Torcastle: Medieval Highland castle once again accessible

The castle at Torcastle near Banavie is set on a prominent knoll overlooking the River Lochy.

The ruins of this medieval Highland castle are once again accessible and attractive thanks to the members of Lochaber Archaeological Society.

Until recently it had been hidden within an overgrown jungle and following approval from Historic Environment Scotland, Lochaber Archaeological Society undertook the necessary work to safeguard and make visible what remains of the medieval tower house

Originally the property of the Clan Chattan, the castle came into the possession of the MacIntoshes in the late 13th century but was later occupied by the Camerons and probably remained the seat of the chiefs until the 17th Cameron built his residence at Achnacarry in the mid-1600s.

Following receipt of a Monument Management Grant provided by Historic Environment Scotland and under the guidance of AOC Archaeology, work was undertaken to clear the castle ruins of the vegetation that was impacting on the long-term survival of the site and masking the visibility of the monument.

Members of the society spent many days this autumn clearing extensive rhododendron and other small shrubs by the ruins, which are located at the end of a popular footpath at Torcastle. They can now be more easily located and accessed by casual visitors.

In-depth surveying of the monument was also carried out.

Robert Cairns of the Lochaber Archaeological Society said: “Our volunteers put an incredible amount of hard work into the care of this monument and we are proud of the results. We’ve already had a number of visitors coming up and saying how nice the site looks.

“We hope to use the newly gained survey skills on a number of other sites in the region.”

Torcastle on the 1872 map from the National Library of Scotland can be found here.

Laser survey images of Torcastle.