SCOTLAND & THE NORTH - page one
«July 2016»

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Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Once again on the trail of history, most often in the shape of a castle (ruin), we headed for Scotland this time.
We sailed with DFDS Seaways and made landfall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and there is a fair bit of England still to pass through before reaching the Scottish border, so we planned a few visits in these northen parts of England too.

It is not often that I get to plan my leave in July, and this month seemed a good idea to visit Scotland. But I was only thinking of the weather and completely forgot about how busy it can get with other tourists. The scarcity of accommodation and consequently the exorbitant prices made me cut short this vacation by a few days...
But I am getting ahead of myself, let's start first!

 


About an hour's drive north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a town called Alnwyck. While there is a castle of interest, we decided to give it a miss this time and instead visit Barter Books, which is situated in an old railway station.

Barter Books in Alnwyck

Barter Books in Alnwyck

Barter Books in Alnwyck
Barter Books is allegedly one of the largest secondhand bookstores in Europe; I had no trouble finding a good selection.


 

This first day we had selected Lindisfarne Castle, on Holy Island, for a visit.

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)

Lindisfarne's position in the North Sea made it vulnerable to attack from Scots and Norsemen, and by Tudor times it was clear there was a need for a stronger fortification, although obviously, by this time, the Norsemen were no longer a danger. This resulted in the creation of the fort on Beblowe Crag between 1570 and 1572 which forms the basis of the present castle.

In the 18th century the castle was occupied briefly by Jacobite rebels, but was quickly recaptured by soldiers from Berwick who imprisoned the rebels; they dug their way out and hid for nine days close to nearby Bamburgh Castle before making good their escape.

In later years the castle was used as a coastguard look-out and became something of a tourist attraction.
In 1901, it became the property of Edward Hudson, a publishing magnate and the owner of Country Life magazine. He had it refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Source: en.wikipedia.org:_Lindisfarne_Castle

 

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)

Lindisfarne Castle is a 16th-century castle located on Holy Island, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901.
The island is accessible from the mainland at low tide by means of a causeway.

The castle is located in what was once the very volatile border area between England and Scotland. Not only did the English and Scots fight, but the area was frequently attacked by Vikings.
The castle was built in 1550, around the time that Lindisfarne Priory went out of use, and stones from the priory were used as building material.
It is very small by the usual standards, and was more of a fort.

 

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)

Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (b.29March1869 – d.01Jan1944) was a British architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era.
He designed many English country houses.
He has been referred to as 'the greatest British architect' and is known best for having an instrumental role in designing and building New Delhi, which would later on serve as the seat of the Government of India.
en.wikipedia.org:_Edwin_Lutyens

 

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)

Lindisfarne Castel, Holy island (2016)
The walled garden seen from Lindisfarne Castle.
It had originally been the garrison's vegetable plot, was designed by Lutyens' long-time friend and collaborator, Gertrude Jekyll between 1906 and 1912. It is some distance away from the castle itself.
Between 2002 and 2006 it was restored to Jekyll's original planting plan.

If we look towards the village we see the ruins of the abbey. We can also hear a fair sized group of seals on a sandbank
en.wikipedia.org:_Lindisfarne_National_Nature_Reserve
Lindisfanre, Holy Island

Lindisfarne, Holy Island, Northumberland
The impressive ruins saw its crumbling stonework used on the castle renovations.
A look inside the small church and how it must or could have looked in the 1500s.
After Henry VIII suppressed the priory, his troops used the remains as a naval store.

Lindisfarne, Holy Island, Northumberland
A last look on Lindisfarne Castle, we had to make haste unfortunately since the road to the island was
deemed to be unsafe to cross after 15:30, for the rising tide would flood most parts of it.


Eyemouth, Northumberland
After our first day on British soil well spent, we arrived in Eyemouth where we stayed in The Home Arms Guesthouse B&B. This was the view from our room. We had a pleasant stay here at a good rate, though Eyemouth itself seemed
to have little on offer itself. The area itself is worthy of further exploration, so I may well return here one day.

Eyemouth, Northumberland
We looked down on the Co-op supermarket, a good place to buy an after dinner icecream..

The Contented Sole
By recommendations of our B&B host we had our dinner here at the Contented Sole. While the meal and drinks
certainly lived up to the recommendations, by the remark of our host at the next B&B I learned we had missed
out on something not to have tried the fish & chips here; ought to be esspecially good, it seems. Well, maybe next time.
In our room, we saw Germany lose from France (0-2) during the EK2016. What a dismal tournament that was!


 

Leaving Eyemouth we drove north and arrived at Tantallon Castle. The actual start of our trip through Scotland.
Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle is a semi-ruined mid-14th-century fortress, located 5 kilometres east of North Berwick, in East Lothian, Scotland. It sits atop a promontory opposite the Bass Rock, looking out onto the Firth of Forth. The last medieval curtain wall castle to be constructed in Scotland,Tantallon comprises a single wall blocking off the headland, with the other three sides naturally protected by sea cliffs.

Tantallon was built in the mid 14th century by William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas. Despite several sieges, it remained the property of his descendants for much of its history.
It was besieged by King James IV in 1491, and again by his successor James V in 1528, when extensive damage was done.
Tantallon saw action in the First Bishops' War in 1639, and again during Oliver Cromwell's invasion of Scotland in 1651, when it was once more severely damaged.
It was sold by the Marquis of Douglas in 1699 to Hew Dalrymple, Lord North Berwick and the ruin is today in the care of Historic Scotland.
en.wikipedia.org:_Tantallon_Castle

 

Tantallon Castle
The Bass Rock. Seems like an island covered in something white..?


The Bass Rock up close. Covered in birds, gannets I believe. A bit of a crowded house I would say and imagine the noise!
This island consists of volcanic rock and through the times, before the birds took over, played host to saints and soldiers, kings and prisoners. And of course the lighthouse keeper.
The Bass is associated with St. Baldred, who supposedly sought refuge here. He died in about 756 and a chapel was built on the site of his cell. Ruins survive of a later chapel from 1542.

A castle was built here on Bass Rock during the 1400s, probably by the Lauder family. Royal visitors included James I, when he was 12 years of age. He was en route to France, but was unfortunately picked up by the wrong ship and spent the next 18 years in English captivity! On his return he imprisoned his disloyal cousin, Murdoch, on the rock.
During the 1500s a garrison of about 100 soldiers defended the rock. Highly motivated no doubt.. They survived on fish and burned the nest for warmth..
By the 1600s, the Bass was a notorious jail. In 1691, four Jacobite prisoners escaped from their cells and seized control of the rock. They managed to hold it against the governement for no less than three years!


We decided to look for a spot of lunch in nearby North Berwick; after lunching on fruit scones & jam we had a look.
North Berwick

North Berwick
The tide is out

North Berwick

North Berwick
North Berwick gave me the opportunity to document another library; see my collection on Flickr.com

North Berwick
A smart solution: the sea will keep this pool filled.


A short drive brought us to the second castle of the day: Dirleton Castle & Gardens
Dirleton Castle & Gardens
Dirleton Castle stands on a rocky outcrop, at the heart of the rich agricultural lands of the barony of Dirleton, and guards the coastal approach to Edinburgh from England, via the port of North Berwick.
The ruins comprise a 13th-century keep, and a 16th-century house which the Ruthvens built adjacent.

Dirleton Castle & Gardens

Dirleton Castle is a medieval fortress in the village of Dirleton, East Lothian, Scotland. It lies around 3.2 km west of North Berwick, and around 31 km east of Edinburgh.
The oldest parts of the castle date to the 13th century, and it was abandoned by the end of the 17th century.

Begun in around 1240 by John De Vaux, the castle was heavily damaged during the Wars of Scottish Independence, when it was twice taken by the English. In the 14th century, Dirleton was repaired by the Haliburton family, and it was acquired by the Ruthvens in 1505.
The Ruthvens were involved in several plots against Mary, Queen of Scots, and King James VI, and eventually forfeited the castle in 1600.
Dirleton ceased to be a residence, although Oliver Cromwell was forced to besiege the castle to flush out a band of 'mosstroopers' (marauders), during the Third English Civil War in 1650.

