Carbisdale Castle was built by the Duchess of Sutherland and is now used as a youth hostel, operated by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association. It is located on a hill above the River Kyle in the region of Sutherland in the Highlands. The closest towns are Culrain, Invershin, Lairg, Ardgay and Bonar Bridge.
The castle was built between 1905 and 1917 for the Duchess of Sutherland. Mary Caroline Mitchell second marriage in 1889 to George Granville William Sutherland Levenson-Gower, 3rd Duke and 18th Earl of Sutherland, made her the Duchess. She is better known of "Duchess Blair" because of her first marriage to Captain Arthur Kindersely Blair of the 71st Highland Light Infantry who died in an hunting accident in 1883 near Pitlochry.
The marriage was not well liked in the Sutherland family. When the Duke died in 1892 his will, well in favor of the Duchess, was contested by his son and heir. In a court process that followed the Duchess was found guilty of destroying documents and was put to prison for six weeks in London.
Eventually, the Sutherland family came to an agreement giving the Duchess Blair a substantial financial settlement. Furthermore the family agreed to built a castle for the Duchess, as long as it was outside of the Sutherland lands. The Duchess employed a firm of Ayrshire builders and work started 1906 just outside the Sutherland lands in Ross-shire.
Colonel Theodore Salvesen, a wealthy Scottish businessman of Norwegian extraction, bought the castle in 1933. He provided the castle for a safe refuge for King Haakon VII of Norway and Crown Prince Olav, who would later become King Olav V, during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. During that time the castle was also used to held important meetings.
King Haakon VII made an agreement at the Carbisdale Conference on the June 22, 1941, that the Russian forces, should they enter Norwegian territory, would not stay there after the war. Three years later, on the October 25, 1944, the Red Army entered Norway and captured thirty towns, but later withdrew in term of the agreement.
After the Colonel died his son Captain Harold Salvesen inherited the castle, who gifted it its contents and estate to the Scottish Youth Hostel Association. Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel opened to member on June 2, 1945 and is still serving this purpose.
Features and facts
- The castle has 365 windows, one for each day of the year.
- The clock_tower only has clocks on 3 sides. The side facing Sutherland does not have a clock.
- There is a secret door below the Great Staircase which could be opened by rotating one of the statues. This mechanism is not in use anymore.
- There castle is said to have several ghost. It has been investigated by paranormal experts with varying results. The appearances include a lady in white, fallen soldies of the Battle of Carbisdale and sounds of a piper.
- The Castle has a large collection of art with some dating back to the year 1680.
- There are 19 Italien marbe statues in the Lower Gallery of amazing beauty, dating to around 1857.
- Hostel information and pictures (http://www.carbisdale.co.uk/)