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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dustin Bingham (4 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 (4 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 (4 years ago)
Very much off the tourist track. Great wee place to wild camp. Fantastic views and scenery
Alley Cat 2526 (4 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 (4 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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