Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

As you're traveling across Isle of Skye on the way to Dunvegan, you'll see MacLeod's Tables in the distance.

The entrance to Dunvegan Castle. 
Clan MacLeod's motto is 'Hold Fast' and when it comes to their stronghold, Dunvegan Castle on Isle of Skye, they have done this for over 800 years. They were only absent from the castle for eighty years following a devastating potato famine 1847 - 51. The 25th chief had to leave his home and take a job in London in order to feed his family. His second son, the 27th chief returned 80 years later as an elderly man.

Inside the castle, we were able to see a wealth of historical paintings, objects and important historical artifacts, including the famous and magical Fairy Flag and Rory Mor's Horn.
View over Loch Dunvegan from the castle gun court.
 The castle is actually six separate buildings, each built during a different era, which were given a face-lift during a renovation in the 1800s. Above, on the right, you can see the well and just beyond it the wall where you can look down and view the sea gate, the ancient entrance to the castle.
A bridge over the stream in the lush gardens.
The original gardens date from the 1700s but have been added to and improved over the centuries. The gardens lie inland from the castle and Loch Dunvegan and back up to mature woodlands. This area is somewhat temperate and warmed by the Gulf Stream. The views here are much different from most of Isle of Skye which is mostly open moorland. By all accounts, gardening here is not easy and takes a considerable amount of work because of the soil and the climate.
The waterfall is known as Rory Mor's Nurse. The chiefs could hear this waterfall from their tower window and it lulled them to sleep.

  Since 1974 the gardens have been extensively improved and expanded.
I love the stone benches and stone walls here surrounded by flowers and plants.

 The walled gardens were created in the 1800s for the growing of vegetables. Now it contains mostly beautiful flowers.



View of the castle from the loch side. This would've been the original entrance.
Sir Walter Scott described Dunvegan in 1814: "The whole castle occupies a precipitous mass of rock overhanging the lake, divided by two or three islands in that place, which form a snug little harbour under the walls. There is a court-yard looking out upon the sea, protected by a battery, at least a succession of embrasures, for only two guns are pointed, and these unfit for service. The ancient entrance rose up a flight of steps cut in the rock, and passed into this court-yard through a portal, but this is now demolished. You land under the castle, and walking round find yourself in front of it. This was originally inaccessible, for a brook coming down on one side, a chasm of the rocks on the other, and a ditch in front, made it impervious. But the late Macleod built a bridge over the stream, and the present laird is executing an entrance suitable to the character of this remarkable fortalice, by making a portal between two advanced towers, and an outer court, from which he proposes to throw a drawbridge over to the high rock in front of the castle." Lockhart's Scott, ed 1839. I found this information in Boswell's Life of Johnson, Tour to the Hebrides, (1773)
 By James Boswell, Samuel Johnson


This bridge leads to the present-day entrance. We were able to walk underneath it. I love how ancient these walls look.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to Dunvegan Castle and Gardens. To learn more please visit the Dunvegan Castle website.

Thanks!
Vonda
www.vondasinclair.com

36 comments:

Miriam Newman said...

Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing. I especially loved seeing that lupines grow there. Beautiful landscapes.

Alexa said...

**SIGH** I so want to be there right now! Maybe if I click my heels together three times....

Angelyn said...

Oh! I want to walk across that bridge. Thank you for sharing.

Clover Autrey said...

These are so lovely. I really enjoy this picture posts and hope you continue them.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Miriam, thanks! I wish I could grow lupines like theirs! I've tried but they don't seem to like me (or maybe it's the soil.) :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

I do too, Alexa! Let's both click our heels at the same time and maybe we'll both transported. :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for checking it out, Angelyn! It's an amazing place to explore.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Clover, thanks! I love taking pics and being able to share them with others.

Cora Blu said...

How beautiful. I'm holding the screen up to the window to inspire my garden.:-))

MAry W/A Cora Blu

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks Mary! LOL that sounds like a great idea. Maybe I'll try it. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

So, so beautiful, Vonda. What a great way to start the day - a tour through a castle and beautiful gardens. SIGH

Thank you for sharing another part of your trip.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Paisley, thanks for checking it out! It was one of my favorite castles and gardens to visit. Plus it was such a nice sunny day.

Teresa Reasor said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures!! And it took me back to the castle. It was covered by a scaffold while we were there because they were working on it. I loved the gardens and the boat ride to look at the seals.

Thanks for sharing these.
Teresa R.

Kirsten Arnold said...

Spectacular pictures, Vonda! Thanks so much for sharing and for the website info!

--Kirsten

Vonda Sinclair said...

Teresa, I'd also visited one time when the scaffold was over it. I was glad they were finished with the roof this time. They were still working on parts of the castle, replacing windows, etc. I'm glad they're doing maintenance on it.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Kirsten, thanks! I'm glad you found it helpful. I wish I could've included more history but there is so much it would fill ten thick books. LOL It is simply unreal the amount of history contained in this castle and the grounds.

Fraoch said...

Home of the Fairy Flag, yes? I was there back in '94 and loved watching the sea otters play in the tide pools. A great castle to visit because it is still lived in. When it was built it only had a sea entrance I think and then later in the modern era the front entrance was added. A must see, your pictures are very lovely.
Jody

Vonda Sinclair said...

Yes, exactly, Jody about the entrance and the Fairy Flag. I didn't get to see the otters (nor any seals) during the two times I've been there. It is definitely worth a long visit to absorb all the history, atmosphere and beauty. Thanks so much!

Natalie Murphy said...

Great pictures!! Thank you for sharing =)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Natalie! I'm glad you liked them. :)

Barbara said...

Just Beautiful, Vonda!! Thanks for sharing.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Barbara, for checking it out!

Tami Brothers said...

LOVE these pictures! I always enjoy seeing these and reading the history behind them. Thank you for sharing.

:)

Tami

Vanessa Holland said...

Thanks for posting more Scotland pictures, Vonda. What an amazing castle. I love the waterfalls and the gardens are beautiful. I could spend all day just staring at it all.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for checking it out Tami! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Vanessa, I'm glad you liked it! This would definitely be a great place to spend a whole day. Thanks!

Ally Broadfield said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing more of your fabulous pictures.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Ally! I love taking photos. :)

BBTaylor said...

Beautiful photos. Thanks for the tour.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Brenda, for going on the tour with me!

Savannah Chase said...

The pictures are truly beautiful.

Vonda Sinclair said...

I'm glad you like them, Savannah! Thanks for taking a look!

Pat McDermott said...

What an absolutely idyllic place! I could smell the flowers and hear that waterfall, Vonda. Just lovely. Thanks for this enchanting tour!

Vonda Sinclair said...

It truly is, Pat. I'd love to sit in that garden on the next sunny day. Thanks for touring with me!

Tamara Hunter said...

Oooh, lovely photos, Vonda! Dunvegan Castle is awesome and the area is gorgeous!!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for taking a look, Tamara! I'm glad you liked them!