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CastleUK Blog 2011
Castle UK Blog 2011 February PageThe blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.
This months Scottish castles, barracks and a motte, are from the Highlands and Perthshire.

In January it was just adding new castles to the website, planning our next Scottish castle hunt and with no time away from work it was all a bit quite.
It's good to get new areas on the website and the 3 new OS squares, filled the OS castle maps of Scotland and Great Britain in a bit. The 5 sites this month are just off the A9 Inverness road, so if anybody is heading that way or back down, there's 5 very difference castle sites to see. Again it's Scottish castle updates all this year and seeing that we are planning one or two more Scottish hunts, I'm not going to run out of new sites to put on any time soon.
It's castle hunting time, Chris.

Click on the pictures, for more information.

Lauriston Castle Wallpaper
Lauriston Castle, OS 66/NT 204-762 Midlothian Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in January 2010 on our castle hunt snow time trip and the view of the castle is looking north. This is the second of my 2 snow pictures for this wallpaper year and the castle grounds are open daily, 9:00am to dusk. It's now a splendid country mansion which is open for one daily 'no need to book' 2:00pm guided tour
Blair Castle
Blair Castle, OS 43/NN 866-662 Perthshire Scotland.
Was originally a mid 13th century stone tower house, probably founded by John Comyn of Badenoch. In 1530 the 3rd Earl of Atholl, attach to the Comyn's or Cumming's Tower, a southern Great Hall over a series of vaulted chambers. Added to through the centuries, in 1653 the castle was besieged, captured and partly destroyed with power by Colonel Daniel, one of Cromwell's commanders. In the mid 18th century, the 2nd Duke of Atholl transformed the medieval structure into a stylish home of the period, removing the crenellations and applying fashionable Georgian finishes.
The site is owned by Atholl Estates and is open daily, April to October 9:30-5:30pm, November to March Tuesdays and Saturdays 9:30-2:30pm. This is a big castle, which was very busy when we were there, nice tour but it's not medieval inside, so we just shoot round. Blair was besieged in March 1746, so it must be the last castle to be attacked and damaged during a siege.
Castle Roy
Castle Roy, OS 36/NJ 006-219 Highland Scotland.
Is a late 12th or early 13th century rectangular stone courtyard fortress, founded by the Comyns. Built on a rocky hummock, that was probably altered to improve the defences, there is no trace of an encasing ditch. The high curtain walls, are flanked on the north angle by a square tower and the break on south angle, is possibly the site of an unfinished tower.
The site is visible from the road, this small stone castle is about as simple as you can get, 4 walls, with a bit of a tower by the gateway. It's a good one to tick off from your castle hunters guide, you know we need to see them all.
Muckrach Castle
Muckrach Castle, OS 36/NH 986-250 Highland Scotland.
Is a late 16th century stone L-plan tower house, founded by Patrick Grant. Of three storeys and a garret, with a projecting circular stair-wing crowned by a two storey watch-chamber, the tower is the original seat of the Grants of Rothiemurchus. The square main block has a first floor hall above a vaulted basement and in the re-entrant angle are a corbelled out stair-turret and the entrance.
The castle is available on an exclusive use basis and the view from the A938 is restricted. Nice looking tower to rent at a very reasonable price here, have a look on their website, it got me thinking.
Ruthven  Barracks
Ruthven Barracks, OS 35/NN 764-997 Highland Scotland.
Was originally a 13th century earth and timber fortress, founded by the Comyn family. Standing on a commanding moraine mound left by ice age glaciers, it was raised in height to form the flat-topped castle. In the late 14th century, it was held by Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch but after passing to Gordon, earl of Huntly in 1451, it was sacked by John MacDonald, earl of Ross. When King James II stayed in 1459 the fortification had been rebuilt in stone.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is freely accessible in daylight hours. Fantastic site in a beautiful setting and a big must for any Jacobite or Prince Charles Edward Stuart fan (I don't know if you can be one without the other). I know every time we are on the A9, we'll be stopping to drink it all in again and again.
Tom an Tigh Mhoir
Tom an Tigh Mhoir, OS 43/NN 807-654 Perthshire Scotland.
Is a medieval earthwork flat-topped motte, possibly founded by a Chief of Clan Donnachaidh. Strangely there is only a partial ditch, which starts on the south slope of the Garry River and finishes in a rounded end in the middle of the south side of the mound. There is also nothing to show that a ditch was ever dug on the remaining south and east sides, and so the mound could also be defined as a Moot Hill.
The site is visible from the road and I'm happy that this is a motte not a moot hill. It's very much like Newington Bagpath Castle Mound at Kingscote in Gloucestershire, only having half a ditch is strange but its been altered beyond its original form and the missing ditch could have been filled in a long time ago.

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