Visitors driving to the Isle of Skye along the A87 have the opportunity to see one of Scotland’s most famous attractions the beautiful and isolated Eilean Donan Castle. It is located in the western highlands of Scotland about an equal distance between Fort William and Inverness. Eilean Donan Castle is a tidal island at the point where Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh meet and is believed to have got its name from ‘Saint Donnán of Eigg’ a Gaelic Priest most likely born in Ireland who tried to introduce Christianity to the ‘Picts’, a tribal confederation of people who lived in what is today Eastern and Northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age. In 1331 Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray and Regent of Scotland sent an officer to the island to warn the occupants of his pending visit and in preparation 50 wrongdoers were rounded up and massacred, their heads displayed on the castle walls. Thomas Randolph is recorded as having close links to Robert the Bruce, one of the most famous warriors of his time, leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent nation, and is today remembered in Scotland as a National Hero.
The island is dominated by the Castle, its history dating back to the 13th Century when a large curtain-wall fortress was constructed that surrounded most of the island.
Over the centuries, the island has witnessed the battles of many Scottish Clans dating from 1427 in the rein of James 1 (King of Scotland) to 1602 when Eilean Donan was the scene of a sea skirmish during which the MacDonalds were driven on to the Cailleach Rock at the Eastern tip of Skye and Angus, the son of MacDonald of Glengarry was killed.
The Castle has gone through many changes from the earliest fortifications of the 13th Century to its destruction in 1719, and its reconstruction in the 20th Century.
The island has been the location for many film and TV programmes such as, Bonnie Prince Charlie, The Master of Ballantrae, The New Avengers, Highlander and James Bond – ‘The World is Not Enough’.
Visitors to the Castle can see period furniture, fine art, Jacobean artefacts and weaponry.
Eilean Donan Castle is steeped in history, it’s an island of great battles, Gaelic charm, a modern-day setting for TV and Film productions as well as a sanctuary for wildlife and marine creatures. One visit will leave visitors wanting to return again and again to this place of beauty.
Lt.Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap purchased the island and the original ruin in 1919. It has been extensively restored over the decades. In 1983 the MacRae family established a charitable trust dedicated to the preservation of Eilean Donan Castle for future generations.
Eilean Donan is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Spanish mercenary who was killed in the 1719 battle for the castle. After a considerable naval bombardment, the attacking English forces captured the castle and then demolished large sections using gunpowder.
There have been repeated rumours and sightings of a large animal in the waters of loch Duich similar to the descriptions of the sea serpent Morgawr. Local ‘urban legend’ has it that a very clear film of this creature is said to exist but has been kept in a secret vault and never fully released to the public.
Sailors used to believe that the island now occupied by the castle was once the home of mermaids who occasionally visit it to see if they can return. There are many stories and legends of seal-maidens and mermaids in the region.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A832 (Rd), Poolewe, Achnasheen
Highlands, Scotland, IV22 2LF
+44 (0)1445 781 249
- Address: A87, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Inverness-shireScotland, United Kingdom, IV40 8DX
- GPS: 57.27396667,-5.51615
- Phone: 0044 (0)1599 555 202
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: IV40 8DT
- Entrance Fees: Access fees apply
- Disabled Access: Limited due to a large number of steps and narrow access ways
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: