Loch Doon Castle, which is also known as Balliol Castle, was built in the late thirteenth century. It was sited in the middle of the loch on a small rocky island. This curtain walled structure was constructed from fine ashlar and was polygonal with its shape being dictated by the terrain of the island. Entrance into the castle was via an arched gateway protected by two heavy timber doors.
In 1935 the castle was threatened with complete destruction when work started on a hydro-electric scheme. This lead to a large rise in the water level. To prevent the castle being permanently submerged, it was partially disassembled and rebuilt about 400m North on the adjacent mainland. Most of the castle was dismantled, stone by stone, and the dressed ashlar carefully reconstructed.
A decision was made however not to relocate the Tower House which stood in the centre of the curtain walls. As with Tarbert Castle the tower house was constructed at a later date to the rest of the structure, sometime in the late 1400’s.
You can see from the drone footage the original site of the castle and its current position in this drone video.
The first surviving historical reference to the castle dates from 1306. In that year Robert the Bruce assassinated his rival, Sir John Comyn. Comyn’s brother-in-law went north to deal with Bruce and defeated him at Battle of Methven (1306). Some managed to escape including the brother-in-law to Bruce, Sir Christopher Seton, who fled to Loch Doon Castle.
The castle in its position in the middle of the loch seemed to be quite vulnerable to attack and passed through many hands. The castle lay abandoned since the 1600s onwards. If you enjoyed this video and blog, please feel free to subscribe via email to get the most up to date posts.