Risto's British site


Scottish Castles, Stately Homes and Houses

The map with links and the alphabetical list of those of the Scottish Castles, Stately Homes and Houses that I have visited since 1990. All the photos attached are self-taken while visiting the places. You will see the photos by clicking photo after each name.

Read more about Scottish Castles from BRITAIN Magazine!



  1. Abbotsford House photo,
    Borders, home of Sir Walter Scott, full of memorabilia relating to the famous writer

  2. Alloa Tower photo,
    Clackmannanshire, is one of the largest tower houses in Scotland and dates from the 14th century. The Erskine family has owned it since around 1360 and the property is now being managed by the National Trust of Scotland in partnership with Clackmannanshire Council. The House still retains original medieval features such as the dungeon, first-floor well and magnificent oak roof timbers. Fully restored and furnished to a high standard, the Tower contains a unique collection of family portraits and silver on loan from the present Earl of Mar and Kellie. The eight-year restoration programme that recently received a Civic Trust award.
  3. Armadale Castle photo,
    Isle of Skye, is a ruin of a mansion house, not really a castle. The Macdonalds arrived on Skye in 15th century from the Southern Hebrides and stayed at Armadale from the 1650s. Flora MacDonald of Bonnie Prince Charlie fame was married here in 1750. The building of the mansion house was finished by in 1815, but much of it was destroyed by fire in 1855. Armadale houses the Clan Donald centre and 'The Museum of the Isles' in some of the outbuildings with the exhition of the history of the Scottish Higlands. The Gardens have 40 acres of exotic trees, shrubs and flowers in its gardens dating from the 17th century.
  4. Arniston House photo,
    Gorebridge, Lothian, a Georgian Mansion and the home of the Dundas family, who bought the land in 1571. The present house was begun in 1726 and completed in the 1750's on the site of a previous tower house. The architect was William Adam but the building was completed by his son John, brother of the more famous Robert. Arniston contains portraits of the generations of the family from the 16th century up to the present day, by artists including Ramsay and Raeburn.
  5. Balgonie Castle photo,
    Fife, was built in 14th century; the chapel was also built that time. Still lived in by the family of the Laird.

  6. Balloch Castle photo,
    West Dumbartonshire, was first was built in 1238 by the Earl of Lennox and remained the family seat until approximately 1390. Nothing much is left of the moat and the mound where the original castle once stood remain. The present castle was built by John Buchanan in 1808 using the stone from the old castle. Built in the "castle-gothic" style, this listed building was designed firstly as a status symbol and residency and turrets and 'slitted' windows are purely decorative. The castle now houses a visitor centre, which has displays about local history and wildlife. The park is particularly attractive in the spring when the large numbers of rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom.
  7. Balmoral Castle photo,
    Grampian, beautifully situated by the River Dee was purchased in 1852 by Prince Albert to be the holiday home of the Royal Family and the present castle was built 1853-55. The exhibition of paintings and works of art in the ballroom is open to the public as well as the grounds and gardens.

  8. Balvaird Castle photo,
    Fife, the ruins of a 15th century tower with the 1581 addition of a walled courtyard and gatehouse.

  9. Barcaldine Castle photo,
    Benderloch, Argyll, the 16th Century home of the Campbells of Barcaldine was built by Sir Duncan Campbell (Black Duncan) between 1591 and 1601. The castle saw some very unsettled times and was ruined by the mid 19th Century. In 1896 Sir Duncan Campbell 10th of Barcaldine repurchased the ruined Castle and spent 15 years restoring it for future heirs to enjoy. The present owner Roderick Campbell is now living in the castle with his family offering Argyll's only ancient castle B&B accommodation (graded 4 stars by the Scottish Tourist Board).
  10. Blackness Castle photo,
    Fife, a 14th century stronghold on a promontory in the Firth of Forth; film location for Hamlet

  11. Blair Castle photo,
    Perthshire, the ancient home of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl since 1269; famous for the only remaining private army in Europe - the Atholl Highlanders. Taking of photographs is allowed inside this castle, which is a welcome change to the normal rules!

