Eilean Donan Castle is the most photographed castle in the world .
I have added three 3D picture galleries to the website . Each one features a 3D cube with 6 pictures on it . You can control the cube by holding your cursor over it .There are 3D pictures of Edinburgh Castle and Eilean Donan Castle
The Edinburgh Castle 3D pictures gallery features six of my pictures of the famous castle which is consistently one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK
Eilean Donan Castle
is my favourite castle in Scotland , sitting on a small island in the middle of 3 lochs
Historic Scotland is currently engaged in a £12 million project to return the royal palace within the walls of Stirling Castle to how it might have been in the mid-16th century.New research has revealed the cosmopolitan character of the Renaissance Scottish court at Stirling Castle .
The palace will reopen to the public in 2011 as a new Scottish visitor experience. Freelance historian, John Harrison, has been investigating original documents .Mr Harrison’s source is The Bread Book, an account of who received loaves from the royal kitchens throughout 1549 when the palace was the main residence of Scotland’s queen mother, Mary de Guise , mother of Mary , Queen of Scots . Mary, Queen of Scots was born in nearby Linlithgow Palace and she was only 9 months old when she was crowned Queen of Scotland in the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle on September 9, 1543. On most days a loaf was granted to the Morys – or Moors – who Mr Harrison believes were probably either black Africans or Arabs originating from North Africa.
“This is a fascinating glimpse of the diversity of the royal court at Stirling in the mid-16th century. It was quite cosmopolitan at the time, with the French Mary de Guise at its head, and surrounded not just by Scots but by people from Spain, the Rhineland and what is now Belgium. There were a few English, but they were mostly prisoners. Just who the Moors were, and what they were doing, is difficult to say. They were quite low in the court hierarchy, but were part of the household and getting bread at royal expense.”
Hints have survived that there may have been Africans in Scotland even earlier. There is a poetic reference by Dunbar to a woman who has been assumed to be – ‘the Lady with the Meikle Lips’. Such references are mostly rather uncertain, and may have other explanations, and the importance of The Bread Book is its clarity at a time when record-keeping was still relatively thin. Just as fascinating is what The Bread Book adds to our understanding of the way the court was run, and who had access to the queen. The evidence suggests that rather than acting like many of the Tudor dynasty in England and taking her main meals in private, deep within the network of royal apartments, Mary de Guise would dine in the Queen’s Outer Hall.
“Quite a wide range of people had access to her, not ordinary farmers but lots of people who were fairly well-to-do, which is important as she was working hard to build and protect the interests of her young daughter – Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary de Guise was an intelligent, decisive woman and a smart operator.
Eilean Donan Castle is one of my favourite castles in Scotland , mainly because of the stunning location and ample photo opportunities . My picture of the castle at night is an HDR photo which is now available as a screensaver. The castle can be photographed from 3 sides . Eilean Donan means Island of Donan ( a religious figure from the 12 th century ). Eilean Donan was Clan MacKenzie’s most important stronghold from the 13th Century until it was destroyed in 1719 by 3 English frigates attacking the Spanish garrison .
Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as : As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh,Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. There is also a panel with the names of the constables ( guardians ) of the castle carved on it.
Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes, the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until until the 16th century. The MacRaes first became Constables of the Castle in 1511 with a lot of control over the surrounding area. A feud between the MacKenzies and the McLeods of Dunvegan, over the disputed claims of Donald Gorm MacDonald to the title of Lord of the Isles, came to a head when he attacked the Castle with 50 galleys. He was shot and killed by Duncan MacRae with a single arrow. The Castle was garrisoned by Government troops but later retaken by the Jacobites before the Battle of Sheriffmuir.
Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. Our new free castle pictures gallery features a number of Scottish castles . Stirling Castle features a Homecoming 2009 event this month – Homecoming events .
From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .
The Renaissance pomp and pageantry of the Royal Court of Mary Queen of Scots returns to Stirling Castle next month when the queen and her entourage come home to Scotland for ‘A Royal Summer Holiday’.
Castle visitors can become courtiers at this family event from Saturday 1st to Monday 3rd August and join the 16th-century VIP visitors as they have some fun. Skittles, quoits, and firing a crossbow are on offer .
Costumed players throughout the castle will be leading special children’s tours of the castle and sharing all of the latest gossip about the lords and ladies in attendance. And kids will also have an opportunity to join the royal guard to help protect the royal party as they take a break from governing the country.
Historic Scotland Interpretation Manager Sheena Garden said: “Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.
Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed a couple of years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and cocerts are held in the Hall throughout the year . An ambitious £12 million scheme, the Stirling Castle Palace Project, is currently underway to restore and refurbish the Royal Palace at Stirling and present the Royal Lodgings as they might have appeared in the heyday of Scotland’s Stewart court in the mid 16th century. An interpretive display on the court of James V will be created in the palace vaults and a Renaissance Gallery on the upper floors of the palace will house the original Stirling Heads, a rare group of intricately carved oak ceiling medallions depicting kings, queens, courtiers and mythological creatures. Costumed interpreters will bring the rich history of the 16th century to life to enrich visitors’ enjoyment.
Stirling Castle is one of over 345 outstanding heritage properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland is a Government agency responsible for running and maintaining many castles in Scotland . Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. Among the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castle , Skara Brae, and Melrose Abbey . For further details visit Historic Scotland
I went up to Eilean Donan Castle last week and shot some photos and videos of it . The weather was changeable , which is typical for the weather in Scotland nowadays . It was a mixture of sunshine and cloud .
