This medieval fortress looks like a movie set, with its moat, unusual triangular shape and crumbling moss covered walls. It has in fact been used in various films and tv programmes over the years, and you can see why when you visit. Now under the car of Historic Scotland, Caerlaverock, like any good castle, has a brutal and bloody history. The castle itself is situated in an area with extensive Roman activity, with the first fort on the site being built by the British c.950. The name Caerlaverock, comes from the name of its builders, the Lords of ‘Karlauerock’, this could be translated to mean ‘fort of the skylark’, which is really rather beautiful. Eventually though, in the 13th century the Maxwell lords came into possession of the castle, securing the Scottish border against pesky English invaders for the next 400 years.
The most obviously unique thing about Caerlaverock is its triangular form. It is the only castle in Britain built this way, and for this reason alone it is well worth a visit. You can stroll around the moat admiring the still formidable curtain walls which held out over several sieges, and then cross the moat (avoiding arrows and boiling oil) to wander around inside. Fabulous views can be seen from the tops of the towers, and interpretation panels reveal what each room was used for, allowing you a glimpse into the Maxwell’s household arrangements.
The castle was finally broken in 1640 during a siege, and was left to ruin. Thankfully it is still very well preserved. I really do love a ruined castle or palace more than any other kind of historic building, there is a real romantic tragic feel to them. At Caerlaverock you feel like a long haired damsel may be about to appear and throw herself in the lake at any moment, and the possibility of seeing the ghost of a bloody king seems very real.
For more information have a look at the Historic Scotland website: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyabout.htm?PropID=PL_047&PropName=Caerlaverock Castle
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