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CastleUK Blog 2011

Castle UK Blog 2011 May 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 castles, are from Kinross-shire, Northumberland and Perthshire, all big, all stone, that's nice.

April was all about one day, the 29th, the wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton and Tickhill Castle was open in celebration of the day.
Love or hate the royal family, this is one thing we do better than anybody else in the world and more than 24 million viewers in the UK watched the royal wedding on the BBC and ITV. More than 34 million viewers watched at least part of the BBC's TV royal wedding coverage and Sky News said it had a peak of 661,000 viewers at the start of the wedding ceremony, with about a million people using its website. Also nearly 23 million people watched the ceremony in the US and the estimated figures for the BBC and ITV put the wedding in the all-time top 10 most watched programmes, with 32.3 million people watching the 1966 World Cup Final, 32.1 million watched Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 and 28.4 million watched the wedding between the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The police estimate a million people lined the wedding procession route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace on Friday, with people bedding down many days before, just to get a good spot.
Then at 2:30pm it was the big one, Tickhill Castle opened its gates, I've waited over 10 years for this to happen again but luckily I got an email about it a couple of days before, so I updated my page to tell you castle hunters. There were plenty of people milling about when we got there at 2:15pm and a queue soon formed, we Brits love a queue, it no good if nobody queues. It was free to go in, so that was a good start and I was soon taking pictures, this time we had a good look round and the only drawback was that you couldn't go to the top of the motte. Lots of people went for the afternoon tea and cakes but I headed for the lady nearby selling the good little leaflets on the castle, (I didn't get one last time). The castle is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster but it's let to tenants, who have the use the substantial 16th century house that lies within the grounds. My thinking was that she was one of the tenants and hopefully she would let me know when Tickhill was open next year and I could then put it on the website. Well I was right, she let me leave some of my cards on her table and told me that the castle would be open again this year on the 12th June 2011, 2:30-5:00pm, this time it's for charity, so there'll be a fee to get in. About next year, she said she would have to let me know, so hopefully I will.
Your best days are always in front of you, Chris.

For more information, click on the pictures.

Duffus Castle WallpaperDuffus Castle, OS 28/NJ 189-672 Moray Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in September 2010, on the
Inverness/Culloden monster 6 day castle/battle hunt and the view is looking north, at the motte crowned by its stone hall house. This mighty motte and bailey castle was the best of the trip, bathed in early morning sunlight its makes a great wallpaper.
Balvaird CastleBalvaird Castle, OS 58/NO 170-115 Perthshire Scotland.
Is a late 15th century stone L plan tower house and courtyard fortress, founded by Sir Andrew Murray. Of three storeys and an attic, there is an extra storey in the wing and the square stair-tower in the re-entrant angle, is crowned by a two storey caphouse and watch-chamber. In 1567, a two storey gatehouse range with a large room over the entrance passage, was added to the north-east angle of the barmkin.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is freely accessible in daylight hours. This early morning sunlit castle was a great start to the day, with a 5 minute walk from the car park to build the excitement of the hunt, it won't let you down.
Burleigh CastleBurleigh Castle, OS 58/NO 129-046 Kinross-shire Scotland.
Is a mid 15th century stone rectangular tower house and courtyard fortress, founded by Sir John Balfour of Balgarvie. Of three storeys and a garret, the tower is crowned by the remains of a corbelled-out parapet, with open rounds on the angles and a caphouse. With a vaulted basement and a first floor hall, the ground floor entrance leads through a lobby to a turnpike stair, that gives access to every floor. Joined to the tower is a section of barmkin wall with an arched gateway, behind this in 1582 Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich added a gatehouse range, flanked on its south-west angle by a tower.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is freely accessible in daylight hours. Talking to the boatman about this castle on the way to Lochleven, he said it's not like Lochleven, it's only the remains of a manor house. When you drive to it, it just hits you in the face, what a looker, give me manor houses like this every day.
Lindisfarne Castle Holy IslandLindisfarne Castle, OS 75/NU 136-417 Northumberland England.
Is a late 16th century stone artillery fortress, founded by King Henry VIII. Sited on an outcrop of basalt known as Beblowe Craig, it probably replaced an earlier look-out tower or beacon. By 1545, three bulwarks had been built on Holy Island and one of them was possibly sited on or to the east of the craig. After the earth walls of the bulwark collapsed, it was regarded as indefensible and the irregular polygonal castle was commenced in 1570.
The site is owned by The National Trust and open, Tuesday to Sunday mid March to October, times vary with the tide. Garden, open all year dawn till dusk. Holy Island is a remarkable place, the loud beating of the waves that counts the incoming tide can be heard all the time, you know it cuts off the island but people still get it wrong.
Castle Island Loch Leven KinrossLochleven Castle, OS 58/NO 137-018 Kinross-shire Scotland.
Was originally a late 13th century enclosure fortress, possibly founded by King Edward I. Standing in Loch Leven, from the beginning of the 14th century a stout polygonal stone curtain wall, completely encased Castle Island. During the Wars of Independence with England, Sir William Wallace is reputed to have captured the castle and in 1313, King Robert I stayed here. In the early 14th century a rectangular four storey tower house, with the entrance and hall on the second floor was added.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm, October 9:30-4:30pm. To take a boat and follow in the footsteps of King Robert Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots, is more than enough reason to hunt this one down.

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