  12. Bowhill House photo,
    Selkirk, Borders; the estate was granted to the Douglas family in 1322 and reverted to the Crown in 1450 as a favourite hunting ground; in 1550 the Scott family became the owners and after a marriage in 1720 between the Scotts and the Douglases the land was restored to the Douglas-Scott family. The present owner is John, 9th Duke of Buccleuch; the present house was built in 1812 with additions in 19th century; an excellent collection of paintings by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Canaletto, Guardi, Van Dyck

  13. Braemar Castle photo,
    Grampian, near the River Dee, was built in 1628 and rebuilt after the fire of 1689; purchased by the Farquharson in 1732 and still owned by the family. Largely rebuilt and garrisoned with English troops in 18th century. Spiral stone staircase leading to the principle rooms;

  14. Brodie Castle photo,
    Grampian, near Nairn, a typical tower house , was partially burned in 1645 and remodelled in 1730s with additions of the present entrance hall and library in the 19th centuries. Fine furniture, porcelain, paintings and unusual plaster ceilings. Famous for many varietes of daffodils in Springtime.

  15. Burleigh Castle photo,
    Fife, ruins of a 15th century keep with a courtyard wall with a gate and a corner tower; once a stronghold of the Balfours of Burleigh, and visited several times by James VI;

  16. Caerlaverock Castle photo,
    Dumfries, ruins of a fine example of a triangular site stronghold built by the Maxwell family, besieged by Edward I in 1300; dismantled and redundant after the 1640 siege;

  17. Carbisdale Castle photo,
    Sutherland, was built between 1906 and 1917 for the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland, the widow of 18th Earl of Sutherland, after a long dispute with the Duke's son about the Earl's legacy. In 1933, the castle was bought by Colonel Theodore Salvesen, the wealthy Scottish businessman of Norwegian extraction. Through Colonel Salvesen's consular connections he provided King Haakon VII of Norway and Crown Prince Olav (later King Olav V) with a safe refuge at Carbisdale during the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II, and during that time the castle was the venue of an important meeting. Salvesen's son Captain Harold Salvesen inherited the castle and in 1945 he gifted the castle to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association as Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel.

  18. Castle Campbell photo,
    Dollar, Clackmannanshire; the 1st Earl of Argyll (the 2nd Lord Campbell) built in 15th C. this mighty, isolated four-storey rectangular tower house high in the hills above Dollar, 'Gloom Castle' as it was called. In 1489 the Earl persuaded James IV to give approval for changing the castle's name, and since that time it was called Castle Campbell and remained the principal residence of the Argyll Campbells for nearly 200 years. The castle was burned in 1654 by Cromwell, later the Earl was executed, and the Campbells abandoned their castle. The castle came under the protection of the National Trust for Scotland in 1948.
  19. Castle Menzies photo,
    Weem, Perthshire, is an excellent and large example of a Z-plan fortified Tower House with flanking towers at diagonally opposite corners and has been the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies for over 400 years. In spite of the present extensive restoration works the castle is kept open to the public during the summer months;

  20. Castle of Mey photo,
    Thurso, Caithness, was built between 1566 and 1572 by the 4th Earl of Caithness. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother bought the place, which was in a state of neglect but was beautifully restored during the years. .In 1996, she created a charitable trust, which took ownership of the castle and the estate, with the intention of securing their future. The Castle is now open to the public during certain summer months.
  21. Castle Tioram photo,
    Moidart, Invernesshire; the ruined castle, the ancestral home of the Macdonalds of Clanranald, is accessible only at low tide along a narrow sandy causeway. It is one of the foremost surviving examples of a 13th century castle in Scotland. The castle was destroyed in 1715 when Clan Chief Allan of Clanranald ordered it to be burnt, probably to prevent it falling into enemy hands when he left to fight for the Jacobite cause. The castle is now owned by a Scottish businessman who is hoping to conserve it through a Trust.
  22. Cawdor Castle photo,
    Highlands, a late 14th century private fortress and a real fairy-tale castle was built around a small living holly tree by the Thanes of Cawdor and is still the home of the Cawdor family; the name of Cawdor was romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth.

