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Craignethan Castle, Lesmahagow

Categories: Castles, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.9/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web
Craignethan Castle is a ruined castle in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is located above the River Nethan, a tributary of the River Clyde, at. The castle is two miles west of the village of Crossford, and 4.5 miles north-west of Lanark. Built in the first half of the 16th century, Craignethan is recognised as an excellent early example of a sophisticated artillery fortification, although its defences were never fully tested.HistoryThe barony of Draffane, in which Craignethan was located, was a property of the Black Douglases until their forfeiture in 1455. The land was granted to the Hamilton family, and in 1530 was given by James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran to his illegitimate son James Hamilton of Finnart.James Hamilton of Finnart had travelled in Europe, and had become an accomplished architect and military engineer. Appointed Kings Master of Works, he was responsible for the defences at Blackness Castle, as well as the renaissance facades of Linlithgow Palace. At Craignethan, he set out to build a "showcase" to display his talents in both domestic and military architecture.Despite his earlier Royal favour, Hamilton was executed for treason in 1540, and his properties were forfeit to the crown. The Hamilton family, in the person of the 2nd Earl of Arran, regained Craignethan Castle two years later. The second earl added a large outer courtyard to the west of the castle. Arran, who became Duc de Châtellerault following Mary, Queen of Scots' marriage to the French Dauphin, served as regent in her infancy. However, he later opposed Mary's second marriage to Lord Darnley, and was forced to surrender his castles at Craignethan and Cadzow.
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  • Very hard to find, because the inhabitants of the countries around you are not aware of this castle. As the building is not much, but it's very nice the context: I think the only Castle built into a pit instead of on the Hill. Spectacular underground passage. Included in the Historic Scotland explorer pass. Among other things we found the staff very kind and nice lady.
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  • Although the weather was vile when we visited it was a lovely castle you could imagine it whole and functioning. We will return another time in better weather ideal spot for a picnic but not in a mons...  read more »
  • Very informative lady in shop/selling tickets. Unusual design, incredible history, although a ruin still able to access stairs on all levels + walk on the ramparts!! 
  • This has to be one of the more interesting castles and definitely a bit of a hidden gem and absolutely worth a visit. The lady (sorry I forgot your name) in charge was delightful and very enthusiastic. Historic Scotland can either pick their staff well or working at their properties makes you a very happy and why wouldn't it.
  • Great place for a day out. The countryside surrounding this area is lovely. If your going to use the steps going to go out to the village be prepared for the walk heading back as it's quite a trek.
  • Craignethan Castle is tucked away down a long single track roadway in the Clyde Valley, South Lanarkshire. It is a wonderful place to take children to explore and to develop their imagination living in a sixteenth century Scottish castle. The keep is now open after being closed for a while and is now totally safe with much of it accessible by spiral staircases. Storerooms at the back just at the top of the Nethan gorge which is spectacularly deep and steep (fenced off for safety).
  • A large castle, substantially intact, with inner keep and visitor's centre. This is definitely worth seeing. Speak to the shop staff and they will tell you about the ghosts!
  • Absolutely beautiful castle on a quite impressive cliff above a river. There are so many trees that you don't even realize you're standing on a cliff! Incredible glad I was able to visit.
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