Dunscaith Castle (or Dun Scathaich) is a short, easy walk from the road at Tokavaig, on the west coast of the Sleat peninsula. Leave the road at NG600118 and follow the track that runs along the shore towards an old barn with a red corrugated iron roof. After passing to the left of the barn, the track reduces to a path that carries on over a small rise to the castle itself.

What little is left of the castle sits on a big lump of rock, about 40 ft high, just off the point to which it is connected by the remains of a bridge. Only the side walls of the bridge are intact, the floor - probably a wooden drawbridge - having long ago fallen away. It is possible to cross by shuffling sideways along a narrow ledge at the base of the wall. But it would be a bad idea to fall off - it's a long drop onto hard rock below! A good alternative is to scramble up the castle rock from beach level. That can be done without much difficulty just to the right of the bridge.

 

Other than for the sense of achievement, there is no need to risk the crossing. Once on top of the castle you'll find it overgrown, and in summer there are lots of nettles to sting the unwary invader. The commanding views across and along Loch Aishort  make clear the strategic importance of the position, but they can be seen just as well from the shore.

Although Dunscaith is a place of indeterminate age, ithere is no doubt that it is very old. There has been a fort of one sort or another here since prehistoric times, and the present day ruins date back at least to the fourteenth century when it was the seat of the MacDonalds on Skye. There are too many tales and legends associated with this place to cover here, but if you can be there without other people around, sit quietly for a bit, and you will feel the past all around you...

Dunscaith Artist's Impression
..and as it once was?