Carbisdale Castle was built between 1906 and 1917 for Mary Caroline Mitchell, the Dowager Countess of
Sutherland. Better known as 'Duchess Blair' on account of her first marriage to Captain Arthur Kindersely
Blair, she became the second wife of George Granville William Sutherland Levenson-Gower, the 3rd Duke and
18th Earl of Sutherland in 1889.
When the Duke died in 1892 his will in favour of the Duchess was bitterly contested by his son. During the
legal process that followed the Duchess was found guilty of destroying important documents and was sentenced
to six weeks in Holloway Prison.
A financial settlement was finally reached which included an agreement that the Sutherland family would
build her a new home outside the Sutherland estate. At the time the location was in Ross-shire, although it
is now within Sutherland. Its location on a hillside means that it can see and be seen from Sutherland,
particularly by the Sutherland family as they travelled along the nearby railway line to and from their
estates. Indeed, as the 4th Duke's private train passed the castle the carriage blinds would be pulled down.
The castle is known as "the Castle of Spite", mainly because of its location, but also because it was built
with one more room than Dunrobin Castle, the seat of the Sutherland family. It also has a clock tower with a
face on just three sides. The fourth side - the one facing Sutherland - is blank!
Carbisdale was purchased in 1933 by the Norwegian Salvesen family and during the Second World War was used
as a refuge for the Norwegian royal family. In 1945 Captain Harold Salvesen gifted the castle to the
Scottish Youth Hostel Association and it remains a youth hostel - a particularly grand one - to this day.
The castle is said to be haunted by several ghosts. It contains a large art collection dating back to the
seventeenth century. This collection includes 19 marble statues located in the lower gallery.