Discover the heritage of this incredible Scottish castle
Our twelve scented candles are inspired by each month on the British Isles. So naturally, Scotland forms a huge part of what we do, from the honeyed scent of wild heather in the glens that inspired our Notes of August candle to the rich evergreen forests of Argyll that inspired Notes of December. Kilmartin Castle sits in the wild and unspoiled Argyll in the breathtakingly beautiful western coast of Scotland. Last summer I took a trip across the Scottish Highlands and it was the first time I stumbled across the name Kilmartin. Read on as Stef and Simon kindly share a little more about their incredible 500 year old castle.
Can you tell us a little about Kilmartin Castle?
Kilmartin Castle was built in 1550 for John Carswell who, at the time, was the Rector of Kilmartin Glen. When he was handed a promotion he moved a mile down the road and built himself a much larger castle, leaving Kilmartin Castle to his daughter. The castle eventually fell into the hands of the Campbell Clan and then lay abandoned for 200 years. In the 1980's farmers, Tom and Olive Clarke stumbled across it whilst on a walking holiday. Keen stone mason hobbyists they took on the job of rebuilding the walls that had fallen down and putting a roof back on. This took 10 years of summers. In 2014 we road tripped around Scotland on a holiday from Dubai, where we both lived and worked. We fell in love with Scotland! When we returned home we saw an article for Kilmartin Castle for sale, rang the agent and the rest is history. In all, it took 2 years of hard graft to renovate the castle and the gardens. We are now open as a luxury bed and breakfast, also available for exclusive use.
Simo & Stef the owners of Kilmartin Castle
At Kilmartin Castle you beautifully reconcile heritage with modernity, what is the oldest and the newest part or thing at Kilmartin Castle?
The oldest part of the castle is the stonework itself. There is one new lintel. Every other pice of stone is original. It certainly stirs an emotion standing at a window that someone stood and looked out of 467 years before you!
The newest parts of the castle are the underfloor heating beneath the flagstones, and the fibre optic broadband. You can't see them but they both made a huge difference to the way we live here and run a successful business.
What do each of the seasons bring to life at the castle?
All of the seasons are so different, but all beautiful in their own way. On a bright and sunny winters day there's nothing better than sinking into a copper tub after a big walk. Summer sees the all of the flowers at their best in the gardens. The Himalayan poppies are our favourite. In Spring its common to see baby deer in the garden who have come down from the hill behind to pinch the new growth on the bay trees (which they aren't meant to like). Summer is a really busy time for us with guests coming and going and sharing their adventures around the fire pit in the evenings.
What is the one thing your guests must do when staying at the castle?
This is a hard one. If they love history as much as we do then they should explore Kilmartin Glen on foot. We have the most important concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in mainland Scotland on the doorstep in the form of standing stones, burial cairns and ancient rock art. The newly renovated Kilmartin Museum opens its doors this Spring which we are really looking forward to. Alternatively, a we can highly recommend a dip in our wild swimming pond before breakfast, or to cool off on a warm Summers day.
What is your favourite story attached to the castle?
Our wedding day! It didn't look anything like it does now (inside). There was one power shower and 3 very cold bedrooms. The interior had had an 80's makeover so ironically, the castle looks more original now. As far as we know, we were the first couple to get married at the castle in at least 230 years. We now offer couples the opportunity to elope to the castle for really small weddings and make their own special memories here.
Thank you for chatting with us Stef & Simo! From all of us at Loriest & Co