Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Inside Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland

Inside Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

This evening, I am focusing on a stunning example of ecclesiastical architecture, namely Dornoch Cathedral in Sutherland, Scottish Highlands. Technically the building is no longer a Cathedral because, being part of the Presbyterian Church, there is no bishop. However, pre-Reformation (until 1560), the building was used for Roman Catholic worship and the name continues.

Dornoch is about forty-three miles north of Inverness.

The Cathedral has a long history dating back to its inception in 1222 by Bishop Gilbert de Moravia. It was consecrated in 1239. Bishop Gilbert was the last Scot to be canonised before the Reformation. A summary of the Cathedral’s history post-Reformation is as follows:

  • Burnt 1570 during a Clan battle.
  • Quire and transepts restored 1616 by Sir Robert Gordon.
  • Renovated 1835-7 under patronage of Elizabeth, Duchess of Sutherland.
  • Further renovation 1924 when original 13th century stonework was revealed.
  • Organ installed 1893 and subsequently renovated 1908 at expense of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Rebuilt 1979 at expense of Andrew Carnegie’s daughter, Margaret.

The Cathedral has 28 stained glass windows with the most recent dating from 1989 when it was installed on the 750th anniversary of the original consecration.

Here is a video clip  of the interior of this magnificent building which should not be missed when visiting Dornoch.

Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Inside Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Inside Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland

Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland.

This evening, I am reporting on Kilchurn Castle, a romantic ruin situated at the northern end of Loch Awe in Argyll, West of Scotland. Location is about 16 miles directly north of Inveraray.

This castle is usually visible from a vantage point on A819 highway but close proximity access is difficult and, as of today, is not officially open to the public.

A brief history of Kilchurn Castle:

  • Originally a Tower House dating from 1440 when associated with Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy aka Black Knight of Rhodes.
  • Kilchurn was a key link in maintaining Campbell control of Western Scotland post 1500.
  • Besieged by Royalists for two days in 1654 and again in 1685 in context of a rebellion by the Earl of Argyll, a Protestant, against the forces of the Catholic James VII.
  • Garrisoned by Hanoverian troops during the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745.
  • In 1740 the Campbells relocated to Taymouth Castle in Perthshire and abandoned Kilchurn. Later, in 1769, the castle was damaged by lightning. The castle was then used as a quarry by local builders.
  • In 1817, drainage work resulted in a lowering of the water level on Loch Awe leaving the castle well positioned on dry land and well suited to the local landscape.
Landscae view of Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland.

Landscae view of Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe, Scotland.

Northern end of Loch Awe, Scotland

Northern end of Loch Awe, Scotland.

Loch Awe landscape in winter.

Loch Awe landscape in winter.

Archery Demonstration at Warwick Castle, England.

Archery Demonstration at Warwick Castle, England.

This evening, I am providing information on Warwick Castle, a major visitor attraction which is situated about 100 miles N.W.of London, England.

As illustrated by the images, Warwick Castle is a substantial fortification.It has a provenance dating back to 1068 when a basic, motte and bailey defensive system was constructed on orders of William the Conqueror.

During the 1000 years which the castle has evolved it has been the power base of the British Crown and such famous families as de Newburgh, Beauchamp, Neville, Plantagenet and Greville. Today, the castle is owned by Merlin, an entertainments company.

Visitors can observe evolution of castle architecture and visit various aspects including:

  • The Mound.
  • The Gatehouse and towers.
  • Gaol.
  • Great Hall, Queen Anne Bedroom and State Dining Room.
  • Rose Garden.
  • Conservatory.
  • Mill & Engine House.
  • River Avon.

There are also medieval themed demonstrations of archery, falconry and trebuchet firing.

Visitors should allow about two to three hours to gain a full appreciation of this extensive site.

Main entrance at Warwick Castle, Englland

Main entrance at Warwick Castle, England.

Cedar Drawing Room at Warwick Castle, England.

Cedar Drawing Room at Warwick Castle, England.

Mounted Knight, Great Hall, Warwick Castle, England.

Mounted Knight, Great Hall, Warwick Castle, England.

Great Hall and apartments, Warwick Castle, England.

Great Hall and apartments, Warwick Castle, England.

The Mound, Warwick Castle, England

The Mound, Warwick Castle, England.

Guy's Tower, Warwick Castle, England

Guy’s Tower, Warwick Castle, England.

River Avon at Warwick Castle, England.

River Avon at Warwick Castle, England.

Firing Trebuchet at Warwick Castle, England.