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PERFECTLY RUINED

Sleat has three ruined castles, rather a lot for a small area, you may think, but indicative of the times they were built for, two as strongholds to be defended against any enemy that cared to try to take them, and one as a family seat.

Dunscaith, Skye's oldest castle is situated north of Tarskavaig by the township of Tokavaig on the loop road to Ord. It was a Norse stronghold, and then a MacLeod castle until taken by MacDonald's in 1266. It was the principle stronghold of the MacDonald's of Sleat until the early 1600's. You can see the archway of the original entrance when you look across towards the Cuillin. According to legend this is where Cuchullin, the Irish hero, learnt the art of war from the warrior queen Sgathach. Park up by the main road and follow the shore round to the castle ruins.

Back onto the main road, and heading towards Armadale you reach Knock, or Castle Camus. Originally a MacLeod castle dating from the 14th century, it was taken by the MacDonald's in the late 1300’s. It was besieged by the MacLeod's but was successfully defended by “Mary of the Castle”. Like Dunscaith there is not a great deal of the castle left, mainly due to an early form of recycling as the stone was used for the building of new houses or farms. Park by the old Church, and walk back to get some great photos across Knock Bay towards the castle ruins.

The most recently occupied castle is at Armadale. Home to the MacDonald's until 1925, the castle was started in 1795 close to the site of an earlier tower destroyed about 1690. Armadale was extended in 1815 when the Stables were built and after a fire destroyed much of the house it was partly rebuilt in the mid 1850's. Not much remains of the castle buildings, but a preserved staircase and surrounding walls make a stunning setting for weddings. It is now a visitor attraction with 40 acres of elegant landscaped gardens and woodland walks plus a fascinating museum to be proud of.

www.clandonald.com


The official site of Visit Sleat