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CastleUK Blog
December 2009
The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.

Of this months Scottish castles, motte and mound, 4 are from Ayrshire, 1 from Lanarkshire and 1 from Renfrewshire.

In November we went hunting around Berwick-upon-Tweed, well once we got there we did, it was mainly north of the Tweed, sticking to the coast and heading round to North Berwick. With Tantallon, Dirleton and Hailes Castles plus an earthwork fortress from the 'Rough Wooing' of King Henry VIII to name but 4, it's a great castle corner.
On the way up at Scotch Corner, we turned in land and headed for Jedburgh, first we stopped at Ponteland to see the church and the Blackbird Inn. Then on to Otterburn to nab some bastles, got up close to one and a long view of another, we then passed the site of Hotspurs, defeat against Douglas before stopped to walk to Shittleheugh Bastle, which we could see up on the hill. The Spotter said that it looked like the bastle was covered in something behind some scaffolding, so up we went to find out and when we got closer we could see people moving around it. Once we got there, it was fenced off and the people were working inside the bastle, well it was a bit of a walk so I wasn't going to just stand there. Asking to come inside the fence, the gaffer said ok so in we went, I carry CastleUK cards with me which always breaks the ice and we were soon talking. They had been working on another bastle and finished early, so they came to consolidate this one before the winter set in. The gaffer said this is what he did for living, goes around repairing old building with the costs being paid by the EU, well fancy them putting money in to repair bastles, how good is that. He has also lived in a castle all his life and they have just about finished repairing that too, so quick as a flash, I ask for a look around next time we are in the area, great we were in. So here we have a man who lives in a castle, repairs bastles etc for a living and gets paid by the EU, not many of them to the pound, envious you bet I am.
This got us nicely to midday, so after we'd looked at 2 bastles at High Rochester which are inside a small Roman fort, we stopped for refreshments at the Redesdale Arms which is also part bastle. Then it was into Scotland, a bastle and a tower to view before getting to Bedrule and the remains of 2 castles, all I could find out about the stone one, was it's north of the church but we couldn't see it. So on to the motte, it's down by the river, it's on the map and you can't miss a motte can you, well it's a big one, too big to get a good picture of it from the road. So I was off down a drive to get a better view, when the owner walked up to open her gate, I asked if I could walk the mound and did she know where the other castle was. Have you got a map she said, yes but it's in the car, so she just told me how to find it, over the field by the church, through the gate and there it is by a steep bluff, it's a lovely spot. I quickly walked the motte, got my pictures because I wanted to see the stone castle and it was 2.30pm, time was getting on. Well the stone castle was just where she said and it's the sort of site we love, a rise in the ground that's just full of humps and bumps, not big but when walking it, you see stone, give a little kick and there's more stone, you walk round a small bank, it's a circle. it's a tower, there's other and other, a bit here and a bit there, there's nothing above ground but it's wonderful, a truly fantastic place.
It's getting late now, so it's on to Jedburgh which is still an hours drive to the hotel, we park up, have a quick look round the shops, a couple of pictures of Jedburgh Abbey, there's no time for anymore, I said we'll be at the hotel for 4pm, wrong again.
When planning this hunt, I was using the Castle Touring Guide 4 by Graham Coe, it's a great book that makes it easy to find the castles in that area. Strangely there's no mention of North Berwick Castle, there's only the mound left but that's good enough for me, so I looked on the net and there's no picture or location to be found. So from now I'll be putting all my Scottish pictures on the site, there soon will be a picture of North Berwick Castle and other smaller sites, on the net.

The Castle Spotter and I would like to wish everyone, a very happy Christmas and a good castle hunting New Year.
Click on the pictures, for more information.

Castle Hill Levington Wallpaper
Castle Hill Levington, OS 93/NZ 461-103 Cleveland England, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in February 2008 and the view of the end of the extremely strong circular earthen breastwork, which encases the large inner platform. I left the Castle Spotter in the picture, to give it scale, she's stood on the outer ditches, outer bank, so it's easy to see just how huge this earthwork is. I like this picture, the bare and broken trees, fog in the valley below, clear blue sky's above, you can see it's a winters morning.
Bothwell Castle
Bothwell Castle, OS 64/NS 688-593 Lanarkshire Scotland.
Is a mid 13th century stone keep and courtyard fortress, founded by Walter of Moray. Standing above a gorge on a bend in the River Clyde, the open sides are defended by a deep ditch. The Morays started to build this vast castle of enclosure, with a mighty four storey round donjon, a huge twin-towered gatehouse and circular angle towers flanking a formidable curtain wall. The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm October 9:30-4:30pm, November to March Saturday to Wednesday 9:30-4:30pm. Great site here, there's plenty to see and you can get to every bit of the castle inside and outside. Nice that red stone, it looks sooooo good.
Corsehill Castle
Corsehill Castle, OS 64/NS 417-466 Ayrshire Scotland.
Was originally a 12th century fortification, founded by Godfrey de Ross. Standing on the west bank of the Clerkland Burn, by the 16th century the Cunninghame's of Kilmaur family had founded a L-plan tower house on the site. The site is visible from the road. Good view from the gate but you've just got to take a closer look. The rain was so bad, I could only take pictures will back to it and my hood up but got soaked just doing that.
Stanely Castle
Stanely Castle, OS 64/NS 464-616 Renfrewshire Scotland.
Was originally an early 15th century stone rectangular keep or tower house, founded by the Maxwells of Newark. Of four storeys and a garret, it once stood on a narrow promontory or an island within a marsh. The view from the road is restricted. It's hard to get a view of this castle, there's no breaks in the houses which surround it. The reservoir was easy to find and on my old OS map, there wasn't any houses, so it was a bit of a shock, luckily I managed to get a couple of pictures.
Chapel Hill, Chapeltoun Mains
Chapel Hill, OS 70/NS 394-442 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a possible medieval earthwork motte, which could also be defined as a Bronze Age tumulus. Sadly when the site was raised to its present height in the mid 19th century, it was altered and landscaped beyond any recognition of its original form. The site is visible from the road. It's hard to say if this is a motte, it was a wet day so I only took pictures from the road. It looks motte-ish but I've been fooled before!!
Craigie Castle
Craigie Castle, OS 70/NS 408-317 Ayrshire Scotland.
Was originally a 12th century fortification, founded by Walter Hose or his father. Standing on a low ridge, in the mid 13th century the Lindsay family incorporate the remains of an earlier building, when adding a stone hall house. In the 15th century, the Wallaces had the hall house vaulted and raised in height to make a tower house. The site is visible from the road. Great site here, that's well worth finding.
Law Mount
Law Mount, OS 70/NS 411-448 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is probably a medieval earthwork motte and bailey fortress, sited above the River Annick. Also described as a Bronze Age tumulus, the low circular flat-topped mound, with traces of an eastern ditch, commands the summit of a low ridge. The site is visible from the road. Again on the wet day, so I only took pictures from the road but this one looks like a motte. Looked it up on Google Earth and it looks like there's a circular ditched bailey to the west.

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