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
Small Isles
NM 40223 99378
140223, 799378

Although now abandoned as a garden, the site represents an important aspect of the history of the island of Rum. Described as a 'monument to colossal wealth, ego and acquisitive greed… It perpetuates only the memory of the worst kind of island lairds…' (Davis, 2002).

Type of Site

Castle and policies 1897-1912, incorporating earlier plantations. Garden remnants contemporary with, and complementing the Castle. The designed landscape is an integral component of Kinloch's architectural and cultural composition.

Main Phases of Landscape Development


Artistic Interest

Level of interest

Despite the loss of the pleasure gardens, the configuration of the policy woodlands and surviving features of the designed landscape complement Kinloch Castle. Together, they form an important period piece, giving the site outstanding value as a Work of Art.


Level of interest

The historical development of Kinloch is inextricably linked to the social and economic history of Rum – its changing fortunes as a sporting estate, connection with the Marquis of Salisbury, then the Bullough family and its 20th century decline through absentee landownership. It has outstanding Historical value as an unusual, well-preserved and important representative of social history.


Level of interest

The garden and designed landscape retain little of Horticultural value.


Level of interest

Kinloch Castle (listed category A), an early 20th century castle with innovative technological features, and the estate village of Kinloch are of high Architectural interest. The Castle is the only example of a country house designed by Leeming & Leeming. The layout of Castle and village amply illustrates a planned 'model' layout of a Highland estate.


Level of interest

Kinloch Castle policies are archaeologically sensitive and recognised as being of outstanding value due to the mesolithic settlement site found there. This is one of the earliest known human settlement sites found to date in Scotland.


Level of interest

Rum is a major component of The Small Isles National Scenic Area and thereby is of outstanding Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The designed landscape includes a variety of habitats important for birdlife. Rum's varied landscape and wildlife habitats are widely recognised in the island's designation as a significant nature reserve.

Location and Setting

Kinloch Castle lies 30km (19 miles) west of Mallaig, overlooking Loch Scresort on Rum's east coast.

The Castle stands on the low coastal strip of land at the eastern end of Kinloch Glen, just south of the point at which the Kinloch River issues into Loch Scresort. To the north, the land rises steeply to Mullach Mòr (304m) and to the south to Hallival (591m). There are spectacular views from the Castle eastwards to the mainland and Skye. The landscape of Rum is mountainous with high, craggy peaks and sawtooth ridges. This distinctive skyline forms an important backdrop to the sea-views of Kinloch Castle.

The extent of the designed landscape of c 100ha (250 acres) is that established by the late 19th century, and includes Bullough's plantations.

Site History

Until the 18th century, evidence points to Rum's sparse population. A report on the Hebrides in c 1580 for King James VI noted only two townships on Rum. The island was described as 'an ile of small profit… the hills and waist glennis are commodious only for the hunting of deir'. Franciscan missionaries visiting in 1625 considered it 'so wild and mountainous as to make habitation difficult'. During the 18th century however, the population rose steeply, reaching a maximum of 443 in 1795 (Old Statistical Account, 1796).

The owner of Rum, Alexander Maclean, 14th of Coll, bought Muck in 1814 for £9,975 with the intention of exploiting its kelp in the production of soda ash for explosives. Due to the Napoleonic Wars, this trade was buoyant; however with the onset of peace in 1815, demand fell, the trade collapsed. Maclean, or his son Hugh, in an attempt to settle their financial difficulties, leased Rum as a sheep-walk to a kinsman, Dr Lachlan Maclean. As a single tenancy, the whole acreage of arable and grazing on Rum was needed to maximise the stocking rate. By 1828, Maclean had cleared all islanders from the land and transported them to Nova Scotia, save for one family left at Carn an Dobrhan, on the south shore of Loch Scresort. Maclean's clearances left him without manpower or shepherds, so islanders cleared from Mull and Skye were settled on Rum. By 1831, the population was 134.

