Thursday, June 6, 2013

Amazing Scotland - Corgarff Castle

Corgarff Castle

When I set out to see Corgarff, my Garmin took me on a winding trip along "single track" roads far up into the Highlands. It wasn't until we stopped at a nearby coffee shop that I discovered my Garmin had made a faux pas, but the drive was fascinating, and I saw remote country that I never would have set eyes on if I'd stayed to the main roads.

Corgarff was built by the Forbes family around 1550, a modest-sized, but comfortable tower-house set atop a lonely hill in the Scottish moorland. Corgarff was typical of small estates of the 16th-century gentry. The nucleus was the tower house. The great hall filled the first floor, with a cellar for storage below and private chambers above.

Ancillary buildings attached to either end included the kitchen and brew house. No respectable castle would be without a brew house, of course.

Brew House

Surrounding the tower is an impressive cobbled courtyard, the walls in the sixteenth century would have protected stables and perhaps the guard would have practiced sparring at dawn each morning. The existing star-shaped courtyard was added in the late 1740s.

Corgarff Castle Courtyard

I really liked the upper tower rooms. I think this one would be warm in the harsh winters with its low ceiling and hearth at the far end.

Upper Chamber Room

I could see this tower room being a hold for prisoners. Could a deceitful chieftain have kept a maid in this room?


Corgarff Small Tower Room
Though this castle is small and remote, far up in the mountainous highlands, I could see endless possibilities for stories. In 1571, 24 people were killed when raiders set fire to Corgarff.

Other dates of note:

1746 - 400 redcoats struggled through snow and icy winds to oust Jacobite forces from Corgarff. The arrived to find the cat the only remaining resident.

1750 A new military road was built that linked Corgarff to Fort George. After Culloden, the castle underwent significant adaptation to become a base for government forces.

1826 - Corgarff became a licensed distillary.

1831 - The redcoats vacate Corgarff.

After the garrison pulled out, the castle fell into decay. At first it was occupied by farm workers until two women known as the Ross sisters took up residence. In 1961, the derelict ruin was entrusted to state care by Sir Edmund and Lady Stockdale who assisted in the preservation work.

Today the castle is a museum depicting it as a military stronghold. The pictures below show barracks-style accommodations:



Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll be posting more about castles and abbeys in the coming weeks. I hope to see you again!

17 comments:

  1. Very cool. I love visiting historical sites. My mind puts me in the past every time (and often a new novel plot erupts).

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    1. Me too. There's something about a historical site that stirs my imagination :-)

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  2. So much history there—and pretty views, too! History fascinates me; I like to think about all the people who were standing right where I am at any given time. :)

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  3. Fascinating post, Amy! I hadn't heard of this castle. Another one to add to my list to visit one day. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Cool. It is a smaller, out-of-the way castle. But I think there's a wealth of stories there!

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  4. Amy, a rather plain and modest castle - very interesting. Cheers

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  5. Fascinating! I subscribed to your blog so I can see all of the castles you feature.

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    1. Thank you, Collette. Yep. More to come :-) I just returned from three weeks driving through Scotland.

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  6. I love that stark central house rising up- it reminds me of the salt box houses you see in alot of primitive decor. And, wow, the thought of all the history that place has seen- boggles the mind! History is awe.some.

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  7. I LOVE these posts, so so much. Castles are incredible.

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  8. Love those "mistakes" that take you off road and on to an unexpected adventure :)

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  9. I used to stay weekends in Briggies hotel up the road with my still best friend and her family who knew the owners Mary and Archie back in the early eighties.The "fort"at that time was our playground!! Wed sit in the outside well singing Duran Duran songs!! The men went pearl fishing the women in the hotel kitchen and us playing in the bar larking around.At that time this was the cosiest welcoming place, very informal and full of characters.We went to lical dances in village halls all round abiut and The Lonach Gathering long before Billy Connelly made it famous!! So glad you enjoyed.Ive took my girls up and am giing back this week fir a but of nostalgia.Many great happy memories.

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    1. Wow, Angela! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Imagine singing Duran Duran siting in a castle courtyard! What wonderful childhood memories you have! Enjoy your return journey!!

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