Places to Visit

In & Around Lochinver

There are so many places to visit because the whole area of Assynt, in which Lochinver stands, is steeped in history centring on Ardvrek Castle by Loch Assynt.

There are several interpretations of the name Assynt, but long ago the whole district was a vast forest of the Thane of Sutherland – derived from Suderland - the south land of the Vikings who raided the Scottish regions. The Earldom of Sutherland dates from 1228 and it is recorded that the lands of Assynt were given to the MacNicols who ousted the Norsemen who inhabited the coast.

The MacNicols remained for a few centuries before King David II, only son of King Robert the Bruce, granted a charter to Macleod in 1346 that he would possess Assynt for all time. Macleod’s younger grandson, Tormod, became 1st Baron of Assynt early in the 15th century.

In 1626, James Graham became the fifth Earl and 1st Marquis of Montrose, and sixteen years later Montrose went over to the Royalists, following dissension with his former comrades-in-arms.

Montrose was officially proclaimed a traitor by the Scots Parliament in 1644, deprived of all titles and price placed upon his head in 1649, after Charles I had been beheaded. Montrose was commissioned to recover Scotland and the following April landed in Caithness, only to be defeated at Carbisdale just south of Lairg.

Montrose escaped and fled into the county of Assynt and was subsequently captured and taken prisoner in Ardvrek Castle. He was handed over to the Scottish Government and was sentenced to be hanged and dismembered.

In January 1698, two years after the death of Neil Macleod, the Assynt estate was made over to the Mackenzies. However, in 1715 Alexander Mackenzie was convicted of High Treason and the estates were forfeited to the Crown. They passed to Lord Lovat who had married a Mackenzie. In 1745, they again reverted to the Crown following another rebellion.