Borve Castle, Isle of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

As we were driving to our next overnight stop on the Isle of Benbecula, in the Outer Hebrides, I had my camera ready for shooting the next old abandoned cottage, which hopefully would come along, when suddenly the biggest pile of rocks came into view.  Unfortunately we couldn’t stop, so I had to take photos on the move, and quickly at that.


There isn’t a lot left of Borve Castle, but there is enough to fire your imagination, and in the flat landscape it must have looked quite imposing from a distance.  I loved the fact that it was at the bottom of someones garden, fancy being able to say…. I have a castle at the bottom of my garden, you can keep your fairies 🙂  In fact when we were in Herefordshire on our last holiday, in one of the estate agents windows, there was a house for sale with a castle in the garden………but my other half, totally would not let me make an appointment to see the house, so I could view the castle…..which I thought was a little mean 🙂 But back to this castle.


I only found a small amount of history…….Borve Castle, is a mid 14th century large oblong tower-house with attached ranges, thought to have been built between 1344 and 1363.  The lichened lump of mortared rubble, is the ruin of a massively thick, three-storey structure, with an entrance in the south wall.  A former stronghold of the Macdonalds of Benbecula, Borve was occupied until at least the earlier 17th century. It was surveyed by Rev. Aeneas Macdonald in 1913 , when the south and east walls stood to three storeys and it had “a vaulted chamber in the west wall and another in the north wall”


 I found something which is quite interesting to me, as we live in an area of England which is reclaimed from the sea, the Castle is built upon a rock which was formerly surrounded by the sea. It now stands in a field of machair, the land having been reclaimed more than a hundred years ago by drainage.
May 2014


  1. Scottish castle are have traditionally followed more of a form of a large tower of between three and five stories in height. This compares to the more Anglo-Norman form of a motte and bailey design.

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