Eilean Donan is Gaelic for Island of Donan , a 12th century religious figure .Eilean Donan was Clan
MacKenzie’s most important stronghold from the 13th Century
until it was destroyed in 1719. Robert the Bruce was given
refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of
Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the
beginning of the fourteenth century. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the
Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan
Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie
chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes,
the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until
until the 16th century ,
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Castles and three sporting estates are for sale in Scotland, with interest from buyers across Europe and the US.
A “starter castle” can cost as little as £150,000 for Westhall Castle in Aberdeenshire to those selling for millions of pounds. Parts of the building date back to the 16th century, with 17th-century additions and a major Victorian extension by A & W Reid, of Inverness.
In the 1980s and early-1990s, Westhall Castle was run as a hotel with self-catering units, but today requires complete restoration.Historically the property of the Bishops of Aberdeen, it passed to a branch of the Gordons at the Reformation and, in 1681, was bought by James Horn, vicar of Elgin, who married a Leslie of Pitcaple.
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Duncraig Castle near Plockton was for sale at £800,000.Update- Duncraig Castle has been sold .
Set in 25 acres of private landscaped grounds, Johnston Tower, part of Keithhall House, was originally constructed as Caskieben Castle in the 16th century. At one time, Caskieben Castle was owned by classical Latin poet Arthur Johnston, before it was bought in 1662 by the infamous Keith family. The Keiths were a major Scottish military family in the 17th century with Jacobite connections and they transformed the building from a modest tower house construction to a grander Renaissance building.
Johnston Tower is a unique part of Inverurie’s heritage and its new owners will be funding the restoration of many other unique buildings throughout the north-east. The corridors of Keith hall have featured many popular historical figures of the Keith family, such as George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal of Scotland, and a Jacobite rebel.
A 5,000-acre Dalchully Estate, near Laggan, Inverness-shire – the Highland retreat of Xavier-Louis Vuitton, heir to the world-famous fashion dynasty – is on the market for £4.25m.
Foreign buyers are attracted because they get much better value for their money now.Sporting estates and castles have not lost any significant value in the current climate.
Balfour Castle off Orkney, one of the most northerly castles in the world , sold for more than £2.7m .Castles and sporting estates have proved over the years to be good investments. They are certainly better investments than the stock market. Since 2006 the FTSE has halved in value and while the price of estates or castles may not have gone up as swiftly, they haven’t dipped as significantly.
Skelmorlie Castle in Ayrshire, which comes with 27 and a half acres of land and a picturesque view of the Isle of Arran, is on sale for offers of more than £1.95m, while Barcaldine Castle in Oban has just gone on the market for offers over £1.35m.
Geoffrey Nicholsby bought Duntarvie Castle in West Lothian nearly 18 years ago. He initially wanted to transform it into a five-star hotel, but later set about developing the property as a retreat for customers to get kilted out. The 61-year-old has changed his plans and instead put the remains of the castle, on the Hopetoun Estate near Winchburgh, up for sale. With property planning consent already in place for it to become a corporate headquarters – complete with its own retail, guest accommodation and helipad – selling agents expect it to be snapped up by an international firm looking for a property as a global HQ.
Savills have got four castles on the market, three of which are in the north-east, which is very rare. People sell their castles for a variety of reasons, but it tends to be people whose children have left home.
It is amazing and quite unprecedented that as many as 15 castles are on the market because these types of properties tend to be held by the same people for a very long time.
The credit crunch has had an impact and these people are looking to realise capital. Rural property castles and large estates tend to be held by the same families for generations. Half of Scotland hasn’t been on the market for centuries.
Historic Scotland’s flagship attraction Edinburgh Castle is celebrating after welcoming its one millionth visitor through the door this year. No , they haven’t had one million visitors since January 1 . This is their financial year which ends in March .
Edinburgh Castle attracts 1.2 million visitors per year and despite the credit crunch the castle continues to attract visitors from around the world.
A £2.7 million visitor reception project was completed last year to improve visitor services and ensure visitors continue to enjoy world class service at this attraction.
Edinburgh Castle now has its own dedicated website.New markets have also been opening up – reflected by the recent introduction of souvenir guide books to the castle in Russian and Chinese.The one millionth visitors to the castle were couple, Britta Springstrow and Rene Woffeh from Germany.
Britta said they were delighted to be chosen, adding: “Edinburgh is such a beautiful place and the castle is stunning. It was really exciting to be chosen as the millionth visitor today as we were certainly not expecting it.”
Barbara Smith, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle, said: “The arrival of the millionth visitor is always a milestone. This year, it is particularly pleasing in the economic climate.
“The combination of iconic status, memorable image, unique treasures and a world class welcome make this a truly must-see attraction.”
There is still time to catch the special off-peak seasonal admission charges at the castle until the 28 February 2009 with adult tickets under £10.
The castle’s top 10 highlights
1. The Crown Room and the Stone of Destiny – where the nations treasures are kept.
2. The Great Hall – which holds a fabulous display of arms and armour and the ‘key’ to the
3. Royal Palace – rooms created in 1617 in honour of James VI.
4. St Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in Edinburgh, built to commemorate the mother
of David 1.
5. The Prisons of War – an atmospheric recreation of the life of prisoners at the end of the
6. Mons Meg – one of Europe’s oldest siege guns that fired stones weighing 150kg over
7. The One O’Clock Gun – the famous time signal has been fired almost daily since 1861.
8. The Scottish National War Memorial – shrine to those who gave their lives in conflicts from World War 1 onwards.
9. A castle wedding . Wedding receptions can now be held in the castle
10. Panoramic views – across the capital, over the Firth of Forth and into Fife, which can be enjoyed from the castle’s walls.