Heartland - Petra's Scotland pages

Dunnottar Castle

(click on images to view enlargements)

Dunnottar CastleDunnottar Castle (“Duin Foither” or “Dun Fother" = “Fort in the low country”) is set on an impressive rock plateau, 49 m above the sea, surrounded on 3 sides by the North Sea, on the east coast of Scotland, about 3 km south of Stonehaven, 22 km south of Aberdeen.Dunnottar Castle

The Castle was erected by Sir William Keith on a fortified site, a Pictish fortress, first mentioned in the 7th century as a siege at Dunnottar (by Pictish King Bridei) and had always been of immense strategic importance.

It is also connected to some of the most important figures of Scottish history, such as St. Ninian, Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace and the Marquis of Montrose.

Dunnottar CastleIn 890 A.D. the fortress was captured by the Vikings. By this time the castle was not built of stone but from earth and timber.

In 1651 the Honours of Scotland, consisting of a 1,3 metres long sword, crown and sceptre, were brought here to safe them from Oliver Cromwell, who had already destroyed the English crown jewels. The Honours were heroically smuggled out and hidden at a village a few miles south of Dunnottar, just before Cromwell's army took over the castle after an 8 month siege.

A dark chapter in the history of the castle is that of the "Whig's Vault", a gloomy, airless cellar, where in 1685 167 Covenators (45 women and 122 men) were held in prison for 9 weeks with little food and no sanitation. Those who survived the ordeal were transported to the West Indies.

Dunnottar Castle was the location (Elsinore Castle) for the 1990 film version of Hamlet starring Mel Gibson.
The Smithy

Dunnottar Castle The Smithy

Back then the Blacksmith not only cared for horseshoes but made or repaired much of the iron work used in the castle and also was responsible for sharpening and repairing weapons and so the smithy was kind of a mini industrial unit.

The Keep or Tower House

Dunnottar CastleDunnottar Castle

The most dominant building viewed from the land approach is the 14th century keep or Tower.

The Drawing Room
Dunnottar Castle The Drawing Room
Dunnottar Castle The Drawing Room
Dunnottar Castle The Drawing Room
The (with)drawing room is located on the first floor of the North Range. Beneath it is a range of 3 cellars which in 1694 were used as larder, ale and wine cellar. The room has a beautiful panelled ceiling, the floor is laid with a pavement in Arbroath stone.

Dunnottar Castle

(Drawing room seen from the chapel)

The drinking fountain in front of the building dates from the 20th century.

The Chapel
Dunnottar Castle The Chapel
The oldest part of the present castle, a stone parish church in Norman style, was consecrated in 1276 and dedicated to St. Ninian.

In 1297, during the wars of independence, William Wallace burnt down the wooden walls of the chapel while the English garrison of Edward I., King of England, taking refuge in the sanctuary of the chapel, was inside.
View from Dunnottar Castle to the surrounding beaches
view from Dunnottar Castle Dunnottar Castle view from Dunnottar Castle



The castle is open to the public. Please check the official website for further details
Due to the steep access path the castle may be unsuitable for disabled visitors.
On the coast near Dunnottar Mains, off the A92, about two miles south of Stonehaven.
useful links:
official website

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