  23. Corgarff Castle photo,
    Grampian, was built about 1530 as a tower house and a lordly residence in one of the most wild and remote districts of Scotland to protect its owners and their valuables; it was converted into Hanoverian troops' barracks in 1748-50 and was returned to private hands in 1802 as a farmhouse having even a whisky distillery there; after WW1 the castle became derelict and was given into State care in 1961 and was restored with star-shaped outworks;

  24. Crathes Castle photo,
    Grampian, is another Scottish fairy tale castle with turrets and gargoyles, built in late16th century; the seat of the family of Burnett of Leys ; fine furniture and painted ceiling; famous for its beautiful walled garden ,

  25. Crichton Castle photo,
    10 miles SE of Edinburgh, was built in 13th century by Crichton family; in the 1580s the Earl of Boswell made lots of improvements transforming the medieval castle into a remarkable Renaissance residence; Sir Walter Scott has described the castle in his "Marmion"; became ruins in 1659 when its masonry was due to financial difficulties of the owner taken away for other building purposes;

  26. Culzean Castle photo,
    Strathclyde, a Robert Adam palace of the Kennedy family includes a memorial to General Eisenhower

  27. Dirleton Castle photo,
    Lothian, ruins of a romantic castle; destroyed in 1650; fine gardens

  28. Dornoch Castle photo,
    Dornoch, Sutherland, was built in 13th C. by the Bishops of Caithness close to the cathedral as a Bishop's palace, not really a fortress, but a comfortable residence. The castle was severely damaged by fire in 1570 and was left as a ruin, until it was restored in the 19th century to make a residence for the Sheriff of Sutherland. In 1970, a southeast wing was added when the castle was bought and made into a hotel, which it is today. Dornoch is famous of its exellent golf-course.
  29. Doune Castle photo,
    Doune, Stirlingshire, was built in the late 14th C. by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. The castle looks strong and powerful. The dark stone rises to a high of 30 metres at the gate-tower and the high courtyard walls were protected by wall walks allowing defenders to drop material onto attackers from the walls. Much of the castle has been restored in recent centuries, but it is still one of the least changed castles in Scotland. Doune is perhaps best known as the castle in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie. By the end of the 18th century it was roofless and falling into ruin. In 1883 the 14th Earl of Moray carried out a restoration, and more repairs were done in the 1970's.
  30. Drum Castle photo,
    Grampian, was built started with a 13th century keep, to which was later added a Jacobean mansion house ; has belonged to the Irvine family for 653 years; fine furniture and paintings, the 16th-century chapel contains a beautiful stained glass window;

  31. Drumlanrig Castle photo,
    Dumfries & Galloway, 17th century castle , Dumfriesshire home of Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry , renowned collection of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci , Rembrandt, Hans Holbein

  32. Duff House photo,
    Banff, Grampian, is one of the most imposing houses in Scotland; was built in 1735-39 for William Duff by William Adam with an unusual dispute about the bill; the owners of the house had in late 19th century, due to financial difficulties, to give up it and the house was changed first to an hotel and in 1913 a sanatorium; the Ministry of Works had it fully restored after WW2 and the Duff House was opened to the public as an outstation of the National Galleries of Scotland in April 1995; a remarkable collection of paintings and furniture from Scotland;

  33. Dumbarton Castle photo,
    Dumbarton , Strathclyde, stands on a volcanic rock, which has a longer recorded history as a stronghold than any other place in Britain; was the centre of the independet British kingdom of Strathclyde from the fifth century until 1018; in medieval times Dumbarton was an important royal castle; the importance declined after Cromwell's death in 1658, but continued as a garrison until WW2; most of its buildings have gone and little has survived from the old castle ;

  34. Dunnottar Castle photo,
    Stonehaven, Grampian, stands on a real dream of a castle site - a hard red rock full with a variety of large pebbles and rocks like raisins in a fruitcake packed there 400 million years ago; in late 14th century Sir William Keith, the Marischal of Scotland built there a tower house, which was later followed by numerous other fortifications and buildings ; in 1651 the Scottish Crown Jewels were successfully protected here against Cromwell's army; today the castle is an impressive and romantic ruin , "a must for anyone who takes Scottish history seriously"!

