Carbisdale Castle was built in 1905-1917 for the Duchess of Sutherland on a hill across the Kyle of Sutherland. The castle has 365 windows, and the clock-tower only has clocks on three sides: the side facing Sutherland does not have a clock. There is a secret door below the Great Staircase which could be opened by rotating one of the statues. This mechanism is no longer in use. Until its closure, the castle had a large collection of art, with some pieces dating back to the year 1680, as well as the Italian marble statues.
Colonel Theodore Salvesen, a wealthy Scottish businessman of Norwegian extraction, bought the castle in 1933. He provided the castle as a safe refuge for King Haakon VII of Norway and Crown Prince Olav, who would later become King Olav V, during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. During that time the castle was also used to hold important meetings. King Haakon VII made an agreement at the Carbisdale Conference on 22 June 1941, that the Russian forces, should they enter Norwegian territory, would not stay there after the war. Three years later, on 25 October 1944, the Red Army entered Norway and captured thirty towns, but later withdrew according to the terms of the agreement. After the Colonel died his son, Captain Harold Salvesen, inherited the castle and gave its contents and estate to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association. Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel opened to members on 2 June 1945.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.