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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Visit to Broughty Castle

I had another half day on Friday, headed up to Dundee with Angela and Topaz, and had an interesting hour in Broughty Castle and the harbour area at Broughty Ferry at the mouth of the river Tay.

The castle dates from the mid fifteenth century with the imposing tower being completed in 1496.  It played an important part of Henry VIII’s invasion of Scotland in the mid sixteenth century, the so-called rough wooing.  Having defeated the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie the English arrived on 20 September 1547 at the invitation of its owner, Lord Gray.  He supported the Protestant English King against the Catholic government of the infant Mary Queen of Scots.
The English improved the castle’s defences and were able to withstand a prolonged siege before finally surrendering to a combined Franco-Scottish force on 21 February 1550.

The Gray family were restored to ownership which they kept until selling the castle in 1666.  The only excitement in that time was when General Monck seized it in 1651 from the royalist Gray’s who sensibly left without trying to defend it

The next phase of the castle’s military history was as a result of the perceived French threat of the mid nineteenth century which resulted in huge expenditure on fortifications across the UK.  Broughty Castle ‘s position at the mouth of the River Tay was seen as strategically important so it was remodelled as an artillery fort and remained in service until 1932, being reoccupied in 1939 for the duration of the Second World War.  It is now looked after by Historic Scotland, whilst the Tower houses a small but interesting museum run by Dundee Council.
Well worth a visit if you are in the area.  The views across the Tay are stunning and the combination of late medieval tower and artillery fort unusual but certainly visually appealing. Enjoy the photographs.

                                          View of the castle from the other side of the harbour

                                        An inside out shot with Dundee in the distance

Three 40 pounder Armstrong Rifled Breech Loaders, the only ones left in the UK.  Presumably these were part of the original armament of the castle in it's reincarnation as a Victorian artillery fort.  They had been used as bollards on the Broughty Ferry quay and were only recognised for what they really were in 1989.  They have been restored and placed on replica naval gun carriages of the period.

View from the castle over to the Tay Bridge


  1. Never been to Broughty Castle, though have passed it. Looks to be worth a visit. Nice photo's too! Cheers Rory

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