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TITLE
Caistel Uisdean
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_PRINT_008
PLACENAME
Cuidrach, Earlish
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Snizort
DATE OF IMAGE
1995
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
David L. Roberts
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13204
KEYWORDS
castles
ruin
MacDonalds
reconstruction
Caisteal Uisdean
Caistel Uisdean

This watercolour recreation by David L. Roberts shows Caisteal Uisdean as it appeared around 1620, based on the lower extant walls, and with the entrance staircase and upper floors conjectural.

Hugh's Castle was the last of the castles of this period built on Skye, and one of the least sophisticated. The sturdy, rectangular tower sits close to a cliff edge at South Cuidrach a few miles north of Portree, looking across the entrance to Loch Snizort Beag. The 2 metre thick walls of the lowest basement floor, with only two narrow loopholes giving light, show that the tower measured around 15m by 10m. To discourage attackers, access seems to have been by way of a wooden outer staircase to an upper entrance on the first floor. The two upper floors had more substantial windows.

Caisteal Uisdean stands now as a monument to one of Skye's more infamous characters, Uisdean MacGhilleasbuig Chlerich, nephew of Donald Gorm MacDonald, 5th Chief of Sleat. Even for these turbulent times, he had a reputation for violence and treachery, including piracy and murder. Although successful enough to build Caisteal Uisdean for himself, his lawless existence finally caught up with him when a plot to murder his chief and assume control backfired. He planned to massacre senior members of the clan at celebrations to mark the completion of his newly constructed castle, but the plot was uncovered and Uisdean consigned to the dungeon at Duntulm. As punishment for his decades of wickedness, the story goes that he was fed salted beef but given no water, and he died in thirst-induced madness.

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 Dualchas, the local Museums Service, with reconstruction paintings of historical buildings. 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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Caistel Uisdean

INVERNESS: Snizort

1990s

castles; ruin; MacDonalds; reconstruction; Caisteal Uisdean

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David L. Roberts' Prints and Drawings

This watercolour recreation by David L. Roberts shows Caisteal Uisdean as it appeared around 1620, based on the lower extant walls, and with the entrance staircase and upper floors conjectural.<br /> <br /> Hugh's Castle was the last of the castles of this period built on Skye, and one of the least sophisticated. The sturdy, rectangular tower sits close to a cliff edge at South Cuidrach a few miles north of Portree, looking across the entrance to Loch Snizort Beag. The 2 metre thick walls of the lowest basement floor, with only two narrow loopholes giving light, show that the tower measured around 15m by 10m. To discourage attackers, access seems to have been by way of a wooden outer staircase to an upper entrance on the first floor. The two upper floors had more substantial windows.<br /> <br /> Caisteal Uisdean stands now as a monument to one of Skye's more infamous characters, Uisdean MacGhilleasbuig Chlerich, nephew of Donald Gorm MacDonald, 5th Chief of Sleat. Even for these turbulent times, he had a reputation for violence and treachery, including piracy and murder. Although successful enough to build Caisteal Uisdean for himself, his lawless existence finally caught up with him when a plot to murder his chief and assume control backfired. He planned to massacre senior members of the clan at celebrations to mark the completion of his newly constructed castle, but the plot was uncovered and Uisdean consigned to the dungeon at Duntulm. As punishment for his decades of wickedness, the story goes that he was fed salted beef but given no water, and he died in thirst-induced madness.<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 Dualchas, the local Museums Service, with reconstruction paintings of historical buildings. 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>