  35. Dunrobin Castle photo,
    Sutherland, has been the property of the Sutherland family since 13th C. and parts of the present castle date from that time. The castle by the North Sea with 189 rooms, a fairy-tale look and a distinct air of "French Scottish" was created during the remodel in 1845-51 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect for the House of Commons in London. When the 5th Duke died in 1963, the house became a boy's boarding school for a period of seven years from the late 1960's before reverting back to being a family house, and it is now lived in by the Countess of Sutherland. Dunrobin is open to the public every day between Easter and September and is well worth a visit. Next to the garden, based on Versailles, there is a museum containing hunting trophies, taxidermy, fossils, medals, archaeological finds and an important collection of Pictish symbol stones.
  36. Dunstaffnage Castle photo,
    Oban, Argyll, built before 1275 with a high curtain-wall on the rock ; ruined by fire in 1810 , when only some of the courtyard buildings survived;
  37. Duntulm Castle photo,
    Isle of Skye, now badly ruined, stands on a rocky cliff, overlooking the sea. Duntulm was originally a Pictish fortress, was a long-time residence for the Vikings, but a stone castle was built here around 16th C. by the Macleods and later by the MacDonalds, who abandoned it around 1730. Very little is left of the original castle, which is now owned by the council. There are plans to rebuild the walls and make the whole building safer for visitors, to purchase land for on-site car parking and improving the footpath to the site.
  38. Dunvegan Castle photo,
    Isle of Skye, has been the stronghold of the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly 800 years and it remains their home. Parts of the castle are thought to date from the ninth century, but building work has been carried out in almost every century since the 13th C. when the MacLeods moved in. The Castle consists of a massive keep, a 15th-century tower and a hall block from the 17th century. The castle was completely remodelled, with ornamental turrets and modern battlements, in the 19th century. The Castle and its Garden are open all year round and seven days a week. On display are many fine oil paintings and mementos of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Clan MacLeod and there is an exhibition about St.Kilda Islands.
  39. Edinburgh Castle photo,
    Lothian, high up on the volcanic rock; Crown Room with the Scottish Royal crown and other regalia. It is not the most beautiful of the Scottish Castles, but it certainly is Scotland's most famous castle, number one tourist attraction with one million visitors every year!

  40. Eilean Donan Castle photo,
    Kyle of Lochals, Highlands, was built during Scotland's Alexander II's reign (1214-1250). His son Alexander III gave the castle to Colin Fitzgerald, the predecessor of Clan MacKenzie. In 1719 the castle was defeated by the four English frigates and fell to ruins for 200 years. Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap and Farquhar MacRae rebuilt the castle between 1912 and 1932 at a cost of 250,000. . Each detail was faithful to the original plan. The countryside surrounding Eilean Donan is of exceptional beauty and grandeur, with breathtaking mountain, loch and forest scenery. Eilean Donan Castle is owned by the Conchra Charitable Trust. The principal activity of the Trust is the preservation of the Castle and to keep it open to the public.
  41. Falkland Palace photo,
    Fife, was built in early 16th century and was used as a hunting lodge by several Stuart monarchs; the palace has one of the world's oldest 'Real Tennis' courts still in use;

  42. Floors Castle photo,
    Kelso, Borders, the home of Duke of Roxburghe ; see the article of IN BRITAIN, April 1997

  43. Fyvie Castle photo,
    Grampian, was started in the 13th century, but the south front's five round towers were each built in a different century by one of the families who lived there; this glorious castle has fashionable plasterwork and panelling, the famous haunted Wheel Staircase and there are portraits by Romney, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Hoppner, and Raeburn; in 1889 Alexander Forbes-Leith, later Lord Leith of Fyvie, used the fortune he had made in the American steel industry to buy the estate and restore Fyvie to be one of the richest castles in Scotland;

  44. Gladstone's Land photo
    in the Royal Mile , Edinburgh, represents urban Scottish high-tenement housing from 17th century.

