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CastleUK Blog
January 2010
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 and mote, 5 are from Ayrshire and 2 from Midlothian.

December, where did that month go, ho yes shopping, Christmas and the Madness gig.
A chance to see one of the greatest bands of the 1980s was not to be missed, with people wearing a fez or the hat, it was utter Madness and a night to remember. They are one of the leading bands of the ska revival of the late 70s and early 80s and as their career progressed, Madness branched away from their trademark "nutty sound" and incorporated large elements of Motown, soul, and British pop. Although the band managed one crossover American hit in 1983, it remained a British phenomenon, influencing several successive generations of musicians and becoming one of the most beloved groups the country produced during the 80s.
It didn't snow at Christmas but it did before and we had a white one, which is rare these days. Trouble is its not gone away, its only got worse and not just here but all of the country is covered in snow. We have a Scottish castle hunt planned for later in the month, so I'm keeping an eye on the weather reports to see if we can still go, last year we went to the Cotwolds in January and there wasn't a bit of snow in sight, now it's every where, weather it's a funny old thing.
I'm now in my 10th year of the website and with 2,684,810 visitors and 13,294,330 pages viewed under my belt, it's time to stop counting, so I've removed the counter from the bottom of the pages but I still have my stats which give me daily and monthly info.
This is the last of my Ayrshire castles and I've now moved on to the Midlothian in Scotland, which is a great castle corner, so more next month and hopefully Scottish castles for the rest of the year.
All the best and have a great castle hunting year.

Click on the pictures, for more information.

Sandal Castle Wallpaper
Sandal Castle, OS 111/SE 337-182 Yorkshire England, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in February 2009 and the view of the unusual D-shaped inner barbican and in its rock-cut ditch you can see the remains of a postern and the fine ashlar plinths of twin round towers that guard the motte. This is the first of my 2 snow pictures, that I start my wallpaper year with and on this my 5th wallpaper year, I've also stopped having the calendar on the picture. I think my wallpapers have got better over the years and now there's a bigger choice in size, that gives everyone a different monthly castle wallpaper.
 Barnweill Castle
Barnweill Castle, OS 70/NS 407-301 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a medieval sub-rectangular earthwork platform, which commands the edge of an escarpment. Giving defense to the once flat-topped motte, are three substantial rock-cut ditches and the natural north-western steep slope. The site is visible from the road. I only looked from the gate here, beasts in the field always worry me..
 Bass Rock Castle
Bass Rock Castle, OS 67/NT 602-873 Midlothian Scotland.
Was originally the 8th century refuge of St Baldred and a mid 16th century chapel of Saint Baldred still remains. In the early 13th century, Robert Lauder founded a fortification on the gentler south-west corner, of this inhospitable rock. In the 16th century, Lauder of the Bass founded the stone artillery courtyard fortress and when purchased by the Crown in 1671, it became a State prison. A ferry is generally available daily, in the Summer and weather permitting in the Winter, the site is also visible from Tantallon Castle. You get a good view of the rock, from North Berwick to Dunbar
Dunbar Castle
Dunbar Castle, OS 67/NT 678-793 Midlothian Scotland.
Was originally a Native British promontory fort, which was defended in part, by a north to south ditch. In the 12th century, a stone keep and courtyard fortress was founded on the site by the Cockspatrick family. In 1487 it was seized by the Scottish Crown and parliament ordered it to be slighted in 1488, only for King James IV to construct a late 15th century gatehouse and courtyard castle, on this bold and exposed site. The site is visible from the harbour. Very sad castle that's in a bit of a mess.
Dunduff Castle
Dunduff Castle, OS 70/NS 272-163 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a late 16th or early 17th century stone L-plan tower house, founded by the Kennedys. Standing on a rocky knoll, the stepped two storey tower was abandoned in an unfinished state, missing at least one additional upper storey. The ruin of a first floor hall above the barrel-vaulted basement, with a southern square stair tower in the re-entrant angle, were renovated in 1989. The site is a private residence and is only visible from the road. You get good views from the A719.
Helenton Mote
Helenton Mote, OS 70/NS 393-311 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a medieval earthwork motte, with an irregular square-topped summit. Sited on the edge of an escarpment overlooking the Pow Burn, a small oval knoll, forms the basis of the circular motte. The site is visible from the road. You can get up close to this nice little motte.
Newark Castle
Newark Castle, OS 70/NS 322-174 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a late 15th or early 16th century stone tower house, founded by Kennedy of Bargany. Of four storeys and a garret, with a square gabled caphouse and a corbelled-out parapet with open rounds on the angles. The site is a private residence and is only visible from the road. Good views again from the A719.
Tarbolton Castle
Tarbolton Castle, OS 70/NS 432-273 Ayrshire Scotland.
Is a 12th century mutilated earthwork motte and bailey fortress, founded by Gilbert, son of Richer de Boyville. Standing on a prominent spur with steep natural slopes to the south and east, there are the shallow remains of an eastern encasing motte ditch. The site is freely accessible in daylight hours. Good little motte and bailey, which is very accessible.

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