The freedom of a bay of wild and unspoilt beauty
The whole of Saddell Bay with its long white strand and rocky point belongs to Landmark, including the castle (which you can see from the cottage), a later mansion and four other cottages. Each building stands alone and here you have the freedom of the whole bay in all its wild and unspoilt beauty, where seals, sea birds of every kind and even an otter are regular visitors. The ruins of an ancient abbey are nearby to explore.
Rock pools virtually on your doorstep
Shore Cottage sits on its own little rocky promontory, among trees that grow right down to the sea. It is a simple but stylish Victorian building, imaginative in design as well as situation. From the sitting-room a door leads directly on to the foreshore, where the rock pools at low tide are second to none. In fair weather, the temptation to leave the door open directly to the beach may prove irresistible. Should (as so often happens) the weather turn, you can just as well hunker down in this sheltered spot and enjoy the stove, as those who have lived here through years would have done.
‘A special place - land of rainbows just amazing having your own beach.’
From the logbook
A licence to build castles
In 1508 James IV, King of Scotland, granted the lands of Saddell Abbey to David Hamilton, Bishop of Argyll, with licence to "build castles ... and fortify them with stone walls". Saddell Castle was the result, a tower-house typical of the period. It was probably completed by 1512, and used by the Bishop as an occasional residence.
Of this 16th-century building there remain only the outer walls, including the entrance doorway, the great fireplace on the first floor and a small fireplace on the second floor (where there is also a garderobe closet), together with a short stretch of the original barmkin wall to the south of the tower, and some carved stone panels. In 1556 Saddell had been transferred to James Macdonald, who was busy annoying the English army in Ireland. In retaliation the Earl of Sussex mounted a raid on Kintyre in 1558, during which he burned and sacked the Castle, which he described as "a fayre pyle and a stronge".
The Castle seems to have been left as a ruin for the next hundred years, even after it was granted to Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, in 1607. Then in 1650 the Earl, in turn, granted Saddell to William Ralston of that Ilk, a fugitive from religious persecution in the Lowlands, on condition that he made it habitable within two years. The Castle was given a new roof, and floors, and the walls and parapet were extensively repaired. The arrangement of the rooms is mostly of that same date.
William Ralston soon moved elsewhere, and by the end of the 17th century the estate had been granted to a junior branch of the Campbell family, who became known as the Campbells of Glensaddell. During the 18th century they tried to make the Castle more comfortable, by lining the bedroom walls with panelling for example; and they smartened up the sitting room with a new fireplace, alcoves and a moulded plaster ceiling.
They must have felt they were fighting a losing battle, however, because in about 1774 the Campbells built themselves a new and more convenient home, which they called Saddell House. The castle became a farm, and was lived in by estate employees. Stone from the Abbey was used for the farm buildings that cluster around the foot of the tower.
In 1890 the Castle once again became, for a few years, the chief residence of the estate, after Saddell House was damaged by fire. At that time it belonged to Colonel Macleod, who clearly had great fun restoring the castle. It was he who put up the heraldic shields in the dining room, which contain heraldic jokes and puns; and he made several other minor alterations, such as the ceiling in the top bathroom, and fireplaces in several of the bedrooms.
Once Saddell House was repaired the castle went back to being an estate farmhouse. In the 1930s it was given another new roof, but after the War there were no longer the funds to repair it. In 1939 the Saddell estate had been bought by Lt Col and Mrs Moreton, and it was they who in 1975 sold the Castle, with Shore Cottage (built in the 19th century) and Cul na Shee (built in the 1920s), to the Landmark Trust. In 1984 the Trust bought the remainder of the estate, and in 1990 Ferryman’s Cottage.
Experience the cottage
For up to 6 people
Shore Cottage stands on a rocky point among trees that grow right down to the sea. A plain but stylish Victorian building, in a stunning location on Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran. Imaginative in design as well as situation, the door from the sitting room leads directly on to the foreshore.
Book a stay
You might also like...
Here are some other Landmarks in the same region
Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute
Ascog House is situated on the sheltered east c...
Glenluce, Dumfries and Galloway
Castle of Park is a Scottish tower house built ...
Roslin, near Edinburgh
This inn on the Rosslyn estate sits next to the...
Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
Ferryman's Cottage is filled with coa...
Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
This special haven of tranquillity gives uninte...
Designed by influential architect Charles Renni...