Maclean built Kinloch House, known as Tigh Mor, and described as a 'plain, strongly-built stone house, with a steep roof, and with a porch, and with a small wing at each end… The rear and ends of the house are shaded by trees, and the lawns in front slope gently down to the shore of the bay. The south side of the lawn is flanked by the garden, and the north side partly by trees' (Waugh, 1883 quoted in Magnusson, 1997, p.21). Part of this sycamore plantation still survives to the north-east of Kinloch Castle, near the site of Kinloch House.

Following the collapse of the sheep enterprise and the 1836 famine, Maclean left Rum. Then in 1845, Hugh Maclean of Coll sold Rum to James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquis of Salisbury (1791-1868) for £26,455. A High Tory, with a traditional outlook based on rank and privilege, he was nevertheless interested in innovation where his estates were concerned. He recorded his achievements as landlord, builder and agriculturalist, signing the end of each record 'All done by me!' (Cecil, 1973, pp.197-8). He embarked upon an extensive scheme to transform Rum into a typical Victorian estate. It was stocked by 5,000 sheep organised into nine hirsels around the island, each supervised by a shepherd. New cottages and a stone pier at Kinloch, were built. Roads were made to Kilmory and Harris. A quarry was opened and large tracts of land were drained in an attempt at reclamation. Salisbury restocked the island with deer (extinct on Rum by the late 18th century) and introduced other game. An ambitious scheme which failed, attempted to transform the Kinloch River into a first class salmon and sea trout river.

In 1850, Salisbury conveyed Rum to his eldest son, Viscount Cranborne (1821-65). When he died in 1865, the 3rd Marquis of Salisbury inherited it. In 1870, he sold it to Farquhar Campbell of Aros, who probably built Tigh Ban, or 'The White House' as a shooting lodge for visitor accommodation during the season. From 1879 the shooting was let, at £800 per annum, to John Bullough (1838-91), a wealthy Lancastrian industrialist. Bullough, educated at Queenwood College, Hampshire, an Owenite school, and at Glasgow University, had inherited his father's position in Howard's & Bullough. Under him, their Globe Works at Accrington became the most innovative and productive textile machine producers worldwide. Having purchased Meggernie Castle, Glen Lyon (q.v. Inventory, Volume 4, pp.205-8) in 1884, Bullough purchased Rum in 1888 for £35,000 from James Hunter Campbell, cousin of Farquhar Campbell. Bullough aimed to establish the whole island as a deer forest for sport and game. Thus he increased the sporting provision on Rum, improving the stock of red deer by importing new stock, introducing and breeding game birds, building new shooting lodges and establishing large-scale plantations around Loch Scresort, with 80,000 trees. He purchased the Mystery, a 43-ton, 55 ft sailing yacht used for journeying to his private island.

Bullough died in 1891, leaving Rum to his son George. His first building work on Rum was a mausoleum at Harris for his father. His major work was Kinloch Castle, designed by the London architects Leeming & Leeming. No expense was spared in the design, construction or furnishing of the modern Castle, which commenced in 1897. It is said that his instruction was that the new mansion should be as long as his yacht, the Rhouma (a phonetical version of a Gaelic pronounciation for Rum), which seems to have some foundation in fact (Davis, 2002).

Three hundred workmen from Eigg and Lancashire laboured to build the castle of pink Annan sandstone. The interior and furnishings were fitted out in a lavish Edwardian manner, mostly by James Shoolbred and Co. of London. It included the latest modern conveniences and comforts, including electricity (reportedly the second house in Scotland to have electricity), steam central heating, an internal telephone system and innovative plumbing systems.

Work on the gardens started in 1903 but the main phase of their construction was between 1905-12. By 1910-2 photographs show woodland, trees, lawns, hedges and herbaceous borders established, with the recently constructed Water Garden to the west of the Castle. A quarter of a million tons of best Ayrshire top soil was imported to improve the naturally marshy site and provide depth for the establishment of gardens, lawns, a bowling green and a nine-hole golf course, as well as avenues, roads and paths. A walled garden was built behind the Castle on the site of an earlier Walled Garden (1877, OS). On its north wall was a range of south-facing 14-sectioned hot houses for fruit manufactured by R. Halliday & Co. of Manchester. The north-facing side of the wall had a series of six domed houses (including a Palm House, Camellia House and fernery), a boiler house, a series of six potting sheds, mushroom sheds and workshops. A squad of twelve full-time gardeners was employed, with a head gardener who had worked at Alton Towers, Staffordshire. There is no indication of a garden or landscape designer for the landscape. The general layout was probably provided by Leeming & Leeming, and the gardens developed by the Head Gardener in consultation with Bullough himself. A series of Rum landscapes painted by Byron Cooper (1850-1933) were commissioned 1901-2, for display in the Castle.

