History of the local area

History of the local area

Ardnamurchan wasn’t always so peaceful and you can see evidence of its turbulent history around every corner, the area is scattered with the memories of ancient volcanoes, Viking warfare, Medieval barons and Scottish kings.

Natural history of Ardnamurchan

Ardnamurchan’s landscape has evolved naturally over thousands of years and if you’re interested in natural history and geology, you can see how things have developed by looking at the Moine rocks that form the foundation of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The Moine rock was formed as the earth’s crust was shaped and the molten lava cooled to produce rock formations. In west Ardnamurchan, these rocks have remained unchanged until today.

There aren’t many instances of this rock formation still in existence in the UK, making the geology of the peninsula both nationally and internationally significant. Ardnamurchan is also part of an archaeological project that is looking to provide evidence about the very last hunter gatherers and the first farmers who lived on the Peninsula up to 8000 years ago. Thanks to the area’s rich natural history, there is a high chance you’ll be able to find fossils all over Ardnamurchan. Kids and adults alike both enjoy fossil hunting and when you find one, it brings it home how old the rocks really – you could be looking at the same rock as a dinosaur once did!

Medieval power struggle

Thanks to its position on the west coast of the peninsula, Ardnamurchan played host to many fortifications over the years as it was important for ancient rulers to be able to oversee military activities in Mull, Skye and the western isles.

The Vikings spotted the importance of having control of this stretch of land and settled there in the 12th century and stayed for over 500 years. During their time in Scotland they changed from being settlers to being seen as invaders as they battled the Scottish leader for power, ultimately losing the war in 1266 after the Viking leader was assassinated on the slopes of Ben Hiant. Many of the place names across the area, such as Placaig, Acarsaig, Ormsaig and Grigadale, are all Norse in origin, which shows the impact their presence had on the history of the area.

After the Vikings, Ardnamurchan was ruled by a parade of Scottish kings who built the impressive castles that are still standing strong today. Up until the 19th century, power was challenged and changed hands many times over the years, often after periods of fighting and political upheaval. The history of this remote area of west coast Scotland is rich and fascinating, but sadly often harsh and violent as well. The benefit of the challenging times its faced in the past is that present day visitors and locals can enjoy a rich culture and interesting historical artefacts around every corner.

Stay on the shores on Loch Sunart

If you’re keen on taking a trip on the area, we can offer luxury self-catering accommodation right on the shoreline. Our cottages are nestled in a secluded spot and each cottage has been designed for convenience and comfort. We offer all the home comforts, plus a few extra special touches, to make your experience of Loch Sunart personal.

Find out more about Sunart Adventures self-catering cottages.