Castle On The Loch
Barry Weir reminisces about his time at Dunderave Castle which stands on the edge of the picturesque Loch Fyne.
How I Bought A Castle
Barry Weir recalls his journey to buy Dunderave Castle:
‘For my 38th birthday my sister bought me a year’s subscription to Country Life magazine.
‘On the front cover of the magazine was Dunderave Castle in Scotland. I looked at the photo and thought how this appealed to me as I had never owned a castle and buying it would keep me occupied for a couple of years.
‘Roma, my wife, had never been to Scotland so as a loving husband I suggested we went to the Highlands, near Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. Quite innocent, or so she thought!
‘However, what she didn’t know was that I had arranged to have a viewing of the castle.
‘We flew to Glasgow, rented a car and drove towards Inveraray.
‘From the top of Loch Fyne we drove down along the the shoreline and then suddenly it appeared.
‘“Look there’s that castle from Country Life magazine let go and have a look.” (One has to be a little subtle here, it’s a man thing.)
‘”No, we can’t,” she said.
‘”Yes we can!”… and-into the drive we went.
‘A knock on the door and the housekeeper appeared in Welly boots and holding an umbrella. All a bit strange considering it was a dry with clear blue sky, but this was a sign of things to come. I should have known!
”Anyhow, I then had to confess to Roma what our trip to Scotland was all about. Apart from being a holiday it was also a chance to see the castle. And this was the start of our story of how we purchased the Dunderave Castle.
‘We went on to convert the castle into a five star luxury boutique country house hotel.
‘It was a great time and even though we were charging top London room rates, matching those of The Ritz Hotel, in London, we were always full.
‘We entertained celebrities at the hotel. One unforgettable fortnight saw director Michael Winner and actors Roger Moore and Michael Caine all come to stay for a few days while filming Bullseye.
‘In fact, our whole time there was full of great memories.’
- For more information on Dunderave Castle and The Weir Family visit: Dunderave Castle
A Rich History
Dunderave Castle was built in 1598 as the seat of the MacNaughton clan chief, replacing an older castle in nearby Glen Shira known as Dubh Loch Castle. It stands in a fine defensive position, on a small spur of land jutting out into Loch Fyne.
It takes the form of a four storey L-plan tower house with a large round tower on the external angle. The round tower contains chambers, while a spiral staircase is enclosed in a small square tower in the interior angle.
The ground floor is vaulted, and one of the rooms originally had the opening of a well shaft in the floor.
The MacNaughtons fought on the Jacobite side at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, but following the Jacobites’ defeat at the Battle of Dunkeld the same year the MacNaughtons’ lands were confiscated, and were given to the Campbells of nearby Inveraray Castle.
In the early 20th century Sir Andrew Noble, the physicist and artillery pioneer, bought the Ardkinglas estate, which included Dunderave Castle, now in ruins. He commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to restore the castle to its former glories, which he did magnificently, completing the work in 1912.
Since the Weirs sold the castle it is now in private ownership.