Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

Noltland Castle Approach by David Gadient, 2016

While in Westray, David took some photos during our visit to Noltland Castle, the castle built by Gilbert Balfour back in the 16th century. On approach, it seems like an possibly-welcoming Scottish tower house… but then you discover it’s speckled with dozens of gun-holes, has a massively thick wall, and is pretty much a fortress. Now in ruins, it’s welcoming enough and open to all guests.

For the intriguing tale behind Noltland Castle, click here. We were lucky to get the background told to us by Graham of Westraak as we explored the property.

Noltland Castle Exterior by David Gadient, 2016

Quite a few gun-holes, aye. Every approach to the castle is covered. 71 gun-holes, supposedly―more than any other Scottish castle.

Noltland Castle Walls by David Gadient, 2016

The upper level is a hall that remains unfinished. The stonework is fascinating and the color of the stone is quite lovely with bits of yellow and green.

Noltland Castle Interior by David Gadient, 2016

Noltland Castle Interior View by David Gadient, 2016

There are bars to keep you from falling as you wander the castle.

Noltland Castle Newl by David Gadient, 2016

The newel post that greets you at the top of the staircase.

Noltland Castle Courtyard by David Gadient, 2016

The courtyard is a relaxing place, especially on a clear day.

I’ll share more photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1


Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Life, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

14 responses to “Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

  1. these are so intriguing Karen, thanks for sharing! I’m keen on Scotland having many branches of the family originate there. 🙂

  2. Karen how fascinating it must have been to touch those walls and try to imagine this structure in its day. I can only imagine the energy of that place given its history…. Great pictures too!

  3. So Karen, I read up some more on this castle – not sure why I’m drawn to it, but I am. Sure hope I wasn’t Balfour in a past life 🙂 Anyway I would love to check this place out someday. Did you see the inscription: “When I see the blood I will pass over you in the night.”?????? Whoa!!!!!!

    • I enjoyed my time here a bit more than at Edinburgh Castle… here, we were on our own with no other tourists, plus it was quiet and personal, so the history seemed to wrap all around you.

  4. Intriguing…looking at your photos reminds of a time when life was considerably more transient than it is today. When living to a ripe old age was not assured and one had to have “71 gun holes” to protect life and limb. Though a doubt the common man had such luxury. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. It’s amazing anything of these buildings still remains. They must have been pretty rugged places to live in. I wonder what the food was like on the menu! 😉

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