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A Guide to the Historic Castles of Scotland

The picturesque castles of Scotland began as defensive protection for family groups in which the region was divided. During the Middle Ages they became symbols of power and wealth, and contained in them the elegant homes for local landlords and passed from the initial wood construction to solid stone walls to defend against increasingly numerous enemy invaders.

Placed for most in dominant positions, they have been preserved intact to this day, thanks to the fact many of them are still inhabited by the owners, who provide only parts of the tourists.

Their fame is often linked to legends on which they were inhabited by ghosts and specters of beautiful and unhappy bridesmaids or headless soldiers.

In the neighborhood of Glasgow and Edinburgh there are many castles that can be visited. If you arrive in Glasgow, the castle of Brodick is the nearest, open only in summer. It belonged to the Dukes of Hamilton and is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. In this castle there is a legend that it is haunted by the ghost of Lady Grey, a woman who died of hunger during the plague.

Closer to Edinburgh are the magnificient castles of Dirleton and Kellie. Dirleton is a ruined medieval fortress built in the thirteenth century, but it was abandoned in the seventeenth. It was the protagonist in the Scottish wars of independence against Queen Mary and James VI. Here you can really breathe history. Kellie Castle was built in the 11th century and is open all year. It was restored on the end of 17th century by a Scottish architect who decorated the interior walls.

In the north of Scotland, in the picturesque Highlands, there is the beautiful castle of Blair. It is located in a strategic point at the foot of the Highlands and at the Lowland border. The building is white and inside has 30 rooms decorated with hunting trophies and portraits which offer a glimpse of 700 years of Scottish history. Three times a day guests are entertained by bagpipes, played by a member of the Atholl Highlanders, the private army of the Dukes of Atholl.

Located in the Highlands there is also the Eilean Donan Castle,which became famous as the set of films like “Braveheart”, but its charm remains intact. A narrow stone bridge connects the mainland and is reflected in the calm waters of Lake Duich, but when it rises from the mists of morning Eilean Doonan seems to belong to another age.