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Blair Castle

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Blair Castle is situated 33 miles northwest of Perth, by the village of Blair Atholl. This a Murray & Stewart Castle.

The Castle is normally open for visits from 30 March - 31 October for self guided tours with staff in many of the main rooms that give information. Guided Tours for groups have to be booked in advance through the website.

For about half price, you can just visit the Castle Grounds and Restaurant / Cafe. Postcode: PH18 5TL

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The Image top is of Blair Castle from the southwest with the 3,681ft / 1,122m Beinn a Ghlo mountain behind, a popular hike from the area.

The main Attraction in the Estate is the vast Walled Garden with a Hercules Sculpture. There are also the ruins of St Bride’s Kirk, Garden Sculpture Trail, Diana’s Grove with Tall Trees, Red Deer Park, and a Gothic Folly.

The Grounds also hold a Holiday Park with Caravans, Lodges, and cater for Touring and Camping.

The Atholl Highlanders Parade and Gathering / Highland Games is held in the grounds of Blair Castle in late May each year.

Blair Castle Horse Trials are held in late August each year.

Pony Trekking, Land Rover Safaris, Walking, Biking, and Fishing are all catered for on the estate.

Blair Castle History

1269 - the earliest parts of Blair Castle were built for John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch.

Blair land was owned by David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, who was on a Crusade at the time.

The return of the Earl led to Comyn being forced off the land.

The Earl then added to the Comyn Tower, leading to a substantial Castle.

1286 - King Alexander III died and his heir to the throne, Margaret, Maid of Norway, died in 1290, leading to Scots Nobles fighting amongst themselves to see who should become King.

1305 - Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland, taking land from Clans that fought against him.

David II Strathbogie, had fought against Bruce, leading to the King seizing Blair Castle and Estate.

1371 - Robert Stewart, grandson of Robert the Bruce, became King of Scotland, first of the Stewart Kings.

Stewart Monarchs soon began using the name Stuart, the French way of spelling the name.

1457 - King James II Stuart awarded the lands of Blair to his half brother John Stewart, with him becoming the 1st Stewart Earl of Atholl.

1530 - the 3rd Earl extended the Castle, adding the Great Hall.

1595 - the 5th Stewart Earl died without leaving a son, leading to his Daughter and her husband Sir William Murray of Tullibardine gaining control of Blair.

1629 - the 5th Earls grandson, John Murray, was created Earl of Atholl, first of the Murray Earls of Atholl.

1642 - uprisings began throughout Britain against King Charles I Stuart.

1649 - Charles I was executed by the Government Forces of Oliver Cromwell.

1650 - the Forces of Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland, taking control of Blair Castle. The Murray's had supported the King during these wars, known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

1659 - Oliver Cromwell died.

1660 - Charles II Stuart was restored to the throne, leading to the land of Blair being returned to the Murray's and the title Marquess of Atholl being created for John Murray.

1689 - King James II Stuart was overthrown by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband to be William, who became Mary II and William II. James was accused of being a Catholic with close ties to France.

1689 April - John Graham, Viscount Dundee, began the first Jacobite Rising in an attempt to have James II restored to the throne.

The Marquess of Atholl remained loyal to the William and Mary Government, but two of his sons joined the Jacobite's, with the Jacobite's taking control of Blair Castle.

1689 July - 2,500 Jacobite's at Blair Castle marched 3 miles southwest to the Pass of Killiecrankie where they defeated a 4,000 strong Government Army in a short Battle.

1689 August - Government Forces defeated the Jacobite's at the Battle of Dunkeld, 19 miles south of Blair Castle, ending the First Jacobite Rising, with King James forced to live in exile in France.

1703 - the title Duke of Atholl was granted to the 2nd Marquess.

1740 - the 2nd Duke extended the Castle and carried out alterations to make it look more like a Georgian Mansion by removing Turrets.

1743 - the 2nd Duke had the statue of Hercules erected at the Walled Garden.

1746 March - Blair Castle was besieged by the forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart during the 3rd Jacobite Rising. This was the last Castle in Scotland to be attacked in War.

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl, opposed the Jacobite's, even though many Murray's fought on the Jacobite side, with Lord George Murray being a Jacobite General.

1746 April 2nd - Government Forces reached Blair, forcing the Jacobite's to move north.

1746 April 16th - the Jacobite's were defeated at the Battle of Culloden, ending the Jacobite Risings.

1844 - Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed at Blair Castle with the Atholl Highlanders paraded in front of them. Queen Victoria then presented the Atholl Highlanders with colours, giving the regiment official status. This is now the last Private Regiment in Europe.

1850s - tourism to Scotland was rising with Castles being amongst the top attractions.

1860s - the 7th Duke had the Turrets rebuilt so Blair would once again look like a Castle.

1936 - Blair Castle is opened to the public as a tourist attraction.

1996 - Iain Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl, died unmarried. He had placed Blair Castle and most of his estates in a Charitable Trust, to avoid paying inheritance taxes. The State now own the Castle and Estate.

2011 10 March - a fire broke out in the Clock Tower of the Castle, leading to the tower's roof collapsing.

2012 - the Clock Tower was restored.

Today - Although Blair Castle and Estate are in State care, the Duke of Atholl title continues to be passed down the Murry line. Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl, lives in South Africa.

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