  45. Glamis Castle photo,
    Angus, home of the family of the Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the birthplace of The Princess Margaret; building of the present castle started about 1400; magnificent palace-like rooms with fine plasterwork ceilings; an interesting museum called "The Family Exhibition"; extensive park with Italian Garden

  46. Gosford House photo,
    Lothian, home of the Wemyss-Charteris family, designed by Robert Adam , completed in 1800, Italian renaissance paintings

  47. Haddo House photo,
    Grampian; this sophisticated, classic English-style Palladian mansion by William Adam was built in 1730s for William, 2nd Earl of Aberdeen, on the site of an old tower house; the splendid interior is from 1880s;

  48. Hermitage Castle photo,
    Borders, was built in 15th century on the site of the in 1242 built timber castle and looks like a fortified manor house instead of a great stronghold; the castle in the much disputed Liddesdale near the border between England and Scotland has witnessed many wars in this rather isolated and lonely valley; was ruined in the beginning of 17th century and partly restored in the 19th century;

  49. Hill of Tarvit Mansionhouse photo,
    Fife, was built in 1906 for a Dundee industrialist, Frederick Sharp, and is a perfect setting for his notable collection of French and Chippendale furniture and also fine paintings by Raeburn, Ramsay and Dutch artists;

  50. Hopetoun House photo,
    Lothian, an Adam Mansion , paintings by Rubens, Teniers, Canaletto, Titian; museum souvenirs Australia and India

  51. House of Dun photo,
    Montrose, Fife, a William Adam country house built in 1730 for David Erskine, Lord Dun; modernised in 19th century by John Erskine Kennedy-Erskine and was the home of the Erskine family until WW2, after which it was changed to an hotel; the house was bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1980, completely restored and reopened to the public in 1989 by H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; Violet Jacob, the Poet and Author (1863-1946) was born here as the daughter of William Henry Kennedy-Erskine;

  52. House of The Binns photo,
    Lothian, the home of the Dalyell family since 1612, when it was built by Thomas Dalyell, an Edinburgh butter merchant; fine Italian-style plasterwork and a collection of family paintings; was gifted to The National Trust for Scotland in 1944

  53. Huntingtower Castle photo,
    Pertshire, was built as a tower house in late 15th century by the Ruthven family ; another tower was built in 16th century and the space between the two towers was built a century later to make the castle look more like a regular country mansion; known for its painted ceilings from 1540

  54. Inveraray Castle photo,
    Argyll, home of the Duke of Argyll's family, the senior branch of the Campbell Clan; the present castle , a large classical mansion with corner towers and turrets, was built in 1741-85 to replace the earlier fortified keep; the famous Armoury Hall contains 1300 pieces; the French tapestries were made especially for the Castle; fine examples of Scottish and European furniture, china, silver and family artifacts;

  55. Inverlochy Castle photo,
    Fort William, Invernesshire, the badly ruined castle was built in the 13th C. by the Comyns of Badenoch. It was bombarded in the spring of 1746 by Jacobites, but could not be taken. It was garrisoned until 1866, after which most of it was demolished. Confusion is sometimes caused by a 19th Century luxury hotel under the name "Inverlochy Castle", which is only two miles north of the old castle.
  56. Inverness Castle photo,
    Inverness, Highlands, a neo-Norman castle built in 1836 now stands on the site of an 11th century royal stone enclosure fortress, which was blown up by the Jacobites in 1746. The Castle contains the offices of local government and law courts. In the Drum Tower there is an exhibition about the castle story and is open daily during the summer season.
  57. Kilchurn Castle photo
    by Loch Awe in Argyll; the keep of the castle was built in 1440 Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, founder of the Breadalbane family; later centuries the castle was extended large enough even to house three companies of soldiers; was abandoned in 1760 and ruined, but some restoring work is going on now;

  58. Linlithgow Palace photo,
    Edinburgh, Lothian, the magnificent remains of the great royal palace ; the previous castle on the site was built form timber and earth and was distroyed by fire in 1424 and the modern royal residence was built to be complete in 1513; later one of the finest Renaissance facades in Scotland was completed here in 1624; Linlithgow Palace is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots , but it was the favoured residence of many of the Stuart monarchs; in 1745 the Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed here and troops of the Duke of Cumberlands army were billeted in the palace leaving it burning in February 1746; it has been an impressive ruin ever since;

