History of Assynt
The history of Assynt is dominated by a struggle for territorial possession between the MacLeods and the MacKenzies. Ardvreck Castle - home of the MacLeods and Calda House - home of the MacKenzies, are just a short distance from the Lodge.
Today, the North Assynt Estate is in the possession of the Assynt Crofters' Trust.
Seat of the MacLeods
The ruins of Ardvreck Castle, just one mile from Inchnadamph Lodge, stand on a small peninsula near the southern shore of Loch Assynt. The Castle was built in the 15th century, and was the seat of the powerful MacLeods of Assynt.
Ardvreck Castle was transformed in the 16th century from a simple stone tower into a more elaborate towerhouse.
The imprisonment of the Marquis of Montrose in the vaults in 1650 brought notoriety to the castle and to Neil, the last of the MacLeods.
The MacKenzie clan fought the MacLeods for control of Assynt, and following a major siege in 1672, the castle was never fully re-occupied.
The MacLeod Vault lies in the churchyard of the Assynt's Old Parish Church, which can be seen from the Lodge when looking down to the waters of Loch Assynt.
MacKenzies of Assynt
Calda House, the successor to Ardvreck Castle, was built in 1726-7. The house has distinctive M-gables, with two ridges across the roof, and is said to have had 14 bedrooms, each with a fireplace. The Inchnadamph Lodge, built later as the manse house for the rector of Assynt Parish Church in 1821, has exactly the same distinctive M-gables design, and is a living example of the Calda House double ridge design.
Calda House was built for Kenneth MacKenzie of Assynt as a powerful statement by the new MacKenzie owners of Assynt. However the cost of building the house helped to bankrupt the MacKenzies and they lost control of Assynt. Amidst all the turmoil, the house was destroyed just 10 years after it was built.
Calda House takes its name after the two burns, Calda Mor and Calda Beag, which flow into Loch Assynt nearby.
Assynt Old Parish Church
Place of worship since 11th century
Assynt’s Parish Church was the centre of the Assynt community until 1896. If you cross the main road from Inchnadamph Lodge (which itself was the church rector's manse house) towards the waters of Loch Assynt, you will see the church and graveyard just before the water's edge.
Discovery of a carved stone cross during renovation works in 2005 suggest there has been a place of worship since the 11th century. The present church was built in 1743 and remained in use until 1972 (latterly as a mission church).
Ideal base to explore
5 - Hostel Dorms with shared bathrooms and Main Lodge Kitchen, Lounge and Drying Room (32 guests)
6 - Private Bedrooms each with private bathroom and own kitchen: across 3 Steading Suites, 2 Shepherds Huts and 1 Walled Cottage (17 guests)
7 - Private Bedrooms with shared bathrooms and Main Lodge Kitchen, Lounge and Drying Room (17 guests)
1 - Classic 1972 VW Campervan (2 guests)