Today we continue our tour of Blair Castle and the grounds surrounding it. Last week I covered some of the history and shared some pics.
Blair Castle sits in the middle of a 145,000 acre estate which includes hills, farmland, mountains, forestry, housing, industrial development and hiking trails.
Blair Castle was captured by Cromwell in 1652 and held until 1660 when Charles II was restored to the throne. The 2nd (Murray) Earl was made Marquis in 1676 as a reward for his loyalty to Charles II. His son was rewarded with a dukedom in 1703 by Queen Anne. When she wanted him to support the Act of Union between England and Scotland, he refused until better terms could be reached. As a result, he was placed under house arrest at Blair Castle for several months in 1708.
|Huge trees between the road and pasture|
In 1746 the third son, Lord George Murray, returned from commanding the Jacobite campaign in England and besieged his own home. Before he could take possession of it, he was recalled to the Battle of Culloden. He survived but died in Holland in exile. His brother William died imprisoned in the Tower of London. Their brother James, still in possession of Blair Castle and having just inherited the Isle of Man, returned to Blair and made repairs. He turned the castle into a grand Georgian mansion. In order to keep the castle in the family, he was forced to marry off his second daughter to her first cousin, John Murray, son of the exiled George. He became the 3rd Duke in 1764. He sold the Isle of Man to the government to help finance the remodeling of another of his properties.
The 5th Duke suffered ill health and his nephew Lord Glenlyon became the 6th Duke. In the 1840s Glenlyon lent Queen Victoria Blair Castle for a three-week stay. Queen Victoria is known to have had a huge love for Scotland and the Highlands. During her stay, she was given a guard of Athollmen. In appreciation, she granted the Duke and his men her colors and the right to bear arms. This is how the Atholl Highlanders became a private army. Today they are the only private army remaining in Europe.
The 7th Duke made a huge amount of money because of the railway. He turned the Georgian mansion into a grand Victorian baronial masterpiece.
In the 20th century, wars brought financial difficulty to the estate. In 1932, the estate was formed into a company, now known as the Blair Charitable Trust. In 1936 the castle was opened to the public for tours, one of the first in Britain to welcome visitors in this way.
Bruce Murray is the current and 12th Duke of Atholl.
The Whim is a folly built in 1761 and is simply a façade with Gothic arches and a parapet wall with two pavilions. We didn't walk all the way up to it.
|A gate in the beautiful old wall. Somewhere beyond this is a ruined kirk, St. Bride's.|
|click on this photo to enlarge and read the info|
|Click on this photo to enlarge|
|18th century bridge over Banvie Burn|
|Such a wonderful place to walk|
|one of the huge trees|
|View of Blair Castle through the trees|