Achmelvich has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Most people are usually too distracted by its white sand and green water to further explore its shores. Sadly, the vast majority of visitors to Achmelvich will leave the area completely oblivious to the fact that they just missed out on seeing the smallest castle in Scotland, Hermit’s castle.
It is quite easy to miss the diminutive castle as it is well camouflaged by the rocky coastline. However, with persistence and a keen eye it is possible to find! The tiny fortress is built cleverly into the rocks on the peninsula just behind the caravan site. The grey concrete is almost identical in colour to the rocks and stones around it. As a result it feels very much like it belongs with its surroundings. In fact it’s hard to imagine it not ever being there.
The World’s Smallest Castle?
Hermit’s Castle is described as Europe’s smallest castle and may even be the smallest castle in the world. It is a very unusual building in many ways. Firstly it is miniature in size. Secondly it is probably the newest castle in Scotland as it was built as recently as 1950. Thirdly, despite its name, its not really a castle at all!
As mentioned above, Hermit’s castle isn’t a castle in the true sense of the word, however, its aesthetic certainly gives the impression of a tiny coastal fortress. A more appropriate description of Hermit’s Castle would probably be a concrete bothy. Regardless of its actual designation it is a really cool little building to explore, and if you have kids they will absolutely love it!
We found Hermit’s Castle on the buildings at risk register where it is described as an in-situ poured concrete folly. It has a very similar resemblance to a pill-box or military defence structure, built to blend into surrounding rocks. Due to its appearance it manages to evade the attention of many a visitor.
The mystery of the build
It remains somewhat of a mystery as to why it was built in the first place, but here is what we do know. An English architect named David Scott constructed Hermit’s Castle. He is said to have wanted to escape the stresses of everyday life and to live somewhere beautiful and quiet. We do not blame him!
He single-handedly built Hermit’s Castle in 6 months. The strange thing is that he left soon after the building was complete. No one is sure why he left in such a hurry. One theory is that he did not get the necessary planning permission for the build. Regardless, it is a strange end to his association with Hermit’s Castle.
Hermit’s Castle Inside and Out
As mentioned before, the outside of the concrete bothy resembles a tiny concrete fortress. You can scramble onto the top of the structure for great views across the water. Getting your picture next to the castle makes you feel like a giant stumbling upon a new land. Gulliver eat your heart out!
The entrance into Hermit’s Castle is tall and narrow. The inside of the tiny structure consists of one single room with a bed platform, hearth, storage shelves, chimney, and tiny windows. It is not wider or taller than 2 metres. The glass window and door have been removed and the inside is graffitied but clean. The castle is now sometimes used as a bothy, although it looks like it would be a tight squeeze!
How to find Hermit’s Castle
Hermit’s Castle is located a 10-minute walk from the caravan park at Achmelvich. We had fun searching and scouring the rocky peninsula trying to find the tiny castle. It camouflages well into the rocky backdrop, however this just makes it more fun to find. Searching for the castle is a great way to spend an hour with your kids (or like us kid free). A treasure hunt with a real castle at the end of it!
The map below will help you locate it. The red pin drop is where Hermit’s castle is located.
Achmelvich is an incredible area to stop and spend some time. Explore the white sandy beaches, walk bare foot along the refreshing crystal-clear waters, admire the breath-taking views towards the mighty Suilven, and search for the mysterious miniature castle. We cannot think of a better way to spend an afternoon!
Enjoy this wonderful place and let us know how your search for Hermit’s castle goes.
For more ideas for your NC500 road trip click here.
Remember wherever you go to take only pictures and leave only footprints to help protect Scotland’s beauty for all who live here and visit!
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