Sunday, 11 November 2018

Edinburgh, Scotland

Blackness Castle and Edinburgh Castle, Scotland


Our first stop of the day was Blackness Castle - which we loved. Built on the rocky shores of the Firth of Forth in the 1440's this fortress is shaped like a ship. Over the centuries it has been used as a prison and minor garrison and was briefly used in WWI. Blackness Castle like Braemer Castle has an iron yett or gate.

The castle has been used as a filming location -  Hamlet,  the Bruce, Doomsday, the television miniseries of Ivanhoe and Outlander.
Blackness Castle, Scotland
Blackness Castle, Scotland
Blackness Castle, Scotland


We then traveled by train into Edinburgh to go to the castle, walk down the Royal Mile, through the cemetery to see the views of Arthur's Seat and towards the castle.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

One of the many Closes along the Royal Mile, used as a film location for Outlander,
Edinburgh, Scotland

Top left hill ridge is Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Friday, 9 November 2018

Stirling, Scotland



We drove south to from Perth and stopped at Scotland's First Conservation village of Falkland, which has a 16th century castle (top and bottom right)but it was not open. The Victorian Gothic Bruce Fountain stands in the middle of the street. The village was used in the television series Outlander as Inverness in the 1940's. It was a dark, rainy morning so the photos are not the best.
Falkland, Scotland

Falkland, Scotland 

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century. We really loved Doune Castle as it was used in Monty Python movies, the Outlander television series as Castle Leoch, in The Game of Thrones and also the movie Ivanhoe. Monty Python's Terry Jones provides a very funny narration on the audio guide which also includes Outlander's Sam Heughan providing the Outlander narration. 
Doune Castle, Scotland

Doune Castle, Scotland


Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland. From the first photo you can see that it sits atop a rocky hill with steep slopes on three sides.

From Wiki: "Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century. The castle was besieged in 1299 by forces including Robert BruceOn 23–24 June, King Robert's forces met the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, within sight of the castle walls. The resulting English defeat was decisive. King Edward attempted to take refuge in the castle, but Mowbray was determined to keep to his word, and the English were forced to flee. Mowbray handed over the castle, changing sides himself in the process. King Robert ordered the castle to be slighted; its defences destroyed to prevent reoccupation by the English." This is why there is a statue of Robert the Bruce out front - second photo in the top collage.
Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland
Views from Stirling Castle, Wallace Monument, Scotland
Stirling Castle, Scotland
Stirling Castle interior, Scotland
Views from Stirling Castle, Scotland

Then we went to the Battle of Bannockburn Experience/Visitor Centre uses 3D technology and an interactive experience to teach about how Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots defeated the English King Edward II on June 1314.
Battle of Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Day 4 Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Castle Fraser, Craigievar Castle and Braemar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
We are headed south to Perth via Castle Fraser, Craigievar Castle, waved to the Queen at Balmoral and then toured Braemar Castle.


From Wiki: "Originally known as Muchall-in-Mar, construction of the elaborate, five-storey Z-plan castle was begun in 1575 by the 6th Laird of Fraser, Michael Fraser, on the basis of an earlier tower, and was completed in 1636. The castle was modernised in a classical style in the late 18th century, with a new entrance inserted in the south side and sash windows throughout. This work was supervised by Elyza Fraser, the lady laird, assisted by Mary Bristow. Elyza was also responsible for the landscaping of the grounds, sweeping away the remains of the original formal gardens and orchards, and for the construction of the impressive octagonal stable block."

We were too early for the tour so we went for a walk along Miss Bristow's Trail. Elyza Fraser and Mary Bristow were close friends and the highly cultured ladies traveled through Europe together. They spent over 500,000 pounds on landscaping in three years. Along the trail Elyza built a monument in the memory of her companion Mary. 
Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Mary Bristow's Trail, Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Inside Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 

Views from the top of Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 

Craigievar Castle is a pink harled castle and was completed in 1626. We prefer a castle with a stone exterior,  harling is used to protect the stonework. From Wiki: "harling describes an exterior building-surfacing technique which results in a long-lasting weatherproof shield for a stone building. A pigment can be embedded in the harled material, thus eliminating the need for repainting. Harling as a technique provides the surface of many Scottish castles, but it is also used for a variety of common everyday building types. Long-lasting and practical, it well suits structures in the Scottish climate."
Criagievar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Views from the top of Criagievar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


