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The Haunting of Coroghon Castle

The Isle of Canna lies within the group of islands known as the Inner Hebrides, situated off the west coast of Scotland. The islands are celebrated for their rugged, natural beauty. Not far from the ferry port on Canna, there is an impressive flat-topped rock stack. However, upon closer inspection, the stack reveals that things are not as they initially appear.

On the landward side of the stack, a stone wall can be observed, forming part of the remains of Coroghon Castle. The castle's history is sparse, and its exact construction date and builder remain unclear. Documents covering the area from the late 16th century do not mention the structure, suggesting it was likely built sometime in the 17th century.

An Uncertain Beginning

In these earlier documents, the stack is identified as a refuge, suggesting it had been used as a place to hide. It is probable that the building was added later to provide a more secure place of safety.

Archaeological findings suggest the stack might have been a refuge for thousands of years and that this may have been the site of a dun (a prehistoric fortress). However, with no remaining remnants, this remains purely speculative.

Access to the remains of the stronghold is via a steep path leading to a doorway at the top. The structure itself was a small two-storey rectangular building. In the 18th century, it was described as a little tower that could scarcely accommodate half a dozen people, adding weight to the idea that the castle was never intended for long-term habitation but rather was designed to provide short term safety and security.

Local Legend

Nevertheless, local legend offers an alternative narrative about the castle's origins. It is said to have been erected by Donald, the 13th chief of Clanranald, who lived during the 17th century. It is reported that he built the castle as a prison to confine his wife following her infidelity. Written accounts from 1772 mention the stronghold with its purpose being a prison as described above, and although the story has been retold in later writings it has been further embellished, hence the importance or the early account.

Historians dispute this story and, while they acknowledge that the tower could have been utilized as a prison, they conclude that it is improbable this was the original intended purpose for the construction. Given the uncertainty surrounding the castle and its use, and considering that local tales often have a basis in historical events, it is impossible to completely dismiss this possibility, however unlikely it may be considered to be.

Paranormal Activity

Adding to the narrative of the adulterous wife, the castle is believed to be haunted by a lady who, as the story goes, was imprisoned here by one of the Lords of the Isles. Allegedly, her solitary figure has been seen wandering within the castle ruins and the surrounding area, suggesting that she may have perished during her confinement.

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