Past & Present


Amhuinnsuidhe castle.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Estate

This privately owned castle was commissioned in 1864 for the 7th Earl of Dunmore, Charles Murray, when he was in his early 20s. The Dunmores were following a fashion set by Queen Victoria in the 1850s, when the royal family built Balmoral Castle as a late summer and autumn residence. Here, at what was to be called Fincastle, aristocratic guests would be able to enjoy river salmon fishing as well as deer stalking across the hills of North Harris.

However, the friends of the Earl of Dunmore didn't benefit from his extravagance by the seashore of Loch Leosabhaigh. Recently married, he brought his new wife north to review his island of Harris. She was only 20, a daughter of the Earl of Leicester, and it is said that she was not impressed with their new baronial mansion. Perhaps that was just as well, because debts forced her young husband to part with the North Harris estate and its newly built castle just a year later, in 1868.

By Jill Harden

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