A SCOTS castle has been sold for just over the price of an average house.

THE UK's most northerly castle had been up for sale for an 'opening bid' price of £130,000 Now Muness Castle on the isle of Unst has been bought in a five hour online auction with a winning bid of £184,000, £54,000 over the guide price.

The average house price in Scotland rose by 8.4% over the last year to £162,983 according to official February figures.

Currently Historic Environment Scotland (HES) run and maintain the castle as a museum and the Scottish Government quango says it will keep its 'guardianship'.

The castle which is normally free to visit and open all year round, is listed by the HES as closed, but that people can still visit the exterior of the site.

The castle built in 1598 for Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie, half-brother of the powerful Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney, comes with a baronial title and gold and copper mineral rights.

READ MORE: The Cool List: Scottish castles you must visit

Designated as a national monument in 1953, it is being sold as an "opportunity to purchase your own 15th century castle set within 240 acres of land in stunning location".

HeraldScotland:

Source: Future Property Auctions

The sale by Future Property Auctions also included 240 acres, a number of crofter's cottages, mainly in derelict condition, and barns.

It is also unclear whether mining operations will be permitted on the land.

The auctioneers claim that gold and copper reserves were discovered in recently commissioned geological survey.

But it is unclear whether mining operations will be permitted on the land.

Today the 73ft by 26ft castle retains circular towers at the north and south corners.

According to the auctioneeers, the ground floor and first storey "survive mostly intact with corbelling supports for small turrets on the east and west corners".

The castle is now roofless and missing its upper storey which is believed to have been removed to build the surrounding boundary wall.

And HES spokesman said: "Public access to the castle will not change if the title to the property passes to a new owner. HES on behalf of Scottish Ministers will continue to have full control and management of the property in care under the guardianship agreement in place.

"Muness Castle is a property in care of Scottish Ministers under the 1979 Ancient Monument Act which passes full control and management to Scottish Ministers under guardianship, with HES undertaking that management and control on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

"The title to the property remains with the private owner of the castle, and for guardianship properties the title can, and often does change hands.

HeraldScotland:

"This does not impact on the Guardianship arrangements in any way and the original guardianship deed remains in place in perpetuity"

There was requirement for the HES of ministers to be consulted on the sale because the guardianship agreement transfers.

According to HES, the castle is of national importance "because of what it contributes to our understanding of late 16th to early 17th century domestic and defensive architecture".

In its guide on the castle it says: "Its significance is further enhanced by the role that its builder, Laurence Bruce, played in the political history of Shetland during the time of the Stewart earls of Orkney and by the potential that its below-ground remains have for shedding light on the material culture of the period. Its importance is reflected in its status as a Property in Care of the Secretary of State for Scotland."

HES further describes it as a "remarkably fine tower house of the late 1500s"

"Here it’s easy to appreciate how the family, servants and visitors would have used the internal space of the castle," HES says According to HES, the castle has other fine architectural touches, including a variety of gun and shot holes, small turrets with chequer-pattern corbels and dummy gunloops. It also has a scale-and-platt staircase and an integral kitchen.

A finely carved oak panel from the castle survives, suggesting its hall was once panelled in oak, according to HES. The panel is now held by the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Stories abound about Laurence Bruce. He was accused and investigated by the Privy Council for oppressing Shetlanders, though several legends portray him in a heroic light.

His conflict with the earls of Orkney came to a head in 1608, when Earl Patrick chased Thomas Black of Whalsay to Muness with 36 men. He was unable to besiege the castle before he had to withdraw.

The castle was attacked and burnt by privateers from Dunkirk in 1627, though it was reoccupied afterwards. It was finally sold by the Bruce family in 1718.

According to HES it had fallen into ruin by the end of that century.