Following Sir George Bullough's marriage, to Monica Charrington in 1903, there were further building works and many of the garden improvements, including the conservatory and Japanese garden may date to this period.

Kinloch Castle was used as a shooting lodge for two or three months of the year, its uses centred on fishing, stalking and lavish hospitality. Bullough purchased a luxurious twin-decked schooner-rigged 221 ft steam yacht, the Maria, renamed the Rhouma. This was supplemented by the Morn, which acted as a tender in Loch Scresort. By 1900 Rum's population numbered 100.

Following the First World War the family's visits to Rum gradually grew rarer and Kinloch Castle's gradual decline began. Of the 40 able-bodied men on Bullough's staff, only two returned to the island after the war. In 1916, Bullough received a baronetcy in reward for a £50,000 loan to the Government at no interest. Sir George Bullough died in 1939 and the estate passed into the hands of Trustees. By 1951, the population had decreased to 28. Finally, in 1957, the Bullough Trustees sold Rum (excluding the mausoleum) to the Nature Conservancy for £23,000. The island was designated a National Nature Reserve and has since been managed by government conservation agencies – the Nature Conservancy (1957-73), the Nature Conservancy Council (1973-91), the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland (1991-92) and thereafter Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Kinloch Castle, designed by Leeming & Leeming, was built 1897-1906. It is a rectangular castellated two-storey mansion, 150ft in length built around an inner court. The east facing entrance front, has an off-centre crenellated square tower, porch with corner corbelled stair turret. An arcaded, glazed-roof, veranda, masked by a crenellated parapet, enclosed the three principal elevations. A domed conservatory was set at the south end of the Castle, linking the drawing room to a terrace.

Garden Gazebo, built after 1900, is a Scots Baronial, octagonal, harled-concrete gazebo with a corbelled bartizan at each corner.

Bridge over the Slugan Burn, built c 1900, is single-arched built of reddish concrete faced with bull- faced ashlar. A slightly projecting crenellated parapet leads to square ball finialed terminals.

The Home Farm lies north of the Castle. Ivy Cottage, north-east of the Castle, is pre-1890. At its core is the oldest still-occupied cottage on Rum, described in 1883 by Edwin Waugh. The White House, pre-1890, is now the SNH Reserve Manager's house and office.

Drives & Approaches

Before 1897, access to Kinloch House led along the shore, from the quay at Port Clach an t-Sagairt. Directly south of Kinloch it formed a straight approach road, against the shore. This approach to Kinloch Castle was the final stage in a voyage on the Bullough's private yacht the Rhouma. It was thereby laid out to be impressive, an 800-metre drive was laid out to the west of the shore road, linking the Pier and the White House along the way, with the Castle. It was lined by a sycamore avenue and furnished with massive timber gates, crossing Allt Slugan a' Choilich by the Slugan Bridge (Castle Bridge). The pre-existing shore road was retained.


The policy woodlands surround the Castle to south and west. Apart from the surviving beech woodland associated with Kinloch House, the initial establishment of the policy woodlands dates to John Bullough's work in 1888-91, when some 28ha of 120 species were planted. The land was tile-drained and protected by deer fencing. This has resulted in mature woodlands with a single age structure.

From 1901-6 the policy woodlands were augmented to complement the Castle's setting. Deciduous plantings frame the Castle and the approach from the pier. Substantial mixed shelterbelts, predominantly of Austrian pine and Norwegian spruce, and outlying plantations on the loch shore were all situated to frame views of the Castle.

