Famous Scottish Castles
This extraordinary triangular castle, now a ruin, was the seat of the important Maxwell family for many centuries, and was built towards the end of the 13th.century. Its formidable defences have seen much use, and it was besieged by Edward I very early in its history, surrendered and was held by the English for twelve years. fter this it deteriorated for a time, but was rebuilt and much strengthened in the 15th.century, and the great gatehouse was altered internally to make it residential. Towards the end of the 16th,century gunports were put in and these were to put the test in 1640 when the castle held on for three months against the Covenanters
The site of Dunnottar Castle is one of the finest natural strongholds in Britain-the flat summit of a high rock protected on three sides by the North Sea and on the fourth by a deedp chasm. No trace now remains of the earliest castle on the spot, though its known that William Wallace captured it from the English in 1297, the English-backed Edward Baliol took it in 1336 and it was destroyed after falling to the Scots again. The earliest visible remains are those of the parish church, which was razed when Sir William Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland, built his castle on the rock in 1392.This is an L shape keep 50 foot high, which dominates the south-west end of the rock;it still stands almost to its full hight.
Eileen Donan standing guard on a small rocky island at the junction of three lochs, and facing the isle of Skye, looks just like everyone’s dream of a romantic Scottish medieval castle. And so in many ways , it is, but the building itself dates entirely from the 20th century, as it was rebuilt at enormous expense b etween 1912 and 1932 by Colonel John Macrae a direct descendant of the last constable of the castle. The site may have originally been an old Pictish fort, but the castle proper was one of many built in 1220 b y Alexander II to protect Scotland from the Norse raiders. It was held for centuries by the Earls of Seaforth and met its doom in 1719 through loyalty to the Jacobite cause.
Now a picturesque ruin on a little promontory overlooking Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle has had a long and turbolent history. The site has obvious military advantages , lying astride the Great Glen, the huge geological fault that separates the northern from the central Highlands. There was an Iron Age settlement here, possibly a fort. Written records of Urquhart Castle begin only in the 13th.century when it was one of the strongholds held by Alan Durward, Lord Urquhart, the most powerful man in Scotland. it passed to another great family, the Comyns of Badenoch, before becoming involved in the Scottish Wars of Independence against Edward I of Englandand his successors, when it was taken and retaken several times.