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Why was a castle taken down stone by stone?

March 11th 2019
Dear Dabneyites,
Last time I talked about Castle Leoch from Outlander (check it out here if you missed it) and this time I wanted to show you what Loch Doon looked like the next morning.
I camped up overnight and awoke to this sight, a misty morning as winter slowly turns to spring.

I came to Loch Doon to investigate Loch Doon castle, built seven hundred years ago and an intriguing sight.
Icy cold but so worth it for views like this. I wanted to know how lochs look in early light and boy did I find out! Now onto the castle...
Loch Doon is home to a mysterious castle. We know little of its history other than two incidents. In 1306 Robert the Bruce’s supporters were scattered. His brother in law took shelter in Loch Doon castle.

In March 1333 the English crossed into Scotland and besieged Berwick. The Scots attacked but were slaughtered. Those who survived bowed down to Edward Balliol, English puppet-king. Only five castles held out, keeping alive the cause of David Bruce. One of those was Loch Doon.

We know nothing else of the castle until the records show it was destroyed by fire in the 16th century. It sat in ruins for centuries before being demolished stone by stone in the 1930s when the level of the loch was raised for a hydro-electric scheme. During low water the island is just visible and perhaps on a night, if you're lucky, you might see the ghost of the castle.
The castle was rebuilt on the loch side and there it has remained ever since.

The walls are eleven unequal sides. There were two entrances. The main gate was a pointed arch with two drawbars over a heavy door behind a portcullis.
The postern gate or back entrance a door secured by a single draw bar.

The buildings inside have long gone but we know there was a great hall, a private apartment for the lord and other service buildings. Of the great hall only the fireplace remains, holding memories of flames that once warmed noble hands on the coldest of winter nights.

It was this castle that inspired my upcoming book, The Key in the Loch. What stories would these stones tell if they could talk?

With love,

Blanche Dabney


New book coming soon!

The Key in the Loch is due out 22nd March (though it may be pushed back to 29th March) The cover is not ready yet so you'll have to survive with a tease of the blurb for now...

The key to understanding the past is to live it...

History student Rachel Fisher has dreamed of the past all her life. When a mysterious box sends her back through time to twelfth century Scotland she thinks her dreams have come true, especially when she falls straight into the arms of a burly Highland Laird who vows to protect her from the evil that's chasing her.

Grizzled warrior Cam MacGregor knows one thing. He must not fall for the beguiling lass with the flaming red hair. Already whispers are spreading among the clan. He's only taken her in because she's bewitched him. The omens are coming true. The Sassanach does not belong. She must be sacrificed.

In a world that wants her dead, Rachel’s only hope lies with the brawny Highlander. As their mutual desire grows into an all-consuming need, Rachel is forced into an impossible choice. Save herself and run from the man she’s come to love or sacrifice her own life to save his clan from oblivion?

Add to your 'to read' list here.

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Feel free to drop me an email choosing as many of the following options as you like:

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Books by Blanche Dabney

Highlander's Voyage
Highlander's Revenge
Highlander's Battle

Held by the Highlander
Promised to the Highlander
Outlaw Highlander
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