This was one of those “the best laid plans of mice and coos oft times go astray” moments with visiting this castle. We had a lovely breakfast at our BnB with the plans for the day being to visit Dunnottar Castle which is (taken from their webpage)
Perched atop a 160 foot rock and surrounded on three sides by the North Sea, these dramatic and evocative cliff-top ruins were once an impregnable fortress of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over.
I was hyped and had everything set in my backpack (besides Billy of course) to photograph my heart out. Then Murphy’s law kicked in! As we drew nearer to the castle fog set in…really really set in. I was still optimistic about the trip though. We arrived, we parked and then we saw – this!
We heard the sea and just barely made out the shoreline but the fog was not going anywhere that day. So onward and upward! There were times, depending on where we stood on the long 200 steps down trek that the castle seemed to fade away.
I was beginning to wonder if we would see any of what we first saw as a shadowy outline any clearer. While our entire visit was shrouded in fog, things did get better once we were in. They designed this castle to be difficult to storm… this tunnel in had irregular steps and because of the stone work, there were warning signs posted about how it was slippery when wet; please hold on to the hand rails!
We emerged from the tunnel and entered the castle grounds – even though it was still draped in fog – it was amazing! This is a view of the gallery which housed some living rooms, the kitchen, stores and brew house. On the far right is the chapel.
The chapel on the right and in the center is the water tank.
There is just so much amazing history attached to this castle that I couldn’t even begin to tell you all about it. Here are just a couple of highlights: William Wallace in 1297 attacked an English garrison here and took the castle back under Scottish control. In 1562, Mary Queen of Scots paid the castle a visit. After 400 years of Dunnottar being the seat of Clan Keith, it was sold by the Government to the York Mining Company. Everything of any value was removed including, floors, ceilings and all furniture leaving just a shell.
Billy was not impressed with the history of the castle, he was more interested in the green grass, the yellow flowers that were growing everywhere (including in the stone walls) and pretending he was king.
Fortunately for all of us, in 1919 Lord and Lady Cowdray purchased the Castle and began an extensive program of conservation and restoration, protecting it from further damage and deterioration. The Castle was then re-opened to the public. It remains in the same family to this day.
This is Waterton’s Lodging next to the garden. Still haven’t figured out who Waterton was; I’m guessing if he had his own lodgings then he must have had some high position.
The view from part of the garden of the stables on the left and the smithy/forge on the right.
It was through the tunnel again and up the 200 steps to head off to the next stop. I asked Billy if he had seen my missing earring which had probably fallen off when I put my back pack on, he hadn’t. I lost an earring at this castle so I guess you could say a piece of me remains in Scotland.
Next – Billy wasn’t fond of St. Andrews
Teri and Billy 📷