Touring the Remains of Muness Castle
Nothing captures the imagination quite like an old, abandoned castle. As you tour Scotland you will likely have to opportunity to see many of its old castles. Muness Castle has the distinction of being the most northerly fortalice in the British Isles and makes for some interesting sight seeing.
Muness Castle in Scotland is situated in the south east corner of Unst and is well-signposted from Uyeasound. Though it’s grey stone walls blend in easily with nearby farm buildings, its massive size ensures that it stands out from its surroundings. Upon arrival you will find the remains of what was once a three story z-plan castle with round corner towers. Only just over two stories still remain of the castle, but there is still much to be seen. When you arrive you will see signs directing you to the location of the castle’s key. It is worth retrieving the key and then returning to the south west wall of the castle where you will find the castle’s only large wooden door. From here you can gain access to the interior of the castle. Once inside, you’ll find the main hall, two chambers, a private spiral staircase, a large kitchen with several cellars and a cellar filled with a display of some of the decorative stones and loopholes from the castle. The second floor is no longer present, but outside you will see decorative corbelling at second floor level which would have originally supported third-floor turrets. It is easy to use your imagination to see how life must have been conducted in this once busy castle. In its heyday Muness Castle would have likely also had a bakehouse, a brewery, stables, several outhouses or servant cottages, a walled courtyard and possibly even a chapel. It is sad that the upper floors of the castle no longer remain.
The castle was built in 1598 by Laurence Bruce, the then corrupt and cruel Sheriff of Shetland, as a stronghold to protect himself and his family from the likes of his half brother’s son Earl Patrick. In 1608 the castle came under attack for the first time when Earl Patrick arrived with 36 men and artillery from Unst with the express intention of capturing or destroying the castle. They withdrew inexplicably and the castle survived, only to be attacked and burned by French raiders in 1627. It did recover somewhat but was no longer in use by the end of the 1600s. During the early 1700s it was sold and later abandoned and by 1774, its deterioration began when the roof collapsed. Why not explore Muness Castle in Scotland for yourself? You may well find it presents interesting insight into activities of the past.