Lochore Castle – long a ruin and standing within a wasteland – is about to give up its secrets. The castle is also known as Inchgall Castle, meaning the 'Island of Strangers', and it was the island fortress of Adam de Vallance, a Knight from the 13th century.
It is situated near to the town of Kinross and stands on an island reached by a causeway. The loch has been since drained leaving the castle, literally, high and dry.
Much antiquity is claimed for Lochore but what we see today are the shattered remains of a tower situated upon a low mound enclosed by a 'barmkin.'
Is this mound a motte, or is it natural or even prehistoric? Was the island a crannog? The tower, to judge by is primitive design, thick walls, lack of stairs and vaulting, could be early 14th or even late 13th century. Is the 'barmkin' contemporary with the tower or could it be the first structure on the site, bounding the edges of the island?
All this might soon become clear as the Lochore Castle Restoration Appeal has been set up to raise money to research, conserve and open the site to the public. In October 2014 volunteers began clearing the vegetation around the castle. Once cleared, an archaeological survey was carried out using ground penetration radar. At the same time an attempt was made to locate the site of the causeway.
To date Benarty Heritage Preservation Group (BHPG) and the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership (LLLP) have secured £242,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Fife Council, Fife Environment Trust, Historic Scotland and the Dalrymple Donaldson Fund. This sum will fund a significant part of the required works but, due to the perilous state of the building, additional funding is required to ensure the long-term future of the building.
To make a donation to the Lochore Castle Restoration Appeal you can visit their JustGiving page by clicking here .
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle