Dunnottar Castle

Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

Dunnottar Castle on its spectacular promontory

Click here to see an aerial reconstruction of the castle.

This impressive fortress perched high on its rock promontory was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots on the night of 26th August 1562 during her first progress to the north of Scotland. On her way back, she stayed there again between 5th and 7th November. She also returned in September 1564. Some parts of the castle date back to the 12th century, but in Mary's times, only the main L-plan keep and chapel would have been there, the later ranges having been added in the late 16th and 17th centuries. Dunnottar's troubled past includes its siege by William Wallace in 1296, the rescue of the Crown jewels, and the imprisonment and torture of over 150 Covenanters in the 17th century. The castle was the home of the Keith Earl Marischals, who acquired the property in 1382. The castle was partly dismantled in the 18th century, and was used during the shooting of "Hamlet" starring Mel Gibson.
The West Range from the outside
Inside the quadrangle lies the West Range with its seven rooms, and a chapel to the far right. The chapel is one of the oldest features of the castle but the West, North, and East ranges were all built at a later stage.

Below is a view of the West Range from the other side, and adjacent to it, the North Range which contains a restored drawing-room (see below). In the courtyard is also a large well.
Inner courtyard comprising west, 
north and east ranges
This room in the North Range boasts a beautiful oak ceiling and the mantelpiece bears an inscription commemorating the role the inhabitants of the castle played in saving the Crown Jewels from the Rounheads in the 17th century.
A restored room in the north range
Tower house and smithy
In the forefront of this picture lies Waterton's Lodging, another building added in the late 16th century for the Earl's son and daughter-in-law. The original keep is seen in the background while the dilapidated section in front of it is the smithy's, necessary to shoe the Earl's numerous horses. A large range of stables is lined up to the left (not visible here).
Click here to see a more detailed tour of Dunnottar Castle
Open all year but closed weekends from October to Easter. Tel.: 44+ (0)1569 762 173.

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