1919 Garrett Tractor (TB 3740) ‘That-“LL” Do’ Engine No 33632 in front of Scotland’s Balvenie Castle.
Richard Garrett and Sons of Leiston Works, Leiston near Saxmundham, Suffolk was a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, steam engines, steam lorries, trolleybuses, and machine tools. Today, part of the factory is preserved as the Long Shop Steam Museum.
The engine was actually at the 2011 Cromford Steam Rally, but there were far too many people around for a decent shot, so I transported it to one of my favourite Highland locations.
Balvenie Castle lies a mile north of Dufftown, in the heart of Whisky country. It dates to the 1200s when Marjory, daughter of Fergus, the last Celtic Earl of Buchan, married William Comyn, one of the new breed of Scottish noblemen. He became the new earl and also Lord of Balvenie. It was either William or his son, Alexander, who built this castle in Glen Fiddich.
One castle and three dynasties
For over 500 years, Balvenie Castle served as the formidable stronghold of the great lords who ruled over this part of north-east Scotland. The immensely powerful ‘Black’ Comyn earls of Buchan built it in the 13th century. When they were forfeited in the early 14th century, because of their alliance with the ill-fated John Balliol, the stronghold passed to the mighty ‘Black’ Douglases. And when the Douglases too were wiped out around 1455 by James II, the victorious Stewart king entrusted it to a kinsman, John Stewart, Earl of Atholl. It remained with his descendants for the next 250 years. Today’s visitor will find important, and impressive, remains dating from all three dynastic families.
The Castle of the ‘Black’ Comyns
The original castle was built in the latter half of the 13th century. This makes it one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. The builder was probably Alexander (died 1289), the 2nd Earl of Buchan, and son of Earl Alexander of Buchan by his second marriage.He founded the ‘Black’ Comyns, the junior line. The senior line, the ‘Red’ Comyns, were descended from Earl William’s first marriage. They held sway over a vast territory reaching from the Moray Firth to Inverlochy (now Fort William) on the west coast. The ‘Black’ Comyns built the massive stone curtain wall that still dominates the site.
The Castle of the ‘Black’ Douglases
The Comyns were overthrown during the Wars of Independence with England. They were allied with the doomed John Balliol, and were annihilated when their arch-rival, Robert Bruce, became king in 1306. Bruce granted the lordship, though not the earldom, to his good friend, ‘the Good Sir James’ of Douglas, progenitor of the ‘Black’ Douglases. This family became as mighty as the ‘Black’ Comyns, though their powerbase lay in southern Scotland. They too were brought down, in the 1450s, by James II, the Stewart monarch. The ‘Black’ Douglases’ contribution to the castle is less obvious – the cluster of ruined domestic buildings on the far (north) side of the courtyard.
The Castle of the Stewarts
James II granted Balvenie to his trusted kinsman, John Stewart, Earl of Atholl, and his lady, Margaret. Margaret had previously been the widow of the 8th Earl of Douglas and the divorced wife of the 9th Earl! The Stewarts held Balvenie for the next 250 years, in return for the princely sum of one red rose. During that time the Stewarts transformed the formidable medieval stronghold into a pleasing Renaissance residence. The noble Atholl Lodging at the SE corner, to the right of the main entrance, was built by the 4th Earl of Atholl during Mary Queen of Scots’ reign in the mid-16th century.
Technical Data: Engine
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC MACRO EX Lens
Focal length: 22mm
Speed: 1/500 sec
Processing: Photoshop CS5