Dunscaith Castle, Tarksavaig
Tarskavaig, Scotland • United Kingdom
Tarskavaig, Isle of Skye: On the headland on the far side of the bay are the ruins of Dun Sgathaich, or Dunscaith Castle. Dating back to the 1300s this is thought to be the oldest standing castle on Skye: though not much of it is actually still standing. The castle was originally built for the MacAskills, but it passed quite early in its life to the MacLeods.
The MacDonalds tried and failed to capture the castle in 1395 and 1401 before succeeding a few years later. More sieges followed in 1431 when James I captured the castle, and in 1515, when the MacLeods failed to do so. It was eventually abandoned by the MacDonalds in 1618 in favour of more modern accommodation elsewhere on Skye.
The pre-history of the castle is still more interesting. It was said to have been built in a single night with the help of a witch. This headland was also said to have been the location for the legendary "School for Heroes" run by the Celtic warrior queen, Scáthach, whose name is reflected in that of the castle. This is where, it is said, the Irish hero Cúchulainn learned the art of war. His name lives on in that of the Cuillins.