Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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For a change, the photos are not from a car window, but the side of a ferry, sailing to Skye……I know you can go over the bridge now, but is much more fun in sailing over and driving back, or the other way around.  On this trip to Skye, in 2013, I saw this castle in amongst the trees on the edge of the water.  We didn’t have time to explore the castle and it is only now, while sorting photos, that I have come across them again, but not all is what it seems, from the photos.

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Armadale Castle is in a wonderful location, and the castle was a former home of the MacDonalds.  A mansion house was built in around 1790, but in 1815 a Scottish baronial style mock-castle, intended for show rather than defence was built next to the house.  As you can see from the plan, there is the original long house and then the baronial style with the tall main entrance in the centre.  But in 1855 there was a fire which destroyed the centre, comprising of some of the original low house and the baronial style, up to the main entrance.  In 1858 the centre section was rebuilt in the castellated style, leaving the remainder a picturesque ruin.

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The castle with the centre rebuilt after the fire in 1855.

By 1925 the castle was proving increasingly difficult to maintain, and the family left it to the elements, for a smaller home elsewhere on Sleat. Its decline continued until 1971, when the castle and the surrounding 20,000 acre estate were purchased by the Clan Donald Lands Trust.  When in 1981 the ruinous Gothic wing was made safe, effectively by demolishing most of what was left of it, and the 1858 building was consolidated to allow for possible future restoration.

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The main reason you would really visit the castle, is for the beautiful gardens that have been restored and they extend to roughly 40 acres, with 200 year old trees and wonderful woodland walks.  There is also, what looks like a fascinating Museum of the Isles, and a big plus for me the remains of a castle 🙂

So from what I had thought was a lived in castle from the ferry, the only part that is habitable is part of the original white house, the rest is just a romantic facade, set within a beautiful garden.

6 comments

  1. Oh my you definitely have to go back for this one. 🙂 I had no idea there was such a thing as a mock castle. It’s probably warmer and certainly has better windows. I was also surprised by the Clan Donald Land Trust. I rather thought of the clans as a group that got together for a big family reunion once a year. I am going to have to look that up. Thanks for the old drawings and photo. I’m not terribly good at visualizing things and that really helps. 🙂

    1. I must admit Pat, while I was putting the post together, I thought, I’m going to have to go and have a better look, as the gardens look amazing. I was getting a bit confused with all the buildings and rebuilding, so I thought the little plan of the stages of building would help 🙂

    1. Yes and they are lovely gardens, I must visit and take some photos. Ha ha we have an acre of garden and boy that is enough, too much really…..but it is nice to have 🙂

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