  59. Loch Leven Castle photo,
    Fife, a castle on an island of lake Loch Leven was started as a wooden Castle in 1290s being an English fortification; the ownership of the castle was changed many times between the Scots and the English; in 1350 the stone tower house was added to the Castle and later a stone courtyard wall; in 1567 Mary, Queen of Scots , was a prisoner at the Castle for almost a year; the Castle was abandoned in 1690 and is a ruin;

  60. Manderston photo,
    Borders, is said to be a product of the best craftsmanship and highest domestic sophistication the Edwardian era had to offer when it was built for Sir James Miller in 1903-05; when architect John Kinross enquired as to how much he could spend on building, he was told that "it simply doesn't matter" and the building went on with no expense spared; as an example there is a unique and recently restored silver staircase; also the magnificent stables and the marble dairy are something quite unrivaled in Britain; the father of James Miller, William Miller, made a fortune trading hemp and herrings with the Russians in 1860s and 1870s

  61. Maxwelton House photo,
    Dumfries & Galloway, built in 1370; Annie Laurie of the ballad was born here in 1682

  62. Mellerstain photo,
    Borders, an Adam Mansion, outstanding interior, classical library

  63. Menstrie Castle photo,
    Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, is a small three storey tower house dating to the late 16th century, the wing of which was extended in the early 17th century to form a long block. Here was born in 1572 Sir William Alexander, James VI's Lieutenant for the Plantation of Nova Scotia. The castle later fell into disrepair and was threatened with demolition in the 1950s. It was finally saved and partly converted into flats. Today Menstrie Castle resembles a large manor house and comprises local housing as well as a commemoration room to the baronets of Nova Scotia. The Castle is administered by The National Trust for Scotland.
  64. Palace of Holyroodhouse photo,
    Edinburgh, stands on the site of a monastry that was founded in 1128. In 1501 James IV cleared the ground close to the Abbey and built a Palace for himself and his bride, Margaret Tudor (sister of Henry VIII). Mary, Queen of Scots spent most of her turbulent life in the Palace - a dramatic and often tragic chapter in the history of the building. She married two of her husbands in the Abbey. Her private secretary David Rizzio was murdered in her personal rooms by a group led by her husband Lord Darnley, who believed she was having an affair with Rizzio. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is now the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she is in Scotland, and she is usually in residence for a few weeks in May and July each year. The rest of the year parts of the palace is usually open to visitors with guided tours available and several rooms in the State Apartments can be visited.

  65. Paxton House photo,
    Berwick-upon-Tweed, Borders, was built by the Adam brothers in 1758 for the young Patrick Home it is perhaps the finest example of 18th century Palladian Country houses in Britain. Within it's walls you will find one of the most magnificent collections of original Chippendale furniture in Britain alongside the largest picture gallery in a Scottish Country House, as Paxton now houses over 70 paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland.The House lies in the heart of 80 acres of landscaped gardens, parkland and woodland. There are riverside walks along the banks of the Tweed.
  66. Pollok House photo,
    Glasgow, is the ancestral home of the Maxwells of Pollok, who have lived on this site for 700 years. The present house, which replaced three earlier structures, was begun in 1747 and was extended from 1890. The house, the historic jewel at the heart of Pollok Park, contains much original furniture as well as some of the finest Spanish paintings in Britain. A rare survival is the magnificent suite of servants' quarters, which shows the scale of country house life around 1900. The famous Burrell Collection is only a short walk from the Pollok House.
  67. Queen Mary's House photo,
    Jedburgh, Borders, was visited by Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart, 1542-1587) for four weeks in October 1566. The House is a popular museum with many relics, tapestries, oil paintings, furniture, arms and armour of the Queen.

