Monday, November 25, 2013

Discovering Urquhart Castle

You can't go far in Scotland without seeing one of its spectacular castles.  Urquhart is probably one of the most well known ones sitting as it does on the banks of Loch Ness and within spitting distance of old Nessie.   I had seen Urquhart back in 1981 while on a day trip from Inverness but we did not stop to visit - just a view from the parking lot ( as we did on our trip to Skye this year) 

Our intrepid leader June figured out that we could get there if we got to Invermoriston in time to get the 1:15 bus from there to Urquhart.  We were "only" walking 8 miles that day (by that time 8 miles was a breeze!) so we made sure we got to the town in time and were able to stash our luggage and get the bus as scheduled. It was about a twenty minute trip along twisty roads along the loch.

Urquhart Castle has been around in one form or another since approximately 580 AD.  In the beginning it was a residence but became a military stronghold in the 1300's and to quote the official website "was passed back and forth between the Lords of the Isles and the Crown (England) like a bone between two dogs" until 1692 when it was blown up by the English. (if we can't have it nobody will)  It slowly fell into decay until the government took it over in 1913.  As you will see from the following pictures it is an amazing ruin in an even more magnificent setting.

Upon arrival you go into a theatre to see a short film that tells you the history of the castle, then the curtains open dramatically and this is more or less what you see - very gaspworthy!

Trebuchet  - used in the middle ages to fling projectiles up to 350 pounds at enemies

Cruises on the loch are available as well

Middle ages toilet - only for the head honcho though.

Nessie is hiding!

Just a few tourists!!!

Surrounding countryside

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the castle - it was overwhelming to think of the history of the building and all the battles, the lives lived and lives lost within those walls.

We also saw a wedding taking place while we were there - a very romantic place to get married.  I think all us gals wanted to have a handsome groom in a kilt beside us as it was so romantic  - after the ceremony I'd have chucked mine into the loch!!!

The cafe was very nice - I inhaled some lovely Scottish ice cream and helped finish off a piece of cake.  The gift shop was great as well. 

The price at 7.90 is a bit pricy especially if you were visiting a lot of attractions.  However for us it was no bother as when you are walking all day you don't spend too much.  For me it was well worth the price and if you love castles and history I would highly recommend it. 

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