Photos and the City

Slow travel & photography

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Like a castle straight out of a fairytale, Dunrobin Castle sits on the Northeast coast of Scotland overlooking Dornoch Firth. It is the stately home of the Earl of Sutherland and the Clan Sutherland.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

I had left Hopeman in the morning and was driving up north to my “Hut at the End of the Road” near Tongue. But there was so much to see along the way! My first stop was at Dunrobin Castle, it really does look straight out of a fairytale, including the pipe player playing at the entrance.

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland. (Visit Scotland)

Resembling a French chateâu the design was influenced by Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament in London and by Scotland’s own Sir Robert Lorimer.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Inside Dunrobin Castle, I was greeted by a cosy fire and an impressive staircase leading up to the open rooms. The rooms are all beautifully decorated and give a glimpse into how it must have been to live in the castle. From the inside, there are stunning views over the garden and the sea.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

The tour starts with grand public rooms like the breakfast room and the library and then gets into the smaller and more private ones like the Lady´s Room and the nursery.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Lady´s Sitting room

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Day Nursery

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Night Nursery

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Nanny´s Room

The History of Dunrobin Castle

Scottish castles evolve over time, and so did Dunrobin Castle, but in a slightly unusual way.

Dunrobin followed the “extend and expand” route, but it did so in a way that must be unique. Here the castle had added to it a series of extensions which effectively grew out in a way that wrapped around the original keep, completely concealing it from exterior view. Today the structure of the keep can only be glimpsed from an internal courtyard. (Undiscovered Scotland)

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Dunrobin Castle was first mentioned in writing in 1401 as the stronghold of the Sutherlands.

The oldest parts still standing were probably built in the late 1300s and the name seems to come from Dun Robin, or “The Castle of Robin”, after Robert, 6th Earl of Sutherland. (Undiscovered Scotland)

The first major extension happened between 1641 and 1644 done by the 14th Earl of Sutherland. Two ranges of a mansion wrapped around the north and west sides of a courtyard.

In 1766 the one-year-old daughter of the 18th Earl Elizabeth became the 19th Countess of Sutherland. In 1785 she married George Leveson-Gower who became 2nd Marquess of Stafford in 1803 and inherited valuable estates. Together they oversaw the remodelling of Dunrobin Castle. A new south range was built and everything was upgraded.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Like other landlords the Sutherlands, many people on their estates were “cleared” from the land between 1811 and 1821 for “agricultural improvement”. It was the time of the controversial Highland Clearances when thousands were shipped to Canada and America and had to start new lives.

After her husband’s death in 1833 Elizabeth extended Dunrobin Castle further, building a new north-west wing. Her heir, the 2nd Duke of Sutherland had eight children who were probably one of the factors that led to the massive extension to the castle.

He commissioned the architect Sir Charles Barry to produce initial designs for a chateau which turned out to be too large for the site, and work began in 1845 on a final plan which was partly the work of Barry and partly produced by the 2nd Duke himself. (Undiscovered Scotland)

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

During World War I Dunrobin Castle was used as a naval hospital. In 1915 a fire damaged parts of the castle but was extinguished by a naval crew. Scottish Architect Sir Robert Lorimer oversaw the repairs and made some major changes to the interior and the main tower.

From 1965 to 1972 Dunrobin Castle was used a boys´ boarding school.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

The beautiful gardens were modelled after the gardens in Versaille, completed in 1850.

Dunrobin Castle, like a castle out of a fairytale on the Scottish Northcoast.

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

Hopeman Ice House

In a time when we shouldn´t go outside I would like to invite you to a virtual walk along the Moray Coastal Walk. Switch on the sound of the Scottish Coast here: Sounds of Scotland and let´s start!

Moray Coast Trail

Beginning inland at the fine country town of Forres, it soon hits the coastline at Findhorn, famed for its eco-community. From here the coastal walking begins across the forested back of the vast Burghead Bay.

The section from Burghead to Lossiemouth has some superb clifftop walking with great seaviews. Further on is Spey Bay, renowned for its dolphins, the ship-building heritage of Buckie and finally a string of picturesque former fishing villages leads on to Cullen, just over 72km from the start. (Walkhighlands)

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

I started at Hopeman Beach and walked in direction of Lossiemouth with Clashach CoCoveve (Cove Bay) as my destination. Passing by the colourful beach-huts I took a different path than all the other times walking along the beach.

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

Slowly climbing up the cliffs..

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

Until I already saw Clashach Cove, a beautiful secluded beach with a few caves.

Clashach Cove (Cove Bay)

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

I went once around the bay and also a bit further towards Lossiemouth but didn’t really found a pathway going down to the beach. I kept looking until I saw a few people back climbing up trough all the bushed and thistles and I didn´t have the right shoes and clothes for that. The path seemed to be hidden very well!

But the view from above was lovely!

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

Clashach Cove is an interesting area for geologists, the “old red” sandstone as formed around 360 to 415 million years ago and the “newer” red sandstone is about 200 to 300 million years old.

The is a quarry behind the bay where sandstone has been extracted for building use since the early 1800s. It was also recently used in the construction of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the 9/11 memorial in New York and for Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove

I made my way back towards Hopeman and continued a bit in direction to Burghead.

Walking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach CoveWalking the Moray Coastal Walk between Hopman and Clashach Cove