  68. Scone Palace photo,
    Pertshire; the home of the Mansfield family for 400 years was built in 1580 on the old crowning site of Scottish Kings and extensively rebuilt in 1804; the Palace houses unique collections of Vernis Martin , French furniture, clocks, porcelain

  69. Sinclair & Girnigoe Castles photo,
    Wick, Caithness, the ruins of two castles next to each other: Girnigoe Castle, the ancient seat of the Earls of Caithness was finished in 1495 on the site of an earlier Viking keep by William Sinclair, the 2nd Earl. In 1609, the 4th Earl extended the site by building a more luxurious castle, Sinclair, adjoining Girnigoe. These two castles were separated by a rock cut ravine spanned by a collapsible wooden bridge. During the war between the Campbells of Glenorchy and the Sinclairs starting 1680 the castle were attacked with cannon becoming uninhabitable as a result of the shelling. The Sinclairs moved their main seat to the Castle of Mey. In paintings from the 18th century, it is clear the the majority of the collapse of the Castles was due to a lack maintenance and the powerful winter storms. They are noted as being abandoned by 1700. The Wick Society has started planning of repairs to the Castles.
  70. Smailholm Tower photo,
    Kelso, Borders, was built by the Pringles in 15th century on a high rocky hill , was sold 1645 to the Scotts, the ancestors of Sir Walter Scott; in well preserved tower there are exhibitions of tapestry and costume depicting characters from Sir Walter Scott's 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders'

  71. Stirling Castle photo,
    Fife; former Scottish Royal Residence , maybe the grandest of all Scotland's castles with outstanding architecture; strong links with Mary Queen of Scots who was crowned here in 1543

  72. Tantallon Castle photo,
    Lothian, famous 14th century stronghold of the Douglases, magnificent view across the Firth of Forth to the Bass Rock

  73. Thirlestane Castle photo,
    Lauder, Borders; the home of the Maitland family throughout its long history; the present castle was built in 1590 and remodelled in 1670s and 1840s; fine 17th century ceilings, large collection of historic toys, country life exhibitions; the venue of Scottish Horse Trials.

  74. Tolquhon Castle photo,
    Aberdeenshire, Grampian, was built for the Forbes family in 1420, the tower was enlarged in 1580s and was amongst the finest of its day; due to difficulties the estate had to be sold in 1716, and became simply a farmhouse, which was abandoned in 1850s; the ruins were transferred into State care in 1929

  75. Traquair photo,
    Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland, where 27 Scottish and English monarchs have visited, now home of Catherine Maxwell Stuart family. Traquair is one of the Great Houses of Scotland , has its own house brewery , and provides accommodation for visitors

  76. Urquhart Castle photo,
    Loch Ness, Invernesshire, now only a ruin, was built around 1230, invaded by Edward I of England in 1296, seized by the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles, in 1395, and garrisoned in 1689 it was blown up in 1692 to prevent it becoming a military stronghold. Most of the existing buildings date from the 14th century and include the Grant Tower the best-preserved part of the complex. The excellent visitor centre was opened in 2002. This is built into the hillside beside and below the main road and offers ample parking, a shop, cafe, educational audio-visual displays and a model showing the castle in earlier, less ruinous days.


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Updated January 14, 2015

Castle of Mey Sinclair&Girnigoe Castles Dunrobin Castle Dornoch Castle Carbisdale Castle Duntulm Castle Dunvegan Castle Armadale Castle Inverness Castle Urquhart Castle Eilean Donan Castle Castle Tioram Inverlochy Castle Barcaldine Castle Balloch Castle Pollak House Paxton House Floors Castle Stirling Castle Culzean Castle Blackness Castle Maxwelton House Abbotsford House Mellerstain Dirleton Castle Tantallon Castle Traquair Bowhill House Queen Mary's House Hopetoun House Hopetoun House Gosford House Drumlanrig Castle Hermitage Castle Caerlaverock Castle Dumbarton Castle Inveraray Castle Dunstaffnage Castle Kilchurn Castle Castle Menzies Huntingtower Castle Glamis Castle Scone Palace Balvaird Castle Burleigh Castle Balgonie Castle Falkland Palace Hill of Tarvit Mansionhouse Loch Leven Castle House of Dunn Dunnottar Castle Drum Castle Crathes Castle Blair Castle Braemar Castle Balmoral Castle Corgarff Castle Tolquhan Castle Haddo House Fyvie Castle Cawdor Castle Brodie Castle Duff House Crichton Castle Edinburgh Castle Gladstone's Land Palace of Holyroodhouse House of The Binns Linlithgow Palace Thirlestane Castle Manderston Arniston House Menstrie Castle Doune Castle Castle Campbell Smailholm Tower Gosford House