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Blackness Castle stars in movie blockbuster The Outlaw King

Blackness Castle plays a grisly role in the 120 million dollar movie blockbuster The Outlaw King opened  the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Take a tour of Blackness Castle in our film locations tour . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online . Starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce the lavish Netflix production was filmed at locations across Scotland last year, also including Linlithgow Palace. Blackness Castle. But the Blackness scene won’t be forgotten in a hurry – it features an actress playing historical character Isabella MacDuff being suspended from the battlements in an iron cage.

Blackness castle tours, Blackness castle pictures
Blackness Castle stars in movie blockbuster The Outlaw King

Filming for The Outlaw King at Blackness took place over two weeks  and (off camera), a mobile crane was used to support the notorious cage – where the actress reportedly endured several takes in freezing cold.

The movie is on general release  and its initial trailer clip  registered 26 million views in the first 24 hours. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-G1BME8FKw Filmed entirely on location in Scotland, the movie was shot in key locations around the country, including Edinburgh , Linlithgow and Berwick. The Outlaw King is the most expensive film ever made in Scotland .

blackness castle outlander, Blackness castle pictures
Blackness Castle stars in The Outlaw King

Many or most of the extras involved are Scottish – the production company was besieged by Scots aiming to play the part of foot soldiers in King Robert’s army when it advertised for extras last year. Iconic actor James Cosmo, (70), who appears in the film reportedly says it could be Scotland’s greatest ever movie, likely to replicate for key Scottish historic sites the phenomenal surge of visitors to Stirling in the wake of the 1995 release of Braveheart (in which he also starred). That will mean new droves of tourists heading for Blackness, already benefiting from its appearance in Outlander, and to many other locations across the central belt associated with the Scottish Wars of Independence.

The Outlaw King tells the story of how Robert the Bruce, who defied England’s King Edward I, became a hunted fugitive but turned the tables to inflict crushing defeat on the English army at Bannockburn and ultimately won Scottish independence. Rounding off a golden year for major Scottish-based history epics a new movie about Mary Queen of Scots also launches in November. Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland has the talent and the opportunity to grow its TV sector and the job of Screen Scotland is to make sure we seize the moment.”

Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at national tourism agency VisitScotland, said: “Film tourism is booming in Scotland, with Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots some of the exciting new films set to feature the country on screen. “Film and TV productions not only showcase the unique mix of stunning landscapes, rich heritage and fascinating stories Scotland offers, but can inspire set-jetting fans to visit, with research showing that one in five visitors come here after seeing Scotland on the big and small screen.”

All Blackness Castle pictures are copyright Private Tours Edinburgh 2019

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Diana Gabaldon might write an episode of Outlander series five

The good news today is that  seasons 5 and 6 have been confirmed ( as if there was any doubt about that ), and that Diana Gabaldon may be writing at least one episode.

Creator of the Outlander book series that the STARZ show is based on, Gabaldon enjoys a bit more creative freedom with her creation than other authors and adaptations. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore made sure of this from the beginning — Gabs serves as a series consultant from time to time, as well as appearing in episode 4 from season 1.

Also also, Diana has written an episode of the series: season 2, episode 11, ‘Vengeance Is Mine’. The hope was that she would be able to write additional episodes, but continuing work on the ninth novel in the series prevented this from happening in seasons 3 and 4.

During the 44th Annual Saturn Awards, we were able to chat briefly with Diana on the red carpet before the ceremony, where she accepted the award for Best Fantasy TV Series on behalf of the show. (This is the third year running that the STARZ series has taken home the golden statue.)

Diana Gabaldon at the 44th Annual Saturn Awards
Photo by Mary Anne Butler

She mentioned that production was wrapping on season 4, and that she was very excited for fans to see where the season goes.

We asked her about the possibility of her returning to write an episode in the coming seasons, and she said that as long as her writing and editing schedule for book nine, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, goes well, she would be interested and available.

While Outlander will not be present at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this year, they will have a presence at New York Comic Con (NYCC), where at the very least, a new trailer for the upcoming season 4 is expected to drop, if not the entire premiere episode (as they did last year during SDCC).

