Visit Dunnottar Castle for an and discover the importance of an impregnable fortress that holds many rich secrets of Scotland’s colourful past. The dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in the land. Dunnottar Castle played an important role in Scottish history, from its Pictish roots right the way through to the Jacobite uprising. Because of its strategic location and defensive strength. Dunnottar Castle is best known as the place where the Honour of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century. The property of the Keiths from the 14th century, and the seat of the Earl Marischal, Dunnottar declined after the last Earl forfeited his titles by taking part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. Dunnottar Castle is steeped in mystery and intrigue! Dunnottar Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Fhoithear, "fort on the shelving slope") is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast and is a must visit destination for anyone planning to visit Scotland. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the early middle ages. To learn of its history and see its keeps, halls, vaults and walls, visit the Dunnottar Castle which lies just south of Stonehaven. It is a 40 minute walk either along the cliff path or coastal road.
The ruins of the castle are spread over 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres), surrounded by steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea, 50 metres (160 ft) below. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to the mainland, along which a steep path leads up to the gatehouse. The various buildings within the castle include the 14th-century tower house as well as the 16th-century palace. Dunnottar Castle is a scheduled monument, and twelve structures on the site are listed buildings. William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II have graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.
Scotland has some magnificently located castles, but if we had to pick just one to trust with our lives in a time of great danger, then it would without any doubt be Dunnottar Castle. No other Scottish castle comes close in terms of a sense of sheer brooding impregnability. This is a castle which looks across to the nearby coastal cliffs and whose presence, even today, conveys a very simply message: "Don't mess with me." The outcrop of rock on which Dunnottar Castle stands might have been designed specifically to permit the building of the most impregnable fortress in Scotland. Sheer cliffs 160ft high almost completely surround a flat area over three acres in size. The rock was once joined by a narrow fin to the mainland, but even this was carved away to ensure access along it was not possible.