Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Portencross Castle - Weathering the Storms

Portencross is a massive sea girt castle of the 14th century situated on the coast by Ardrossan in Ayrshire. It stands to full height and is vaulted at both ground and roof levels. The entrance was on the first floor though it is now entered at ground level through an inserted door.

Portencross entrance
Portencross Castle's front entrance

Portencross stood as ruin from 1739 when it was unroofed in a violent storm. An A-listed building, it was acquired on the 22nd of December 2005 by a local trust, the Friends of Portencross Castle , who have spared no effort in order to make it wind and water tight and to open it to the public so everyone can enjoy its impressive proportions and history for decades to come. In 2011, they welcomed their first visitors and the castle is available for wedding and birthday parties.

Their efforts are to be lauded and it is hoped that similar community involvement can happen elsewhere. You can read more about Portencross Castle and the trust’s work here .

A short distance from Portencross Castle stands Auld Hill which began life as a dun and progressed through motte and bailley to a hall house similar to those found on the west highland seaboard.

Portencross hall view
TOP: Portencross's Great Hall
BOTTOM: Portencross viewed from Auld Hill

Scottish Castles Association member Bob Marshall has produced some stunning illustrations of how Portencross Castle may have looked. Check them out by clicking here .

Click here to revisit our Past and Present feature on Portencross showing a charming photograph of how it looked in the early 1900s.

Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.

Added: 13 May 2016 Updated: 28 Mar 2018
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