Although the Skibo Castle dates back to the 12th century, the present structure is largely of the 19th century, and early 20th century, when it was the home of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It is now operated as the Carnegie Club, a members-only hotel and country club.

The first record of Skibo Castle is a charter from 1211. From its early history, the castle was a residence of the Bishops of Caithness. Skibo Castle remained the residence of subsequent bishops until 1545, when the estate was, as a tactical measure by the church, given to John Gray in order to reinforce its alliance with a powerful family as the threat of a Protestant uprising spread towards the north.

In 1745, Robert Gray surrendered the estate. It was later bought by a relative who built a modern house before 1760. Its ownership changed frequently until 1872, when it was bought by Evan Charles Sutherland-Walker, who extended the house and improved the grounds. However, the condition of the building had declined by 1897, when wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie took a one-year lease, with an option to buy. In 1898 he exercised that option for £85,000. However its condition had declined so much by this time that a further £2 million was spent on improvements, including an increase in area from 1,500 m2 to over 5,600 m2, plus the creation of Loch Ospisdale and an 18-hole golf course.

Skibo stayed with the Carnegie family until 1982. It was later purchased by businessman Peter de Savary and used as the foundation of a private members club, the Carnegie Club. Establishment of the club required restoration of the castle to recreate the luxury of an Edwardian sporting estate. Similar renovation was undertaken on the many lodges located amongst the castle grounds to provide additional accommodation for club members.

The Carnegie Club is a members-only hotel and club, with about 250 members. The Carnegie links golf course has fewer than 1000 rounds played on it per annum. The funds raised from membership fees are reinvested, including upgrading some holes of the golf course. The Club recently carried out a sympathetic restoration of Carnegie's magnificent swimming pool, which was completed in 2010.

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Founded: 18th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael LaFrance (2 years ago)
One of the top 3 places I've stayed. It was simply perfect from the accommodations, the grounds, the activities, and the food & service. The phrase 'treated like royalty' is overused, but not in the case of Skibo. My stay was years ago, but the great memories live on. If you ever have a chance to be a guest or become a member, do it.
Duarte Silva (2 years ago)
5 star service. 5 star staff. 5 star everything.
Sean Damés (3 years ago)
Private. Can't view
w myles robertson (3 years ago)
Don't hate it I was there doing a delivery, but looks really good but you have to be a member to go or someone's guest
Jerry Clayton (3 years ago)
An idyllic setting, beautiful interior and world class facilities. Five stars from start to finish.
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