Visit our new Drummond Castle gardens pictures gallery from Outlander tours

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Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is the most photographed castle in the world .
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Visits to the castle can be arranged by taxi transfers from Edinburgh Airport . Download the Airport transfers Scotland booking app .

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3D pictures of castles

Edinburgh Castle 11
Edinburgh Castle 11

I have added three 3D picture galleries to the website . Each one features a 3D cube with 6 pictures on it . You can control the cube by holding your cursor over it .There are 3D pictures of Edinburgh Castle and Eilean Donan Castle

The Edinburgh Castle 3D pictures gallery features six of my pictures of the famous castle which is consistently one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK

Eilean Donan Castle
is my favourite castle in Scotland , sitting on a small island in the middle of 3 lochs

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Stirling Castle project reveals royal court life

Historic Scotland is currently engaged in a £12 million project to return the royal palace within the walls of Stirling Castle to how it might have been in the mid-16th century.New research has revealed the cosmopolitan character of the Renaissance Scottish court at Stirling Castle .

The palace will reopen to the public in 2011 as a new Scottish visitor experience. Freelance historian, John Harrison, has been investigating original documents .Mr Harrison’s source is The Bread Book, an account of who received loaves from the royal kitchens throughout 1549 when the palace was the main residence of Scotland’s queen mother, Mary de Guise , mother of Mary , Queen of Scots . Mary, Queen of Scots was born in nearby Linlithgow Palace and she was   only 9 months old when she was crowned Queen of Scotland in the Chapel Royal in Stirling Castle on September 9, 1543. On most days a loaf was granted to the Morys – or Moors – who Mr Harrison believes were probably either black Africans or Arabs originating from North Africa.

“This is a fascinating glimpse of the diversity of the royal court at Stirling in the mid-16th century. It was quite cosmopolitan at the time, with the French Mary de Guise at its head, and surrounded not just by Scots but by people from Spain, the Rhineland and what is now Belgium. There were a few English, but they were mostly prisoners. Just who the Moors were, and what they were doing, is difficult to say. They were quite low in the court hierarchy, but were part of the household and getting bread at royal expense.”
Hints have survived that there may have been Africans in Scotland even earlier. There is a poetic reference by Dunbar to a woman who has been assumed to be – ‘the Lady with the Meikle Lips’. Such references are mostly rather uncertain, and may have other explanations, and the importance of The Bread Book is its clarity at a time when record-keeping was still relatively thin. Just as fascinating is what The Bread Book adds to our understanding of the way the court was run, and who had access to the queen. The evidence suggests that rather than acting like many of the Tudor dynasty in England and taking her main meals in private, deep within the network of royal apartments, Mary de Guise would dine in the Queen’s Outer Hall.

“Quite a wide range of people had access to her, not ordinary farmers but lots of people who were fairly well-to-do, which is important as she was working hard to build and protect the interests of her young daughter – Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary de Guise was an intelligent, decisive woman and a smart operator.

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Eilean Donan Castle pictures at night screensaver

Eilean Donan Castle pictures at night 31456
Eilean Donan Castle at night , HDR photo

Eilean Donan Castle is one of my favourite castles in Scotland , mainly because of the stunning location and ample photo opportunities .  My picture of the castle at night is an HDR photo which is now available as a screensaver. The castle can be photographed from 3 sides . Eilean Donan means Island of Donan ( a religious figure from the 12 th century ). Eilean Donan was Clan MacKenzie’s most important stronghold from the 13th Century until it was destroyed in 1719 by 3 English frigates attacking the Spanish garrison .

Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as : As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh,Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. There is also a panel with the names of the constables ( guardians ) of the castle carved on it.
Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes, the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until until the 16th century. The MacRaes first became Constables of the Castle in 1511 with a lot of control over the surrounding area. A feud between the MacKenzies and the McLeods of Dunvegan, over the disputed claims of Donald Gorm MacDonald to the title of Lord of the Isles, came to a head when he attacked the Castle with 50 galleys. He was shot and killed by Duncan MacRae with a single arrow. The Castle was garrisoned by Government troops but later retaken by the Jacobites before the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

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