Dunscaith Castle is named after and was the home of the warrior maiden Scáthach. The castle itself sits on an off-shore rock. There is a gap between the rock and the mainland which was once spanned by a walled bridge. This stone walled bridge then led onto a drawbridge, the pivot holes for which are still visible on the far side. Once on the other side of the drawbridge a door opened to a flight of stairs which was also sided by two walls. The flight of stairs led up to the castle.

Parts of the castle curtain wall still survive on the cliff edge but most of the inner buildings have gone. The curtain wall was about 5 ft thick. In the courtyard is a well and the remains of a stairway which once led up a tower.

Originally the castle belonged to the Clan MacDonald of Sleat, a branch of the Clan Donald or MacDonald. At some time in the 14th century it was taken from them by the Clan MacLeod and held briefly by the MacAskills, allies of the MacLeods but it was recaptured by the MacDonalds sometime in the 15th century.

In the 15th century the castle was again captured by King James I of Scotland when the Chief of the Clan Donald, Lord of the Isles was broken by King James I. The MacDonalds were allowed to keep possession of the castle. The MacDonalds abandoned the castle in the early 17th century.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Ruins in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dustin Bingham (3 years ago)
We are big fans of romantic ruins like this one. The walk out can get a bit squishy, and you have to hold onto the side of the bridge wall to get across which might be a bit much for some, but it's a beauty of a ruin. Picturesque. And free.
Katrina Murray (3 years ago)
Beautiful and stunning landscape. I was so happy I came, it was deserted which made it all the more special. Careful if you decide to go over on the actual castle portion it is quite tricky.
Gmac 52 (3 years ago)
Very much off the tourist track. Great wee place to wild camp. Fantastic views and scenery
Alley Cat 2526 (3 years ago)
A beautiful place in my ancestral lands! Nestled in a mystic realm of peace and calm, and tucked on a beautiful cliff with the best views of Scotland opening around you, the old McDonald clan castle is a must-see! One of my favorite memories is from here! If you go to Scotland, you need to visit Dunscaith! Until then, you have never lived! Visit the mysterious ruins coated with the past, and awaiting your future!
Luke Harris (3 years ago)
There are astonishing artifacts in this place and the gardens and woodland walk are exquisite with waterfall and burn running through the middle. The seal tour takes you close enough to the seals that mobile phone photos are possible. If you have other photography equipment the shots you can get are superb.
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Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.