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United Kingdom: Dunnottar Castle

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Dunnottar Castle | United Kingdom | Europe

[Visited: July 2006]

I arrived in a dense fog in Stonehaven, and postponed my plans for a walk to Dunnottar Castle, even though I desperately wanted to visit the place. When there was a slight hint that the fog might be lifting, I set off, hoping for nice views of the castle. After a brief visit to the War Memorial, I continued for Dunnottar Castle, the contours of which appeared above the fields. From here, it looked quite big. A half hour leisurely walk later, I stood right across the cliff on the top of which Dunnottar Castle was built. From here, the shril sound of sea gulls flying all around accompanied me during my entire visit of the castle.

Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Contours of Dunnottar Castle, from a distance, with seagulls in the forefront

From this vantage point, it was easy to see why this particular location was chosen for Dunnottar Castle. Steep cliffs rising from a transparent sea, forming a small islet, with on only one, narrow side a rocky link to the mainland. A stair takes you up to the main gate, which was easy to defend, after which you enter the castle complex. This is an old castle on a location with superb defensive qualities where, probably more than 2,000 years, fortifications have stood. It is claimed that the name dun is derived from Pictish, meaning fort. It is easy to spend a few hours exploring the ruins of the castle, with great seaside views on almost all sides.

Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Dunnottar Castle on top of the steep cliffs, seen from the southwest

This place has been a battleground for battles between Scots and English, with some ugly episodes. in 1297, William Wallace took Dunnottar Castle back for th Scots, burning an entire English garrison inside the chapel. More than just a fortification, the Scots built some of the most luxurious buildings around at that time, albeit in a very well defended place. Here was the last resort of the Scottish to hold against Cromwell in the 17th century, but when the latter took the castle, both the Crown Jewels and the royal papers had been smuggled out to a nearby parish church. Another notable moment came in 1685 when some 160 prisoners were held in one of the rooms.

Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Stately buildlings of Dunnottar Castle
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Contours of Dunnottar Castle seen from a distance
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Dunnottar Castle sticking out of a landscape of cornfields
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Dunnottar Castle, cliffs, flowers and sea
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Uniquely positioned on a perfect rock, Dunnottar Castle from a distance
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Ruins of Dunnottar Castle with a darkening sky
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Remains of house at Dunnottar Castle
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): View on Dunnottar Castle from over a field of flowers
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Stately buildings at Dunnottar Castle
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Watertank and reflection of chimneys at Dunnottar Castle
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): View on Dunnottar Castle from the beach at the northern side
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Ruins at Dunnottar Castle
Picture of Dunnottar Castle (United Kingdom): Dining hall at Dunnottar Castle

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