The Norman family of de Vaux originated in Rouen, northern France, and settled in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. Two de Vaux brothers, or cousins, were among a number of Anglo-Norman knights invited to Scotland, and granted land, by King David I of Scotland in the 12th century.
en.wikipedia.org:_Dirleton_Castle

Direleton castle & Gardens

Dirleton castle & Gardens
Exquisite gardens here. They may have been first laid out in the 16th century, although the present planting is
largely of the 20th century. We were very fortunate with the exceptional weather.

Dirleton Castle & Gardens, Scotland
After this wonderful (and warm!) visit we retired to the pub, the Castle Inn, across the road for some well
deserved refreshments; I was determined to try all sorts of IPA beers. Oddly, I found this type of beer
unknown in some parts of Scotland - fortunately not here at the Castle Inn. A brilliant day.


A visit to Edinburgh was on my itinerary for the next day, but I found the prices of accommodation excessive.
So I reduced the time for the Edinburgh visit and found affordable accommodation in Lasswade, conveniently
located near Craigmillar Castle - which would be visited at the start of our third day.
The Laird and Dog, Lasswade (Scotland)
Our B&B in Lasswade: The Laird and Dog. I love the name! Our room was small in size, but both the pub and the restaurant (and the price!) made it a nice stay. Lasswade seemed to have of little interest, but we were passing through.


 

It was only a short drive from our B&B to Craigmillar Castle. This one fitted in the theme of a previous visit to Scotland: 'in the footsteps of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots'. The weather had turned to what we expected of Scotland.
Craigmillar Castle

Queen Mary stayed at Craigmillar twice, in September 1563 and from 20 November to 7 December 1566.
She is traditionally said to have slept in the small former kitchen within the tower house, although it is more likely that she occupied larger accommodation in the relatively new east range. [Wikipedia]

Craigmillar Castle
Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle is a ruined medieval castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It is situated 3 miles (4.8 km) south-east of the city centre, on a low hill to the south of the modern suburb of Craigmillar.
The Preston family of Craigmillar, the local feudal barons, began building the castle in the late 14th century and building works continued through the 15th and 16th centuries.
In 1660 the castle was sold to Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, who made further alterations. The Gilmours left Craigmillar in the 18th century, and the castle fell into ruin. It is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

 

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle
This wall is a fine example of defense works (see how assailants could be fought from above, by shooting down or
pouring hot oil down on the besiegers), but also how windows or doorways were closed in this castle's renovations.

Craigmillar is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland.
The central tower house, or keep, is surrounded by a 15th-century courtyard wall with 'particularly fine' defensive features.
Within this are additional ranges, and the whole is enclosed by an outer courtyard wall containing a chapel and a doocot.
en.wikipedia.org:_Craigmillar_Castle

 

Craigmillar Castle
This young man took a moment for meditation, yoga's style sun salutation.

Craigmillar Castle
The fireplaces (on the image on the left one can see three) show the height of the original rooms.


Craigmillar Castle is best known for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots. Following an illness after the birth of her son, the future James VI, Mary arrived at Craigmillar on 20Nov1566 to convalesce.
Before she left on 7 December 1566, a pact known as the 'Craigmillar Bond' was made, with or without her knowledge, to dispose of her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Craigmillar Castle
There used to be a pool in the shape of a 'P': it is thought to represent the Preston family, the name
of the family that built Craigmillar Castle and lived here for two centuries.

Craigmillar Castle, view on Edinburgh
Craigmillar Castle, view on Edinburgh: left to right, Edinburgh Castle, Scott's memorial and Arthur's seat.


 

Not my first visit to Edinburgh so this time we intended to spend only an afternoon, for a visit to
Blackwell's bookstore and a visit to both libraries, central and national. And a bit of a walk around.
Blackwell's bookstore
Blackwell's name and fame I am familiar with, for decades we have shopped at the Oxford branch.
Even after our shopping spree at Barter Books earlier this trip, I still had plenty of books to look for.
I came away with a nice selection. Next door is a coffee shop, where we took some time to examine our bounty of books.

