The Castle Guy Blog
Welcome to The Castle Guy blog section.
Here you will find posts on individual castles we want to feature here on the website along with other useful information for you.
- October 12, 2020
Were the Kings of England Lords Paramount over Scotland?
The question over the relative political positions of England and Scotland in the medieval period is one that is almost inevitably dogged with bias, both modern and historical. The question is drawn most brightly into focus in the late 13th century with the decision by King Edward I of England to depose and imprison King... Read more »
- January 13, 2020
The Year of Coasts and Waters – my top 20 coastal castles in Scotland
2020 has been designated the Year of Coasts and Waters by VisitScotland. So I have put together some lists of castles for visitors to Scotland to coincide with this theme. This is my first, which is the best 20 castles on the Scottish coasts. I have started in the south-west and worked my way around... Read more »
- November 15, 2019
Review of “Towers, Lost & Found – Revealing medieval Edinburgh Castle 1100-1573” – a talk by Peter Yeoman at Lauriston Castle.
This morning I went along to a very well-attended talk by Peter Yeoman at Lauriston Castle, sponsored by Archaeology Scotland and Edinburgh Museums. It was titled “Towers, Lost & Found – Revealing medieval Edinburgh Castle 1100-1573”. As some of you may know, a couple of years ago I put together a substantial guide to the... Read more »
- April 26, 2018
Cambridge Castle, a royal fortress
This is the motte of Cambridge Castle, the surviving part of an important castle founded in 1068 by William the Conqueror alongside the existing town, and possibly within ramparts of Roman date. 27 houses were demolished to make room for the castle, which occupies a spur near the city centre commanding the best crossing point... Read more »
- April 21, 2016
Windsor Castle, my Castle of the week, 21st April 2016
I’ve been thinking for a little while about posting a “Castle of the Week”, and I guess as its the Queens birthday and there is loads of attention on one of England’s bigger and more famous castles, I could start this today! Windsor Castle was founded by William the Conqueror on the edge of a... Read more »
- February 26, 2016
The best castles in Edinburgh – and nearby
Edinburgh is the most popular tourist destination in Scotland, and I am often asked “What are the best castles in Edinburgh to visit?” I thought that it would be useful for you to see a list and brief review of what I think I could most heartily recommend as my top 10 Edinburgh castles. First... Read more »
- March 20, 2015
Kings of Scotland – The 50 word King-list challenge
A little while ago I set myself a silly challenge. I wondered if I could sum up the reigns of the Kings of Scotland (and Queens) who ruled the country, in 50 words apiece. I was inspired by the annals written by the monks in medieval times who attempted to sum up what happened in... Read more »
- April 1, 2014
The Myth of the Motte and Bailey Castle in Scotland – free download
Over the last few years whilst I have been working on Fortress Scotland – and to be honest just pootling around the countryside looking at castles – something has become very clear to me. There are a lot of sites which are labelled as motte and bailey castles in Scotland that just don’t seem to... Read more »
- March 6, 2014
Stirling Castle, the reason for the Battle of Bannockburn
Anyone who has a vague interest in Scottish History knows that Stirling has a castle. It is one of the most visible landmarks in the whole country, built on the top of a volcanic outcrop of rock overlooking the floodplain of the River Forth. Made more visible by the repainting of the Great Hall in... Read more »
- November 15, 2013
17 years ago today the Stone of Destiny returned to Scotland – or did it?
On 15th November 1996, a large lump of sandstone was placed in Edinburgh Castle after spending 700 years under the coronation throne of England. This roughly hewn lump of rock was removed from Scone Abbey by King Edward I in 1296 and taken to England as a trophy to signify his taking over of the... Read more »
- October 25, 2013
Fortress Scotland Volume 1 is now available at the following retail outlets!
I’m very pleased to say that Volume 1 of Fortress Scotland is now being stocked at a variety of local retail outlets – The Nairn Bookshop, High Street, Nairn Brodie Countryfare, Brodie Logie Steading Bookshop, Logie near Forres The Washington, High Street, Forres Yeadons Bookshop, Elgin Orb’s Bookshop, Huntly The Bookmark, Grantown-on-Spey Thanks very much... Read more »
- September 13, 2013
The Battle of Flodden – 500th anniversary this week!
