Doune Castle – Winterfell

Doune Castle has been renamed Winterfell in honour of the Game of Thrones series which has just come to an end.

Doune was built in  1400 for the first Duke of Albany and provides the setting for Castle Leoch in Outlander .  It was also the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

Doune is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Scotland.
great hall ,doune , outlander

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period. The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

Doune Castle has featured in several literary works, including the 17th-century ballad, “The Bonny Earl of Murray”, which relates the murder of James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray, by the Earl of Huntly, in 1592. In Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, Waverley (1814), the protagonist Edward Waverley is brought to Doune Castle by the Jacobites. Scott’s romantic novel describes the “gloomy yet picturesque structure”, with its “half-ruined turrets”.

doune castle , outlander

The castle was used as a location in MGM’s 1952 historical film Ivanhoe which featured Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. The BBC adaptation of “Ivanhoe” in 1996 also featured Doune as a location. The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was used as a stand-in for the fictional “Leoch Castle” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

The Kelpies are glorious armoured giant horses

The Kelpies have become the most famous equine sculptures in the world . But now they have been given another name to make them more attractive to Chinese tourists.

VisitBritain, which markets the UK abroad, has dubbed them ‘Kai Po Ju Ma’ in promotional literature in China – which translates as “glorious armoured giant horses”.

Our Kelpies gift shop features 50 great Kelpies photo gifts including, posters, phone cases, prints , clocks and bags .

It follows the results of a £1.6 million ‘Great Names for Great Britain’ campaign, which builds on the existing trend of giving relatable Mandarin names to favourite celebrities, places and foods.

 “Kai Po Ju Ma” have set records with over 600,000 in their first year of opening . A new visitor centre is being built to help cope with the influx of visitors and improve their experience at the sculptures.

New Mandarin names for 23 iconic Scottish attractions have been announced in total, including Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Glencoe.

The campaign reached nearly 300 million Chinese prospective visitors to the UK through VisitBritain’s influential Weibo and WeChat social media platforms across China. Over two million people visited the campaign pages and nearly 30 million Chinese people watched the launch video, with 13,000 new names suggested throughout the ten week-long voting period.

Andy Scott, the artist responsible for the Kelpies, said: “I’m delighted that The Kelpies have reached out to a new audience and that they have been recognised with such an evocative and dynamic Mandarin name.

“It’s a real accolade for me as the artist and the whole team involved in The Kelpies that they have been adopted for the VisitBritain campaign and been so well received in China. Download our free Kelpies screensaver

Eilean Donan Castle is set to star in a new movie by Oscar winner

Eilean donan castle pictures , edc17680
Eilean Donan Castle
is set to take a starring role in a new movie by Oscar winning set designer Roger Christian .

In 1980 he produced a film Black Angel which told the tale of a knight who rescues a princess while returning home from the Crusades, and was made entirely in Scotland, at locations such as Eilean Donan Castle, Bernera Barracks at Glenelg, Loch Eck in Argyll.

It was shown in 1980 in cinemas in Europe and Australia as part of screenings of The Empire Strikes Back – and became a cult classic.

Now he is going to return to the Highlands to turn Black Angel into a full length film.

He said: “I have to film in Scotland, and in late September and early October as I did the first time.

“The quality of the natural light at that time of year in Scotland is like nothing else in the world.

“It allowed us to shoot scenes that would have required CGI, technology that was not available to us at that time.”

Christian was involved in the original Star Wars movie as well as  Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, as well as Alien.

The original Black Angel was found last year and made available online, ending fears that the film had been lost forever.

Visit Scotland has produced a map of film locations in Scotland .

A number of major film releases in recent years have featured well known locations in Scotland including

the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which appears in the Harry Potter movies, Glencoe, which featured in Skyfall, Braveheart and The 39 Steps, and Eilean Donan Castle, seen in Highlander and Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.

Stephen Spielberg’s latest smash hit  of the BFG was filmed in Skye, the Western Isles and Orkney.

Eilean Donan Castle posters

Eilean Donan Castle poster

Eilean Donan Castle poster , Giant A3 size , 16.5 by 11.7 inches , just £5.95 including free UK delivery .
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Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is the jewel in the crown of Scottish castles with its fairytale setting and a long and colourful history stretching back many centuries .
Eilean donan castle poster
Eilean Donan Castle poster , Giant A3 size , 16 by 11 inches , just £3.95 including free UK delivery .
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This image is also available in a larger size as a poster to US and UK customers on RedbubblePictures of the castle have been published in hundreds of calendars , books and websites. Castle pictures.com has ńow published its own castle poster. The Scottish castles collection features pictures of Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland by photographer David Rankin.Our original image of Eilean Donan Castle is now available as a poster .

Eilean Donan Castle means Island of Donan (a religious figure from the 12th century). Eilean Donan was Clan MacKenzie’s most important stronghold from the 13th Century until it was destroyed in 1719. Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Eilean Donan Castle HDR Christmas print

Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as: As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh,Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. There is also a panel with the names of the constables ( guardians ) of the castle carved on it.

Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes, the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until until the 16th century. The MacRaes first became Constables of the Castle in 1511 with a lot of control over the surrounding area. A feud between the MacKenzies and the McLeods of Dunvegan, over the disputed claims of Donald Gorm MacDonald to the title of Lord of the Isles, came to a head when he attacked the Castle with 50 galleys. He was shot and killed by Duncan MacRae with a single arrow. The Castle was garrisoned by Government troops but later retaken by the Jacobites before the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

In 1719 it was held by Spanish Jacobites. Three English frigates sailed into Loch Duich and bombarded the castle with cannon fire until it was in ruins. The castle them lay in ruins for nearly 200 years. In 1911 John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the castle and start work to restore the castle over a period of twenty years at a total cost of a quarter of a million pounds. Local materials were used wherever possible.

More recently the castle featured in the film Highlander and a James Bond movie.

Eilean Donan Castle is on an island in the middle of 3 lochs – Loch Alsh, Loch Long and Loch Duich – and surrounded by the mountains of the Highlands. If you climb the hill overlooking the castle you can see the Isle of Skye. The castle is next to the village of Dornie and about 10 miles from the Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to the Isle of Skye to the North. The castle is on the west coast of Scotland, about 90 miles north of Glencoe and about 180 miles from Edinburgh. You can take the train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and take a taxi to the castle. There is a bus route from Glasgow past the castle once a day. There are many bus tours from Edinburgh to the castle.

Due to a change in Scots law it is now possible to get married in a Scottish castle. Wedding receptions can be held inside the castle . The castle is open most of the year and it is run by the Conchra Charitable Trust.

Eilean Donan Castle poster , Giant A3 size , 16 by 11 inches , just £3.95 including free UK delivery .

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Eilean Donan Castle gifts are  available in a variety of sizes as a poster, postcard, ornament and tie to US and UK customers on Redbubble