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The Chatelaine's Scottish Castles

Dunvegan Castle

Isle of Skye

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle is located 22 miles west of Portree on the Isle of Skye. Home to the Chief of Clan MacLeod.

It is a picturesque place with wooded gardens. Parts of the castle are thought to date from the ninth century, but building work has been carried out in almost every century since the 1200s when the MacLeods moved in. It is said to be the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland today.

Inside there are family portraits galore with antique furniture, books, trophies and weapons. Showcases containing alsorts of medals and relics display such intriguing items as a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie's hair and a pin cushion embroidered by Flora MacDonald.

Also on display is the famous Fairy Flag, of which precious little now remains. Legend has it that this sacred banner, believed to date from the 7th century, will bring success to the chief or his clan if unfurled in an emergency. However, the charm will only work on three occasions and it has already been used twice to secure MacLeod victories in battle.

The castle is open daily from 1 April to 15 October, 10am - 5pm. Open by appointment in Winter for groups only. Tickets can be purchased for admission to the castle and gardens combined, or just for the gardens. Restaurant and souvenir shop located in the car park. Guided tours lasting 45 minutes can be arranged by appointment and it may be possible to meet the owner.
Visit the Official Dunvegan Castle web site for more details. Tel: 01470 521 206
Dunvegan Castle is now licensed for weddings.
Self-catering accommodation is available nearby on the Dunvegan estate.

Boat trips in the loch are run in a motor vessel from the castle jetty near which there are picnic tables. On the peninsula opposite are two flat-topped peaks, each 500 metres high, known as Macleod's Tables.

Follow the shoreline path north of the castle to Claigan. Near there is the so-called Coral Bay. In fact it is calcified seaweed with some small shells and tiny pebbles which makes it this pale yellow colour.

Roger Miket's excellent historical book, The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh , with illustrations by the late David L. Roberts was re-issued in 2007. In addition to Dunvegan castle, it also includes a detailed history of Eilean Donan Castle, Duntulm, Caisteal Maol, Caisteal Camus, Caisteal Uisdean, Dun Sgathaich, Brochel Castle (Raasay).

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