History of North West Castle Stranraer
Today, North West Castle offers visitors a comfortable and conveniently-located selection of hotel rooms in Stranraer. Yet before its transformation into a wonderful castle hotel, it served as the home of one of Scotland's greatest explorers.
North West Castle was built in 1820 on the shores of Loch Ryan, for Sir John Ross, the Arctic Explorer. He was born in 1777, and joined the Navy in 1786, where he rose to the rank of Captain.
A reward of £20,000 was offered by Parliament to the first ship to find a trade route from Baffin's Bay through the Arctic to the Pacific and from there to the Orient.
John Ross began his search for the North West Passage in 1817. This mission was unsuccessful, and in 1829 at the helm of the steamship Victory he tried again.
The ship became frozen in the ice and had to be abandoned. Ross and his crewmen were lost for four years and presumed dead. However they survived by living with the Eskimos and were eventually rescued by Ross's old ship the Isabella. He returned home in 1833 and became something of a hero after his daring Arctic exploits and received a knighthood in 1834.
|The original structure of North West Castle|
Sir John Ross is a revered son of Stranraer and the town's museum pays tribute to him with a permanent display.