Dunscaith Castle

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In Scotland, you can make a life mission or a personal goal to visit all the castles and ruins over the land. They are heavily sprinkled across the country. As old the glens and the lochs are, there isn’t much left of these forgotten fortresses. What’s left are piles of stones crumbling under the weight of time. Nonetheless what holds them alive are the stories they carry.

What is peculiar with this ruin , the Dunscaith Castle translates to Fortress of Shadows or Castle of Shadows. The fort is told in the Celtic mythology and it was named after a Scottish warrior woman. Her name was Dun Scathiag,  the “Warrior Maiden” or “The Shadow”, and was portrayed as a martial arts teacher in the Irish legends.

The name Isle of Skye may even have derived from this legendary warrior-queen. The Irish word Scathach translate to Shadows. The Isle of Skye is also known as “Land of the Shadows”. Later on in the Irish mythology, the abbreviation of the word Scathi (Scotti), may also have influenced the country’s present name, Scotland. However, etymologists aren’t still clear on what the Isle of Skye gaelic name translate to in english.

The fort originally belonged to the Macdonald’s clan. Then it is was taken by the Macleod and thereafter held by the MacAskills. Which lead to….a clash of clans…A century later, the Macdonald manage to reclaim the fortress. Unfortunaly, in the early 17th century, the clan abandoned the castle at the start of the Jacobite Rising.

To have access to the ruined castle, you need to start on Tokaivag Bay. The short hike offers views of the Cullin and Suisnish shores. A nice trail by the coastline.

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Wether these folklores may be true or not, the many ruins of Scotland are sights to be admired with a respect for the land. There’s isn’t one I remember without feeling little prick to the heart.

 

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