There has been little active 20th century woodland management, with the result that Rhododendron has now colonised widely. Many of the more ornamental species included in the original planting have been lost through windblow and the changes in ground conditions. Recent fencing of the plantations to exclude stock is aimed to allow natural regeneration and restocking. Species include Scots pine, sycamore, birch and European larch.

The Gardens

The Castle is elevated above surrounding lawns. All the lawns have been fenced and are now grassland, managed for pasture and hay.

East of the Castle, a castellated retaining wall divides the shore from the formal terraced East Lawn, set against the main elevation of the Castle. There are fine sea views across Loch Scresort. The Gazebo acts as a water gate, giving access from the East Lawn onto a formal sea-walk raised above the beach. The sea-walk incorporates the earlier drive to Kinloch House, but also serves as a route screened from the Castle itself.

The East Lawn, now sheltered to the north and south by woodland planting, was divided into two compartments (1900). After 1903, the northernmost compartment was laid out as Lady Monica's Garden. Elaborate wrought iron gates, incorporating a MB monogram (Lady Monica Bullough 1869-1967), lead in from the East Lawn. It now contains a play area. This is also the site of Kinloch House gardens, demolished by Bullough after 1877 (OS, 1877 6"; OS, 1898 6"). The square, rubble gate piers to Kinloch House survive. Alongside are the remains of ornamental stone seats from Lady Monica's Garden. Nearby, an overgrown terrace leads to a lawn, both surviving from the Kinloch House layout. The beech woodland to the north of the East Lawn was planted as a shelter for Kinloch House.

Kinloch River runs to the north of the Castle, issuing into Loch Scresort to the north of the beech wood. It forms the northern boundary of the Pleasure Grounds. On the North Lawn are the remains of two shrub beds and a Japanese stone garden lantern, perhaps relocated from elsewhere in the gardens. The northernmost compartment is now rough grazing. In the early 20th century, it was set out with walks leading to the Palm Houses.

To the south the pleasure grounds consisted of a Japanese Garden laid out along both banks of Allt Slugan a' Choilich, known locally as Rockery Burn. The South Lawn was retained above the burn by a castellated wall, which survives in part, and a raised, paved bandstand was set on the south bank. A Japanese bridge within the garden, has been re-erected to mirror the original. Photographs survive showing the elaborate planting, of which little survives. Originally the Conservatory looked out over this area.

West of the Castle was the service entrance, service ranges and staff quarters. A raised earthwork bank, set with rockwork runs north-south across the area, but is now overgrown. To the west lies the Walled Garden, now used for grazing and storage. To its north lies the site of the ornamental glasshouses. All that remains are the sunken tanks, hot water pipes and foundations of the buildings in impenetrable undergrowth.



Maps, Plans and Archives

1877 survey, 1st edition OS 1:10560 (6"), published 1879

1898 survey, 2nd edition OS 1:10560 (6"), published 1903

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


Printed Sources

Aslet, C. 'Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rhum – I' Country Life, vol. 176, no. 4538, (9 August 1984), pp.380-4

Aslet, C. 'Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rhum – II' Country Life, vol. 176, no. 4539, (16 August 1984), pp.446-9

Aslet, C. The Last Country Houses (1982), pp.185, 321

Cecil, D. The Cecils of Hatfield House (1973)

Davis, M in Kinloch Castle, Isle of Rum. Conservation Management & Business Plan Proposals. Report to SNH by Page & Park Architects (2002)

Gifford, J. The Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands (1992), p.263

Groome, F. Ordnance Gazetteer vol, 4, (1882), p.403

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

Magnusson, M. Rum: Nature's Island (1997), pp.38-51

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

Miers, R. Scotland's Highlands and Islands (1994)

Old Statistical Account, Statistical Account of the Parish of Small Isles, vol. 17, (1796), p.280

Redfern, R. 'From Edgeware to Rhum', Country Life, vol. 170, no. 4391, (15 October 1981), p.1296

Scottish Natural Heritage, Rum: Nature's Island (c 1990)

Wickham-Jones, C.R. 'Rhum. Mesolithic and later Sites at Kinloch: Excavations 1984-86', Society of Antiquaries Monograph, Series 7 (1990)

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.

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Printed: 25/06/2022 15:00