Scotland is noted for its many fine castles. Most famous, arguably, is Edinburgh Castle, pictured above, sitting as it does atop its rocky outcrop. Here, we explore five other castles worth a look.
Amid a wild landscape – the haunt of wildcats and badgers, crossbills, sparrow hawks and golden eagles – stands the ruined husk of Kilchurn Castle, romantically sited on a spit of land jutting into Loch Awe. Kilchurn Castle moved Wordsworth to write of it – ‘Child of loud-throated war! the mountain-stream roars in thy hearing; but thy hour of rest is come, and thou art silent in thy age’.
Old Inverlochy Castle
Old Inverlochy Castle, not to be confused with the more modern Inverlochy Castle Hotel, lies beneath the intimidating shadow of Ben Nevis, and retains the ancient name of the nearby town rechristened Fort William after the first Scottish rising of 1715.
Urquhart Castle rises 50ft above the monster-haunted waters of Loch Ness. The purpose of its construction was to control movement along the Great Glen – the pass out of the Western Highlands along which clan MacDonald, the Lords of the Isles, travelled in search of plunder.
Stirling, the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’, on the fringe of the Lowland belt, witnessed some of the fiercest engagements between the English and the Scots. Its moment of greatest triumph occurred in 1314 when, at the famous battlefield at Bannockburn, Bruce defeated a vastly superior English force under the command of Edward II.
Kyleakin Castle, a favourite among those willing to take an extra step, set as it is against the backdrop of the Isle of Skye’s Cuillin Hills.