Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Castles of the Scottish Highlands

Eilean Donan
When planning a journey to Scotland I knew I wanted to visit the Highlands to see the amazing scenery.  I also wanted to visit the castles. As a reader of history to being an avid Tolkien fan, I wanted to see and photograph some of the castles in the Highlands.

Even early on I knew that Eilean Donan had to be part of that.  I have wanted to visit there since seeing it used in the movie Highlander.  As I explored the area more I found other castles too.  I tried to plan a route and visits to them all.  In the end I would see most and only skip one for being too far out of the way and i will save it for my next visit.


Dunscaith Castle
Eilean Donan- may be the most famous and photographed castle in Scotland.  It was rebuilt a hundred years ago and they now offer tours.  In the daytime you can pay a nominal fee ( 7 pounds in fall of 2016) and do a self paced tour that is outstanding.  No photos allowed inside the castle though.  Take all you want outside.  I camped in nearby Dornie and was here for a sunset and sunrise.  I also revisited between the Isle of Skye and Torridon in the rain to take the tour.  It is busy in the daytime but at dawn and dusk has fewer people.  Very photogenic and a great tour make this a must see.

Dunscaith- The Fortress of Shadows is on the Isle of Skye.  This is a ruin with only a little of it left standing and it sits on a cliff with the Cuillins rising beyond.  When I saw the name meant Fortress of Shadows, I knew I had to visit.  Only a few visitors make the journey out to here.  I spent a few hours on the site and really liked finding images here.

Ardvreck Castle
Ardvreck- A small lonely haunted castle on Loch Assynt.  This one is in the far northwest region of Assynt and close to the road.  Two known ghosts here.  I was here in the dark, by myself, on Halloween.  No ghosts seen but I did get some great shots of the castle and loch.  I stayed into the night photographing until the rains came.  The wild lonely landscape here works well with the castle.  If you are going north of Ullapool, plan a stop here.

Inverlochy- A well preserved castle with all four walls still standing.  This is on the edge of Fort William and it has modern things around it.   Still worth a visit for an hour or so.  Easy to get to since most visits to the Highlands involve going through Fort William.


Inverlochy Castle
Urquardt- sits on the edge of Loch Ness and is very crowded.  So much so that I passed on the tour and went to Fort William to see Inverlochy Castle instead.  This looks very neat to see and of course with Loch Ness there it draws a crowd, but it was very busy.  Maybe next time.

Kilchurn-  A very neat castle not too far from the Glencoe/Glen Etive area.  Well preserved.  I had heard it was open to visit but I found it locked up in November and had to photograph it from the exterior.  This is another place one could spend several hours photographing.  Even in a steady and heavy rain I explored the area for a couple of hours trying to grab some images of the different views of this structure.

I had wanted to visit Tioram and Caeverlock castles but did not have the time.  On a future visit I plan to see them.  You can also be sure I plan to revisit many if not all of these castles.
Kilchurn Castle


There are many more castles in the country and these were just a few of them.  All were worth a visit and had chances for a great photograph or to just relive some history.