394 Views 2012-08-28
Situated in one of Scotland’s most dramatic locations, the ruins of Urquhart Castle reflect the castle’s turbulent past. A lively visitor centre sheds further light on everyday life at the castle.
According to records, St Columba visited Loch Ness around 580. He travelled through Glen Urquhart, pausing to banish a marauding ’water beast’ and to baptise a Pictish nobleman as he lay dying in his fort. Although there is no concrete evidence to link this fort with the site at Urquhart, archaeological remains confirm that the highest part of the castle was a well- fortified site at this time.
The castle surfaces from obscurity more than five hundred years later, around 1230, when Alexander II granted the Urquhart estate to Sir Thomas le Durward. His son, Alan, constructed the first castle on the south of the promontory at Urquhart.
Holding a key strategic position in the glen, the castle suffered during the Wars of Independence. Captured by Edward I of England in 1296, it was surrendered to the Scots in 1298. The castle soon changed hands again when in 1308 Robert the Bruce took control of Urquhart for the Scottish Crown.
From the end of the 14th century, the focus of conflict shifted to the west. The new enemies were the MacDonald clan, the Lords of the Isles. In 1395
the MacDonalds seized the lands and castle of Urquhart and for the next hundred years the castle and glen were tussled over. In 1470 Sir Duncan Grant was appointed to try and control the situation. His grandson gradually restored order and as a reward was given the title to the estate and castle by James IV in 1509. The Grants built themselves new living accommodation at the north of the promontory.
The castle inmates could not yet relax, however. In 1545 the MacDonalds cleared out the castle in their final ‘Great Raid’ and in 1644 the castle was gutted once again and the Grants driven out, this time by a posse of Covenanters who objected to the Grants’ support for Charles I. The final attack came in 1690 when after resisting a siege by Jacobites, soldiers garrisoned at the castle blew up some of the buildings as they left. The damage was never repaired and you can still see parts of the shattered walls in place where they fell. ref: Historic Scotland.
Location: Loch Ness, Scotland.
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
Shutter Priority: 1/160 sec.
Metering Mode: Spot
Copyright: Yannik Hay
Lens: Tamron 28-300mm@35mm
Photoshop CS5 for Mac – Camera Raw 6.2