Historic Monument Listed Building (B) 1825 that for-sequestered Assynt for a brief moment swung across the broad dramatic tide of Scottish history. Along Loch Assynt are the ruins of Calda House and Ardvreck Castle recently restored by Assynt’s Historical Society making the buildings now safe to visit. In 2004, Historic Assynt completed the consolidation of the ruins. Currently being repaired on behalf of Historic Assynt.
Calda House, also known as Edderchalder House or the White House, is believed to have been built in 1660 by the 3rd Earl of Seaforth, Kenneth Mor Mackenzie. It is said to have been reduced to its current ruinous state by fire in the mid-18th century. It was an oblong block of two storeys and an attic, divided in two by a wall running down the centre, but it is now roofless and much ruined with side facing the loch having disappeared entirely. It is said to have been reduced to this state deliberately by fire in M18th century. Calda House, which is no more than a shell, measures overall 16.5 m N-S by 13.5 m; otherwise it is as described above.
Ardvreck Castle was attacked and captured by the Mackenzies in 1672. In 1726 they replaced it with the more modern Calda House (apparently recycling some of the stone from Ardvreck when they did so).
This burned down in 1737 and before the Mackenzies were able to rebuild the house, their estates had been seized by the Crown for their support of the losing side in the 1745 uprising. It has remained a ruin ever since.
This is a mansion which was built in the seventeen hundreds by Kenneth MacKenzie. The MacKenzies were one of the main families in the area often warring with their neighbours. There is a move to restore the house and raising money for restoration is underway.
The Old Parish Church of Assynt and the MacLeod Vault
Fragments of an old Celtic Cross have been found, dating somewhere from the 8th to the 11th century. This has raised speculation about the building and it’s history. The church that we see today was built in 1743. You can support the restoration of this project by purchasing a booklet on the church and it’s history. All proceeds go to the Inchnadamph Project. A former Laird of Assynt, Angus MacLeod was buried in the medieval MacLeod Vault.
Ardvrek was badly damaged in a thunderstorm in 1795 and it’s next inhabitants were Ospreys! The castle played a major role in the local history, fighting with the MacKenzies was a popular pastime! Again, this is another building to be restored, watch out for the booklet.
The relatively recent construction of a parking area between the two gives excellent access to Ardvreck Castle. A visit to Calda House requires a short walk alongside the road: but intending visitors should be aware that this remains a dangerous structure which can only be viewed from beyond the range of falling masonry. And Ardvreck Castle is only a fragment of its former glory.
Further reading list:
Calda House, Ardvrek Castle, Old Parish Church of Assynt and the
house 475m SE of Ardvreck Castle Inchnadamph