Scotland. Day 4, 2nd July.
After a tour round the countryside, George took me to Dunrobin Castle, just south of Brora.
These gardens were laid out in 1850 by Sir Charles Duffy, inspired by the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.
The interior of the castle was impressive but I cannot show you that because photography was not allowed.
This is the home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. The first earl was the great grandson of Hugh de Freskyn who built Duffus Castle, so there is a family connnection from there. There would have been a castle here from 1235, the time of the first earl, and there may have been a fort on the site before that. The current castle dates from 1401 and the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland have lived in it since that time. Sutherland or Southerly Land might seem a strange name for an area in the far north of Scotland but this was from the perspective of the vikings for whom it was to the south.
This is the same as the preceding image but I wondered how it would work correcting the perspective in Photoshop using Lens Correction and Adaptive Wide Angle filters. It proved to be a slow iterative process which not surprisingly reduced the sharpness of the image. I gave up on it before taking the image all the way to square.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Sutherland estates were 1.5 million acres and were the largest private landholding in Europe. Between 1811 and 1821, large numbers of people were cleared from the estates in the name of agricultural efficiency. This was the most notorious of the clearances, with 15,000 people evicted from their homes. The feudal lord owned everything and the people were evicted by the simple expedient of burning their homes. In one case the factor did not even bother to remove an old woman from a house before setting it alight. He was later tried for this but acquitted. Many lost all their possessions and those who were not able to emigrate were reduced to an unfamiliar subsistence living from the sea.
The castle was originally a square keep with few windows and the keep is still incorporated within the current castle. There were a series of extensions from the sixteenth century including a major one in 1785. Much of the present appearance of the castle, though, dates from 1845 when it was greatly extended by Sir Charles Duffy, architect of the Palace of Westminister in London. It has 189 rooms.