Caerlaverock Castle ***

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Caerlaverock Castle and Moat cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Archie Cochrane -


A wonderful and very special castle to visit! This proud guardian of the West March and for long ages the principal seat of the Maxwells is an absolute must on any trip along the Galloway coast.

The castle is so special because of its shape (triangular). The triangular layout, is brilliantly defensive. The curtain-walls (which make up the triangular shape) double-back on themselves, which provides a formidable layer of defence. Caerlaverock played a key role in the history of Scotland. Dating back to the late 13th century it was hardly finished when Edward I with a mighty army invaded Scotland. Caerlaverock was besieged and taken. The occupation lasted until 1312, when it´s keeper Sir Eustace Maxwell, declared for Robert the Bruce.

The English immediately struck with a vengeance, but this time the castle’s walls turned the tide.

Robert the Bruce, as a precautionary measure (no strongholds to be left for the English to use), had parts of the castle dismantled.

Caerlaverock has been through many a near-death situation. Partly dismantled and partly restored by the new occupiers.

The last huge siege came in 1640, when the Maxwells sided with Charles I.

The castle was kept under siege for 13 weeks but, as before, the attackers won out. To ensure that the castle could not be used again for defence – the place was looted and vast damage was inflicted on the curtain walls at the back of the fortress, rendering it unfit for defence.