Finlarig Castle

At the western end of Loch Tay, roughly a half mile northeast of the village of Killin, Scotland, lies the precarious, overgrown, atmospheric, and seriously cool ruins of Finlarig Castle.

It is unlikely that you will find this one in your guide books, as Finlarig sits on private property. However, it’s definitely worth a stop if you happen to be in that neck of the woods. If you are a serious castle seeker, then I think Finlarig is worth going out of your way for.

Parking is available across from the cemetery, about a minute’s walk to the castle. When Mr. C and I were there a few years ago, we were approached by a local who requested we move our car to the lot rather than park directly at the site. I don’t think we were hurting anything, but alas, it is private property so it’s best to do as you are told.

***A word of caution: Though access is permitted, Finlarig is an unmaintained, dilapidated ruin and should be considered dangerous. You may want to consider appreciating it from the outside rather than attempting to go in. You wouldn’t want rocks to fall down onto your pretty little heads!

Construction on Finlarig Castle began in the early 17th century by ‘Black’ Duncan Campbell, seventh laird of Glenorchy. Known by the name Black Duncan of the Cowl as well, he seemed to be a man of contrasts. Shrewd, meticulous, and fiercely proud, Campbell was also “an enlightened landlord, an early conservationist, and tree-planter.” (Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs). He was an ambitious man, responsible for the building of several additional castles which earned him another moniker – ‘Black Duncan of the Castles’.

Remains of a spiral staircase.

Campbell’s Z-plan tower house was built upon a mound that at one time was surrounded by a moat. A good bit of Finlarig castle survives today, including the southwest tower, complete with shot holes – as opposed to the other kind. Although you can bet it had those too! πŸ˜€

Rob Roy MacGregor is said to have visited Finlarig in around 1713.
Legend has it that this rectangular, stone-lined pit was where nobility were beheaded (common folk were not given the same luxury-ha- and were executed by being hanged in a nearby tree). However, it could have just as likely served as a water storage tank. What do you think?

Perhaps even more atmospheric (code for creepy) than Finlarig is the nearby Breadalbane Mausoleum. Though it dates to around 1830, it is in just as bad of shape as the castle. I was fascinated by the way it seems to be falling in on itself and the way that over time, the earth is reclaiming the interior.

Breadalbane Mausoleum. An earlier chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary is thought to have occupied this spot and would have been the burial location for the Campbells of Breadalbane, including our Black Duncan.
Breadalbane Mausoleum

The mausoleum had reportedly fallen into disuse by the early 1900’s. As such, Sir Gavin Campbell, 17th Laird of Glenorchy (d. 1922) and his wife Alma Graham (d. 1932) are instead buried close by.

The rather lonely graves of Sir Gavin Campbell, 17th Laird of Glenorchy and his wife Alma Graham.

Well friends, I hope you have enjoyed this little history of Finlarig Castle. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, I’m curious to know what your favorite castle has been thus far. Have you had an opportunity to see any of the ones I have written about? We still have many, many to go so I hope you’ll stick with me!

I enjoy you guys so much. Thank you for great community!


15 thoughts on “Finlarig Castle

Leave a Reply