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Dunnottar Castle

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Dunnottar Castle is situated 50 miles northeast of Dundee, 18 miles south of Aberdeen, 2 miles south of Stonehaven.

This is one of the most notable Castles in Scotland with its dramatic setting out on rocks.

The Castle was home to the Keith Clan for over 500 years, and was where the Scottish Crown and Scepter were kept during the Jacobite Rebellion in 1651.

The Castle can be visited throughout the year with an entrance fee. Postcode: AB39 2TL

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The image top is from the car park looking down to the castle, about a 300 yard walk.

The second image shows the path down to the castle.

The third image shows the entrance to the castle. This part is steep down and back up into the castle.

It is free to view the castle from the cliffs and roam around the area for incredible views. There is also a path 2 miles north to the town of Stonehaven. There is a small fee to enter the castle.

Dunnottar Castle History

681 & 694 - there are records stating the Pictish King, Brude, carried out two attacks on a fortress in this area as he tried to extend his power over the northeast of Scotland. It is unclear if this fortress was where Dunnottar Castle stands today, or close by. Pictish Kings only ruled parts of Scotland. It was not until the 1100s that Kings began to rule all of Scotland.

900 - King Domnall II, first King of Alba, was killed at Dunnottar during an attack by Vikings.

1276 - a church on the site was consecrated by the Bishop of St Andrews, William Wishart.

1297 - claims are William Wallace captured Dunnottar during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The story states he imprisoned English soldiers in the church then burned them alive.

1336 - during the the Second War of Scottish Independence, Edward III of England tried to have Dunnottar Castle rebuilt, but Sir Andrew Murray led a force that destroyed the defenses again.

1382 - William Keith took control of Dunnottar.

William Keith built the tower house at Dunnottar and probably began building the outer walls with stone, replacing the earlier timber defenses.

1458 - Sir William Keith became the first Earl Marischal. The Castle complex was extended over the following centuries.

1504 - the impressive Castle at Dunnottar led to a visit by King James IV.

1562 - Mary Queen of Scots visited Dunnottar after the Battle of Corrichie by Aberdeen. That battle took place after the Gordon's had refused to accept Mary as their Queen.

1580 - James VI stayed for 10 days hunting and looking into court duties in the area.

1581 - George Keith became the 5th Earl Marischal. He carried out extensive work transforming the rugged fortress into a more modern Castle with a luxurious Palace. Keith was also the founder of Marischal College in Aberdeen.

1638 - King Charles I attempted to impose a Book of Common Prayer on the Scots. This led to uprisings by Scots known as Covenanters. These uprisings led to more wars such as the Bishops' Wars, Wars of the Three Kingdoms, English Civil War, Scottish Civil War, and Irish Confederate Wars.

1639 - William Keith, 7th Earl Marischal, supported the Covenanters in their fight. He joined the Marquess of Montrose to lead a Covenanter army of over 9000 men to attack Royalists at Aberdeen. This action set of a series of wars with Covenanters being hunted down throughout Scotland.

1642 - the English Civil War breaks out as the Parliament rebels against the unpopular Charles I.

1649 - Charles I was executed by beheading, leading to Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliament forces, taking control of all Briton. Cromwell had the English Crown Jewels destroyed at that time.

1650 June - Charles Stuart, son of Charles I, returns from exile in Europe and visits Dunnottar as he makes his case to become King of Scotland. This sets off a war with the Parliamentarians led by Cromwell.

1650 September - Cromwell leads a force into Scotland where they defeated the Scots at Dunbar.

1651 January - Charles II was crowned at Scone Palace with the Honour's of Scotland, crown, sword and scepter.

1651 June - the Honour's of Scotland were taken to Dunnottar Castle for safety.

1651 October - Charles II flees to exile in France.

1651 November - Cromwell's troops besieged Dunnottar Castle.

1652 March - the Honour's of Scotland were smuggled out of the castle and hidden in Kinneff Church 6 miles south.

1652 May - artillery arrived at the Castle leading to Dunnottar being surrendered to Cromwell's men.

Much of the castle's property and cannon were removed at this time.

1660 - Charles II was restored to the throne of all Briton, with the Honour's of Scotland being returned to the King.

1685 - Charles II dies with his brother becoming King James II, a Catholic with close ties to France.

1685 - a rebellion led by the Earl of Argyll against King James II ended with 167 Covenanters seized and held in a cellar at Dunnottar. Some escaped, died trying to escape, or were transported to America. Some were released after swearing allegiance to the King.

1689 - the Protestant Queen Mary and her husband King William became co-rulers of England, Scotland and Ireland after the Glorious Revolution that led to them overthrowing Mary's father, James II. James was the last Catholic monarch. The English Parliament feared Catholic Monarchs as they were too close to their main enemy, the French. This would lead to conflicts such as the Jacobite Risings, people supporting Catholics with a claim to the throne.

1689 - Dunnottar was used to house troops of Mary and William during the early Jacobite Risings.

1715 - George Keith, 10th Earl Marischal, fought with the Jacobite's at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. After the failure of that Rising, Lord Marischal fled to the Continent where he became French ambassador for Frederick the Great of Prussia.

1716 - the titles and estates of George Keith were forfeited to the Crown.

1720 - the estates of George Keith were sold to the York Buildings Company. This English investment company bought a number of Jacobite estates that had been taken over by the Crown. They soon hit financial problems, leading to them selling off anything they could, including the lead from Dunnottar Castles roof, leading to much of the Castle falling into ruin.

1761 - George Keith returned to Scotland and bought back Dunnottar. The wet Scottish weather soon led to him returning to Europe.

1766 - Dunnottar was sold to Alexander Keith, an Edinburgh lawyer. The castle remained in this family for the following 107 years.

1873 - Major Alexander Innes of Cowie and Raemoir bought Dunnottar for about £80,000.

1925 - the castle was sold to Weetman Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray, with his wife taking control of restorations.

The castle was opened to the public around this time, becoming one of the top attractions in Scotland.

1970 - Dunnottar Castle and the headland was designated as a scheduled monument.

1972 - a number of buildings in the castle were listed as being of national importance.

1990 - the film Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close had some scenes shot at the Castle.

Today - the youngest son of the 3rd Viscount Cowdray runs Dunnottar Castle which is part of the 52,000-acre Dunecht Estates.

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Dunnottar Castle Photos