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TITLE
Dun Sgathaich, Sleat Peninsula, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_PRINT_001
PLACENAME
Tarskavaig
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Sleat
DATE OF IMAGE
1995
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
David L. Roberts
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13197
KEYWORDS
Dun Sgathaich
castles
reconstructions
clans
ruins
Dun Sgathaich, Sleat Peninsula, Skye

This watercolour by David L. Roberts shows the castle as it might have appeared in the 1570s. Dun Sgathaich, or sometimes Scaich, is situated on the western shore of the Sleat peninsula on Skye, overlooking Loch Eishort. A fort or dun may have been sited here prior to the construction of the castle. It stood on a prominent platform of rock measuring about 23m x 17m, the curtain wall enclosing an area of only around 300 m sq. A 5 metre deep gully isolates the rock, and the remains of two arched walls across it show that at one time a drawbridge must have spanned the divide. Only vestiges of the original building remain to give clues to the structure.

Legend links Dun Sgathaich with Cù Chulainn, the Ulster folk hero. Tales relate that he came to Skye around the second century AD, to learn the skills of war from the warrior queen Sgathaich who trained men at her military school, based at the castle. Many stories surround his fantastic adventures in Sleat, including one suggesting that he built Dun Sgathaich in a night.

Legend apart, the castle appears to date from the 14th century and was the residence of the MacAskills, its hereditary wardens. However like so many others, the castle was a pawn in the politics of the times. The castle passed to the MacLeods, but was raided at frequent intervals by MacDonalds until Hugh MacDonald of Sleat finally took possession, confirmed by royal charter in 1495. It was finally abandoned in the early 17th century in favour of Duntulm which became the MacDonalds main residence for a time.

The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, the paintings were produced to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990. This book, republished in 2007, gives detailed descriptions of the architecture of each castle.


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Skye and Lochalsh Archives

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Dun Sgathaich, Sleat Peninsula, Skye

INVERNESS: Sleat

1990s

Dun Sgathaich; castles; reconstructions; clans; ruins

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David L. Roberts' Prints and Drawings

This watercolour by David L. Roberts shows the castle as it might have appeared in the 1570s. Dun Sgathaich, or sometimes Scaich, is situated on the western shore of the Sleat peninsula on Skye, overlooking Loch Eishort. A fort or dun may have been sited here prior to the construction of the castle. It stood on a prominent platform of rock measuring about 23m x 17m, the curtain wall enclosing an area of only around 300 m sq. A 5 metre deep gully isolates the rock, and the remains of two arched walls across it show that at one time a drawbridge must have spanned the divide. Only vestiges of the original building remain to give clues to the structure.<br /> <br /> Legend links Dun Sgathaich with Cù Chulainn, the Ulster folk hero. Tales relate that he came to Skye around the second century AD, to learn the skills of war from the warrior queen Sgathaich who trained men at her military school, based at the castle. Many stories surround his fantastic adventures in Sleat, including one suggesting that he built Dun Sgathaich in a night.<br /> <br /> Legend apart, the castle appears to date from the 14th century and was the residence of the MacAskills, its hereditary wardens. However like so many others, the castle was a pawn in the politics of the times. The castle passed to the MacLeods, but was raided at frequent intervals by MacDonalds until Hugh MacDonald of Sleat finally took possession, confirmed by royal charter in 1495. It was finally abandoned in the early 17th century in favour of Duntulm which became the MacDonalds main residence for a time.<br /> <br /> The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, the paintings were produced to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990. This book, republished in 2007, gives detailed descriptions of the architecture of each castle. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>