Dunnottar Castle

Looming over the rocky precipice of the Scottish coast stands Dunnottar Castle, a ruined fortress as steeped in a dark atmosphere as it is in severe beauty.

Dunnottar Castle is first mentioned in 681CE, a full millennium before it rose to prominence as a vital aspect of the Civil Wars. Following Oliver Cromwell’s dethroning and execution of Charles I, the royalists retreated into Scotland, crowning Charles II in Scone Palace in 1651. To do so, they required the Honours of Scotland – the oldest surviving crown jewels in Britain. These were hidden deep within Dunnottar Castle, where they successfully eluded the grasp of Cromwell and his supporters until the monarchy’s restoration a decade later.

Today, the castle is appreciated more for its stunning views of the North Sea than its haunting historical relevance. Dunnottar’s position – perched almost precariously atop the jutting rocky headland – makes it an incredibly imposing location, even serving as a facsimile Elsinore for the 1990 film adaption of Hamlet. The castle is a lengthy but breath-taking walk from nearby Stonehaven, a route that allows visitors to catch tantalising glimpses of the ruin throughout the journey.

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