Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

The day my friends and I visited Dunnottar castle started out foggy and rainy, typical Scottish weather. By the time we reached the castle, thankfully, the rain had stopped. But it was very windy, cold and cloudy when we got out of the car. Extra layers of clothing were necessary, but it was the perfect atmosphere to explore this amazing, unbelievable place. We walked down the 2600 feet long trail which includes extensive stairs. This access path is narrow and I can see how this would make the fortress easier to defend during times of conflict.

Dunnottar is in a very dramatic location on a cliff that juts out into the North Sea, about two miles from Stonehaven. And about two hours drive north of Edinburgh. The approach to the castle provides some stunning views of the castle and the sea.

The name Dunnottar comes from Scottish Gaelic, and/or Pictish language. Dun means a hill fort, fortress or castle. This fortress held an important place in many of Scotland's historic events and saw a lot of conflict over the centuries.

This part of the castle (above) overlooks the main entrance where soldiers would’ve used these arrow slits and gun loops to defend the fortress from invaders.

Above is another part of the entrance. The round rocks in these steps are very slippery when wet. The rail is definitely necessary.

The eleven buildings which currently comprise Dunnottar were built from the 1200s to the 1600s.

Storehouse and the taller Towerhouse or Keep.
The castle and the area around it were used from Pictish times, before recorded history. It was first mentioned in 681, in the Annals of Ulster, because of a battle which took place here. It is believed the Picts revered the site and felt it was important and sacred to their religion, similar to Druidism. To them, the site represented a strong feminine nature symbol. The Picts converted to Christianity around the 5th century when St. Ninian chose Dunnottar as a site for one of his churches.

Another battle was recorded here in 900. In this one Danish Viking invaders launched an attack against King Donald II, who was killed. The Vikings won the battle and seized the castle. In 934 King Aethelstan of Wessex launched an attack on Dunnottar. A poet named Blind Harry reported in the 15th century that Dunnottar was the site where William Wallace trapped and burned a garrison of English soldiers who were hiding in the castle church in 1296 resulting in the Scots defeating the English.

View out a window in the Keep.
Straight ahead is the Tower House or Keep and to the left is the Storehouse.
In the 1300s the English gained control of Dunnottar. But by the close of that century, Scotland (and Clan Keith) had control of the castle. The Keith chiefs were the Earls Marischal, holders of an important Scottish office. Sir William Keith was the 1st Earl Marischal. He built the Tower House or Keep which is the first visible structure as you approach the castle. (The below picture was taken inside.) The Earl Marischal had an important responsibility of keeping the king safe in parliament.

Above is the view, looking out one of the castle windows, of the beach far below. I'll share more Dunnottar photos and history in a future post.

Known for his wicked wit, fierce loyalty, and skills in battle, Robert "Rebbie" MacInnis, the Earl of Rebbinglen, loves freedom and has no plans of marrying anytime soon. But when his father, a powerful Scottish marquess, signs a contract betrothing Rebbie to an earl's young daughter, he is furious. If he has to marry, he's determined to choose his own bride, though he has no inkling who he would wish to wed until fate intervenes to remind him of one fair-haired, nameless beauty and the passionate night they spent together years ago. A night forever etched in his memory. 

Lady Calla Ferguson, a penniless widow with a young son, is forced to seek employment as her cousin's companion in order to pay her late husband's massive gambling debt. Having been ignored or mistreated most of her life, Calla has become a resourceful survivor who will stop at nothing to get what she wants—safety and security for her son and herself. Wealthy merchant, Claybourne cares little for the money the Earl of Stanbury owed him; he simply wants the earl's beautiful, voluptuous widow and he'll do whatever it takes to get his hands on her, even kidnapping and blackmail. 

When Rebbie happens upon Claybourne abducting Calla, he rescues her and hides her in a secluded castle deep in the wild Scottish Highlands. Calla conceals her passionate spirit beneath reserve and duty, along with closely-guarded secrets which, if exposed, could ruin both her life and her son's. Years ago, she lost her heart to a dark-eyed stranger she never thought to see again, but now he's her protector. Rebbie craves another pleasurable night like the one they shared in the past, and she cannot resist the fiery passion that echoes deep in her heart and soul. Soft but strong, Calla sparks within Rebbie a desperate hunger and a need to protect her. But will her secrets tear them apart? 
Amazon | B&N | Print


Helen said...

Love the pictures!

Vanessa Holland said...

What an amazing place, with such an interesting history. Fantastic pictures, Vonda!

Alanna Lucas said...

Absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you so much, Helen, Vanessa, and Alanna!! I'm so glad you like them!

ann alba said...

Wonderful information Vonda, The pictures are Stunning. The Many times I have been back home Dunnottar castle is one I have Not visited. Next time it will be a Must.

Leah Weller (leahluvsmedieval) said...

Thank you for sharing this with us! I love to armchair travel. :) Maybe one day I'll get there....

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you, Ann and Leah!! I hope you get to visit Dunnottar. It's definitely worth the trip.