October 10, 2010

0 Scotland Trip; Moray/Aberdeenshire, October 10 (Part 2)

 We next headed to Dunnottar Castle.

 Dunnottar, like Castle of Old Wick, exists on a near impenetrable cliff-peninsula overlooking the North Sea.  The hike to the castle was enough to convince me a siege would be too much effort!

Dunnottar had many significant moments in history, from being besieged by William Wallace (it was held by the English) to harboring Mary, Queen of Scots (but seriously, is there a castle in Scotland she didn't stay at???) to being a hiding place for the Honours of Scotland in order to protect them from Oliver Cromwell.

The shore down from the cliff.

The west range, constructed in the late 16th century, whose upper floor held a great ballroom.

Rocks in the ocean below the cliff where Dunnottar sits.

Dunnottar Castle played a role in one other part of history- a religious prison.   In 1685 a group of Whigs, also known as Covenanters (Presbyterians), were imprisoned for about 2 months in the cellar.  Crammed together with no sanitation, little food, and water they were forced to pay for, many attempted to escape.  Some of their fates are known: 37 took the oath of allegiance and were released; 25 escaped, but of that number 15 were recaptured and 2 died on the rocks below the castle; 5 others died from the conditions.  The remaining Whigs were transported to the West Indies, but about 70 died during the journey.    This picture isn't of the cellar.  Sorry.

 This is the King's Chamber, so called because Charles II spent the night here in 1650.  Over the mantle is a triangular pediment reset here from a dormer window.  It shows the arms and mottos of the seventh Earl Marischal, dated 1645.

This sundial was originally outside but was moved here for protection against the elements (although it's a completely roofless and open to the sea air room, so...).  I just liked that there was a clock in the bedroom!

Waterton's Lodging, a tower built by the fourth Earl for his son and daughter-in-law, but also used as a guesthouse for many important visitors.

Our next stop was a little stone circle behind a farmhouse.   Cullerlie Stone Circle is approximately 4000 years old and is made up of eight stones.  Eight small cairns were added in the circle at a later date.

One the short walk from the road to the stone circle we saw several of these small toadstools, which reminded Paul of Toadstool from Nintendo.

Paul liked this sign so much he had me get out and take a picture, despite the incredible dim light.  He especially enjoyed that we saw it whilst turning around, as we were, in fact, lost.

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