Edinburgh
A modest walkaround in Edinburgh. The National Library did not allow photography, quoting 'national directives',
but across the street is the Central Library and they were more hospitable.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh
Cowgate with a nice Jack Daniels advertisement. Guthrie Street, 'Near this spot stood the house in which
Sir Walter Scott was born 15th August 1771'. Veterans. And an impromptu city campground?

Royal Oak pub, Edinburgh
The Royal Oak. The pub of DCI Rebus (Ian Rankin) fame. Right across from Blackwell's!

Allan Grant in The Royal Oak
Allan Grant has a regular gig, every saturday afternoon, in this pub (did you spot the poster?).
I liked his 'Troubadour blues'. The guy on the right said he saw similarities in my features with Eric Clapton...


 

I found the accommodation rates in Edinburgh quite discouraging, so decided to continue onwards and find a stay somewhere else. The Royal Hotel in Bridge of Allan gave me the impression of a former hotel now trying the B&B formula. It provided a good rate, but a few things were not quite right. Bridge of Allan itself had very little to offer.
The Royal Hotel, Bridge of Allan
The room was big enough and the bathroom allowed plenty of space; from the wc I could look directly down into a restaurant across the road; and the window in the bathroom was fastened, unable to open it: no ventilation for 'aromas'!
The Italian restaurant across the road opened late, so we diverted for (unsatisfactory) dinner to the Westerton Arms.


We departed for Elcho Castle near Perth.
Elcho Castle

Elcho Castle is located a short distance above the south bank of the River Tay, approximately 4 miles south-east of Perth.
The Castle was built on the site of an older structure about 1560, and is one of the best surviving examples of its date in Scotland.
An apple- and pear-tree orchard adjoining the Castle has been replanted in recent years, and a 16th-century 'beehive' doo'cot (Scots for dovecote) survives nearby. Doves were a delicacy at the dinner table in medieval times.

Elcho Castle
A large portion of the Castle is accessible, although floors in some rooms have fallen, and much of the building
can be walked through. The wall-walk is accessible at two points.

Elcho Castle

The property is still owned by the family of the original builders, the Wemyss family, though it has not been inhabited for some 200 years. It has nevertheless been kept in good repair - one of the earliest examples in Scotland of a building being preserved purely for its historical interest.
en.wikipedia.org:_Elcho_Castle

Elcho Castle
Inside the castle there is not so much to see, but considering the owner received this as a gift while he was in
college, so at a very young age, hopefully the interior wil be enriched with artifacts and information.


Next on our programme was a visit to Scone Palace, but when I checked when I was to buy my ticket if photography inside was allowed, I was told it was not. So we abandoned the idea of visiting Scone Palace...
Instead we went to nearby Glamis Castle, where I found photography also not allowed; so to spite, herewith I
publish a few extra! This shows how many in England and Scotland are behind in the times, quite infuriating!

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland

Glamis Castle is situated beside the village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland. It is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and is open to the public.

Glamis Castle has been the home of the Lyon family since the 14th century, though the present building dates largely from the 17th century. Glamis was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, wife of King George VI. Their second daughter, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born there.

 

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland

Glamis is set in the broad and fertile lowland valley of Strathmore, near Forfar, county town of Angus, which lies between the Sidlaw Hills to the south and the Grampian Mountains to the north, approximately 20 kilometresinland from the North Sea.
The estate surrounding the castle covers more than 57 square kilometres (14,000 acres) and, in addition to parks and gardens, produces several cash crops including lumber and beef.
en.wikipedia.org:_Glamis_Castle

 

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland
The portrait of Elizabeth I is obvious; other paintings often portrayed the owner's family.

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland


Since 1987 an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of ten pound notes issued by the
Royal Bank of Scotland. Glamis is currently the home of Simon Bowes-Lyon, 19th Earl of Strathmore
and Kinghorne, who succeeded to the earldom in 2016.

