Dunvegan Castle

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Dunvegan Castle
Dùn Bheagain Caistel
Dunvegan Castle Location.png
Location of Dunvegan Castle
Location Scotland
Region Isle of Skye in the Highlands
Coordinates 57°30′N 6°36′W / 57.5°N 6.6°W / 57.5; -6.6Coordinates: 57°30′N 6°36′W / 57.5°N 6.6°W / 57.5; -6.6
Altitude 12 m (39 ft)map data copyright 2016 Google Maps[1]
Type Castle
Part of Dunvegan
Builder Leod, Tormod Macleod, Malcolm Macleod, and following Chiefs of Clan MacLeod[2]
Founded 1266-1350, renovated 1350-1840 [2]
Periods Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, Age of Discovery, Age of Enlightenment, Victorian Era
Cultures Scottish, Gaelic, and Norse
Site notes
Archaeologists Charles S.T. Calder Notes Id no. NG24NW[2]
Condition Victorian Harmonization of the different elements of the castle in the 1840s.[2]
Ownership Hugh Magnus Macleod
Public access Historic Houses Association
Website http://www.dunvegancastle.com/
Architectural styles Medieval architecture, and Victorian Architecture

Dunvegan Castle is a castle a mile and a half to the north of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, situated off the West coast of Scotland. It is the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of the Clan MacLeod. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the stronghold of the chiefs of the clan for more than 800 years.[3]


Dunvegan Castle occupies the summit of a rock which projects on to the eastern shore of an inlet and some 30 ft higher than the area around it and is 175 ft long and 110 ft wide."[2]

It stands in a covered bay that faces North along the east side of the Inlet. Until recent centuries the sea surrounded this rock, but due to years of land infilling this is no longer the case. "There seems little doubt that the rock was the site of a dun of some island chief at an early date. The name is said to mean 'Began's Dun'. All traces of any prehistoric structure seem to have been swept away for the medieval works. On the landward side, the castle is isolated by a ditch, partly natural and partly artificial, about 60 ft in width and 18 ft in present depth. In the 13th century, after the annexation of the Western Isles by Alexander III in 1266, the summit of the rock was enclosed with a certain wall with an arched entrance, the seagate, from which steps led up to the platform area, the only entrance to the castle till 1748. In the second half of the 14th century, a keep, 48 ft by 35 ft, was built at the NE angle of the rock. Early in the 16th century, the Fairy Tower was added at the SE corner, and between these two towers extends Roderick Macleod of Macleod's(Sir Rory Mor) work, erected in 1623. The SW wing was built between 1684 and 1690. All these buildings have been altered by the 19th century transformation."[2]

The castle displays extremely diverse and distinct architectural forms that span across many different time periods.[4]




  1. ^ "Google Maps". Google. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Dunvegan Castle". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Welcome" Dunvegancastle.com. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  4. ^ RCAHMS 1928; W D Simpson 1963

External links[edit]

57°26′55″N 6°35′24″W / 57.448497°N 6.59007°W / 57.448497; -6.59007