A Lowland stronghold for a Highland chiefEveryone is awestruck by Castle Campbell. The imposing ruin stands in solemn isolation upon a narrow ridge, overlooked by a crescent of the Ochil Hills. Two precipitous ravines hem it on either side, through which thunder the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow. The setting couldn’t be more dramatic.
A fine tower-house castleCastle Campbell is one of Scotland’s best-preserved tower-house castles. The tower house itself served as the family residence. Standing 20m high, it dominated the courtyard. The service access was at ground level, but the main entrance was at first-floor level, the norm at this date. Inside were four floors of accommodation – a storage cellar at ground level, a hall on the first floor and private chambers on the two upper floors. These latter were altered around 1600, and the fine vaulted ceiling at the top, with its two grotesque carvings representing the Green Man, dates from then.
Friend or foe!The castle was visited by all sorts of important personages. They included John Knox, the fiery Protestant preacher, in 1556, and Mary Queen of Scots in 1563. The Marquis of Montrose had the place torched in 1645, during his campaign on behalf of the beleaguered Charles I, and Cromwell’s lieutenant, General Monck, did something similar in 1654. The execution of the 8th Earl in 1661 effectively ended the castle’s days as a noble residence.