Today, my theme is castles of Scotland of which there are at least 600, mainly ruins, ranging from just a few remnants, e.g.Polnoon, to complete specimens such as Stirling.
In the course of my tours of Scotland I invariably include a few castles, more by request, especially when guests have clan or family history which connects them to such structures.
Most Scottish castles date from around the 12th century. They are built in stone and hence longevity. Scotland’s castles mainly date from the time of the
Norman invasion of England at about which time certain Norman families were
invited to Scotland and were given land grants by the kings of the day as
inducements. In many cases the stone castles replaced earlier wooden structures
in turn located on sites dating back to the iron age about 1000 years prior to
the Normans arrival. Many castles are located on sites with names prefixed by
the word ‘Dun’ which indicates a defensive settlement or fort from around 2000
I am providing images of a selection of Scottish castles accompanied by a short description of each. I will continue the theme tomorrow.
Castle Urquhart is situated on a promontory jutting out into Loch Ness and as such ranks as one of Scotland’s most poopular visitor attractions. Located on a
siteo once occupied by the Picts. The castle was granted by the King to the
Chief of Clan Grant, suffered numerous attacks by the MacDonalds and was
eventually slighted by the Grants to prevent the castle falling under Jacobite
Stirling Castle is located in the heart of Scotland and is virtually complete.Good state of repair is because (a) the castle was occupied by the
British Army until 1960s and (b) an extensive programme of conservation post the
army’s exit. This attraction is well managed by Historic Scotland and receives
high volumes of visitor number each year. A capsule of Scottish history. Close
by were fought the battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn which secured
Scotland’s independence from the 1300s through to 18th century when Scotland and
England joined to form the U.K.
Dunstaffnage is a very imposing edifice located close to Oban on the west coast. Has a turbulent past including control by the Campbells.
Drumlin Castle is located in the Speyside area of the Highlands. Now a ruined Tower House in pleasant rural location. Entrance is free.
Duart castle is a Clan Maclean stronghold located on the Isle of Mull, off the west of Scotland. Was a ruin but rebuilt/restored by the Chief of Clan Maclean. Lots of history. A special welcome extended to Macleans.
Eilean Donan castle is strategically located at the confluence of three Scottish lochs. Like Duart above, was a ruin but subsequently rebuilt and is now
the home of the Chief of Clan MacRae. Interior has a 1930s feel because it was
during that decade the rebuild was completed. Eilean Donan translates as
Donald’s Island. The castle is probably the most photographed in Scotland and
has served as a set for the film Highlander and others.
Cawdor Castle has been in the same family for about 600 years. Connected with Shakespeare’sMacbeth through the Thane of Cawdor. Situated close to
Inverness and Culloden Battlefield site and attrracts a large number of
visitors. Also, nice gardens and river setting.
Kilchurn Castle is a romantic ruin located on Loch Awe in the west of Scotland. Was a Campbell stronghold but abandoned by the family when they moved to Loch Tay. A popular photo stop when en-route to/from Inveraray.
More information on Scottish castles to follow in subsequent post(s).