Duntulm Castle with spectacular views of the Outer Hebrides, you can understand the reason they built it there, and no, not just for the view, although I would have done. The castle, with sheer cliffs on three sides, stands ruined on the north coast of Trotternish, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, near the hamlet of Duntulm. We were on our round the ‘Island Road Trip’, a week ago on holiday and I suddenly noticed the ruins, not sure how I missed them in pervious years…..most probably busy looking at the view. We didn’t have time to stop, as we had a ferry to catch and we still had a long way to go, so the photos were taken out of the car window….. again.
A little history…..Duntulm is believed to have been first fortified in the Iron Age, and the site continues to be associated with the name Dùn Dhaibhidh or “David’s Fort”. Later in life it was fortified by the Norse, and subsequently by their successors, the MacLeods of Skye. It would have been while it was under the MacLeod’s tenure that James V visited the castle in 1540, where he was impressed by its strength and the quality of the hospitality on offer. In the 17th century it was the seat of the chiefs of Clan MacDonald of Sleat. The MacDonalds abandoned the castle in about 1730 in favour of nearby Monkstadt House and then Armadale Castle in Sleat. We did visit Armadale Castle, which has a lovely garden, and I will post about it later.
A little haunting for you…. a nursemaid accidentally dropped the baby son of the clan chief from a castle window above the cliffs. The ghost of the nursemaid, killed in retribution, is still said to wander the ruins. She is apparently kept company by the ghost of Hugh MacDonald, who plotted against the rightful clan chief in the 1600s, and who was starved to death in the dungeon at Duntulm.
There were quite substantial ruins left in the 1880, a large keep several stories high, which would have looked quite impressive on the cliff top. But, as with many of theses castle ruins, the stone work was removed for building projects and other parts corroded away, or just fell into the sea.