Skipness Castle

Skipness is a fantastic example of a castle of enclosure, the type built by the Norse-Gaels on Scotland’s western seaboard. The MacSweens, who also held lands on Arran, constructed a hall-house enclosed by earth and timber defences which was replaced by a stone castle around 1300. The tower was added in the 16th century when the castle was held by the Campbell Earls of Argyll.

The site has spectacular views across the water to the peaks of northern Arran, and on a clear day Lochranza Castle is visible. Skipness could observe all comings and goings by sea, yet again reinforcing the centrality of waterways to medieval life in the Isles. Its pink trim gives it a bit of flair, and nearby is Skipness Chapel which has several extraordinary finds like the richly detailed grave slabs of heavily-armed Gallowglass mercenaries.