Up on the roof………   9 comments

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at the Visitor Centre when people are buying admission tickets is “Can we get up onto the roof?”

Unfortunately, we always have to answer in the negative, as access to this part of the castle can only be made via a very small spiral staircase which is really unsuitable for large numbers of people. Then, once you actually get to the top of this staircase, the walkways around the roof are extremely narrow. The prospect of taking people up there would keep about 10 Health & Safety Officers in employment for about a month!

So I thought I’d pop up there today, take a few photos, and try and give you at least some impression of what it’s like. It goes without saying that the views are magical, especially on a clear day, and I’m hoping that at some point in the future we might be able to venture up there with small groups of 8-10 people, but that’s something for the future!

Narrow access on the rooftop walkways.

With a bit of care, it is possible to move around the entire castle roof and enjoy the 360 degree panorama. Facing directly East, you get a view of the bridge and the Visitor Centre.

Facing East

Turning slightly towards the North, you get a view of Dornie village and Dornie Bridge. (I was going to do the North, South, East, West thing, but the North view is of Ben Conchra, which is a bit dull really, and the Westerly view doesn’t translate well into a photo.)

Dornie Village

Moving round the walkway, and facing North Westerly gives you a view straight down Loch Alsh towards Skye and the Cuillins.

Loch Alsh to the Cuillins of Skye

From this point, you have to double back on yourself and move round to the South side of the main Keep, as the route is blocked by a small turret. On the opposite side, you look straight down Loch Duich towards the Five sisters of Kintail.

Looking down Loch Duich

The light was so flat that I couldn’t get a decent shot facing West, so I’ll save that for another day, but instead I took a shot of the sea wall from above and the West Guard Tower, a slightly different perspective to the norm.

Westerly Sea Wall

The West Guard Tower

Now at this point, there’s only one way to go, and that’s UP!  At the western gable end of the main keep, right at the very top of the castle is something called “The Crows Nest” which can only be reached by a rather precarious and exposed climb up some open steps. In years gone by, it would have been a fabulous lookout point for advance warning of any invading Viking longboats,offering clear and all round views, but in 5 years of working at the castle, I have yet to summon the courage to go up there. I think I could handle the upward journey, but the potential for injury on the way back down is considerable if you were to slip on the mossy steps. I WILL get up there eventually!

The Crows Nest

The only permanent resident of the roof-top area is our plastic peregrine falcon. We have a terrible problem with swallows nesting in a variety of locations around the castle, and from time to time they actually manage to get inside, tripping alarms in the process. To keep them at bay, we placed this plastic bird on the roof, and it seems to have done the trick! It’s quite lifelike, and the seagulls and crows aren’t too happy about it, and can often be observed noisily dive-bombing the thing!

Our Swallow defender!

We were starting to get quite busy by this point, so I quickly rattled off a few more shots, some of which you can see below. Hope you enjoy.

The Great Well

The Inner Courtyard

The family apartments

The remains of the North tower

Dornie Bridge

Rooftop Walkway


Posted July 20, 2010 by eileandonan in Miscellaneous

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9 responses to “Up on the roof………

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  1. Wow! Great photos. U can see our house if a few of the pics!! Well dun Mr Cameraman!!! U have sum head for heights!!

  2. Once again, a great blog. Thank you so much for this insider’s view of “my” castle! Love the pictures!!!! The sea wall and inner courtyard are where I could spend the rest of my days and be completely happy!

  3. Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness in sharing these fab photos. I can’t help but think about the painting of the MacRaes dancing on the roof before the 1st Jacobite uprising. The rooftop may be different, but the views from 300 years ago are likely near the same. It is like a blast through time. I feel blessed for having received it.
    “DJ” another scattered child of Kintail.

  4. Fabulous photos. I’m bookmarking this page for a reference. What exactly are the family apartments? Are those for the caretakers of the castle?

    • Hi Diana, although the MacRae family that own the castle do not live here permanently, they still come to stay on a regular basis. When they do so, they use their private apartments as depicted in the photograph.

  5. Thank you for your time.

  6. Wonderful blog entry, thoroughly interesting and captivating and great shots to boot!

    Anne-Marie McCarthy
  7. some gorgeous views around the heights of the castle !!! Are you sure you’re a castle-keeper & NOT a photographer?? lol Great job!! Love when I get to see areas of the castle that are closed to the public!

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