William Scarlett, 3rd Baron Abinger – Born in Abinger, England in 1826 and Died in Ft. William, Scotland in 1892
Nestled in the foothills of the imposing and awe-inspiring Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle sits amidst some of Scotland’s finest scenery; with the falls at Glen Nevis, the monument at Glenfinnan, and the mountains of Glencoe nearby, a trip to Inverlochy is a journey into the depths of Scotland’s richest landscapes.
The original castle is about two miles from today’s Baronial hotel. The old castle was built in 1208 by John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, a rival of Robert the Bruce for the Scottish crown. Their infighting came to a head on 10 February 1306 when Comyn was murdered by Robert the Bruce in the Church of the Grey Friars in Dumfries. Robert the Bruce subsequently became King Robert I of Scotland, and in order to secure his position and suppress his opposers, he stripped the Comyn family of their lands and properties – including Inverlochy Castle.
Throughout its long history, (old) Inverlochy Castle has played a significant role in battles and historic conflicts; in fact, legend has it that this spectacular area in the Highlands was chosen by the Picts – the earliest inhabitants of Scotland – for its strategic significance, as they built a fortress on this site in the 600s that was later destroyed by the vikings. Six centuries later, the castle was once again the focal point at the first Battle of Inverlochy, which erupted after Alexander of Islay had been imprisoned by King James I. A force of Highlanders defeated the Royalist forces at Inverlochy, and a total of one thousand men were brutally killed on the battleground.
The second Battle of Inverlochy took place in 1645, when a royalist army of Highlanders and Confederate Irish troops marched through the winter mountains to destroy the pursuing forces of Archibald Campbell, who had been encamped under the walls of Inverlochy Castle. The castle’s historic use as a defensive structure is clear in the architecture of the building itself; from the arrow slits in the largest of its four towers, Comyn Tower, to the defensive wall walks and parapets that top the outer walls of the castle. The original castle ruins, now overseen by Historic Environment Scotland, remain relatively unaltered, which is incredibly rare for a structure built in the 1200s.
In the 1800s, (old) Inverlochy Castle and the lands were purchased by the Scarlett family and inhabited by Lieutenant General William Frederick Scarlett, a British peer and soldier who served in the Crimean War. His family were responsible for building the new Inverlochy Castle, which has since been redesigned as a superb country hotel that encourages visitors to savour the glorious surroundings and the history that permeates the landscape.
The breathtaking panoramas that surround the hotel even have royal approval, with Queen Victoria noting after a week-long stay that she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.’