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Castles

Dunvegan Castle – A Famous Landmark

Dunvegan Castle, located on the Isle of Skye is the pride of the Hebrides. Located 22 miles west of Portree, it has been the home and seat of the Chiefs of MacLeod since the 1200s. Built on a rock that was once entirely surrounded by the sea, it stands on the edge of Loch Dunvegan, the most famous landmark in Skye.

Its massive grey towers and battlements rise magnificently above the sheer cliffs against the mesmerizing backdrop of the sea, mountains and sky. Nestling in picturesque wooded gardens, the castle has had construction and extensions built in almost every century since it was occupied by the MacLeods. Parts of the castle are even believed to from the ninth century. It is the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland and has never lost its roof. Today one can recognize a 14th century square keep, a 16th century tower, known as the Fairy Tower and a section from the 17th century. The castle originally had a curtain wall as was common with fortifications. More structures were added even after 1680 and extensive renovations were carried out in the 19th century and crenellations and ornamental bartizans added. The castle tower also had a sea gate.

The landward side of the castle has thriving plantations and paths wander through woodland glades, past shimmering pools, water gardens and winding burns originating from a cascading waterfall. The original formal gardens were laid in the18th century and have been replanted since. Some exotic tropical plants and innumerable varieties of rhododendrons grow now. The square walled garden was created in the early 19th Century to grow vegetables. It has a standing stone and Pyramid.

Inside Dunvegan Castle are some unique treasures belonging to the Clan. The remnants of the 7th century Fairy Flag whose magical powers are believed to have protected and helped the Clan in wars is in safekeeping here. You can also see the Dunvegan Cup – a unique drinking cup of the Middle Ages and the famous Speckled Bagpipes. Other unique artifacts include a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair and a pin cushion embroidered by Flora MacDonald. Fine paintings and antique furniture fill this beautiful home on the Isle of Skye.