Blair Castle, Scotland, an ancient fortress and now popular visitor attraction.
This evening, I am focusing on Blair Castle near Pitlochry in Central Scotland. This is now a popular visitor attraction and conveniently situated on the main A9 tourist route north to Inverness. The property is the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Atholl, a title which was granted in 1703 in return for loyalty to the Stewart dynasty of Scottish royalty.
The location is important because in medieval times the castle would have guarded the communication routes through to the Cairngorms and points north. The original Tower House dates from 1269 and still exists to extent it has been carefully absorbed into the current, more elaborate structure.
Connection with royalty extends to visits from Mary Queen of Scots in 1564 and Queen Victoria in 1842 and 1844. The latter granted her bodyguard, the Atholl Highlanders, regimental colours and to this day this unit continues as the only private army permitted in Britain.
Atholl Highlanders at Blair Castle.
Visitors to the castle interior can visit some 30 rooms which feature:
- Various items of historic weaponry.
- A portrait gallery.
- Stucco walls.
- Elaborate furnishings.
- An elegant staircase.
- A grand ballroom.
- Diana’s Grove, an interesting forested area planted in 1737.
- The Hercules Gardens, a nine acre enclosure dating from the 18th century.
An important site nearby is Killiecrankie, a stunning gorge where was fought, in 1689, a famous battle connected with Blair Castle.