Caerlaverock Castle


Every child’s dream castle, Caerlaverock is romantically moated and its stark reddish walls blend with the greens of the wood and grey-blue of the moat to create a feast for the eyes. It’s Britain’s only triangular castle, with walls over 9 feet thick and a main entrance guarded by a tremendous double-towered gateway. Carelaverock, meaning ‘fort o the lark’, shares the prefix ‘Caer’ with many Welsh castles such as Caernarvon, hinting at linguistic continuities amongst the old Celtic world. It was the seat of the powerful Maxwell family who walked a razor’s edge during the Wars of Independence. Edward I’s army laid siege to it in 1300, and less than 70 Scots held out for two days against nearly 4,000 English. Wave upon wave of attacks were beaten back, only for a great stone throwing machine to bring the walls crashing down. The garrison surrendered – some were hanged, but at least one tale recounts how several were spared in recognition of their extraordinary deed. That doesn’t sound like a very Edward I type of move to me. Managed by Historic Environment Scotland.