We visited beautiful Skye during our recent tour of Scotland and my personal highlight was our visit to Dunvegan Castle and gardens. It was pouring with rain on the day we visited, but that made no difference as we were equipped with our raincoats and umbrellas.
Dunvegan Castle is one of the greatest Hebridean castles and is the only one that has been occupied by the same family, the clan MacLeod, for 800 years. The castle was build over the course of ten different building periods which ranged from 1200 to the 1850s and has a wonderfully picturesque quality. The castle is surrounded by the most glorious gardens.
Dunvegan Castle from the side
Dunvegan Castle from the gardens
The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan hangs on the wall in the drawing room of the castle, between the seaward-facing windows. It is the clan’s most treasured possession. Woven in silk in the 4th century, it is thought to be from either Syria or Rhodes. It is reputed to have miraculous powers.
Rory Mor’s Drinking Horn – tradition has it that when each male heir comes of age, he must drink it in one draught “without setting down or falling down.” The Horn holds 1.5 litres of claret.
In an ebony cabinet in the medieval castle kitchen is the Great Sword of Dunvegan. It has lost at least 3 ft of its original length and is one of only two surviving medieval claymores in Scotland. It once belonged to William Long Sword (7th Chief) who lived and died by this sword at the battle of the Bloody Bay on Mull in 1480.