Dunscaith Castle Ruins

Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

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: Miscellaneous historic sites in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Peter Hadfield (6 months ago)
Picturesque ruin on a rocky outcrop with fabulous views on the coast and the mountains beyond. There’s not a lot left that’s safely accessible, but the setting gets 5+ stars! A short walk from the road, which is narrow and unsuitable for parking, but there is a small parking area beside the beach a couple of hundred yards away.
Jason Rein (6 months ago)
So the ruined castle is pretty awesome, but what's even more amazing is the drive! We came from the north and drove south to Armadale and it had to be one of the most beautiful drives we have taken!
Norma Cooper (8 months ago)
We visited the ruin around 3 weeks ago, it was perfect weather. It was quite a drive out to the castle ruin on very narrow winding roads, so be careful. The hike out to the castle ruin wasn’t long, but the ground was boggy and I twisted my ankle, so make sure you wear good shoes an watch your step. We didn’t risk the climb across to the actual ruin, just admired what we could from the sideline. If you love ruins, it’s worth a visit, it’s quite beautiful. Don’t go if you have mobility issues.
The Wisdom Of Odin (9 months ago)
Truly spiritual place few will know the history of. This castle is tied to the ancient Celtic legends, and should be more talked about. A long road to get to, but an easy walk after. You will need to do some Indiana jones moves to get to the top, but it’s worth it. Respect this site and it’s history. Truly powerful place to visit.
David Robinson (2 years ago)
The castle itself is almost a complete ruin, but the setting is unbelievable, with amazing views to the Cuillins. Accessing the headland and castle ruins requires a degree of bravery (we didn't bother) because the 'drawbridge' is missing; nevertheless, the views are fantastic and the location is wonderfully atmospheric.
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