Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Isle of Harris - Western Isles - Outer Hebrides
Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Isle of Harris - Western Isles - This lovely Scottish castle sits by the river and has played quite a part in Scottish history. The castle was built in the 1860's has quite a history. It is now owned by the residents of North Harris and Ian Scarr-Hall.
Amhuinnsuidhe is the Gaelic for sitting by the river and that's just what this luxurious castle does - it sits just by the river The castle sits about ten miles along the Huisinis road.
You actually drive straight past the beautiful castle. The river sits by the castle on its way to meeting the sea. The Castle has lovely hillside gardens and around it are 55,000 acres of Trust-owned land – designated under European legislation for its plant and bird life.
|1869 - Delivery Of Official Government Mail
The Post Office records in Stornoway show that whenever Lord de Grey ( A member of the Cabinet at that time ) was staying at Fincastle, a messenger would be sent on horseback from Stornoway twice a week to deliver official government mail down to the Castle. The postman was paid ten shillings a week and if he stayed overnight, he was entitled to a further one shilling and sixpence.
Lord Leverhulme Purchased The Castle - 1919
Sir Edward Scott had a son, Sir Samuel Scott - his wife was Lady Sophie. During their time at the Castle Lord Leverhulme purchased South Harris in May 1919. One month later he purchased the North Harris Estate, including the Castle, for the sum of £20,000. Sir Samuel retained a 15-year lease of the Castle at a nominal rent of £l a year. Lord Leverhulme was then the biggest private landowner in the kingdom.
Amhuinsuidhe Castle Auctioned
When Lord Leverhulme died in 1925, his lands and property were auctioned, The Castle at Amhuinnsuidhe, together with Ardvouilie Castle, the Harris Hotel and 6000 acres of land, fetched only £2000.
The Scotts Cairn - 1938
Sir Samuel Scott was then able to purchase back the Castle, and the North Harris Estate for around £1,500. Lady Sophie died in 1937 at only 57 years old. Sir Samuel owned the Castle until he died in 1944 - he was 64 when he died. Sir Samuel and Lady Sophie were buried in a a cairn on a hill behind the Castle. This cairn was built in 1938 by Alex Morrison of Tarbert and Alexander Mackay of Amhuinnsuidhe. It was built with four burial chambers, but only two of these were used.
Around it are picturesque steep hills sea cliffs, white sand beaches and turquoise seas, remote glens and lochs.
Built in the 1860's for the Earl of Dunmore. You drive through its grounds, through a set of large gates, past cannons situated to look out to see on your left, and past the huge front doors on your right. The Castle has its own hillside gardens and is surrounded by 55,000 acres of Trust-owned land.
Surrounded By Lovely gardens and steep hills
The Amhuinnsuidhe Castle is surrounded by lovely gardens. To the front of the grounds as you drive past you can see the walls with the cannons still in place pointing out to sea. The castle nowadays provides accommodation and offers fly fishing,deer stalking, sea fishing, clay pigeon shooting and nature trails. The castle arranges functions such as team building events and also hosts weddings.
The Castle - Isle of Harris
The Castle was named Originally Fincastle 1867
The 7th Earl of Dunmore built the castle in 1867 and was originally called Fincastle. Fincastle was the
courtesy title (Viscount Fincastle) of the first sons of the Earls of Dunmore. The Castle name was changed much later on to be "Amhuinnsuidhe Castle". It was designed in Scottish Baronial style by the architect David Bryce and for the earl.
Rumoured to be Not Good Enough for the Earls Wife
Rumour has it that when it was completed and he showed his wife Getrude the castle his pride was to be severely dented as she said that "this castle isn't as big as a hen house or even a as big as a stable at my fathers house". The effect that this remark had on the earl was that he then built a further wing onto the Castle. However this might have been his undoing as shortly afterwards he faced bankruptcy and even before the wing was was completed, he went into liquidation
Castles Sad Demise - Bankers Took Over The Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - 1868
In 1868 the earls bankers took over the castle - headed by Sir Edward Scott - they took over the entire North Harris Estate. Rumour has it that that they took over the Castle and the North Harris Estate in lieu of debts owed to them by Lord Dunmore. How awful to think that no Dunmore ever actually lived in the Castle.
The Scotts - Successors of the Castle
Sir Edward and Lady Emily Scott and other Scotts were successors of the castle and indeed throughout their time they seem to have made quite a success of the cattle. House guest were non paying and as the Scotts were very generous, any game or fish left over from their sporting activities were given out to the locals
Scenery - The Castle Grounds
The Regal front door of The Castle
Waters at Amhuinnsuidhe Grounds
1997 - Hello Magazine did a photo shoot
Hello! magazine turned up for the photo shoot in 1997 and the Bulmers now had children and a pretty "family" picture was portrayed
The Castle was still rented to sporting parties but they also made one wing of the Castle into a family home for themselves and their children, who attended the local school.
Lady Marcia it has been said had grown close to a 25-year-old trainee doctor Charles Cossart, who had worked at Amhuinnsuidhe Castle before transferring to the North Uist estate now owned by her brother Fergus, the new Earl Granville. In February 1997 Charles was found dead with a shotgun by his side. Persistent speculation on North Uist suggested he was driven to suicide by his love for Lady Marcia although Charles' father always maintained that although there was indeed a great friendship between the families - there was never anything else going on.
