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    Tour Scottish Castles

    Welcome to Scotland, home to about seven hundred castles ranging from basic ruins to such grand edifices as Stirling and Edinburgh castles.

    Tell me a little about a tour of Scottish Castles

    Scotland benefits from a rich legacy of historic castles and fortified houses extending to about 700 in total.

    These are of  interest to a wide range of visitors including:

    • Photographers -romantic ruins in the ever changing light conditions.
    • Students of architecture-the medieval through to late Victorian.
    • Students of battles and history.
    • Students of Scotland’s somewhat violent past.
    • Visitors wishing to ‘connect’ with a castle associated with a particular family (e.g.Castle Stalker) clan (e.g. Dunvegan on Skye) or Royal dynasty (e.g. Glamis Castle).

    Tell me more about a tour of Scottish Castles with Catswhiskerstours.

    The earliest stone castles were built in the mid 12th century, commencing after 1124, and began to proliferate in the 13th century, many being constructed with curtain walls.The castles were principally constructed as residences for the aristocracy and as a statement of wealth, status and power.

    Here are some of Scotland’s more noteworthy castles:

    • Balmoral: A Royal home on Deeside. Limited access to the public.
    • Blair Castle , Perthshire: Now a stately home and very popular with tourists.
    • Braemar Castle, Aberdeenshire: A fully furnished L Plan castle dating from 1628. Brechin Castle, Aberdeenshire: One of the oldest inhabited dwellings in Scotland.
    • Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran. Former seat of the Dukes of Hamilton.
    • Caerlaverock Castle, Dunfries: Excellent example of a medieval castle.
    • Castle Campbell, Clackmannanshire: A semi-ruin which dates from the 15thC. Superb location in the Ochills and great for photographs.
    • Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire:  A ‘Castle of Mar’ dating from 1575.
    • Cawdor Castle, Nairn: Dates from around 1370 and via the Thane of Cawdor connected with Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
    • Crathes Castle: A late 16th century castle with famous garden and yew hedge.
    • Culzean Castle, Ayrshire: A ‘palace of prosperity’ dating from 1792. Built by Robert Adam for the Kennedy family.
    • Dean Castle, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire: Tower House and small palace dating from 14th and 15th centuries, built by the Boyd family.
    • Direlton Castle, E. Lothian: A formidable castle dating from the Golden age of Scottish castles in the 12th century.
    • Doune Castle, Perthshire: A well preserved 14th century castle famous for featuring in the 1970s film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’.
    • Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire: A square tower-house dating from the late 13th century.
    • Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries: A magnificent palace dating from 1679-91.
    • Duart Castle, Isle of Mull: Dates from 13th c. and associated with Clan Maclean.
    • Dunnottar Castle: Combined castle and palace now in ruins. Near Aberdeen on east coast. Connected to Clan Keith,.
    • Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland: A palace built 1835-50 on an ealrie 13th c site.
    • Dunvegan Castle, Skye: Connected with Clan MacLeod for 800 years.
    • Edinburgh Castle: Dates from the 12th century. A must see if in Edinburgh.
    • Eilean Donan Castle: Highlands, iconic, very photogenic castle re-built 1932.
    • Fort George, Inverness. A superb example of an 18thc British military fort still ccupied by the army today. Finished in 1769. Designed to pacify the Highlands after the Jacobite uprising in 1746.
    • Glamis Castle, Angus: Closely connected with the Royal Family and a family home
    • Inveraray Castle, Argyll: A magnificent palace completed 1789.
    • St Andrews Castle: A ruin which dates from 14thc and located on a headland overlooking the sea. Was home to many bishops and archbishops.
    • Stirling Castle: A royal palace dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. Closely connected with the batlles of Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge. Recommended.
    • Threave Castle, Dumfries: A 14th C stronghold on an island in the River  Dee.
    • Urquhart Castle, Highlands: This romantic ruin sits on a promontory in the middle of Loch Ness. However, the castle is interesting in its own right and dates from the 13thc  when it was built by the Durwards

    Clackmannanshire Medieval Towers Tour

    Clackmannanshire is home to four medieval towers and a manor house which date from the late 14th to 16th centuries. They were built a status symbols, to show off the wealth and style of their respective owners.Defence was no longer a priority as the Scottish countryside has become relatively peaceful by this period. 

    Key features of the tower houses are: very thick walls, a strong door and inner iron yett (not always at ground level) storage areas on the lower floors; a Great Hall; bedchambers and private rooms for the Lord and entourage. Here is a summary of the buildings:  

    Clackmannan Tower: dates from the late 14thc. and raised to tower height in the 15thc. In ownership of the Bruce family through to the late 18thcentury and then abandoned. Now in guardianship of Historic Scotland but access restricted due to earlier structural problems and ongoing repair programme. 

    Menstrie Castle: Built by the Alexander family about 1560 and subsequently improved in the early 17th. The house was derelict by 1951 but restored by 1964 when mostly converted to flats. Two ground floor rooms contain displays, are owned by Clackmannanshire Council and managed by the National Trust for Scotland.   

    Castle Campbell: Dates from the 14thc. Probably originally built for the Stewart family, then later came under ownership of the Campbells of Argyll. It was attacked by royalist forces in 1654 and partly destroyed. Now partly restored, owned by the National Trust for Scotland  the castle falls under the guardianship of Historic Scotland.

    Alloa Tower: One of the largest and finest towers of its type. Origins date to late 14thc.  but built mainly in the 15thc. Owned by the  Erskine family, Earls of Mar. The adjacent mansion and other buildings were destroyed by fire in 1800, but the tower survived. Derelict by the 1980s, ownership was transferred by the Earl of Mar to what is now Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust. The tower was then restored and is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

    Sauchie Tower: Built by the Schaw family around the middle of the 15th century and occupied by the Schaws until about 1710.The Tower suffered severe structural problems in the 19th century. Now in process of repair and restoration with restricted access.

    How can Catswhiskerstours help with tours of Scottish Castles?

    Benefiting from our extensive experience of visiting castles in Scotland and  England we can arrange:

    • Castle tours for groups of all sizes, included driver-guided tours.
    • Self-drive tours (driving tours) with a castles theme.
    • A castles tour in conjunction with other themes such as battlefields or whisky..

    For more help in arranging a tour of Scotland’s Castles and further information, contact Nigel-

    T  44 (0) 141 638 5500

    E: info@catswhiskerstours.co.uk
    E  ncole67@googlemail.com

    We look forward to hearing from you!

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    Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, ScotlandStirling Castle, ScotlandBrodick Castle, Isle of Arran, ScotlandBlair Castle, Blair Atholl, ScotlandGlamis Castle, ScotlandBalmoral Castle, Craithie, ScotlandEilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands