Friday, July 9, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 26, Urquhart Castle


I know that Eilean Donan is the most photographed castle in Scotland but I believe Urquhart Castle probably comes in a close second. It was packed the day we went and I had to break my rule about not taking pictures of people in order to photograph it.






Perched atop a jutting finger of land that points out into  Loch Ness, it triggers thoughts of romance, scorcery, and of course Nessie. I did look for Nessie. I just couldn’t resist. But I have to say, if she's there, she's picked the pretties loch in Scotland in which to reside. The water was so blue it hurt to look at it.




It is thought that St. Columba stayed at Urquhart Castle on his way to Inverness. Of course at that time, around 600, the castle would have been a Pictish fort.

This is a Trebucket, a medieval catapult, created to fling the stone balls you see lined up behind it at the walls of the castle and anyone within. 




The precise time the castle was built isn’t known but it is believed that the Durward family built it during the early 1200’s after the land was granted to them.



In 1296 Edward I was using it as a defensive position when the Scots attacked it. He was able to hold out against them. It may have been under his influence that this wide trench was dug around the castle. It's very similar to the one at Kildrummy.



In1303 it was in Scots hands when Andrew de Moray took in the course of clearing the English from northern Scotland.

                                              (The upper part of the Gatehouse)

In the mid 1400’s the Earl of Ross attacked the castle and captured it, but it was recovered shortly after.



The Grants were given ownership of the cast in 1509 but warring factions often disrupted their possession of it. The MacDonald’s took it in 1545.


In 1692 King William’s troops held the castle during a Jacobite uprising, and before leaving, the troops blew the castle up to prevent it from being used by them. It was never repaired.
(The Tower)


                    (This is a corn drying kiln in one of the guard houses on either side of the entrance.)
                                             (The view from one of the tower rooms.)


                                                           (The Bake House)


      The Constables quarters. In 1329 Sir Robert Lauder was constable of Urquhart Castle and then in 1359 his grandson Robert Chisolm took over his position.)
(An alcove for a bed)
                                          I wish I could have taken a picture of the castle at night. It would have been beautiful with the moonlight touching on the stones and the loch. 

I could have spent hours just looking out on Loch Ness. 


Next we're going to Skye and Dunvegan Castle.   Write on,  Teresa R.

10 comments:

Tiffany Green said...

How lovely! I cannot wait to visit Scotland. Hopefully, I'll get there within the next few years. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

Marie Higgins said...

This is a wonderful tour, Teresa! I know I'll never get there, so I can live through you. So beautiful!!

~Marie~

Anita Clenney said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I feel like I'm there. And I KNOW I wouldn't take nearly as great pictures as you have. These could be in a guide book.

Teresa Reasor said...

Ladies:
Thank you so much for your compliments on the pictures. It's easy to take good pictures if you have beautiful subject matter. I have to say Scotland is beautiful. Everywhere you look there's something picturesque to look at and enjoy.
I'm so glad you can live vicariously through my blog until you can get there yourselves.
Write on,
Teresa R.

Jody said...

Looks like you had a glorious day! The loch is so beautiful. BTW next March Lori Handeland has one of her creature books come out and it is set at Loch Ness and yes nessie makes an appearance. Great book for those who like Scotland and the paranomal. The book is set at the village inland northward from Urquhart Castle.

Teresa your pictures do the site much justice. I love the drive along the loch going southward toward Fort William.

Teresa Reasor said...

Jody:

Thank you for saying my efforts do the site justice. And it was a glorious day. Warm and sunny. I'd have loved to have climbed the tower house but the crowds were just too big.

We ate lunch at the visitors center and it was very good.

I loved the loch. I guess you can tell. I don't know what it is about the water there but every loch stream or ocean there were so blue it was unbelievable.

Thanks for continuing to follow the blog and add to it with your comments.

Teresa R.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You've really caught the essence of this castle. I loved Loch Ness and also tried to find Nessie for a photo. Can you imagine what fun visitors would have had if they hadn't blown this castle up?

Thanks for sharing another one of your adventures with us.

Teresa Reasor said...

Paisley:

Thanks for going along with me on my return venture. The castles, even when they're ruins, are fascinating. And the lochs.

Teresa

Lyn said...

Beautiful, glorious photos and clear text. What more could I ask? Besides the budget and free time to visit myself! LOL. So beautiful, and so sad. A house without people always makes me feel sad.

Teresa Reasor said...

Lyn:
Yes, it's a real shame that it was destroyed too. Imagine what it could have been had the royal troops left it intact.

Thanks for reading the blog!!
Teresa R.