Castle Varrich Ruins

Tongue, United Kingdom

Castle Varrich precise origins and age are unknown. The ancient seat of the chief of the Clan Mackay was at Castle Varrich, thought to be over one thousand years old, there are believed to be caves under the castle which were once inhabited by the Mackays. It is believed to be possible that the Mackays built their castle on the site in the 14th century, on top of an existing old Norse fort.

The walls are generally 1.4m thick, or thicker, and have been built from roughly squared blocks of metamorphosed sandstone rock of varying thickness, laid in rough courses of random depth. The stones seem to have been laid without the use of mortar, and have suffered little from weathering, considering the possible 1000-year age of the structure, and the nature of the local weather. From places where parts of the walls have fallen away it appears that the construction seen on the wall faces is consistent throughout their thickness; as distinct from the type of walling where the faces have been constructed in a tidy fashion, but between them is a core of rubble.

The castle had two floors plus an attic. The ground floor may have been used as stables, it was entered through an existing door on the north wall. There were no stairs between the two floors suggesting that the ground floor was for horse or cattle. The upper floor entrance was on the south side and would most likely have been accessed by a ladder or removable stair. There was a window in the east wall and fireplace in the west but both have now collapsed past recognition. Later the clan chief's seat moved to Tongue House. Varrich Castle is about one hour's walk away from the village of Tongue, and is clearly sign posted from there.

Varrich Castle offers spectacular views of mountains Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.



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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

mark mccourt (13 months ago)
Worth the walk up for the views. The platform they built in 2018 helps u get to the top. Nice place to sit and take it all in.
Beth Polak (14 months ago)
Castle Varrich is more of a lookout than a castle but the views are well worth the easy walk up. Park up in the village where there is ample parking and look for the signs which take you along a beautiful trail past a nice children’s playground and to a lovely bridge across the river. The path is even but not always smooth with some uneven parts. The climb to the top isn’t challenging if you’re relatively mobile and used to a walk. Once you get to the lookout there are stunning views far and wide on a sunny day which we were lucky enough to have. There’s an easy to navigate set of iron stairs within the castle that takes you to a viewing platform for breathtaking views while preserving the castle. There is no entry fee or any queues and plenty of lovely spots along the way for a picnic. A lovely walk which isn’t too time consuming with plenty of reward in the scenery.
liz colledge (16 months ago)
A lovely walk from near the Ben Loyal hotel. Great views from castle on the viewing platform. We'll worth the short walk to get there.
Helen Lawrence-Webb (16 months ago)
Made a long journey to visit.Managed to get MOST of the veggie plants I wanted but the summer bedding was very disappointing. Looked half dead and definitely needed watering on the plus side plenty of perennial plants and the cafe was excellent.
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