Urquhart Castle of Loch Ness, Scotland
The Occupiers and Owners of Urquhart Castle over the Centuries.
First, lets clarify ownership of Urquhart Castle through the ages. Urquhart Castle was named after the land - suburb so to speak - it was built upon. The people with the name Urquhart did not come to occupy Urquhart Castle until quite late in history. Ownership of Urquhart Castle came and went among many people. England took the Urquhart Castle from the Scotts several times and on at least one occassion killed every man, woman and child that occupied it. Urquhart Castle held a vital military position in Scotland and so, ownership would sometimes pass improperly and without consent from the rightful heirs to other people who were thought to be more able to maintain and defend Urquhart Castle, as the Sovereignty so deemed.
CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE ON URQUHART CASTLE
URQUHART CASTLE CHANGED OVER THE CENTURIES.
THE POWER AND WEALTH OF SCOTLAND IS EMBODIED IN THIS PICTURE OF URQUHART CASTLE BEFORE IT'S DESTRUCTION
ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF THE RUINATION OF URQUHART CASTLE - THE LOCK NESS MONSTER, NESSIE.
THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE RUINATION OF URQUHART CASTLE AND WHY - THE ENGLISH FEARED THE HIGHLAND WARRIORS
URQUHART CASTLE TODAY and WHERE IS IT.
URQUHART CASTLE CHANGED OVER THE CENTURIES.
Like most Castles I think, Urquhart Castle has changed much from the time it was first built. To give an example, if you look at the photo of Urquhart Castle at the very top of this page, or the one a bit further down, you will notice that the ruins of Urquhart Castle have two distinctly whiter colored tower bases. When the English took Urquhart Castle on one occassion, Fitzwarine fortified Urquhart Castle by adding these two huge towers, in the hope it would keep Urquhart Castle from being taken back. He was wrong, but, in building building those towers, he did make a rememberance to the Fitzwarine family that has lasted through the ages. By Fitzwarines association with Urquhart Castle, we know about him being captured, about his devoted wife that pleaded to the King Of England to remember her husband and how her husband had dutifully supported him. In the end, the English King persuaded the other side to release Fitzwarine, but within a year of being released, he died in battle. Yes, Fitzwarine's association with Urquhart Castle, although brief, allows us to also glimpse this lovely love story.
THE POWER AND WEALTH OF SCOTLAND AND THE URQUHART'S IS EMBODIED IN THIS PICTURE OF URQUHART CASTLE BELOW:
Here is one rare picture of Urquhart Castle, as it stood prior to it's destruction, when the clan of Urquhart stood proud and tall:
I had to spend hundreds buying and transporting the book on Urquhart and Glenmoriston, mainly because it had this one picture, as I wanted everyone to be able to see the glory of Urquhart castle, rather than the castle's ruins. Urquhart Castle was quite impressive in it's day.
AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF THE RUINATION OF URQUHART CASTLE - THE LOCK NESS MONSTER, NESSIE.
Many years ago, I read another account of how Urquhart castle was destroyed. The book on the destruction of Urquhart Castle was in my primary school's library, so it has to be true. True?
The legend goes something like this. Saint Columba ordered one of his monks to swim across Loch Ness to fetch a boat. In swimming the Loch, the monk enraged the monster of the Lock. Nessie, wide mouthed and roaring, came after the monk. All the monks were terrified, apart from Saint Columba. Saint Columba commanded the Loch Ness monster to return to it's lair, using the authority of our almighty God. The Loch Ness monster then returned, leaving the monks unscathed. Years after, the Loch Ness monster raged up against Castle Urquhart, tearing the walls and strongholds down. Neither sword, nor spear, nor bow could stop the monster, in spite of a glorious effort by the then defenders of Urquhart Castle, who numbered many. Was it a fairy tale or was it a history now forgotten of an earlier castle that had it's ruins rebuilt upon by another castle built by Urquharts?
A BIT ABOUT THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE RUINATION OF URQUHART CASTLE AND WHY
Urquhart castle was destroyed, dynamited, blown up, in 1692 under English parliamentary orders, so as to prevent the Urquhart castle becoming a Jacobite stronghold - Jacobites believed in royal lineages and in keeping them in tact, as was the belief of clan Urquhart, while the English parliament believed they had the right to appoint the king they wanted from the lineage - puppet kings in other words. This was the end of days for the Scottish Highland warrior clans and the end of the Urquhart clan as it once stood.
So, why did the English fear the Jacobites so much? Well, for a starter, on the 27th of July, 1689, three years prior to the Urquhart castle being destroyed, there was the battle of Killiecrankie, Perthshire. On this day many English soldiers lost their lives to the Scottish Jacobite warriors, who, under the leadership of Bonnie Dundee - Viscount John Graham of Claverhouse - won the battle, with many Urquhart warriors fighting at his side, though Viscount Dundee was slain. It is said that the night before the battle a ghost visited him, the spectre of a man he had killed by firing squad who had himself held very strong beliefs, fortelling thus the Viscount's impending death for his beliefs.