1998 Lady Marcia Moves Out of the Castle
It is said that Lady Marcia was really distraught over Charles death and at any event in 1998 she moved out of Amhuinnsuidhe castle and took her four children to live in an old schoolhouse on North Uist which her brother had bought for her. (Another sad demise for the castle)
Bulmer was so unhappy and filled with grief and when he could convince her to return he unfortunately sank into alcohol and depression for a period although he did manage to come out of this depression eventually
A cannon in the Castle Grounds
1944 - Sir Tommy Sopwith Owns the Castle
In 1944 Sir Tommy Sopwith and his wife, Lady Phyllis bought the castle & the estate for around £40,000. Sir Tommy was an aeronautical tycoon. By now there was a reasonable road past the Castle, and most supplies were brought in by road rather than by boat. Sir Tommy sold the Estate in 1961. At the great age of 100 he decided to visit the estate and castle to pay his respects and he died a year later - no doubt a happy man for having seen it all again
1961 Major Potter Milller-Mundy - Captain Lowndy
This time the North Harris Estate was bought for £80,000 by major Potter Miller - Mundy and Captain Lowndy, this was the first time that the castle and estate were used for commercial purposes, guests paying to stay at the castle and hunt and fish
1968 Sir Hereward and Ladwake purchase the Castle
In 1968, the Estate was bought by Sir Hereward and Ladwake for £120,000. They also ran it as a commercial enterprise, letting the Castle, the fishing and the shooting. They tried to have the main road re-routed behind the Castle. The West Highland Free Press forced this scheme to be abandoned and the road was left where you still say it today. It 's quite unusual that vehicles have to actually drive through the grounds in order to proceed on their journey either to or from Huisinis
1976 Gerald Panchaud buys the Estate
Gerald Panchaud a businessman from Switzerland and his wife purchased the estate next in 1976. . After his death, his wife ran the estate for a while but then sold it two years later. When she sold
the estate, she kept ownership of an area of land, together with the mineral rights, on the shores of Loch Seaforth
1994 Sir John Bulmer Purchases Castle & Estate
In 1994, the North Harris Estate was purchased by Jonathon Bulmer and his wife. Mr Bulmer, a major shareholder in the family cider company. Lady Marcia who was the countess and late Earl Granville from North Uist a cousin of the queen. Her father owned much of the land in North Uist. The two biggest landowners for miles, suddenly one big, very powerful family
This lady was infact the lady who is said to have broken Prince Andrews heart. However Prince Andrew went on to marry Sarah Ferguson in the same year as the Lady Marcia married John Bulmer.
Single Track Rd that Passes The Castle
Amhuinnsuidhe Coastal View
Hebridean Sheep near The Castle
Regal Amhuinnsuidhe Castle
The Grand Arch Seen From Huisinis Direction
Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Isle of Harris
Castle Cook - TV Programme and Book - Rosemary Shrager
During the Bulmers stay at the Castle, they would hold musical evenings, with musicians being brought in from many parts of the country. They invited local people to enjoy these musical evenings.
Cookery classes were offered for paying guests and later the castle cook. Rosemary Shrager went on to host a popular television series called 'Castle Cook'.
She was Head Chef at the castle from 1998 till 2002 and enjoyed the Cookery TV programmes. In 2000, TV production company Wall to Wall filmed six students taking part in one of Rosemary's cookery courses. The six part series, Rosemary - Castle Cook was broadcast on Channel 5 in January 2001. She published her first book, Rosemary - Castle Cook in 2001 and enjoyed well earned fame.
Black Hebridean Sheep
In the summer, the black hebridean sheep can be seen wandering freely through the wild irises & around the surrounding estate.
These sheep are a breed of small black sheep - formerly they were called 'St Kilda sheep' - though they didn't actually originate from there.
This breed of sheep - became rare as they were gradually replaced with modern breeds - a few survived and they are now no longer such rare animals.
Wild Yellow Flag Irises & Orange Montbretia
The summertime around Amhuinnsuidhe is just such a picturesque scene, with all the lovely wildflowers, the sunny bright yellow wild flag irises, being in full bloom and the bright orange red of the Montbretia that creates such swathes of colour in this are of The Isle of Harris
2003 Residents of North Harris along with Ian Scarr-Hall Purchase the Estate
The castle, overlooking the Castaway island of Taransay, attracted foreign interest, and prompted politicians in the Scottish Parliament to suggest a community buy-out
The 55,000 acre North Harris Estate was purchased for the sum of £4.5 million in a joint bid by the residents of North Harris and a businessman, Ian Scarr-Hall. As well as the land, the residents bought the mineral and shooting rights.
The shooting rights were then leased back to Mr Scarr-Hall.
He paid an estimated £2 million for the castle and the attendant fishing rights. Mr Scarr-Hall works with the community and also runs the Castle as a residential sporting and corporate business estate. This deal was acknowledged as Scotland's biggest friendly buy-out
The Castle as Seen From the Huisinis to Harris Direction
Balallan, this now peaceful village was the centre in 1887 of fight (all be it peaceful) that took place as the crofters fought to keep their crofts as land owners wanted to convert many many acres of sheep land into sporting deer parks .......
The Iron Age Broch at Carloway in The Western Isles a stunning example of a broch. The broch was a structure built as a means of defence. The Carloway broch was probably built for either a tribal leader or at least for a really important member of the community......
The Bridge to Nowhere - Isle of Lewis - Western Isles - Outer Hebrides. The bridge to nowhere at Garry. The road after the bridge was meant to run from Tolsta - to Ness. The Bridge was so named because today the bridge does actually lead nowhere at all - once over the bridge - there is just a "kind of rough path" which runs a mile or so along the clifftops petering out to the moorland........
Amhuinnsuidhe Castle - Harris