Then we travelled west to Braemar Castle which was constructed in 1682 and was an important garrison after the Jacobite rising in 1745. The main entrance still has the original iron yett or gate.
Braemar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Inside Braemar Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

We then travelled south through the Cairngorms National Park...
The Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
We stopped in Perth at the same bed and breakfast we stayed in in 2013.
Perth, Scotland

Monday, 5 November 2018

Day 3 Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle, Crathes Castle and Drum Castle, Scotland
DUNNOTTAR CASTLE (pronounced dun/NOT/tar, and said quickly not in the Aussie way of dun/no/tar with the no said slowly). Hahaha

We traveled south through Aberdeen to Stonehaven and Dunnottar Castle which comes from the Scottish Gaelic "fort on the shelving slope". The medieval fortress ruins are from the 15th and 16th century.
Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland
From Dunnottar Castle we could see the Stonehaven War Memorial.


We then visited Crathes Castle. From Wiki: "Crathes sits on land given as a gift to the Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the Bruce in 1323. Construction of the current tower house of Crathes Castle was begun in 1553, but delayed several times during its construction due to political problems. It was completed in 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys, and an additional wing added in the 18th century."
Crashes Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

And then headed on to Drum Castle. From Wiki: "The place-name Drum is derived from Gaelic druim, 'ridge'. The castle and its grounds were granted to William de Irwyn in 1325 by Robert the Bruce, and remained in the possession of Clan Irvine until 1975. The original 13th-century tower of Drum believed to be one of the three oldest tower houses in Scotland (and notably unaltered). A large wing was added in 1619 by the 9th laird, and further alterations were made during the Victorian era."

Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Drum Castle, Aberdenshire, Scotland

Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Views from the tower of Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Views from the tower at Drum Castle, Scotland
Drum Castle has a beautiful Garden of Historic Roses. The garden was divided into four areas and each area was an authentic design from the past four centuries.

The Garden of Historic Roses at Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Day 2 Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Fyvie Castle and Haddo House, Scotland


We met my arty friend Lucy Brydon at Fyvie Castle. We were half an hour late!! We were caught out with distances and time and I was so afraid Lucy might have left. I am so sorry we were so late. But when we met it was like catching up with an old friend which wasn't good during the tour of the castle as we couldn't stop whispering to each other - usually about the art - they had some great paintings, even some by Scottish portrait artist Sir Henry Raeburn (4 March 1756 – 8 July 1823). They had some very old books and there was mention of a ghost!
Meeting Lucy Brydon at Fyvie Castle
From Wiki: "The earliest parts of Fyvie Castle date from the 13th century – some sources claim it was built in 1211 by William the Lion. Fyvie was the site of an open-air court held by Robert the Bruce, and Charles I lived there as a child. Following the Battle of Otterburn in 1390, it ceased to be a royal stronghold and instead fell into the possession of five successive families – Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon and Leith – each of whom added a new tower to the castle. The oldest of these, the Preston tower (located on the far right as one faces the main facade of Fyvie), dates to between 1390 and 1433. The impressive Seton tower forms the entrance, and was erected in 1599 by Alexander Seton; Seton also commissioned the great processional staircase several years later. The Gordon tower followed in 1778 , and the Leith in 1890.
Inside, the castle stronghold features a great wheel stair, a display of original arms and armour, and a collection of portraits."
Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Artwork in Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
The gardens were stunning...Fyvie castle was one of my favourite castles we visited.
Flowers from Fyvie Castle gardens, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
The gardens of Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


After reluctantly saying goodbye to Lucy we went to Haddo House. Unfortunately there were no more tours that day, which was a shame because the House contains an extensive art collection so we looked around the gardens.
Haddo House, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Haddo House Gardens, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Haddo House was an emergency maternity hospital during World War Two and these boards contained information about the history of the House. I love the painting of the Hon Ishbel Marjoribanks in the centre photo. From Wiki: "It seems that their marriage was a love match as they were long time friends and Ishbel developed a crush on Hamilton-Gordon at just 14." Aww, so sweet.