Blackness Castle in the Sunshine

Looking at Blackness from the south approach

Looking at Blackness from the south approach

Next on the castle tour – Blackness Castle.  This Castle is a 15th century fortress built on bedrock on the shores of the Firth of Forth by Sir George Crichton, the governor of Stirling Castle.  At the time it was the main port serving Linlithgow, however it was passed to James II of Scotland in 1453 and has remained as crown property since.  It served as a state prison, holding such prisoners as Cardinal Beaton and the 6th Earl of Angus.

View of the Castle from the 19th C pier

View of the Castle from the 19th C pier

Because of its site, jutting into the Forth, and its long, narrow shape, the castle has been characterised as “the ship that never sailed”. The north and south towers are often named “stem” and “stern”, with the central tower called the “main mast”.

After it was passed to James II, it became a royal fortress, as well as continuing to serve as a prison, and was put into the care of a keeper, who was often the Sheriff of Linlithgow.  Fortification and destruction of the Castle occurred over the years until 1650 when it was besieged by Oliver Cromwell during his invasion of Scotland.  The castle was not repaired until 1667, when it was again used as a prison, holding a number of Covenanters; religious rebels who opposed the King’s interference in church affairs.

A view of the Central and South Towers with the beautiful Scottish countryside

A view of the Central and South Towers with the beautiful Scottish countryside

It alternated as a garrison and a prison over the years with the word prison being relative to those who were housed in the Main Mast building in the middle.  These were often prisoners of higher society and even had their servants with them in incarceration.

A view of the North Tower containing the pit prison

A view of the North Tower containing the pit prison

Low level prisoners were instead kept in the lower basement of the north tower, the pit prison, that would be at the mercy of tides and had little light.

Although used briefly during WWI it was finally abandoned for such use and was restored between 1926 to 1935 to give you what you see.  Although not a very big castle, as with all castles, it still has its unique elements and history.

When desperate you can always use an old latrine!

When desperate you can always use an old latrine!

It sports fantastic views of the Firth of Forth and you can take some great pictures of the Firth of Forth Bridge.  All in all, with the sun shining and a light wind, it proved to be a great couple of hours to envision yourself living at the time and perhaps visiting it on business or pleasure.

Views of all the Firth of Forth bridges with the new bridge under construction closest

Views of all the Firth of Forth bridges with the new bridge under construction closest