Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Threave & Hermitage - Castles In Scotland

Threave Castle
Sitting in the middle of the River Dee, this has to be one of the most unusual and interesting medieval castles we have ever visited. It even has its own medieval harbour! Views out across the river Dee are beautiful with unspoiled countryside everywhere you look.

Threave Castle has some fascinating architectural features for those interested in medieval castle design. Watch out for future posts with more of the stunning photos from our Threave Castle visit.

Hermitage Castle
We have already published several posts about Hermitage featuring photographs of it that we took on a visit during 2009.

Check our Medieval Castle Blog Archive for details.

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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, November 21, 2009

Hermitage Castle - Inside & Out

Hermitage Castle Scotland
We don't usually focus on an individual castle for more than one or two blog posts but we have made an exception with Hermitage Castle in Scotland. I have tried to describe the place in words (see our Halloween blog post about haunted Hermitage Castle) but photographs convey the atmosphere perhaps more strongly.

Here are 2 more photographs we took of Hermitage Castle earlier this year.

Photo 1 (right)
An inside shot of part of the castle ruins

Photo 2
On the left of the picture is the Douglas Tower - the largest of the 4 attached towers and so named because it was the Earl of Douglas who remodelled the castle in the 1370's and 1380's. Almost 2 centuries later (in 1566), the infamous 4th Earl of Bothwel was taken to Hermitage to recover from a local skirmish; whilst there, most likely residing in the Douglas tower, he was paid a secret visit by Mary Queen of Scots who was later to become his wife.

On the right of the picture is the Well Tower.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Hermitage Castle Photos

Here is a view of Hermitage Castle as you approach it more closely, having come up the path from the entrance (Historic Scotland's little hut where you buy your ticket).

At this point you are already standing above what used to be the castle moat.

Pictured right - what used to be the moat, now grassed over but still visibly deep. You can see the green, grassed path in the top right hand corner of the picture along which you walk from the entrance.

This photo was taken having turned around near to the base of the stonework in photo 1 (above left).

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hermitage Castle Scotland

Whilst our Halloween post pointed readers in the direction of a variety of haunted medieval castles all over Britain, it focused in particular on Hermitage Castle.

After writing that post I was reminded of just how strong an atmosphere there was to the place - I can still close my eyes and feel the 'coldness' that seemed prevalent there! I then started to sift through the photographs we took on our visit to Hermitage Castle earlier in 2009 and it became even clearer just how powerful and commanding a presence the place has.

It seems therefore only fair to the many readers of our medieval-castle.com website and our medieval castle blog, that we should share some of those photographs with you all. After all, many of you are not in a position to travel to Scotland and see first hand what I have described. So over the coming weeks watch out for some great photos!

Today's ...... the view that greets you as you walk towards Hermitage Castle.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Haunted Castles - The White Lady Of Glamis Castle

Here is our second 'White Lady' ghost story.

Glamis Castle in Scotland is reputed to be haunted by more than one lady in fact but we will just look at "The White Lady" in this post. There has been much discussion about who she might have been in real life but the general concensus seems to point to the possibility of it being the ghost of Janet Douglas, wife to the 6th Lord Glamis back in the 16th century. After his death she became wife to Archibald Campbell then later imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle and finally burnt at the stake on Castle Hill on a charge of witchcraft. For more detail on this and other hauntings at the castle go to our dedicated Glamis Castle page.

Read more about haunted castles in Scotland on medieval-castle.com

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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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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Haunted Castles: Glamis Castle, Skibo Castle

There are many haunted castles in the world and perhaps no more so than in Scotland.

Scottish castles are numerous and all with their own story to tell. Centuries of feuding both amongst the clans themselves and against the English provide an amazing and colourful backdrop to the profile of so many castles in Scotland. No wonder many of them are haunted!

Take Glamis Castle for instance which is reported to be haunted by more than one ghost. These include the Grey Lady and the White Lady have both been seen at Glamis Castle. The White Lady has been seen the least but is thought to possibly be the ghost of Janet Douglas. She was wife to the 6th Lord Glamis (John) back in the 16th century and after his death became wife to Archibald Campbell; she was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle by King James V and later burnt at the stake on Castle Hill. Another ghost is believed to be that of Earl Beardie, a gambler and card player whose strange story is well worth reading in full on our Glamis Castle page.

Skibo Castle is another reputedly haunted castle in Scotland. Renovated by Andrew Carnegie in the early 20th century, Skibo Castle is a wonderful example of castle architecture and design and was chosen by Madonna and Guy Ritchie as their wedding venue back in 2000. The main ghost at Skibo Castle is that of a girl who is said to have disappeared there whilst on a visit. At the time it was thought she was murdered by the Castle's keeper who hid her body within the grounds. In later years during renovations, a female skeleton was found behind one of the castle walls!

For more reading on these 2 wonderful Scottish Castles ....

Wiki page on Glamis Castle

Wiki page on Skibo Castle

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