Castle Island

Loch Leven, Kinross-shire, Tayside

Castle Island is not the largest on Loch Leven (St Serf’s is) but it is certainly the most famous, a distinction arising out of the island’s connection with Mary Queen of Scots. During the years 1567-8, she was imprisoned here, the unwilling guest of Lady Douglas, and was forced to abdicate in favour of her son, leaving her half-brother, Moray, as regent.


Willie Douglas, a youth of eighteen, smuggled the queen out of the castle while the residents were at prayer and rowed her ashore, dropping the keys of the castle in the loch. (They were recovered 300 years later.)


Poor Mary could not avoid misfortune, however: two weeks later her army was defeated at Langside (now part of Glasgow) and she fled to England where she was imprisoned again and eventually executed. Loch Leven, I almost forgot to say, is also famous for its trout fishing. The town of Kinross nestles in the background.


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