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Castles of Scotland

A visit to a few Castles in Scotland

  • Many Castles of Scotland are in ruins but some are still in use as places for offices. homes, or open to tourists. 

There is history that comes alive as we wonder through the ruins. Urquhart is known because of its location on Loch Ness, and the Loch Ness monster.  Scone Palace is well preserved and the world famous crowning place of the King of Scots. It is one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic style in the UK.   It is an interesting hike to the Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress possibly fortified in the Early Middle Ages. 

Sterling Castle, sitting atop Castle Hill is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally.  Traquair House, the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland.  It  was visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. Mount Stuart Castle is a  sumptuous 19th-century mansion, with extravagant interiors and expansive landscaping and wild gardens.  Kilchurn Castle was built in the mid 1400s on the northeastern end of Loch Awe. The ruins can be visited and the reflection on the Loch is beautiful.  Explore Eilean Donan, a 13th Century Castle in the Highlands of Scotland and one of the most iconic images of Scotland.  Inverness Castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness in Inverness.  A fortification has existed here since at least the sixth century, and rebuilt, added on to, finally rebuilt to house the Sheriff Courthouse and Country Hall. It remains in use as a court and therefore, at this time, access is limited to the exterior.

Barcaldine Castle is a 17th century tower house and is now a luxury Bed and Breakfast Guest House. Corgarff Castle was built in 1550 then converted to a barracks for government troops in 1748. It is still complete with its 18th star-shaped fortification and sits surrounded by heather covered hills.

Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th Century. It was once caught up in bloody border conflicts but now a popular filming location. Dunollie Castle is a small ruined castle now covered by greenery, but open to the public for tours. Dunstaffnage Castle built in 1220s is a partially ruined castle near Oban, and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Crathes Castle cared for the National Trust for Scotland is a classic Tower house whose interior and gardens can be toured and enjoyed. Nearby Drum Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses also cared for by the National Trust while touring one can explore 700 years of history. Craignethan Castle is another ruined castle with a tower built in the 16th century. The last medieval castle to be built in Scotland. Cawdor Castle, a romantic Highland Castle is set amid beautiful formal gardens originally built around a 15th century tower house.

Castle Stalker is a privately owned 14th century four-story tower house located on a small patch of land on Loch Laich. It is very picturesque when viewed from the road, and one can kayak to get closer to walk around the tower, and request a guided tour. Bothwell Castle, the largest and finest 13th century stone castle much fought over during the Wars of Independence with England. even though it sustained much damage it still continues to be one of the most spectacular pieces of medieval architecture across the whole of Scotland. 13th Century Duart Castle is located on the Isle of Mull, restored and open for tours, beautiful tea room and spectacular location for weddings. Glamis Castle is beautiful, a living, breathing monument to Scottish heritage, hospitality and enjoyment for all. It was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and birthplace of HRH Princess Margaret. Inveraray Castle is a beautiful stately home and an early example of Gothic Revival architecture. Accommodation is available, and an episode of Downton Abby was partly filmed there. Edinburgh Castle is an historic fortress which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh was once the residence of Scottish monarch and now serves mostly as a museum. The Royal Military Tattoo is an annual series of military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands and artistic performance teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.

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FALKIRK WHEEL Narrow Boat Scotland Travel Photography

The Falkirk Wheel

The next time you visit Scotland take a trip on the Falkirk Wheel, and view Archimedes principle of displacement in action! On our Narrow boat Canal trip we went through the Wheel several times, here are some photos of our experience.

The Millennium Link was an ambitious £84.5m project with the objective of restoring navigability across Scotland on the historic Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, providing a corridor of regenerative activity through central Scotland.
A major challenge faced, was to link the Forth and Clyde Canal, which lay 35m (115ft) below the level of the Union Canal. Historically, the two canals had been joined at Falkirk by a flight of 11 locks that stepped down across a distance of 1.5km, but these were dismantled in 1933, breaking the link.
What was required was a method of connecting these two canals by way of a boat lift. British Waterways (now Scottish Canals) were keen to present a visionary solution taking full advantage of the opportunity to create a truly spectacular and fitting structure that would suitably commemorate the Millennium and act as an iconic symbol for years to come.
The resultant, a perfectly balanced structure that is The Falkirk Wheel – the world’s first and only rotating boat lift – was the eventual outcome of our collaboration with a design team that combined international experience of joint venture contractor Morrison-Bachy-Soletanche with leading specialists from Ove Arup Consultants, Butterley Engineering and Scotland-based RMJM architects.
Completion of The Millennium Link project was officially marked by Her Majesty The Queen on 24 May 2002 at The Falkirk Wheel.
How does it work?
The Falkirk Wheel lies at the end of a reinforced concrete aqueduct that connects, via the Roughcastle tunnel and a double staircase lock, to the Union Canal. Boats entering the Wheel’s upper gondola are lowered, along with the water that they float in, to the basin below. At the same time, an equal weight rises up, lifted in the other gondola.
This works on the Archimedes principle of displacement. That is, the mass of the boat sailing into the gondola will displace an exactly proportional volume of water so that the final combination of ‘boat plus water’ balances the original total mass.
Each gondola runs on small wheels that fit into a single curved rail fixed on the inner edge of the opening on each arm. In theory, this should be sufficient to ensure that they always remain horizontal, but any friction or sudden movement could cause the gondola to stick or tilt. To ensure that this could never happen and that the water and boats always remain perfectly level throughout the whole cycle, a series of linked cogs acts as a back up.
Hidden at each end, behind the arm nearest the aqueduct, are two 8m diameter cogs to which one end of each gondola is attached. A third, exactly equivalent sized cog is in the centre, attached to the main fixed upright. Two smaller cogs are fitted in the spaces between, with each cog having teeth that fit into the adjacent cog and push against each other, turning around the one fixed central one. The two gondolas, being attached to the outer cogs, will therefore turn at precisely the same speed, but in the opposite direction to the Wheel.
Given the precise balancing of the gondolas and this simple but clever system of cogs, a very small amount of energy is actually then required to turn the Wheel. In fact, it is a group of ten hydraulic motors located within the central spine that provide the small amount, just 1.5kw, of electricity to turn it.

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Scotland Castle Gallery

Scotland castles

This part of the interior of Brothwell Castle.
See the rest of the Gallery in the Travels section.

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