and marvel at strongholds, you’ll get closer to understanding Mull’s rich history and heritage. You’ll also get the opportunity to see some of Mull’s most stunning scenery. Here are six Mull castle that will capture your imagination – and your heart!
No trip to Mull is complete without a visit to Duart Castle, the ancestral home of Clan Maclean. The location is simply breathtaking. Perched on top of a rocky outcrop, it proudly stands guard over one of the key marine crossroads on the west coast of Scotland. The castle dates back to the 13th century and was brought back from ruin in 1911. It’s an atmospheric place. Explore the keep and dungeons, the magnificent banqueting hall and Edwardian state rooms. And best of all, walk the battlements and lose yourself in the views looking out across the Sound of Mull. There are a number of lovely walks in the castle grounds too, including Millennium Wood and Duart Point. An old byre has been converted into a shop and tearoom. Throughout the summer, the castle plays host to a number of events, including storytelling and outdoor theatre. The castle was used as a location for the films Entrapment (1999) starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and When Eight Bells Toll (1971) which starred Anthony Hopkins, Jack Hawkins and Robert Morley.
This striking castle was built in 1858 by the eminent Architect David Bryce in the Scottish Baronial style. It’s another stunning location, on Duart Bay near Craignure. At the time it was called Duart House, but following the renovation of Duart Castle it was renamed Torosay to avoid confusion. Although the castle was once open to the public it is now a private residence. You can, however, enjoy a lovely walk from Craignure through to Torosay Castle Gardens. You’ll be treated to some fabulous views of the castle, as well as a visit to a pretty bay overlooking Duart Castle. Find out more on the Walk Highlands website.
Here’s your chance to stay in a castle! Glengorm Castle, also known as Castle Sorn, is a 19th-century country house near Tobermory. The castle offers fabulous self-catering accommodation, so is not open to the general public. But you can visit the coffee shop and farm shop in the converted stables, where food is cooked on the premises using produce from the farm and walled garden, with other ingredients sourced from local suppliers. There are also a number of great walks on the estate which give excellent views of the castle. One of the walks takes you out to the old fort of Dun Ara Castle, which occupies the summit of a prominent rocky outcrop.
This ruined castle near Salen, probably built in the 13th century, was once a major stronghold of the Lords of the Isles. Overlooking the Sound of Mull, it commanded a strong defensive position. It was described as 'ruinous, old, useless and never of any strength' in 1688 and is certainly ruined now! Take in the views and use your imagination as you wander around what’s left of this fortification.
This ruined tower house Moy Castle stands in a beautiful situation on a rocky crag by the seashore at the head of Loch Buie. It was built in the 15th century by Hector MacLean. Renovation work has been carried out over the last few years, but access is not permitted to the castle for safety reasons. It’s well worth a visit though. The view of Loch Buie is outstanding and you can enjoy a walk to Loch Buie Stone Circle. This circle was originally nine granite stones, set in a ring about 12 metres in diameter, with the tallest stone being about two metres high. It is mainly composed of granite slabs which have been positioned with their flatter faces towards the inside of the circle.
If you love history, then why not hop on the ferry from Mull to Iona to visit Iona Abbey and Nunnery? The abbey was founded by St Columba and his Irish followers in AD 563 and became the heart of the early Scottish church. A restored 13th-century medieval abbey, founded by Benedictine monks, now stands on the site of Columba’s church. The Augustinian nunnery was founded at the same time as the Benedictine abbey and is one of the best-preserved medieval nunneries in Britain.
Image: Duart Castle