Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick _ Ink/Inktense Pencils on a Watercolour Moleskine This was a stronghold of The Douglas’s from the mid 1340′s. It has a long and involved history and to read about it is to understand much of Scotland’s history from the time of Robert The Bruce. The place’s history reads as a historical record and is worth following up but there is little space here to go into great detail. It is thought that William Douglas, the nephew of James Douglas – Bruce’s right hand man, was the first recorded occupant of the castle, which had still to be developed into a huge structure. His descendent, the 5th Earl Douglas, Archibald, was involved in a plot against James 1V of Scotland. This led to a siege but the castle was not taken as the siege guns had little effect on the stonework. The Earl was later pardoned but his estate was forfeited and the castle became crown property. It was only when Cromwell’s troops besieged the place in 1651 that the more powerful artillery was successful. I visited Tantallon last weekend and re-acquainted myself with the area I first saw some years ago. I asked the curator about the sieges. It appears that the castle was built from soft sandstone which absorbed the impact from the cannons of James 1V. It was only later when Cromwell’s more powerful guns were used that the besiegers did more damage and this can still be seen today. Because of the softness of this material, the structure has suffered over the years and there is an ongoing restoration programme – not to re-build it but to save what you can see today, this being the state Cromwell left the place in. As there is no local stone left, the replacement stuff has to be imported from England which is kind of ironic. Tantallon has received much publicity recently as someone photographed a figure, in medieval garb staring from one of the windows. Experts swear the photo is genuine and many folk are keen to spot this ghost. Be careful, if you become one of them. What you see, in my picture, is a high “Curtain Wall about 12 feet wide. It is quite exposed on top. The Bass Rock lies just to the north. On the far side, which enclosed a large amount of buildings, there is a massive drop to the sea which swirls about causing those with vertigo to wish they were somewhere else. You can see more of my photos, from last week, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/28475994@N00/3455080531/