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Castles And Houses around Fort Augustus and Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle at Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle

The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state.

Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen.

Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 13th to 17th centuries was particularly bloody. Following Edward I’s invasion, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 14th century, it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle and glen were frequently raided from the west by the ambitious MacDonald Lords of the Isles.

The castle’s history and that of the noble families – Durward, MacDonald and Grant – who held it, is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The Centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle.

Visitors can relax in the café and visit the shop with its local crafts. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from visitor centre veranda.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 15.3 miles / 24.6 KM

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Inverlochy Castle

One of Scotland’s famous castles

When visiting the Fort William area do stop off to look around Old Inverlochy Castle. Although now a ruin this was one of the most important castles in Scottish history and has been the backdrop for two major historical events, the first and second battles of Inverlochy.

The moat that surrounded the castle has long gone but the location at the western end of theGreat Glen and natural defensive postion against the River Lochy gave Inverlochy castle a superior advantage. The old Military Road built by General Wade passed right by the castle and can still be followed back in to Fort William.

Inverlochy Fort William, Scotland

Distance From Abbey Cottage 26.3 miles / 42.4 KM

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  • Inverlochy Castle
  • Inverlochy Castle
  • Inverlochy Castle
  • Inverlochy Castle

Eilean Donan Castle on the Road to Skye Bridge

Eilean Donan Castle

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.

Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.

Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour the castle was re-opened in 1932.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 32.5 miles / 52.3 KM

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Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor. A magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale Castle, and just what every visitor is looking for ... Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day.

Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly-tree.

Although the House has evolved over 600 years, later additions mainly of the 17th century were all built in the Scottish vernacular style with slated roofs over walls and crow-stepped gables of mellow local stone. This style gives Cawdor a strong sense of unity, and the massive, severe exterior belies an intimate interior that gives the place a surprisingly personal, friendly atmosphere.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 38.4 miles / 61.8 KM

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Hugh Millers Birthplace Cottage and Museum

Hugh Millers Birthplace Cottage and Museum

Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage & Museum in Cromarty celebrates prominent 19th-century Highland polymath, Hugh Miller – an eminent geologist, writer and social commentator. Today the Georgian villa, Miller House, is a museum which presents his life and work, while the iconic thatched fisherman’s cottage beside it was his birthplace and early home.

A peaceful garden and picturesque courtyard completes the visitor experience, which will appeal to those with keen eyes and lively minds. In the words of the great man himself, ‘Life is itself a school and nature always a fresh study’. We hope you enjoy discovering Hugh and his world

Distance From Abbey Cottage 44.2 miles / 71.1 KM

Google Directions | Nearby | Visit The National Trust Web Site

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle

Stuffed to the turrets with antique furniture, paintings and ceramics, the legacy of generations of Clan Brodie, this 16th-century castle is a slice of Scottish history not to be missed. Explore the rooms, passageways and towers, all sensitively restored to show what everyday life was like for one of Scotland’s most ancient clans.

There’s plenty to discover outside the castle too. The 71 hectare estate has landscaped gardens, a large pond, a walled garden, a woodland walk, an adventure playground and a nature trail with observation hides for watching wildlife.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 47.8 miles / 77.0 KM

Google Directions | Nearby | Visit The National Trust Web Site

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral

Spiritual heart of Moray
Elgin Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most beautiful medieval buildings, and the inspiration for many an artist. The imposing yellow sandstone ruin is also one of the most important architectural legacies from that bygone age, whose intriguingly complex building history will reward the patient visitor.

The cathedral was the ecclesiastical centre, the spiritual heart, of the diocese of Moray. The bishop’s cathedra, or seat, was not always at Elgin – it had previously been at nearby Kinneddar, Birnie and Spynie – but once it was transferred to Elgin around 1224, it remained there until the Protestant Reformation of 1560 effectively left the cathedral redundant.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 61.9 miles / 99.7 KM

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Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotlands great houses and dates back to the 1300s

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle has been called home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th century and was first mentioned as a stronghold of the family in 1401.

The Earldom of Sutherland is one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland and the Sutherlands were one of the most powerful families in Britain with many important matrimonial and territorial alliances.

The Earldom of Sutherland was created in 1235 and a castle appears to have stood on this site since then, possibly on the site of an early medieval fort. The name Dun Robin means Robin's Hill or Fort in Gaelic and may have come from Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland who died in 1427.

The early castle was actually a fortified, square keep, with walls six feet thick and a vaulted ceiling, looking out from a cliff-top position. The keep stood isolated for some 200 years until a staircase and a high house were added.

It was encased by a series of additions from the 16th century onwards. In 1785 a large extension was constructed. Remarkably this early keep still survives, much altered, within the complex of these later extensions, making Dunrobin one of the oldest inhabited houses in Scotland.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 63.9 miles / 102.8 KM

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Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens

Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without savouring the wealth of history at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. Built on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Loch Dunvegan once entirely encircled by the sea, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 74.2 miles / 119.5 KM

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Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

The Palace at Stirling Castle allows visitors to step into the astonishing richness of royal life in the 1500s.
Royal palace

James V’s Palace at Stirling is one of the finest and best-preserved Renaissance buildings in Great Britain. Following a major programme of research and re-presentation, it can now be seen by visitors much as it may have looked on completion around 1545.

The decoration of the Palace’s six main rooms is overwhelmingly colourful, rich and elaborate. James and his French wife Mary of Guise aimed to present themselves as wealthy, learned and sophisticated.

The decorative style belongs to the Renaissance – a great flowering in arts, literature and philosophy that revolutionised Europe in the 1400s and 1500s. Bright colours, expensive fabics and ornate patterns were essential elements.

But this was not flamboyance for its own sake. The decorative scheme was filled with messages about power, prosperity and plenty. It was not limited to the interior chambers but also extended to the exterior walls, embellished with hundreds of statues and other stone-carvings.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 75.7 miles / 121.9 KM

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Duff House

Duff House

Duff House, designed by Scottish architect William Adam (1689-1748), is the grandest classical country house to be built on a fresh site in early 18th century Scotland. It is considered to be an Adam masterpiece and is one of the most important buildings in the North.

The foundation stone was laid on the 11th June 1735 and the building was finished five years later, although it took over 100 years to complete the interior.

The house was commissioned by William Duff, Lord Braco, later 1st Earl Fife, as a family home to replace a smaller more modest residence nearby, on the present site of Airlie Gardens in Banff. The beautiful estate surrounding the house stretched for miles and remnants of its former glory can still be seen in the area.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 87.8 miles / 141.3 KM

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

The castle has sheltered many Scottish monarchs. They include Queen Margaret (later St Margaret), who died here in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, who gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566.

Her great-great-great grandson Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - captured Edinburgh but was unable to take the castle during the 1745-6 Jacobite Rising.

In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland. It is now displayed in the Crown Room.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 99.9 miles / 160.8 KM

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The Castle and Gardens of Mey

The Castle and Gardens of Mey

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first saw what was then Barrogill Castle in 1952, while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI.
Falling for its isolated charm and hearing it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it.

Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens you see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter visits at other times of the year.

Distance From Abbey Cottage 116.6 miles / 187.7 KM

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