Showing posts from June, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 18, Brodie Castle

We arrived at Brodie Castle too early and it wasn’t open, but we still wandered around and enjoyed the grounds and took pictures of the castle and of course the Rodney Stone. Malcolm, Thane of Brodie, was an ancestor of the Pictish aristocracy and there is evidence that he was in possession of the land in 1160. Because of the right of ancestory, Robert the Bruce chartered the property to Malcolm’s son Michael. The castle was constructed in 1567 and 35 generations of Brodies lived in it until recently. It is under the protection of Historic Scotland and the Brodie heirs no longer live there. Mary Queen of Scots for a brief time confiscated the property when the 12 Earl, a Presbyterian, voiced his opposition to her rule. In 1645 Lord Lewis Gordon plundered and burnt the castle because the 15th Earl, Alexander, was a Covenanter. ( A covenanter was a Presbyterian who had signed a covenant to uphold that the Presbyterian faith was the sole religion of their country.) Documents th

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 17, The Old Kirk andThe Rodney Stone at Brodie Castle

We stayed in some beautiful unusual places. The Old Kirk was one of them. It was a traditional Scottish kirk built in 1856 converted into a bed and breakfast. Hillary and Herbie McFarland were our hosts. The McFarlands had retired, moved from Ireland to Scotland and bought the place specifically to run as a bed and breakfast. It’s a gorgeous place. Its location was just outside Forres in Dyke which is in the Moray area. It had a very large double sitting room upstairs for the guests so you could relax there if you didn’t want to stay in your room. I’m a night owl so I enjoyed being able to write late at night without disturbing my traveling companion. Excuse my clutter on the table. I had set up my lap top on the table in the center to work on and was the only one up. And the stained glass window that took up one whole wall didn't hurt to look at every time I was thinking something through. Talk about great working conditions. We stayed at the Old Kirk for two

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 16, Kildrummy Castle

In the Ballater area, in the middle of a green field surrounded by sheep pastures, stands the ruins of a once magnificent castle. Kildrummy castle was built in 1250 by the Earl of Marr. But the Earl wasn’t the only one who had a hand in seeing the castle completed.  Master James of St. John, Edward I’s master stone mason, was paid a large sum by Edward in 1303 after a visit to the castle. So, it's implied that Edward paid for some of the work to be done on the castle. It is known that he suggested to the Earl that the wide trench that surrounds Killdrummy be dug to make it more difficult to attack. As you come upon the Castle from a narrow track the possibility of the place, the beauty that it must have been, is there within the grasp of your imagination. Kildrummy was built in a D shape with seven story tall barrel towers on each end of the long straight bar of the D. Equal distances between the back towers, which were the families living quarters, and the front guard towe

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 15, Corgarff Castle

One of the most unusual castles that we saw while in Scotland was Corgarff Castle. Perched atop a high ridge in the middle of a plateau that stretches for miles, it’s a lonely sight. When I first saw it I thought it looked more like a huge manor house. Corgarff used to have gray harling on the outside. Now it’s a striking white. At one time the Castle would have been surrounded by a rectangular curtain wall. The stones littering the ground may have been part of that wall. The curtain wall is actually an eight pointed star shape with a narrow stone courtyard between the wall and the house. While we were there they were doing some repair work and we couldn’t photograph the structure completely. Corgarff was built in 1550 by John Forbes of Towie. It was built within the path of the quickest route between Deeside and Speyside. The Forbes were supporters of James VI. Their neighbors the Gordons were supporters of Queen Mary. Their different political views sparked a feud between the tw

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time, Part 14, Craigievar Castle

  We decided to visit Craigivar Castle because our hostess told us how interesting it was and it proved true. The first thing you notice is how PINK the tower house is. The process that produces the color is called harling. The castle itself is created from stone but on the exterior a layer of lime based cement has been adhered to it to weatherproof it. Lime is pourous and allows the stone to breath and the moisture to evaporate so that it doesn't get trapped inside the material and damage the stone.  While the surface is still wet, the pigment, which is actually red sandstone, is pressed into the material. Thus, Craigievar attained it's lovely pink color.  The red sandstone is even in the gravel of the drive giving it a pinkish cast too. Another interesting architectural feature of the Castle was the corbelling used to support the weight of the drum towers builting into the structure.   The Castle reminded me of the Disney world castle because of the Cone shaped roofs.