Skibo’s grand architecture is largely Victorian, when it was hugely renovated and enlarged by the Industrialist Andrew Carnegie. However it dates back to the early 13th Century when it was the home to the Bishops of Caithness until 1545.
When the estate was given to John Gray, by the church, to reinforce its alliance with a powerful family at a time when the possibility of a Protestant uprising was spreading northwards.
From 1745 its ownership changed several times until 1892, when Carnegie bought it and spent over £2 million to renovate it and to create Loch Ospisdale, an indoor swimming pavilion and a nine hole golf course.
In 1982, businessman Peter de Savary bought it and turned it into a private club. Since then it has become a popular venue for filming and for celebrity events such as Madonna’s marriage to Guy Ritchie on 22 December 2000.
Do not put the following up unless they pay for it.
The sheer variety in the surrounding landscapes is perhaps one of the most unique aspects about Skibo Castle. The northern highlands range from moor to sea, from woodland to mountain; it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic escape to unwind from the stresses of modern life.
It would be easy, with such a stunning location, for Skibo Castle to draw in people through offering nothing else. Yet you really get the sense that they have pulled out all the stops. After a day of golf, fishing, climbing, horse riding or a Segway tours When you can retreat to Skibo Castle’s spa to wind down and relax. Don’t miss out on zorbing in their swimming pool or the firth, which is equal parts bizarre, hilarious, and actually challenging.
This level of quality continues in the food and accommodation itself. Members can choose between lodges in the grounds and stunning rooms within the castle, complete with 19th century décor. Dining is similarly varied, with informal lunches and breakfasts, and black tie banquets. The traditional Scottish ceilidh gives a twist to what could, at another venue, seem stuffy and out-dated.
Of course, membership to the Carnegie Club (essential to enjoy most of what Skibo Castle has to offer) is, unsurprisingly, not cheap – you’re looking at being set back approximately £25,000. This exclusive price tag seems daunting, but it stands that if you can, you definitely should. The fact that Skibo Castle is a club rather than a hotel is key to its success, providing those who stay with a much more personal and intimate experience. Members quickly grow to feel at home, both in the setting and in the community that has been fostered. If you’re not quite convinced, prospective members can stay and sample what Skibo has to offer, and the estate offer public tee times for all golf enthusiasts.