Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness

Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on one of Scotland’s  most popular visitor attractions, namely Castle Urquhart in the Scottish Highlands near Inverness on Loch Ness. Of course, the main reason for the huge number of visitors each year is that this is the best site from which to view Loch Ness  and seek out it’s legendary monster.

Monster legends apart this is a quality site with much to offer including a short, introductory film, refreshment facilities, gift shop and stunning views over the Loch.

From a history perspective, there has been a fortification on the site for about 1500 years, dating back to Pictish  times. Like the vast majority of surviving stones castles in the British Isles, Urquhart has its genesis in the 13th century under Alan Durward and was extended by the powerful Comyns after 1275. Subsequent milestones:

  • Oscillated between English and Scottish control during the 14th century Wars of Independence.
  • Post 1390, the threat came from the Macdonald Lord of the Isles in the West of Scotland.
  • Captured by the Macdonalds in 1452 but regained by the Scottish Crown four years later.
  • Plundered by Clansmen in 1544-5
  • Partly blown up by defenders at time of Jacobite uprising in 1689 to prevent opponents gaining advantage.
  • Subsequently a deteriorating and romantic ruin.

The facities of this once great castle were extensive and included:

  • Ditch and drawbridge.
  • Gatehouse
  • Guard Room
  • Constable’s Lodging
  • Water Gate
  • Outer Close
  • Chapel
  • Great Hall
  • Inner Close
  • Grant Tower, as shown below. This is the most prominent feature and named after the Grant family who held the castle in the early 16th century.

The Grant Tower below attracts many visitors who climb the narrow stairs to the top to benefit from the stunning views over the loch.

Tower at Castle Urquhart

Tower at Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness

Here is a view taken from a tour boat.

Castle Urquhart viewed from Loch Ness

Castle Urquhart viewed from Loch Ness, Scotland

In summer time a piper can be spotted.

Piper at Castle Urquhart

Piper at Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness

This is a trebruchet, a form of giant, medieval catapult which bombarded castles before gunpowder and cannon came into use.

Trebruchet at Castle Urquhart

Trebruchet at Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness

Whenever travelling along the Great Glen  I invariably include a visit to this site.

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