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Royal visitors – and royal prisonersThe island fastness of Lochleven is associated with many colourful events and has been visited by countless distinguished personalities during its history. Some of those taking the boat across Loch Leven came of their own accord, including King Robert Bruce (in 1313 and 1323). Others were held prisoner within the castle’s walls – such as Robert, the High Stewart, in 1369, two years before his coronation as Robert II, the first of the royal house of Stewart.
Island strongholdIn medieval times, the island of Lochleven was much smaller than it is today – drainage works in 1836 saw to that. When Queen Mary was a prisoner, the walled castle enclosure with its little garden to the north were all that appeared above the water.
Tower house – and prisonDominating the castle ruins is the lofty four-storey tower house. Its 14th-century date makes it one of the oldest in Scotland. The original entrance (subsequently closed up) is 5m above ground level, and gave access directly into the lord’s hall on the third floor. This is most unusual – perhaps the residents feared the additional hazard of flooding.