Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Castle of the Week: Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

It has been awhile since I did a castle of the week post! This week's castle is Urquhart Castle, situated on Loch Ness, in Inverness (Scottish Highlands).

It also happens to be the castle I based my fictional Castle Gealach on in the Highland Bound series.

I was so excited to finally tour the castle on my last trip to Scotland, as the previous year, we'd arrived  about five minutes late and weren't allowed in. So, finally, victory!

Over 1500 years ago, the site where the castle stands now was originally a Pictish stronghold of a nobleman. The site has been the center of many military battles, especially in the medieval era where it saw nearly 500 years of strife. In 1296 it was captured by the English and then fought over for many years between the Scots and English during the fight for Scottish Independence. After Robert the Bruce's death, Urquhart was one of the only Highland castles remaining under Scottish control. Soon after came the MacDonalds--Lords of the Isles. They fought for the castle against the Scottish crown, back and forth, back and forth. In 1509 the castle was given to the Grant Clan to maintain and hold. It was during this time, the Grants built Grant Tower. The MacDonalds continued to lay siege and raid the castle until the mid-1500's.

By the 1600's the Grants had essentially abandoned the castle, though they continued to make repairs to it until about 1623. In the 1640's Lady Grant was forced to flee from the castle when it was besieged by Covenantors who robbed her and the castle. During the Jacobite Rising, Urquhart was garrisoned with government forces who supported William and Mary and they were able to hold out against the Jacobites. When the last of them left, they blew up the castle on the way out so that it could never be used as a military fortress again. The castle soon fell into decay and in 1715 the Grant Tower collapsed during a storm. In the 1800's that the castle was deemed a noble ruin, and finally in 1913 the care of it fell to the national trust who maintains it today. Urquhart is one of the most popular Scottish historical sites--and the home of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster.

Below are some pictures I took while there!

A trebuchet

View of the castle from the visitor center. You can see what a large fortress it was. Beyond it, see the loch and mountain.

I don't know who the woman is :) But this is a pic of the  gate house.

I took a pic of Grant Tower while standing on top of the gate house.

An arrow slit window.

Standing inside the bailey, you can see the Grant Tower over the hill.

Ripples in the water of Loch Ness--do you think its Nessie?

The door to the prison.

Circular stairs in Grant Tower.

A room inside the tower.

One of my favorite pics that I took at the castle--isn't the view breathtaking through this window?

Looking at the collapsed wall of the tower.

Me at the gate :)

Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and erotic romance.

When Shona saves a warrior from an ambush, she feels compelled to heal his wounds. But when Ewan wakes, he ignites a desire in her she yearns to embrace. Staving off loneliness for years, she let's herself indulge in a night of passion, sinking into the splendor that is this Highlander's touch.


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