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland
Always nice to come across the world famous 'Delft blue' (a.k.a.Delftware or Delft pottery; Dutch: Delfts blauw).
It so happens that the ornament on the cupboard, on the left, look very much like some we own too.

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland
Details from ceilings and collections.

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland
In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (1603–06), the eponymous character resides at Glamis Castle, although
the historical King Macbeth (d. 1057) had no connection to the castle.

Glamis Castle, Perth, Scotland


 

We entered Caorgorms Nat'l Park and I had no idea I could expect a ski resort at Glenshee!

Glenshee Ski Centre boasts an impressive 22 lifts and 36 runs, while "..offering an amazing diversity of natural terrain for all standards of skiers and snowboarders!" A new lift seems to be under construction, with attention to detail.

We continued on the Old Military Road through the mountains, passed Breamer Castle where the annual Highland Games are held, to Ballater for a visit to Balmoral Castle. Inside the castle there was only one room we could visit.
Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near the village of Crathie, 10.0 km west of Ballater and 10.9 km east of Braemar.
Balmoral has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. They remain as the private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown.
Soon after the estate was purchased by the royal family, the existing house was found to be too small and the current Balmoral Castle was commissioned. The architect was William Smith of Aberdeen, although his designs were amended by Prince Albert.

The castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture.The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balmoral_Castle

Balmoral Castle
The Balmoral Estate has been added to by successive members of the royal family, and now covers an area
of approximately 50,000 acres (20,000 ha). It is a working estate, including grouse moors, forestry, and
farmland, as well as managed herds of deer, Highland cattle, and ponies.

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle
The royal family is a keen visitor to Balmoral and so is Prince Charles. But not all of the royals but King
Edward VIII and Mrs Wallis Simpson did not like the wet & gloom of these parts. Nor was Princess Diana a fan.
We had to endure the weather representative for Balmoral: wet.

After our visit to Balmoral we had the most beautiful drive of our entire trip! We headed for Dufftown.
Caorgorms Nat'l Park

"The eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts" -Walker Evans

Caorgorms Nat'l Park

Caorgorms Nat'l Park

Balvenie Castle, Dufftown
Balvenie Castle. We skipped the visit as it did not appear inviting. We could also use a break from castle ruïns.

Balvenie Castle is a ruined castle near Dufftown in the Moray region of Scotland.
Originally known as Mortlach, it was built in the 12th century by a branch of the powerful Comyn family (the Black Comyns) and extended and altered in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The castle fell out of use in the early 14th century when the Comyns were reduced by Robert the Bruce.

Today, the remains of the castle are managed by Historic Scotland; however, ownership continues in private hands. The current owner is Jeremy Duncan Nicholson, Baron of Balvenie, who resides in Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S.A. Balvenie whisky is produced by William Grant & Sons at the Balvenie distillery down the hill from the castle.
en.wikipedia.org:_Balvenie_Castle

 

Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown
The Glenfiddich Distillery, in Dufftown; we decided against a visit, tired of the rain and long drive we longed for a rest


 

So, tired after many hours at the wheel, the continuous rain discouraging stopping for a stroll, we arrived in Elgin.
We had booked a night in The Pines Guesthouse, one of the better ones this trip; not expensive, a beautiful room
and a breakfast cooked to order with several options - a buffet better than most . A good rest for a weary traveller!
Te Pines Guesthouse, Elgin, Scotland

A four minute drive brought us to a public parking in the centre of town, with some directions we found our way
through the 'car-free' centre of Elgin where several restaurants are located. Pizzeria Toscana offered some nice
pasta and pizzas and I opted for a pleasant Moray IPA to slosh it all down. Day 5 on British soil had come to an end.
Elgin, Scotland
Elgin's centre of town, closed for traffic, but also devoid of people. Screeching seagulls and a cold wind.


From the window of our B&B we had noticed the ruins of Elgin Cathedral and decided on a visit first thing in the morning.
Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral is a historic ruin in Elgin, Moray, north-east Scotland. The cathedral was established in 1224 on land granted by King Alexander II outside the burgh of Elgin and close to the River Lossie.

After a damaging fire in 1270, a rebuilding programme greatly enlarged the building. It was unaffected by the Wars of Scottish Independence but again suffered extensive fire damage in 1390, following an attack by Robert III's brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan - also known as the Wolf of Badenoch.
In 1402 the cathedral precinct again suffered an incendiary attack by the followers of the Lord of the Isles. [Wikipedia]

 

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral


Bishop John Innes (1407–14) contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the cathedral, as evidenced by the inscription on his tomb praising his efforts. When he died, the chapter met secretly—"in quadam camera secreta in campanili ecclesie Moraviensis"—and agreed that should one of their number be elected to the see, the bishop would grant one third of the income of the bishopric annually until the rebuilding was finished.

The major alterations to the west front were completed before 1435 and contain the arms of Bishop Columba de Dunbar (1422–35), and it is presumed that both the north and south aisles of the choir were finished before 1460, as the south aisle contains the tomb of John de Winchester (1435–60).
Probably the last important rebuilding feature was the major restructuring of the chapterhouse between 1482 and 1501, which contains the arms of Bishop Andrew Stewart.
en.wikipedia.org:_Elgin_Cathedral

 

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral


With our visit to Elgin Cathedral the day certainly got off to a good start. And did you notice the sun had come out?
Next on my itinerary was the Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery.
Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery
I have to admit that I soon lost interest in the explanation of the various and multiple stages required
to distill a good whiskey. While certainly of interest, this would be the only visit to a whiskey distillery for us.

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery


Through a failed search for an aviation air museum on Inverness airport, we did a simple lunch in Ardersier.
Ardersier, Scotland
Clearly there is unrest in Ardersier: a waste treatment plant is planned. Residents fear their village is being
'sacrificed' and will be hit by bad smells, heavy traffic, and flooding as a result of the scheme. Bad for tourism.


We continued for our afternoon program: a drive along Loch Ness and a visit to Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle
We did not have a special reason to visit Urquhart Castle, except that it was near Inverness where we would
spend the night. Although not apparent in the images, the amount of tourists compared to elsewhere was discouraging.

Urquhart Castle
Walking toward the ruin, we passed this 'Trebuchet', a medieval siege engine.

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle sits beside Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. The castle is on the A82 road, 21 kilometres (13 mi) south-west of Inverness and 2 kilometres east of the village of Drumnadrochit.

The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. It was subsequently held as a royal castle, and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. The castle was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though conflict with the MacDonalds continued. Despite a series of further raids the castle was strengthened, only to be largely abandoned by the middle of the 17th century. Urquhart was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently decayed.

 

Urquhart Castle

The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area.
It was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The buildings of the castle were laid out around two main enclosures on the shore.
The northern enclosure or Nether Bailey includes most of the more intact structures, including the gatehouse, and the five-storey Grant Tower at the north end of the castle.
The southern enclosure or Upper Bailey, sited on higher ground, comprises the scant remains of earlier buildings.
en.wikipedia.org:_Urquhart_Castle

Urquhart Castle

We fled the scene for the masses, the bus loads of tourists, and went for a refreshment in nearby Drumnadrochit.
Loch Ness
Loch Ness
That 'Black Gold' was very tasty!


We retraced our route along Loch Ness, to Inverness, for we had a booking in Ardentorrie House
Ardentorrie House, Inverness

This was where I began to find the prices of accommodation a problem.
It was explained to me by the landlord of Ardentorrie House that their prices were advised by the local (?) tourist board, in comparison with prices in the area. So prices are set not by competition, but by an overseeing board; I hate that and does explain the high prices.
I found wifi and going online here a problem, which did not help with my onward bookings.
Booking night-by-night in Scotland, in july at least, is not a good thing: scarcity result in ghastly prices. In a country where 'ensuite' is still something to advertise with.
I decided to cancel two days of my itinerary and instead of going north we would heast west.

I did not think much of Inverness and during our evening walk we decided to cancel the next day exploring Inverness too and further revise our plans.
I was beginning to get annoyed by prices and archaic habits here in Scotland..

 



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