Duntrune Castle from the east
|Designated||20 July 1971|
Duntrune Castle is located on the north side of Loch Crinan and across from the village of Crinan in Argyll, Scotland. It is thought to be the oldest continuously occupied castle on mainland Scotland. The castle is a category B listed building.
It was originally built by the MacDougall clan in the 12th century, along with several other castles in the area, including the MacDougall stronghold of Dunollie Castle near Oban. Duntrune Castle was eventually taken by the Clan Campbell. In 1644, the castle was besieged by the rival MacDonalds, under Alasdair Mac Colla. The Campbells sold Duntrune in 1792, to the Malcolms of Poltalloch. The castle is now owned by Robin Neill Malcolm, current clan chief of the Clan Malcolm.
The Piper Of Duntrune
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The ghost of a handless piper is said to haunt the castle. According to one story, the Macdonald piper was sent into the castle as a spy, but was found out. He was imprisoned, but played his pipes to warn the Macdonalds that their 'surprise' attack was now expected. Alasdair Mac Colla retreated, and the piper's hands were cut off by the Campbells.
According to another story, one more well known, the Macdonalds captured the castle. Mac Colla needed to return home and left a small garrison to defend the castle, with his personal piper among them. While he was away, the castle was recaptured by the Campbells and all the MacDonalds were killed, except the piper, who was spared because of his status. After retaking their castle the Campbells laid a trap for the Macdonalds.
As Mac Colla sailed returning to the castle he and his crew heard, as expected the piper playing a tune of welcome from the castle ramparts. As the MacDonald boat grew closer, the Macdonalds were able to discern the tune and recognised it as a warning. The small boat turned away and the trap failed. To punish the piper, his hands were cut off so that he may never play again. The piper bled out and died of his injuries.
During a set of renovations at the castle, workers unearthed a handless human skeleton under a stone path, whose hands had been removed by clean cuts to the wrist. It is believed that this skeleton is that of the Piper Of Duntrune. There was evidence of an Episcopalian burial; many of the Highlanders serving the Royalist cause were Episcopalian at the time. The Campbells fought for the Covenanters, who were Presbyterian.
- Duntroon, Australian Capital Territory, a location named after the castle
- Robert Campbell (1769–1846), descended from the Campbells of Duntroon
- "Duntrune Castle :: Historic Houses Association". Hha.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- "Duntrune Castle, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "Duntrune Castle". Clan MacCallum - Malcolm Society of North America. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "Duntrune Castle". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- Hamilton, John (10 January 2007). Haunted Places. ABDO. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-59928-768-3. Retrieved 29 October 2012.