En: It was built principally as an observation post, and is now a haunt of would-be spotters of the famous Loch Ness Monster as it commands a view almost from Inverness to Fort Augustus
The earliest history of the castle goes back to the time of St. Columba, when the castle may have been mentioned in Adamnan's Life of Columba: it is probably the site called Airchartdan, visited by Columba in the latter half of the sixth century during one of his visits to King Brude son of Maelchon of the northern Picts. Columba took the opportunity to convert his host Emchath and his son Virolec to Christianity. Unfortunately, Adamnan’s text gives no specific link to the castle and the location of the episode is described as being the agrum of Airchartdan. This probably means the estate and certainly does not refer to the settlement in which Columba stayed. In view of the use of the term agrum, it would be as easy to see Drumnadrochit as the location of Emchath's residence as there is no mention of a fortified structure. However, one of the radiocarbon dates obtained by the late Professor Leslie Alcock in his 1983 excavations within the castle was in the range 460-660 AD. It is thus probable that there was a fortified settlement on Strone Point during the time that Columba visited the area, and it is reasonable to assume that this would have been the home of Emchath. No other noble is mentioned in this episode, so it is probable that Columba stayed at Urquhart Castle on his way to visit Brude at Craig Phadraig, Inverness.
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