On our first visit to Ardvreck Castle, we didn't get to see much of Calda House because of the rain. But this time we walked all around Calda and even inside it.
Kenneth MacKenzie II of Assynt had Calda House built in 1726 for his wife, Frances. She didn't enjoy living in Ardvreck Castle. No doubt the castle, which was hundreds of years old by that point, was cold and drafty and without many comforts.
When the house was built, it was the most modern in the north-west Highlands. As you can see from the photos, it has an M-gabled roof and what's known as a double-pile plan. Many of the MacKenzie lairds' homes in Wester Ross were later built with similar architecture. Each of the three floors contained six rooms. On the ground floor these were the hall, parlour, dining room, kitchen, pantry/scullery, and servants hall. The upper floors contained bedrooms.
Unfortunately, the MacKenzies had a massive amount of debt because they'd supported the Royalist cause. They actually could not afford the extravagant house when it was built. After ten years, the family was in financial ruin. Two men wanted to buy the house and Assynt from Kenneth. One was the Earl of Sutherland and the other was the MacKenzie Earl of Seaforth. Sutherland won and purchased the property. But the MacKenzies of Assynt and the Sutherlands had been enemies for many years. MacKenzie supporters looted and burned the house on May 12th 1737. They vowed no Sutherland would ever live there. They reportedly did some other damage in the surrounding area on their spree of violence before slipping undetected from the area. And this is said to be the last instance of vengeful clannish feuding in Sutherland.
|Click to enlarge.
|What the house probably looked like in its heyday. Click to enlarge.
|One of the interior walls of Calda House, with Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt in the distance.
Thank you for visiting Calda House with me! :)
My Notorious Highlander: Chief Torrin MacLeod vows to possess and wed the spirited lady who stole his heart the previous winter. But Lady Jessie MacKay wants naught to do with the dangerous warrior, no matter how devilishly handsome and charming he is. When Torrin arrives unexpectedly at Jessie's home, along with Gregor MacBain, a man Jessie was formerly handfasted to, she is thrown off-kilter. She never wanted to see either man again, but now they are vying for her hand. Torrin promises to protect her from the devious MacBain, but how can she trust Torrin when she has witnessed how lethal he is?
The more time Torrin spends with the strong and independent Jessie, the more determined he is to win her heart. Once she allows him a kiss, he feels her passion flame as hot as his own. After she knows Torrin better, Jessie finds herself falling for the fearsome Highlander. But the odds are stacked against them. The sinister MacBain is bent on kidnapping Jessie, making her his bride and killing Torrin, while Jessie's conniving younger brother, Haldane, is determined to use Jessie to take over the castle in his older brother's absence. Jessie fears she can never be with the man she loves, while Torrin will do everything in his power to ensure they are together forever. In his heart, she is the only lady for him.