URQUHART CASTLE

Another reason to visit Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle (that’s a tricky word to spell!).

Urquhart is one of the largest Scottish castles and was the scene of many battles spanning 500 years.

1. In 1250 A.D., Alan Durward was the Urquhart lord. Alan was the guy who told the king what to do and his castle was a prime factor in the Wars of Independence with England.

2. In 1296 – the English conquered the castle, but kept it for only two years before William Wallace (Bravehart) got it back again.

3. The castle ping-ponged back and forth for the next 50 years.

4. in 1509 The Clan Grant was granted the castle (hmmm .. Grant was granted the castle?)

5. In 1689, the government seized the castle during the Jacobite battles.

6. In 1691 the castle was blown up so it couldn’t be used by the Jacobites.

7. In 1703 the castle was used as a quarry.

8. The castle was never rebuilt and is now owned by Scotland’s Historic National Trust.

9. Urquhart is the third busiest tourist site in Scotland.

10. You can now get married there (due to a change in Scottish laws – though I’m not sure what that change is).

11. This is still in the area where the Loch Ness Monster has been spotted – however, I didn’t see him – not even the tacky, plastic Nessie prototype who posed for us at the pond.

The day we were there was beautiful with blue skies and sun reflecting off the water.  The visitor’s center has a DVD and then you wander around the grounds which are indeed, one of the most picturesque places I’ve been.  I walked with RM for awhile and then went off to take some pictures, eventually ending up in the gift shop. I walked over to the food area and to my surprise – they had bottles of Twinings Iced Tea! Not only real iced tea – but a brand I recognized. I immediately bought two bottles – then went back outside to meet RM at the top of the hill!  (We were both having iced tea withdrawal.)  That was the ONE time I had iced tea in Scotland. Which has nothing to do with Scottish history, but could be important information for any future iced-tea-loving tourists. (Just letting you know.)

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