Portencross Castle, Scotland
This evening, I am reporting on Portencross Castle, Ayrshire, a small but historically important castle which situated on the coast, thirty four miles S.W. of Glasgow facing the Firth of Clyde and Little Cumbrae Island.
Portencross was recently restored at cost of GBP1m under aegis of the Friends of Portencross Castle.
Brief history of the site and castle:
- The site had been inhabited for thousands of years, with definitive evidence of Iron Age (800BC to 100BC) settlement.
- The castle was constructed in three phases commencing around 1360.
- Originally held by the Boyd family for King Robert I (of Scotland) in recognition for support at Battle of Bannockburn (1314).
- The castle had close links with Scottish royalty resulting in a number of Royal charters being signed at the castle.
- Occupied by local fishermen after 1600s.
- Roof was destroyed by a gale in 1739.
- Became a scheduled ancient monument in 1955.
- Consequent on GBP1.0m fund raising a full and extensive restoration was undertaken between March 2009 and September 2010.
The site is of interest to geologists as there is evidence dating back 400 million years to a time when a mountain range the size of the Himalayas covered N.W. Britain.The oldest rocks at Portencross come from these mountains. Other features:
- North of the castle is 300m year old ridge or ‘dyke’ running east-west.This is made of igneous rocks which are of volcanic origin.
- North of the road can be seen a ‘raised beach’ which was formed about 10,000 years ago after end of last ice age.
- 380m year old ‘conglomerate rock’ can be found to the south of the inlet.