Skipness Castle dates back to the 13th century, when it was built in the style of a courtyard surrounding a keep. It was probably built in stone from the very beginning and there are no signs of any earthworks. It's position overlooks the crossing to the Isle of Arran.
The likely builders are the MacSweens of Sween Castle on the other side of Kintyre. It was strengthened to defend against the Vikings who were causing havoc in this part of Scotland in the late 1200s.
The Castle passed to the MacDonald Lords of the Isles and they probably rebuilt it adding the typical Scottish towerhouse where the keep once stood, probably doing a conversion of the original. James IV mounted a campaign to divest the Lords of the Isles of their power and this culminated in them losing most of their properties, including Skipness Castle, in 1493. The Castle was unsuccessfully besieged by Alasdair MacDonald in the 1640s, the only real action seen at Skipness.
The Castle was abandoned late in the 17th century and became used as farm buildings. Today it is owned by Historic Scotland and is well worth a visit in its pretty setting whilst waiting for the ferry across to Arran.
Back to Castles of Scotland Page
© Text copyright - Raving Loony Productions and Andrew J. Müller
© Photos and Artwork - Andrew J. Müller
© Web Design and Layout - Andrew J. Müller