Urquhart Castle - A Short History,
Adomnan, biographer of Saint Columba who died in 597, relates that Columba travelled from his home in Celtic Dalriada, in the west of Scotland, to visit brude, a Pictish king whose residence was beside the River Ness. During the course of the trip, Columba called at the home in Glen Urquhart of an elderly noble Pict named Emchath and converted him and his household to Christianity.
The discovery of a fragment of a Pictish brooch at Urquhart Castle in the nineteenth century led to speculation that Emchath's home was where the castle now stands. The subsequent discovery of pieces of vitrified rock on the steep slopes of the upper bailey (glass-like material produced by intense heat and associated with late prehistoric forts), together with evidence from radio carbon dating, has strengthened that view.
The rocky promontory jutting into Loch Ness is an ideal site for a fortified residence. It is surrounded on three sides by the deep waters of the loch and easily defended from the landward side. And it commands extensive views. In addition, the surrounding fertile lands and waters provided plentiful crops, fuels, fish and game.
The burial cairn at Corrimony (a short distance up Glen Urquhart) suggests that the glen was occupied as early as 2000 BC. It is not known how long the Pictish fort survived. The earliest record of a castle at Urquhart is the thirteenth century.
Drawbridge and Bailey
In War and Peace
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