Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland, about 3 km south of Stonehaven. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th–16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been an early fortress of the Dark Ages. Dunnottar played a strategic role in the history of Scotland from the Middle Ages through to the Enlightenment, because of the location: it overlooked the shipping lanes to northern Scotland; and is situated on a narrow coastal terrace that controlled land access to the coastal south to Aberdeen during the medieval period. The site, owned by private interests is open to the public, visited annually by hundreds of thousands of tourists.
Amazing view of Dunnottar Castle during the night (Photography by Angus)
The ruins of the castle are spread over 3 acres (1.2 ha), surrounded with steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea 50 metres (160 ft) below. The L plan castle is accessed via a narrow strip of land, joining the mainland to a steep path leading up to the gatehouse. The cliff and headland formations, which extend to the north and south, is a notable bird sanctuary to pelagic birds.
Dunnottar Castle covered with the snow (Photography by Looby)
Dunnottar has eleven buildings built between the 13th and 17th centuries. The dominant building, viewed from the land approach, is the 14th century keep or tower house, which shows damage from Cromwell’s cannon bombardment. The other principal buildings are the 17th century chapel; a quadrangle structure on the east side; and the “Whigs Vault”, shaped in a barrel vault design, and was the setting of a 17th century mass imprisonment.
There are two entrances for the castle. The first is through the well-defended main gate set in a cleft in the rock, where attackers would have been assaulted by defenders. The second access is through a rocky cove, the aperture to a marine cave on the north side of the Dunnottar cliffs. From here a steep path leads to the cliff top, which is the well fortified postern gate.
Dunnottar Castle at the cliff edge (Photography by Kenny)
A sunlight during the winter time (Photography by David)