The Urquhart clan was loyal to and tenaciously determined to, have the Scottish royalty returned to power. In the end these acts of bravery and absolute loyalty, all but destroyed the Urquhart clan financially. I recall reading that, at one point, the Urquhart clan was divided over pursuing their true monarch's ambition of being returned, because of the great financial drain it would place on the Urquhart cophers, particularly if the campaign was lost. So clan Urquhart became divided, with one group of Urquharts marching off to support the Scottish monarchy and the other half remaining in favor of the English - at least appearance wise. The destruction of Urquhart castle by the English parliament, though, suggests to us that that ambition was truly feared by the English and that they clearly saw the Urquhart clan and castle as a threat, amongst many other of the clans who refused to cow-tow to the English like lappy dogs.
URQUHART CASTLE TODAY AND WHERE IT IS
Urquhart castle was one of Scotland's more prominent castles. Urquhart castle is Scotland's third most visited tourist attraction. Possibly due to Urquhart Castle being a Loch Ness monster tourist site!
In the picture of Urquhart castle below, you can see the beautiful, rugged, mountaineous landscape and shore line that the Urquhart highland warriors took advantage from.
It is regrettable, that with the unraveling of this second millennium, the powers that be decided they could make more money from Urquhart castle by leveling the landscape and building food shops etc for the tourists on the vacant land approaching Urquhart castle. Some of the locals described the event as the rape and pillage of Urquhart castle.
So, when you look at the pictures of Urquhart castle on this web site, take a moment to think about the beauty that has been lost from these ancestral lands of Urquhart and Glenmorriston - a beauty you will never be able to see, except for photographs now. Still, as you gaize from the foreshore at Urquhart castle, across the expanse of water, oft covered in mist, to the forrest, you may become aware that every person of the lands of Urquhart that ever lived there over the centuries now gone, did as you now do. The land you walked, was walked over by Urquhart and Glenmorriston kinsmen for over a 1000 years. An awesome privilege, that many an Urquhart, including myself, would love to do, whether we are related to the Urquhart castle folk or not. It's not just about history, it's about attachment to the Urquhart lands and ways. That sense of belonging. Every Urquhart may have felt that gap in their existence, as I have, of not being attached to that Urquhart land anymore - the separation from one's roots. The Australian Aborigines know of what I speak, they have such a longing for their land as well.
Four hundred years to destroy. Urquhart castle was blown up to prevent it being a royalist stronghold - an action that was then endorsed by the parliament of the day. Urquhart castle has been ransacked repeatedly since, for stone and other items that other people used to improve the quality of their life with. Not just little bits here and there, but also by the cart load - all the faced stone work went quickly. So the Urquhart castle you see today in photo's was very different to the ruin the castle was turned into at the start.
This is how an attacking army may have viewed Urquhart castle several centuries ago. Where the bridge now stands, a draw bridge would be raised. The battlements armed with archers. The tower of Urquhart Castle, at first glimpse, in this photo, appears to be very much intact.
A somewhat rare photo of Urquhart castle from a side perspective, showing the entrance to Loch Ness out the back of it and, for me, giving a sense of depth to Urquhart castle for once. Also, the tower of Urquhart castle was taken from the side, with more damage becoming apparent than is commonly seen in photos.
This is quite a rare photo of Urquhart castle, being taken from the water side of it. As you can see, Urquhart castle was well positioned to fight off any attack by water, given the cliff and wall height on that side. The picture also shows just how very little is left of Urquhat tower now.
The Tower of Urquhart Castle
The tower of Urquhart Castle is one of the castle's major highlights and portrays heavily in photos and pictures of Urquhart Castle, simply because there is basically nothing much else left of the castle. When the English blew up the castle, they made a darn good job of it.
At first glimpse, the tower of Urquhart castle appears to be in good condition and gives one an impression of the castle's former magnificence.
If you want to go visit Urquhart Castle, it's exact address, location and position is:
The Urquhart Castle adress is: Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit, Inverness, IV63 6XJ
It's location is Strone Point, on the south end point of Urquhart Bay, Loch Ness.
By road: The A82 will take you very close to it. The railway line, which had a railway station in Urquhart, closed down some years ago.
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ANOTHER URQUHART WEB SITES YOU MAY LIKE:
If you liked that bit of wee Scottish history, then have a gander at this: The Full history and legends of Urquhart and Glenmoriston areas For Scottish history written with a passion, with a strong focus on the role of the Urquhart and Glenmoriston people in war and life. This is another Urquhart, Scottish site run by us.
But first, if you want to come back to Scotland's History and Legends again, just add www.historyandlegends.com to your bookmarks or favorites now! Then you'll find it easy!
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