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Ghosts of Inchnadamph

The small hamlet of Inchnadamph at the head of Loch
Assynt in Sutherland consists of a church, a shooting
lodge, a hotel and a few cottages where legends abound.
Nearby, in the direction of Lochinver, can be seen the
ruins of Ardvreck Castle, which is situated on a small
peninsula in Loch Assynt. It was once the stronghold of
the MacLeods of Assynt where James Graham, Mar-
quis of Montrose, was imprisoned after his betrayal by
one of the MacLeods. Local folk maintain that the
ghost of Montrose still haunts the ruins.

The other ruin in the district is Invercalda House,
which takes its name from the Calda burn beside which
it stands. The house was built by the Mackenzies, who
inherited Assynt in the seventeenth century. It was
burnt to the ground with all its inhabitants, except one
piper, early on a Sunday morning only two weeks after
it was occupied.

The legend says that the Mackenzies had arranged a
family gathering, and their merry-making carried on
well into the Sabbath morning. The official piper much
against his will was forced to play on after the mid-
night hour. Assynt people believe to this day that the
fire was a manifestation of Divine wrath for the break-
ing of the Sabbath, and that the piper was allowed to
escape the flames because his intentions had been good.
The remains of those who perished in the fire still liei n the crumbling family vault in Inchnadamph churchyard.. In recent years the ghost of a woman has been
seen on the road near the Invercalda ruins. One can
look through the vault entrance in the churchyard, but
don’t dare go inside! Water drips from the roof even in
good weather. It is said that anybody hit by the drip of
water will be dead within a year.

A number of local people have experienced strange
happenings and they will tell you that Inchnadamph
ghosts are not just imagination. Some years ago near
the former shooting lodge known as Stronchrubie
House the local schoolteacher was cycling along the
public road on a winter evening when she saw a fear-
some black dog. The dog seemed to disappear across the
road with a silent wolf-like stride. In this same house
two local girls were disturbed by a loud noise as if
dishes were being smashed in the kitchen. On investiga-
tion they didn’t find a single dish out of place. Un-
explained bell ringing has also been heard.

Supernatural occurences in this part of Sutherland
appear to keep up to date with the modern world — On
numerous occasions the headlights of ghostly motorcars
have appeared. One such recorded incident was on the
lonely road from Lochinver which runs alongside Loch
Assynt. The driver of a car suddenly became aware of
powerful headlights approaching over the brow of a
hill, but on reaching the top of the hill the lights had dis-
appeared and she saw no sign of any other vehicle.
Another case was that of two friends walking together
on the same road by the side of the loch when they saw
what they took to be the dipped headlights of a car stopped in a roadside layby and facing them. As the
two men came near to the layby the lights suddenly dis-
appeared, leaving no trace of a car or any other vehicle.

Some years ago a young shepherd who lived by himself
in a lonely cottage some distance from Inchnadamph
was found drowned in the shallow pool of a burn near
the foot of the mountain known as Ben More. He had
apparently fallen and hit his head on a stone and been
knocked unconscious into the burn. A few evenings be- H
fore, he had been sitting in the hotel kitchen at Inchna-
damph. He did not appear to be his usual cheery self
and on being asked what was wrong stated that he had
had a bad dream and could not get it out of his head.
He dreamed that he had seen his own dead body lying
out on the heather by the side of Ben More.

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