Caisteal Chamuis (Knock Castle)

Castle in Isle of Skye

Knock Castle, Isle Of Skye
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Nealwhitehousepiper

Knock Castle is a former stronghold of the MacDonalds. The castle is also known as Caisteal Uaine or Caisteal Camus. It lies on the east coast of Sleat, approximately five miles (8.0 km) north of Armadale on the Isle of Skye, south of Cnoc Uaine, on the eastern side of Knock Bay. Currently the castle is in ruins; it consists of an old 15th century keep of which one part, a window, remains to some height with traces of later buildings. The site now occupied by the castle was originally the site of an Iron Age fort, Dun Thoravaig.

The castle was constructed by the Clan MacLeod in the 1300s and it together with most of the Sleat peninsula was captured by the Clan MacDonald in the late 15th century. In 1431 the castle was captured by the forces of James I who was seeking to impose his authority on the Lords of the Isles. Ownership of the castle then passed between the two clans several times. It was remodelled in 1596 by the MacDonalds. By 1689 the castle was abandoned and started to decay. Most of the stones were then used for nearby buildings.

Legend of Knock Castle

It is claimed by tradition that the castle is haunted by a Green Lady or glaistig – a ghost associated with the fortunes of the family who occupy the castle. The ghost will appear happy if good news is to come; if there is bad news she will weep. The castle is also said to have had a gruagach, a spirit which is said to have a particular concern with caring for the livestock.

Visiting Knock Castle

There are no signposts directing the visitor to Knock Castle, but it is accessible on foot.  There is a private road just off the A851 that leads down toward the Torabhaig Distillery. Just before the entrance to the distillery is a road/trail that leads to the right, around the distillery.  You should find a small wooden picket gate covered with lichen on the other side of the gate is a faint trail that will eventually lead across a river to the castle.

The castle is in a state of heavy decay and is not maintained. Travelers are advised to proceed at their own risk, as the old masonry work can be unstable. The castle itself is surrounded on three sides by a very steep cliff, and footing can be slippery during rains.

The Caisteal Chamuis (Knock Castle) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Isle of Skye!

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Visiting Caisteal Chamuis (Knock Castle)

Duration: 20 minutes

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