On September 9th, 1513, King James IV of Scotland led his army into battle at Flodden, a short distance over the River Tweed into England. One of the most popular and promising of Scotland’s Kings, King James had assembled one of Scotland’s largest ever largest armies. Having signed treaties of perpetual peace with both Henry... Read more »
- September 3, 2013
Norwich Castle and Museum, 28th August 2013
Today was a trip back to somewhere I haven’t been since I was a child. Norwich Castle dominates the city centre on top of its huge motte, and as I was back in the area, I thought I owed it to myself to have a visit. The castle is easy to get to and find;... Read more »
- September 23, 2020
My essay on Kenilworth Castle – text only
Here we go. This is a very big essay of some 20,000 words, and probably well past what most people would be interested in reading. However if that’s the case, hope you like the photos I posted on my Facebook page! Seriously, I did try posting the content on there, but it is WAY too... Read more »
- January 12, 2020
20 of the best castles – in my opinion!
Every now and again I see posts which suggest they contain a list of people’s top castles. By and large I don’t do that because I do think that each castle has its own unique features which makes it worthwhile visiting. However, there are definitely some which I feel are far more interesting than others.... Read more »
- October 31, 2018
Whooo, spooky… Me on haunting & castles
Over the years I have had a few people ask me abut whether castles are haunted, and if I’ve ever experienced “anything” when visiting. Its a curious question. All old buildings have an atmosphere to them. Some are pleasant, peaceful, relaxing, and others are less so. I try NOT to research a property too heavily... Read more »
- April 21, 2016
Maryport, Cockermouth and Egremont, Scottish castles in England?
As I outlined in my Castle Guide for Edinburgh, and in my essay about the historical MacBeth, the history of Scotland below the Forth-Clyde isthmus is rather more complicated than we are generally led to believe. After the withdrawal of the Roman legions in the 5th century, the north-east was settled by Angles from the... Read more »
- February 28, 2016
The best castles in Glasgow – and nearby
Glasgow has a large number of castles within the general area, but many of them are closed up and not open to the public, although they can be seen from publicly accessible locations. As a cathedral town, Glasgow was dominated by the church, but the town expanded to include many outlying areas which were historically... Read more »
- September 18, 2015
MacBeth, King of Scots – not quite what Shakespeare portrayed!
On October 2nd, a new film version of Shakespeare’s MacBeth is released. Undoubtedly Shakespeare’s work is an outstanding piece of theatre. But how closely does it follow the historical MacBeth’s reign? Not very closely as it turns out. In fact, there is not a huge amount known about MacBeth despite his reign encompassing seventeen years,... Read more »
- October 8, 2014
Coull Castle, Fortress of Sir Alan Durward
The Doorwards of Scotland and Coull The name Durward is best known because of Sir Walter Scott’s “Quentin Durward” story, set in 15th century France. However the Durward family were at their height one of the most powerful families in 13th century Scotland, and now largely forgotten to popular memory. The Durward, or de Lundie,... Read more »
- March 19, 2014
The death of Alexander III and the Great Cause, Bruce vs Balliol
On a stormy night in 1286, King Alexander III rode off from his court, intending to meet up with his new young wife, Queen Yolande. He never made it, falling off a cliff to his death at Kinghorn in Fife. He was only 45 years old. Five years previously, his younger son David died, aged... Read more »
- January 27, 2014
Ormond Castle, Avoch, December 2013
Just before Christmas I tied in a business meeting with a trip to Ormond Castle, just outside Avoch. The castle is not one that springs to mind when you think of Scottish castles, but it is an excellent example of the use of natural strong points in Scotland during the medieval period. The Castle Hill... Read more »
- October 25, 2013
The Castle Guy and Fortress Scotland in the local press
Following meetings with the Press and Journal (Moray edition), Northern Scot and Forres Gazette, all three papers have this week printed an article about me and the publication of Volume 1 of Fortress Scotland. A forthcoming article will follow in the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald. I’m very pleased to say that all papers have responded... Read more »
- September 23, 2013
Why stop at Keith? The Romans in Scotland
As it’s the end of Big Roman Week, I thought I’d put my bit together about the Romans in Scotland. Most people with an interest in the history of Romans in Britannia, have heard of Tacitus and his story of Gnaeus Julius Agricola’s campaign against the Caledonians. However, what many people may not know is... Read more »
- September 3, 2013
The challenge of Roxburgh Castle
Roxburgh is the overlooked site of one of the most important castles in Scotland. Along with Edinburgh, Stirling, Dumbarton, and Berwick, Roxburgh was fought over by the English and Scots more times than any other. The creation and capital of King David I, the site is huge, easily located and accessed, yet many visitors will... Read more »
- September 3, 2013
Visit to Dunbar Castle, 24th August 2013
On my way south for a break I stopped off at a few castles. The first of these, and arguably the most important, was the very ruinous castle at Dunbar, which I visited on Saturday lunchtime. I had been trying to arrange access through East Lothian Council, but it appears they were unable to locate... Read more »