Morton Castle

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Photo of Morton Castle


Morton Castle enjoys one of the most breathtaking settings of any castle in Scotland. The most impressive element of Morton Castle today is its setting above the loch and the Lowther Hills behind. A wonderful place for a picnic or a quiet stroll. You can also fish for native brown trout on the loch with the right equipment and license.

Dunegal, Lord of Nithsdale, may have had a stronghold here in the 12th century on this remote promontory, overlooking a small loch. The estate then passed to the Adair’s and then to Thomas Randolph, King Robert the Bruce’s nephew and ally, early in the 14th century. However, as part of the Treaty of Berwick with England, a number of Scottish castles in South-West Scotland had to be destroyed – and Morton was one of them.

It was later rebuilt, and in 1396 passed to Sir James Douglas, the 1st Earl of Morton. The Castle was briefly owned by the Lords Maxwell in the 1580s. Later, it was acquired by the Dukes of Queensberry. Through inter-marriage it then passed to the Dukes of Buccleuch, whose seat of Drumlanrig Castle is two miles to the west of Morton.

The castle had walls 8/10 feet thick enclosing a two-storey hall, two circular towers and large gatehouse with heavy doors and a portcullis. This was an impressive structure, though only one side of it still survives. It was occupied until the early 18th century and is now looked after by Historic Scotland.

Morton Castle is a 5 mile walk to the north-east of Thornhill, and offers dog walkers a almost 2 hour walk via Burn Brae, You get a good view of the local countryside around Thornhill. The castle is a ruin but does provide a lovely spot for a picnic and a run about for those with the energy before a walk back to the comfort of Trigony.

Categories: Dog friendly places