Skibo Castle – Dornoch, Highlands, Scotland

Heaven on Earth, the Carnegie Club

Awaken to the sound of a strolling bagpipe player beneath your window, the same wake-up call that roused King Edward III, Rudyard Kipling, the Rockefellers, and Madonna on her wedding day. So begins an enchanting day at Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle, originally christened Schytherbolle in the 10th century by Celtic inhabitants, who believed it to be a gift from Gaelic fairies.

When Carnegie returned to his homeland after making his millions in America as one of the world’s most successful industrialists, he was so taken by this stunning site, he called it “heaven on earth.” Carnegie would spend a stunning amount to build a baronial mansion on the ruins of the crumbling castle, creating a singularly magnificent “home at last.”

Recently purchased by an American entre­preneur, Skibo now opens its baronial doors to privileged club members and to outside guests who can live like steel tycoons in a nos­talgic ambience of authentic 19th-century fur­nishings, a gracious tartan-kilted staff, and such amusing traditions as being led into the enormous candlelit dining hall by a lone piper in full dress. The estate’s 7,500 acres teem with game and wild fowl, and there’s a private, award-winning 18-hole waterfront golf course.

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