Scheduled Monument

Duntulm CastleSM5307

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Secular: castle
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NG 40997 74341
140997, 874341


The monument consists of the remains of a courtyard castle,built in the 14th-15th centuries but with subsequent additions. The landward side of the Castle, which is situated on a cliffed promontory, is protected by a man made ditch crossed by a later causeway.

Substantial sections of the courtyard wall survive to a thickness of 2m, showing 16th century modifications in response to changes in the design of artillery fortifications. The only surviving entrance is the sea gate, in the N curtain wall. The dominating feature of the Castle was the tower which provided the main residential

accommodation for the MacDonald chiefs and their retinue.

This was 4 storeys high. One wall of this survived to parapet level until the late 19th century. The lower orders of a later bartizan tower, of later date, also survived until this date. All that now survives of these elements is a vaulted basement kitchen. An additional tower was built, possibly in the 16th century, abutting the N face of the earlier and larger tower. It was probably 3 storeys high and communicated directly with the larger tower.

The upper part of this tower collapsed in 1990. The most recent building within the courtyard was built in the NW corner during the 17th century. Evidence of doorways in W and E walls, a window in the N gable and joist holes along the W wall survive. There may have been other buildings within the courtyard, although no remains are visible.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in plan, 80m N-S by 90m E-W, defined to the N by the mean high water mark of the shore, to include the castle, the outer ditch and causeway and the surrounding slopes, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a fine example of a 14th-15th century courtyard castle, subsequently modified to take account of changing social and defensive requirements. Although mow ruinous it must have been a fitting residence for the MacDonalds of Sleat. It is a rare survival in NW Scotland and has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of Scottish buildings where domestic and defensive considerations have combined to determine both plan and design.



RCAHMS records the monument as NG 47 SW 1.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to Duntulm Castle

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 26/05/2024 22:18