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CastleUK Blog 2011
Castle UK Blog 2011 January PageThe blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.
This months Scottish castle, palace, tower, house and a motte, are in or around Elgin in Moray.

In December it was snow, cold, flu and an open fire down stairs, that stopped me working on the site. Just getting to work, took twice as long and keeping the house warm was a nightmare when the temperature dropped below -10, up stairs in the back bedroom were the computer is was just a no go area. Then on Boxing Day I got that flu, which knocked me for six and over 2 weeks later I still haven't got over it but I must be feeling a bit better because I'm up here tickling the keyboard.
At the start of the year I update all the site, so I have some numbers for you, over 760 castles, with 1881 pictures and castles of the area maps, the site is close to 3000 pages now, with many more to come. Trouble is we visit more castles than I put on, so I've just hundreds waiting in the wings for there turn, one thing about visiting castles and building my site, it'll never end.
A new year and a new castle hunt to plan, this time it's back to Penicuik in Scotland, with a day around Prestonpans to visit the Jacobite battle site of 1745.
A happy castle hunting New Year, Chris.

Click on the pictures, for more information.

Uttershill Castle Wallpaper
Uttershill Castle, OS 66/NT 238-594 Midlothian Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in January 2010 on our castle hunt snow time trip and the view of the castle is looking west, with the Pentland Hills in the background. This is the first of my 2 snow pictures, for this wallpaper year but I think I'm a month to late, seeing that December was the coldest since records began. We like this picture, it was early morning, the air was fresh and cold and there was 2 foot of snow and a castle to play in, a good to be alive day to remember.
Asliesk Castle
Asliesk Castle, OS 28/NJ 108-597 Moray Scotland.
Is a late 16th century stone three storey L-plan tower house, which was the property of the Innes or Brodie family. Sadly the only standing remains are the ivy covered walls of a small wing, the south wall is pierced by oval gun-loops and the south-west angle is crowned by the base of a corbelled-out round bartizan.
The site is visible from the road but there's not a lot to see here, which is a pity.
Bishop's House
Bishop's House, OS 28/NJ 221-631 Moray Scotland.
Is a 15th century stone defensible L-plan town house, founded by the Bishops of Moray. Immediately opposite Elgin Cathedral and traditionally believed to have been the house of the Bishops of Moray, it was probably the manse of the precentor. The partially ruined main block had a vaulted kitchen and two cellars to the ground floor, the hall was on the first floor, with a suite of rooms above.
The site is visible from the road but you can get up close to this one and this is one of 4 defensible/fortified sites in Elgin. I knew about the motte but I didn't look in my books to see if there was anything else, I was lucky only to miss 1, so that's a trip back to Elgin, which is a nice little town, with plenty to see.
Ladyhill Elgin Castle
Ladyhill, OS 28/NJ 212-628 Moray Scotland.
Is a late 11th or early 12th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, which was mentioned in a 1160 charter of King Malcolm IV. Built from a natural hillock, a north-western finger of raised ground projects from the lower slopes to form a possible bailey. In 1296 and 1303 during the Wars of Independence, King Edward I occupied the castle, which was taken and destroyed by the Scots in 1308 and never rebuilt.
The site is freely accessible in daylight hours, with stairs to the top, there's a bit of stonework, with great views when you get there. A big old motte, we were drawn like moths to the flame.
Spynie Palace
Spynie Palace, OS 28/NJ 231-658 Moray Scotland.
Was possibly a late 12th century defensible timber bishop's residence, founded by Richard of Lincoln. Standing against a low cliff that overlooked the sea-loch of Spynie, the south and west stone enclosure walls, with the stump of a round tower flanking the south-west angle, are 14th century. In the 15th century, the elaborate east gate replaced the earlier south gate and rectangular flanking towers were added to the north-west and south-east angles.
The site is owned by Historic Scotland and is open daily, April to September 9:30-5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday October to March 9:30-4:30pm. Impressive site here, it's big and you can get to the top of the six storey David's Tower, it's a must see palace.
Tower Hotel
Tower Hotel, OS 28/NJ 216-629 Moray Scotland.
Was possibly a 17th century stone defensible town lodging, founded by Andrew Leslie of Glen of Rothes, merchant and magistrate of Elgin. In the mid 19th century, Dr Mackay remodelled the house and all that remains is a three storey rubble built circular tower of 1634, crowned by a small corbelled-out square cap house. Now attached to a three storey asymmetrical Scottish Baronial house, with a turret in re-entrant angle.
The site is visible from the High Street in Elgin, which is how I found it, when the castle spotter was doing a bit of shopping.

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