CASTLE CAMPBELL sits in one of the most spectacular settings in Scotland, overlooking the town of Dollar.

It was once the ancient seat of the Argyll family, but is most noted for being called Castle Gloom by one of the daughters of an ancient Scottish king.

According to legend the princess was forced to live there for a time and loathed it.

She named the two burns nearby Sorrow and Care, and the lands beyond in the valley Dolour, which means sadness.

The oldest part of the castle is the main tower. It dates from the 15th century, although a wooden structure is mentioned in 1466 in a papal bull condemning the burning of the tower in 1463 by Walter Stewart following the murder of John Stewart of Lorne.

A charter dated April 1465 stated the owner was still John Stewart.

It passed into the hands of the Campbell family following the marriage of Isabella, the eldest daughter of Stewart and heiress to the lands, to Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll. The tower house, which stands at 60ft to the parapet, was repaired by the couple.

Three of the four storeys are vaulted with the topmost one having two grotesque masks carved into the stone.

The tower has an inner and outer casing of ashlar with a core of whinstone rubble and there are two entrances.

The first is on the west wall and was originally at ground level although was lowered to allow construction of the courtyard. The other is in the south-facing wall and is at first floor level.

Originally it had a forestair, but this was removed around the beginning of the 17th century to make way for a new turnpike.

In 1489 James III's Parliament passed an Act at the request of Campbell to officially rename it Castle Campbell, as it had been known as Castle Glaume (Gloom) until then.

It remained in the family for more than 300 years and was their stronghold in the Lowlands. It also became their principal residence.

The wealthy Campbells extended the house by adding more living accommodation, a large courtyard, and an outer garden entered by a vaulted passage.

Around 1500 a three-storey rubble built south range of principal apartments with a corbelled parapet was added with south facing windows above a row of cellars.

An octagonal stair tower to the west and a square tower to the east led to an upper floor, possibly the grand hall. A grand fireplace was set into the east wall. In the north wall was a buffet.

THE three-storey east range of Castle Campbell was built around 1600 and faced a screen wall to protect the inhabitants.

An unusual loggia was formed by arches supported on moulded columns. Behind these were two vaulted chambers.

Among the visitors to the castle was Mary Queen of Scots in 1563 and John Knox who visited in 1556.

With the family’s Christian leanings now firmly Protestant, the Marquis of Argyll was beheaded for treason in 1661 during the Restoration of the Catholic Charles II, and the castle abandoned two years later.

Before this, the army of Montrose marched through the area during the Civil War, with the Macleans burning it to the ground, along with local people’s homes in Muckhart and Dollar.

It was attacked again in 1654 when it was a Covenantor stronghold and burned to prevent Cromwell’s English troops from using it as a garrison.

However, it was briefly used as a garrison for a small number of soldiers during the 1715 Jacobite uprising.

By the time George Campbell, 6th Duke of Argyll sold the buildings and land in 1806 to Craufurd Tait of Harviestoun, it had fallen into disrepair.

John Taylor and his wife and family moved into the castle around 1848 where they lived in two rooms at the foot of the stair and it was later occupied by a cobbler who sold drinks to anyone who came to see the castle.

For many years the building was in possession of the Globe Insurance Company until 1859, when Sir Andrew Orr purchased it.

In the 1870s, James Orr, who inherited it following his brother death in 1874, carried out repairs with the living accommodation greatly improved and the Knox pulpit in the garden rebuilt.

A footpath to it was opened on May 16, 1865, at a cost of £300, all raised by public subscription by the people of Dollar. As time passed the bridges deteriorated and became dangerous and impassable.

In 1948 the National Trust for Scotland took over the upkeep of Dollar Glen while castle was passed to the Ministry of Works in 1950 by the glen and castle’s late owner John Ernest Kerr of Harviestoun.

Through public subscription and government grants, the castle and glen were restored that same year and public access was allowed once more.

Today Castle Campbell is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland and was Category A listed on June 9, 1960, although this was removed in December 2015.

It is a scheduled ancient monument and is open to the public all year round.