Location: Cowal
ww1 and ww2

The demolition of Glen Caladh Castle

"Glen Caladh Castle was a convalescent home for the British Red Cross during the First World War and served as a naval training headquarters for tank landing operations during the Second World War.

"In the summer of 1958, one week before the end of term at my boarding school, pupils were sent on a mission- to demolish Glen Caladh Castle with the help of the British Army! We were all mandatory members of the Combined Cadet Force (army, airforce and navy)- like a junior military regiment within our school. Every year we would attend a summer camp to learn and assist the British Military of Royal Engineers.

"Arriving from Perth at Tighnabruaich with our school masters, we disembarked at the boatyard to march four miles on the rough track to the Army Nissen huts near the castle, which were to be our homes for the next week. Living quarters were very basic and damp. On passing the derelict castle there was a sign warning us to keep out- the castle grounds were fenced off to stop the public entering as it was in danger of collapse. The British Army of Royal Engineers were on site with all the equipment (including bulldozers, land rovers and compressors).

"My brother Ross, who was a navy cadet, arrived via the Forth and Clyde Canal in a Royal Navy vessel and moored in the harbour to assist with our mission. After breakfast we would survey the castle and decide our strategy. On entering the castle one could look up and see the sky as the roof had been removed. I was overwhelmed by the mosaic floors, beautiful carved stone fireplaces, stone staircases and marble pillars. All fixtures, fittings and items of value had been removed and there was a lot of debris on the floors.

"To blow it up, army compressors were used to drill holes inside and outside around the lower walls of the castle, the holes were packed with dynamite and fuses were set to lead to an outside plunger. A young cadet was permitted to press the plunger to commit the deed and the castle was no more- just a pile of stone and debris.

"The stone from the castle was transported to nearby Tighnabruaich village where stone masons built a retaining wall in the village opposite the shops. Our mission complete, we returned to our school to begin the summer holidays."

As told by Alan Peters, former pupil at Strathallan School

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