Tantallon Castle

The Story Behind the Image - Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle is a superb clifftop castle near North Berwick, and served as a stronghold of the powerful Douglas family, Earls of Angus. The first castle at Tantallon was built around 1350. For the next 300 years, the castle was the seat of the powerful 'Red Douglas' family, the junior branch of the Douglases.

It was besieged several times, the final time by Oliver Cromwell in 1651. Cromwell left the castle a ruin, but an incredibly scenic ruin at that!

The castle is perched on the edge of a high cliff, with views towards the seabird sanctuary of Bass Rock.

I shouldn't really have been able to get this photo; I arrived in the late evening, hoping to photograph the castle in the golden light. of the sinking sun. what I hadn't realised is that the castle is surrounded by high stone walls, cutting out any good vantage points.

I was set to give up when I saw the faint marks of a trail leading down beside the castle walls towards the shore. I was able to scramble down to the shore, only to find that the curve of the headland once more blocked the castle from sight.

To my delight, I found that the tide was out, so I could carefully make my way around the headland to a sheltered bay at the base of the cliff, with wonderful views of the castle.

What a glorious sight! I photographed the castle for an hour while the sun went down, keeping one eye on the tide so I didn't get trapped. It was worth it!

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