Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Local Authority
NM 60553 60912
160553, 760912

An important example of early 20th century pleasure grounds, including a lake and walled garden, which form the setting for the contemporary castle. The overall composition typifies the archetypal romantic Scottish landscape.

Type of Site

Early 20th century castle with pleasure grounds, including a lake and walled garden, and dramatic landscape views.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Formal gardens contemporary with the construction of the Castle 1898-1902. Successive mid 20th century planting.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

This is a fine example of a garden of about 1900, integral to the setting of a Scottish Baronial 20th century castle. It has high value as a Work of Art, forming a classical Romantic composition.


Level of interest

The Historical interest of the site relates primarily to the designer of the castle, Sydney Mitchell, and to its ownership.


Level of interest

In Horticultural terms, the garden contains some fine specimens, including some rare species.


Level of interest

Glenborrodale Castle and its designed landscape are of outstanding Architectural interest.


Level of interest

There are some sites of Archaeological importance in the area.


Level of interest

The landscape setting of the castle on the Ardnamurchan peninsula is of outstanding Scenic merit.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The site has a variety of habitats, including woodland, dense shrub, lawn and lakeside thereby there has high Nature Conservation interest.

Location and Setting

Glenborrodale is situated on the southern shore of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, llkm (7 miles) west of Salen, 32km (20 miles) south-west from Strontian, and 64km (40 miles) from Fort William. It is set directly north of the B8007. Estates with large houses, policy woodlands and stone dykes are prominent in the Lochaber landscape. Views of the sea and off-shore islands are an important aspect of the landscape character of the area.

Glenborrodale Castle dominates the steep south-facing hillside overlooking Loch Sunart. The panoramic view takes in the islands of Risga, Carna and Oronsay and the Morven Hills on the far side of the loch.

The designed landscape occupies the same area as that of the mid-19th century mansion's pleasure grounds (1872, OS).

Site History

In the mid 19th century the Ardnamurchan estate, comprising 2,225ha (55,000 acres), was acquired by John James Dalgleish (1836-1916).

In 1897 Charles Dunnell Rudd (d.1916), a diamond magnate, bought part of the estate comprising Acharacle and land westwards from Salen to Ardnamurchan point. He commissioned the architect Sydney Mitchell to design Glenborrodale Castle, on the site of a pre-existing house. Work started in 1898, and was completed in 1902. The lake appears to have been constructed in advance of the Castle (1897, OS 6"). Perhaps the upcast from its construction provided materials for the building of the garden terraces. Otherwise the gardens seem to have been laid out following the Castle, although no plans of the work are known to survive.

On Rudd's death the estate was bought by Sir Kenneth Clarke (d.1933), of the Paisley thread manufacturing family. He entertained lavishly at Glenborrodale, one of his major activities being his membership of the Western Isles Yacht Club at Tobermory. The Castle was let at various times to fellow enthusiasts, including Sir Thomas Sopwith and Sir Thomas Lipton.

Lord Trent (d.1956) son of Jesse Boot, founder of the Boots Chemist Company, acquired the estate in 1936, retaining it until 1949, although the Navy occupied it during World War II. It was also available to staff of Boots as a wartime rest centre. Lord Trent is responsible for augmenting the planting of shrubs and trees around the Castle, resulting in a significant plant collection.

The sale of the estate in 1949 resulted in its division, part being kept by Boots for the breeding of Highland cattle. During the mid 20th century the Castle became a hotel and then, in 1992 the property was purchased by a private individual, who uses the premises as his personal residence when in the Highlands.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Glenborrodale Castle, designed by Sydney Mitchell and built in 1902, is a five-storey, Scots Baronial mansion, built of red Dumfriesshire sandstone, with ashlar dressings. On its south front the ground floor is high above ground level and opens onto a balustraded terrace decorated with crenellated copings. Curved flights of stairs descend to further garden terraces of battered rubble.

The H-plan, single storey Stables was also designed by Mitchell.

The pre-1898 Walled Garden is built in blue engineering brick with ashlar copings and wrought iron gates.

The asymmetrical, two-storey Gate Lodge, also designed by Mitchell, is built in similar materials to the Castle. Its east front has a two storey drum tower with conical bell-cast slated roof. The Gate Piers and ball finials are also of bullfaced rubble.

East of the Castle is Glenborrodale Farm, with a small range of traditional farm buildings.

Drives & Approaches

The main drive enters the site at the Gate Lodge and passes the Walled Garden to reach the entrance on the north side of the Castle, a distance of 180 metres.

A secondary access, also off the B8007, to the north-east passes the stables to connect with the primary entrance on the north side of the Castle.


North of the Castle the ground rises dramatically and is densely colonised with Rhododendron, coniferous trees and some deciduous trees. This forms a valuable, dramatic backdrop to the Castle. Woodland forms the northern shelter boundary of the ornamental garden, forming an almost impenetrable barrier.

Water Features

An artificial lake lies south of the Castle and its terraces, near the south perimeter of the site. Excavated within a rock outcrop, it features ornamental aquatic and marginal planting. On its south side a flight of steps leads onto the rock outcrop from where the Castle can be viewed across the lower garden.

The Gardens

South of the Castle lies a broad, castellated, elevated garden terrace, which forms the Castle platform. Set with gravel walks, lawns and flower beds, it acts as a viewing platform giving views out over the gardens below and across to Loch Sunart and the island of Risga.

Below the garden terrace, set against the south façade of the Castle, is a lean-to greenhouse leading onto a terrace.

Flights of steps lead south off the Garden Terraces to a network of paths traversing the steeply sloping site. The paths lead to a series of small glades cut into the surrounding ornamental tree and shrub canopy, and bounded to the south by the B8007.

The extensive plant collection is concentrated in this relatively small area and includes varieties of maple (Acer palmatum, Acer saccharum), Cercidiphyllum japonica, Thujopsis dolabrata, a rare specimen of Athrotaxis selaginoides and a Monkey-puzzle. There are extensive areas of Rhododendron. Occurring rock outcrops within the garden are highlighted by planting with exotic species.

Walled Gardens

The walled garden pre-dates the existing Castle, although its main gateways were probably designed by Mitchell. The wrought iron gates are dated 1901. The garden comprises predominantly ornamentals with central pergola and gravel paths dividing the area into square and triangular beds.

A glasshouse (1980s) on the north side of the garden, and facing south-east occupies the site of a larger predecessor whose flues survive outwith the walled garden.



Maps, Plans and Archives

1747-55 General Roy's Military Survey, 1747-1755

1872 survey, 1st edition OS 1:10560 (6"), published 1875

1897 survey, 2nd edition OS 1:10560 (6"), published 1900

Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, National Monuments Record of Scotland: Photographic collection; Glenborrodale Castle


Printed Sources

Ardnamurchan Annals of the Parish (1981) pp.13-16

Gifford, J. The Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands (1992), p.245

Glenborrodale Castle, Sales Particulars (1990)

Groome, F. Ordnance Gazetteer vol. 1 (1882) p.179

Historic Scotland on Behalf of Scottish Ministers, The List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest

Miers, M. The Western Seaboard: An illustrated architectural guide (2002)

Scottish Natural Heritage, Lochaber, landscape character assessment (1998)

About the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

The inventory is a list of Scotland's most important gardens and designed landscapes. We maintain the inventory under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We add sites of national importance to the inventory using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

The information in the inventory record gives an indication of the national importance of the site(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the site(s). The format of records has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries about development proposals, such as those requiring planning permission, on or around inventory sites should be made to the planning authority. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications of this type.

Find out more about the inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at



Printed: 21/07/2024 04:43