Dunnottar Castle

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Scotland, United Kingdom

Dunnottar Castle Reviews

Dr_Seuss Dr_Seuss
216 reviews
Dunnottar Castle Sep 13, 2012
Located about 20 minutes south of Aberdeen, near Stonehaven. Easy to get to by car, and there is a path to walk from Stonehaven town centre ( 2 1/2 miles).

A small car park at the enterance, that wasn't full when we were there, but it's off the main road and you could park along the edge at busier times.

There is a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks at the car park and a portaloo available.

A rough stoney track takes you down to the path to the castle. The path though is a steep set of stairs down to sea level and then a steep climb up more stairs to enter the castle.

The castle was more 'attached' to the mainland, but the ridge that joined it was blown up to make it easier to defend.

Admission desk is just after you go through the first arch, and it cost £5 each for my wife and I and £2 for my son. Picked up a guide book for the castle here for £3-50.

The castle sits on the headland where the gap from the sea to the Grampian mountains is at it's narrowest, and was used to contol the trade route from the north to south of Scotland. There has been some sort of fort here since about 5000BC, as the Dun in Dunnottar is from the Pictish word for fort. Most of the remaining, well preserved ruins date to the 14th & 15th Century, but a lot are from earlier.

Unusual ghost story for the castle is that it is haunted by The Green Lady looking for her 'lost children', who were the Picts who had converted to Christianity.

The castle belonged to the Earls Marischal, who as trusted nobles retained a more 'professional' army and were responsible for the Scottish Monarch's safety. So the castle would be where they stayed when travelling in the area for protection, most notably Mary Queen Of Scots and Charles II.

During the Scottish Resistance, to occupaton by England, William Wallace took Dunnottar Castle,in 1297, and 21 of the garrison that had been stationed there took shelter in the chapel and were killed as it was burnt down.

The most notable conflict, was in 1651, after Charles II had returned to claim back the crowns of Scotland and England after Oliver Cromwell had made it a Commonwealth. He had been crowned in Scone, traditional site of the crowning of Scottish kings, but having failed he fled. The Honours Of Scotland(Crown Jewels) were entrusted to the Earl Marischal, and Dunnottar came under seige from Cromwell's troops and held out for over 8 months. The 'Honours' were somehow smuggled out and lay hidden in a church nearby for years.

So much history in this place it will be impossible to fit it all in, best to see it for yourself.

We started at the Quadrangle, and went to the dining room and then the Drawing Room. the Drawing Room is the only part that is fully restored and set out as it would have been at the time.

You can then go into the kitchen, which has the remains of a sink and an oven, that looks remarkably like a pizza oven :D.

We then went into the Whig's Vault, another dark part of Dunnottar's history. Despite the support he received in Scotland, when Charles II eventually restored the monarchy he made it Episcopalian, causing a revolt from Presbytarians in Scotland. Presbytarianism was outlawed, and those who refused to accept this were arrested. Soon the prisons in Edinburgh were full and 167 prisoners were marched to Dunnottar and kept prisoner in the vault, with no sanitation and little food, only what they could bribe from the guards. They were kept there for over 2 months, with eventually 37 converting and being released. 25 escaping (15 of whom were recaptured, 2 died on the rocks below in the attempt). The rest were deported to the West Indies, 70 of them dying on the voyage.

From here we went down to see the Thief's Hole, which even today isn't a pleasant place to go into.

Wandered up past the Waterton's Lodge, The Stables and Smithy and then went up into The Keep, which dates back to the 14th Century.

The last Earl Marischal made the mistake of throwing his lot in with the Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, when James II had landed in nearby Peterhead. After their defeat he fled to France in 1716, and all his lands were forfeited. He returned to Scotland, having been pardoned, in 1763 but never married and the title died out.

The castle had been sold to the York Building Company, and they stripped it of everything of value and for building material, leaving only a shell.It wasn't until 1925 that Lady Cowdray set about the repairs that make Dunnottar Castle what it is today.

Having been to both, in the space of a couple of months, I still think Eilean Donan Castle is far more picturesque, but Dunnottar Castle really has a much more impressive history ( and I've had to leave out a fair bit :O ), that makes it a must see.
Road Down To Dunnottar Castle
First Glimpse Of Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle From Top Of Path
Dunnottar Castle Bay
12 / 12 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
ys484 says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: Sep 22, 2012
SirRosco says:
Have been there, too. Fortunately our weather was a bit nicer!
But congrats ;-)
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012
ilserita says:
Congrats on your feature, Ian!! :)
Posted on: Sep 20, 2012
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Hellu Hellu
2 reviews
Lovely castle near to visit from Aberdeen May 26, 2011
This Lovely castle is near to visit from Aberdeen. I went there by car, but I heard you can get there also by bus. The castle is in very nice place next to sea where you can see many sea birds for example puffins! Entry to the castle was 5 pounds.

To find out more visit www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk
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