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If you are on holiday or taking a short break in the Heart of Argyll, Carnasserie Castle is well worth a visit. Easily accessible from the A816, there is a large car park from where you walk up a farm track to access the castle grounds.
Carnasserie Castle, which was built by reforming churchman John Carswell, has only ever been slightly altered and so presents an accurate picture of 16th century architecture. Although sited on raised ground close to a strategic pass at the head of Kilmartin Glen, it was designed more for domestic rather than military purposes. It was the personal residence of John Carswell until his death in 1572, when it passed to his patron, the Earl of Argyll.
Later, in 1643, the 8th Earl of Argyll sold Carnasserie to Sir Dugald Campbell, 3rd Baronet of Auchinbreck. Following the 9th Earl’s failed uprising in support of the Monmouth Rebellion, against James VII in 1685, the castle was blown up by Royalist forces. Although the outer walls remain largely undamaged, the ruins were never repaired. In the 19th century the estate was sold to the Malcolms of Poltalloch, who also own nearby Duntrune Castle. Today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland (no entrance fee; open all year).