Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Into the books: Day 3, Dunnottar Castle

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Dunnottar Castle's dramatic setting is the inspiration for Kalen's enchanted island in Immortals: The Awakening

On Monday morning we said goodbye to Edinburgh after far too short a visit. I hope to make it back to Edinburgh someday--although I'll stick to summer when the days are 20 hours long!

My husband attacked the challenge of driving on the left side of the road. Those WIDE right turns take some getting used to! Also, every time I went to get into the car, I headed for the driver's side, which I was used to being the passenger's side. But I have to take a second her to compliment all the UK drivers we encountered during the whole two weeks. They were all extremely polite. Clueless as we foreigners were, no one EVER honked at us. Driving around any of the 3 zillion roundabouts they have in the UK, no one EVER cut us off. If only US drivers were so well-mannered!

Driving north from Edinburgh over the Firth of Forth bridge, we headed along the northeast coast and stopped at Dunnottar Castle, a few miles south of Aberdeen. Here's a pic of it:

I'd scouted out this castle on the Internet before the trip. This big rock has been a place of power since Pictish times. William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots have both slept at Dunnottar (but not together!). The castle was the home of the Earls Marischal of Scotland, who were entrusted with the security of the Scottish Crown Jewels, also known as the Honours of Scotland. (We'd seen the Honours--crown, scepter, and sword--just a couple days before, in Edinburgh Castle,) In 1650, the castle withstood a siege by Oliver Cromwell's forces, who were eager to destroy the symbol of the monarchy. Dunnottar is in such a defensible position that the siege lasted eight months. Near the end of it, the Honours were lowered over the cliffs to the beach were serving women gathering seaweed smuggled them to a church some miles away, where they were hidden.

Dunnottar is mostly in ruins now (very romantic). There are only a couple rooms roofed and furnished, so it takes a bit of imagination to imagine what it would have looked like in its heyday.

Dunnottar Castle's position on sheer cliffs, with three sides facing the sea and a deep ravine separating the fourth side from the mainland, gave me the idea for the setting of Kalen's castle in Immortals: The Awakening. I've set Kalen's castle on an actual island, a bit farther off the coast than Dunnottar, and also off the north coast near Inverness, rather than the northeast coast. But the high, rocky cliffs and the dramatic sea battering them are the same. Here's a picture of me and my own personal romance hero, with the castle and the North Sea in the background:

Next up: Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle




Blogger JanetElaineSmith said...

Thanks for sharing Dunnottar Castle. I wrote a trilogy about life of the Keiths. My late husband was descended from the Keiths of Dunnottar and Inverugie (at nearby Peterhead). The books are Dunnottar, Marylebone and Par for the Course, all available on Amazon (and other places). Such a fun clan!
Janet Elaine Smith, multi-genre author

4:47 PM  

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