As a professional Photographer, Filmmaker & Drone Pilot I feel lucky to call Scotland my home. The rugged, yet beautiful, landscape remains a constant in my work and provides endless opportunities for exploring. Amongst all there is to see, there has always been one feature of the Scottish landscape that has fascinated me: castles.
No other buildings possess the rich history, intrigue and mystery of castles. They are relics of a bygone era which provide a glimpse into the past. What’s more, they look simply incredible set against their epic surroundings and make for the perfect photography and film subject. With over 2000 castles in Scotland, I set out on a mission to capture footage from some of my personal favourites. This process, conducted over 2 months, resulted in my aerial short film ‘Castles of Scotland’ which can be viewed above.
Here is a small selection of some of my favorites.
Looking for a post-COVID escape to a quiet fairytale destination in Scotland? Here are some of the country’s best hidden gems.
Located on the coast of Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, is Slains Castle. This vast and imposing ruin sits directly at the edge of steep, jagged cliffs at the North Sea which is the perfect setting and only adds to the drama.
Bram Stoker frequented the castle in the 19th century and it is believed the castle is the inspiration for the setting of the tale in Count Dracula. You have the unique opportunity to freely wander this roofless structure (the roof was removed in 1925 to avoid paying taxes) which makes for an unforgettable experience.
Owing to its location at Loch Awe, Dalmally, Argyll, Kilchurn Castle is one of the most picturesque and tranquil of all the Scottish castles. With its lochside location and backdrop of rolling hills it is easy to see why it is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland.
As a photographer, it is a joy to photograph and you can have lots of fun with various compositional opportunities (particularly to the east of Loch Awe). It also looks fantastic from this viewpoint during Autumn amongst the vibrant colors.
Eilean Donan Castle
If you’ve ever seen a castle on a shortbread biscuit tin then chances are it’s Eilean Donan Castle. Named after the island in which it stands, the Island of Donan, it is located where three great sea lochs meet; Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh.
It has featured in numerous television programs and films due to its picture perfect location and was even host to James Bond in The World is not Enough. It also invokes that great sense of wanderlust as you’re likely heading to the Isle of Skye if you’re passing it.
It is impossible to miss Edinburgh Castle. Sitting on Castle Rock, a volcanic plug formed some 350 million years ago, it is an impressive sight on its pedestal overlooking Scotland’s capital.
Viewable from almost anywhere in the city, it looks spectacular from all angles and offers near limitless photography opportunities.
The drama of Castle Stalker lies in its simplicity. It stands, isolated, on a small island located on Loch Laich, an inlet of Loch Linnhe. During high tide, it is completely cut off from land making it only accessible by boat (or a short swim if you’re feeling brave). In recent times, the castle featured in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The best Scottish castles are some incredibly inspirational destinations! Which do you want to visit the most? Let us know on Twitter!