1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dunstaffnage

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8218681911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 8 — Dunstaffnage

DUNSTAFFNAGE, a ruined castle of Argyllshire, Scotland, 3 m. N.N.E. of Oban. It is situated on a platform of conglomerate rock forming a promontory at the south-west of the entrance to Loch Etive and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. It dates from the 13th century, occupying the site of the earlier stronghold in which was kept the Stone of Destiny prior to its removal to Scone (q.v.) in 843. The castle is a quadrangular structure of great strength, with rounded towers at three of the angles, and has a circumference of about 400 ft. The walls are 60 ft. high and 10 ft. thick, affording a safe promenade, which commands a splendid view. Brass cannon recovered from wrecked vessels of the Spanish Armada are mounted on the walls. In 1308 Robert Bruce captured the fortress from the original owners, the MacDougalls, and gave it to the Campbells. It was garrisoned at the period of the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, fell into decay early in the 19th century, and is now the property of the crown, the duke of Argyll being hereditary keeper. The adjoining chapel, in a very ruinous state, was the burial-place of the Campbells of Dunstaffnage.

There are other interesting places on Loch Etive, an arm of the sea, measuring 191/4 m. in length and from 1/8 m. to fully 1 m. in width. Near the mouth, where the lake narrows to a strait, are the rapids which Ossian called the Falls of Lora, the ebbing and flowing tides, as they rush over the rocky bar, creating a roaring noise audible at a considerable distance. In the parish of Ardchattan, on the north shore, stands the beautiful ruin of St Modan’s Priory, founded in the 13th century for Cistercian monks of the order of Vallis Caulium. It is said that Robert Bruce held within its walls the last parliament in which the Gaelic language was used. On the coast of Loch Nell, or Ardmucknish Bay, is the vitrified fort of Beregonium, not to be confounded with Rerigonium (sometimes miscalled Berigonium) on Loch Ryan in Wigtownshire—a town of the Novantae Picts, identified with Innermessan. The confusion has arisen through a textual error in an early edition of Ptolemy’s Geography.