Historic Sights Part Twelve
Published on May 27, 2014 by L.A. Hilden | Views: 2262

Airth Castle is located in the village of Airth, in the Falkirk area of Scotland.  The Gothic castle dates back to the 14th century.  The castle is often linked with the family of Robert the Bruce, since they owned the castle during the 15th century.  The castle was burned during the Battle of Sauchierburn in 1488, but later rebuilt.  An extension was built on the east side of the tower in the mid-16th century, and in 1581, a northeast wing was added, in turn creating an L-shaped design.  In 1717, the castle passed into the hands of the Graham family, an ownership that continued over the next two centuries.  In the 19th century, the Graham family commissioned architect, David Hamilton to fill in the L-shape.  This changed the face of the castle to what it is today.  The Graham family sold the castle in 1920, and it was converted into a hotel in 1971.  Airth Castle is currently an award winning hotel and spa.

Balmoral Castle is located in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  The name Balmoral is Gaelic for majestic dwelling.  The castle is steeped in history with the first house being built on the site by Sir William Drummond in 1390.  The Gordon family built a tower house on the property, when the first Earl of Huntly’s son rented the estate.  The castle passed to Jacobean sympathizers in 1662.  In 1798, James Duff, the second Earl of Fife, purchased and then leased the castle.  And in 1830, the third Earl of Aberdeen acquired the castle and began major alterations implementing the Scots Baronial style.  Balmoral has been a Royal residence since 1852, when Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert purchased the castle.  The Queen deemed the existing 15th century house too small, and it was demolished once the new estate was completed in 1856.  It remains the private property of the monarch, and is not considered a part of the Crown Estate.  There are guided tours, but hours vary, with certain months unavailable for visitors.

Edinburgh Castle is located in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The fortress sits upon volcanic Castle Rock, which erupted over 340 million years ago.  The first human habitation of the site dates back to the 9th century BC.  A royal residence has remained at the site since the 12th century AD.  The fortress was involved in many wars and was besieged at many points throughout history.  Tensions between the English and Scottish monarchies nearly always focused on Edinburgh Castle, for he who held the castle held rule over Edinburgh and in essence all of Scotland.  Some of the buildings were destroyed by artillery in the 16th century.  The chapel however was left unharmed and dates back to the 12th century.  Around 1510, the Great Hall was built by James IV.  During the 17th century the castle was used as a military base.  Edinburgh Castle’s importance as an historical landmark was recognized in the 19th century and restorations began to take place.  The castle sheltered many Scottish monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots.  In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland.  This stone is now displayed in the Crown Room at the castle.  Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s l
eading tourist attraction.

Dalhousie Castle is located in Midlothian, Scotland.  The first castle was constructed in the mid 15th century, although the current structure dates to the 17th century.  The castle is made from pink sandstone and sits on the River Esk.  The drum tower is the oldest part of the L Plan design.  There was a dry moat around the castle, complete with a drawbridge, but it was filled during the late 20th century. Dalhousie Castle was the seat of the Earls of Dalhousie, the chieftains of Clan Ramsey.  In the early 20th century, Clan Ramsey moved to Brechin Castle, but they kept ownership of Dalhousie Castle until 1977.  After eight hundred years of being in the Dalhousie family, the castle was leased for a boarding school, and then converted to a hotel, before it was eventually sold in 2003.  This is the longest any one family owned a castle in Scotland.  The Ramsey Coat of Arms is carved in stone above the castle’s entrance.  Dalhousie Castle is currently a hotel and spa.