Saturday, November 28, 2009

Medieval Castles in 2009

During the course of this year we have visited and photographed a number of medieval castles in the Border region that lies between England and Scotland. It is an area that has seen many battles for power over the centuries and is therefore littered with fortresses many of which date back to medieval times and some such as Carlisle Castle having origins even further back - to Roman times.

Carlisle Castle (Cumbria England)
With over 900 years of history. Architecturally fascinating and reputed to be haunted!

Naworth Castle (Cumbria England)
A small, privately owned medieval castle dating back to the early 14th century.

Dacre Castle (Cumbria England)
An even smaller castle, again privately owned which was up for rental at the time we visited.

Dunstanburgh Castle (Northumberland, England)
Castle ruins in one of the most outstanding locations you could ever dream of! Located high on a promintery overlooking the sea. Breathtaking views once you reach it and look down on the surrounding countryside. Legends abound about this castle and it is reputed to be haunted.

Threave Castle (Scotland)
Ruins of a 13th century castle built in a unique location - on an island in the middle of the river Dee.

Hermitage Castle (Scotland)
Another unique location for a medieval castle - this was far from romantic though. A much more desolate location. Castle reputed to be haunted.

Photographs of each of the above will be published in subsequent blog posts.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky Stories From Medieval Castles On Halloween!

If you've been reading our Medieval Castle Blog during the month of October you will know that we have been recounting 'white lady' ghost stories at some of Britain's medieval castles. Well, for those of you who haven't had enough and want yet more spooky stories for your Halloween bedtime reading, let us point you in the right direction ....

Haunted Castles In England
Haunted Castles In Scotland
Haunted Castles In Ireland
Haunted Castles In Wales

On a personal note, one of the most 'spooky' castles I have ever visited has to be Hermitage Castle in Scotland. It is difficult to explain but the moment you set eyes on the castle it really grips you and holds your attention. It has a powerful, eery appearance and when you see it close up and then enter inside the ruins the atmosphere is very intense. Hermitage Castle is set close to a river, in open countryside and with views to distant fields and hills all around. It has to be one of the most distinctive of medieval castles I have ever seen - though not one that I would relish revisiting. There was a coldness to it that even now is clear in the memory as I write this post. See our dedicated page on Hermitage Castle and read about 2 of its ghost stories.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Medieval Castle With Its Own Harbour

Now here's something you don't see every day ... a medieval castle with its own harbour. On a recent visit to Scotland we took in a trip to Threave Castle.

Set in a stunning location on a tiny island in the middle of the river Dee, the remains of this medieval castle can only be reached by walking down to the river's edge, ringing an old-fashioned bell and waiting for the ferryman to come and take you across in his little boat! With room for only 4 passengers, the boat happily phut-phuts along taking just a minute or so to cross the narrow stretch of water to land you on the jetty the other side.

Threave Castle is a ruin but one you can still go inside and from its highest point you can savour its uniqueness by surveying the unspoiled landscape around it, watching the current of the river Dee cut a swathe past the castle's own little harbour which was once vital to the castle's inhabitants for bringing in supplies. In the distance at the top of some tall trees we could see a large nest and with the benefit of binoculars realised it was that of a pair of Ospreys - what a wonderful sight!

The history of Threave Castle is fascinating as is its architecture but we will save those to cover another day. Suffice it to say, if you get the chance to visit Threave Castle, don't miss it!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Of The Web On The BBC - medieval-castle.com

This last week has been incredibly exciting for us here at medieval-castle.com. We have received many complimentary emails from medieval history fans as well as requests from castle owners to be considered for inclusion in the site - and all because of the BBC.

On 1 May the BBC's flagship technology program 'Click' did a review of "Best Of The Web". Their reviewer Kate Russell selected 4 websites .... just 4 from the 1 trillion unique URLs* that currently exist on the Web. Out of those 4, one was on medieval castles - and it was medieval-castle.com! If you missed the tv show just follow the link to watch the tv clip.

Kate was very flattering to the site and gave it the kind of review that money cannot buy. Here's a line extracted from her comments:
"This site is a must for architecture and history fans alike"

All we can say is 'Thank you Kate' - your endorsement restores our faith in reviewers. (Well, let's face it there are some real cynics out there when it comes to reviewing websites!) The reaction from the public too has been equally strong. There are clearly many, many people out there who love medieval history and in particular medieval castles and that's great news in this day and age. History is truly alive and kicking!

For our part we take all of this as a thumbs up for the further development of the site. So please keep revisiting to see what's next on the agenda.

* = this is according to Google who in July 2008 claimed to have seen a trillion unique URLs. Moreover, the number of web pages is, they claim, growing by several billion per day! Read more:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/we-knew-web-was-big.html

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