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Across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland castles come in many shapes, sizes and guises. Some, like Edinburgh and Stirling, are formidable fortresses and fortifications even by modern standards. Others are administrative buildings such as the current Inverness Castle, home to the Sheriff Courthouse.

Others are grandiose baronial homes. Still others are not castles at all but merely boundary keeps and hunting towers which masquerade as castles to capitalise on the tourist and wedding markets.

Perhaps the most interesting ones can often be part ruins like the wonderful Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness where tenure was won and lost, legends born, history made and blood shed.

Often a symbolic image will speak volumes about a cruel past such as in the wall of the dungeon in Dunvegan Castle where the prisoner’s tongues have indented the wall to a perceptible shape and depth. This in their desperate attempt to drink water running down the contours of what in many cases would have proved to be their tomb.

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