Fire and sword at Outlander castle

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Blackness Castle has never won the sort of limelight enjoyed by nearby Linlithgow Palace, but this weekend and next there’s a great chance to find why it deserves to be an “A-list” attraction in its own right.

The castle has already gained some recent celeb status, courtesy of Jacobite fantasy drama Outlander - where it forms an impressive backdrop to some

of the most compelling scenes.

But Historic Environment Scotland are making the most of the last few days of summer opening to stage reenactment events designed to show just why this once hugely important stronghold remained important from the late middle ages to the 17th century, when the Covenanters fought the Royalist Highlanders commanded by the great Marquis of Montrose.

There are scores of castles across Scotland, of course, but most that survive more or less intact are “follies” - stately homes with towers and crenellations that reflect the romantic view of Scottish history cherished by the Victorians.

They’re fascinating in their own right don’t have the same stark, built-for-business character as Blackness (even if many include an ancient tower or other feature from stormier times).

But while venues like Blackness, Tantallon or Dirleton are fantastic locations just waiting for the next big blood and guts movie or TV epic the addition of a “living history” element can put the real history of a place in true perspective for the visitor.

Siege on the Forth is a two day event (next weekend, September 3 and 4) which aims to give a powerful impression of the real people who lived, fought and died at Blackness in the days when much of the country seemed permanently embroiled in war.

The event is included in the admission price to Blackness and, just as a bit of light relief from all the musketry and edged weapons, there’s also the chance for youngsters to build their own Lego version of the Forth Road Bridge.

There’s more information at events@hes.cot or phone 0131 668 8885.