Monday, 30 May 2016

Keeping the best to last - Kisimul castle.

Although I saw Kisimul castle as I arrived in Castlebay I thought I'd leave to last when posting as it is absolutely superb positioned in the middle of the harbour.

The view from the ferry. You can, see how close it comes


The position is more obvious once you climb up Heaval, that overlooks the whole of Barra and the islands to the south.


It's in the care of Historic Scotland and the castle has to be accessed by boat.


The interior


Looking back north to Heaval


On departure the boatmen took us round the whole of the castle before returning us to sore





The MacNeils seemed to have been the better chiefs of the highlands and it wasn't until in 1838 they sold that the clearance happened on Barra. A descendant bought the castle back pre-WW2, restored it and the castle is now in the case of Historic Scotland.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Blackhouses and a Sad Ending

In Gearrannan on Lewis there is a reconstruction of a Blackhouse village (link). Although there are no remaining blackhouses more than 150 years old it is thought that the building style of dry stone walling could have been used for at least a 1,000 years. So they would be quite suitable for dark ages/medieval games as well as the Jacobite rebellions.




As I traveled around the countryside in Harris and Lewis I was struck by the number of CWG (Commonwealth Ear Graves)signs on many of the small cemeteries. It turned out that most were as a results of the shipwreck just off Stornoway harbour of the HMY Iolaire bringing servicemen back from WW1. Out of the 280 on board only 75 survived and almost every community was affected. (wiki)

There is a nice memorial and model in the Calmac terminal in Stornoway.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Border Castles

It's always nice to break up a long journey into chunks seperated by something interesting to do. For my Scottish trip, the first leg split the journey from Chester into four chunks by visiting three castles not too far off route.

First just outside Penrith is Brougham castle (wiki)




A couple of interesting reconstructions of its appearance.








Across the border to Caerlaverock, where unfortunately the Scots mist had arrived. An unusual triangular affair it was beseiged and taken by Edward the first




A surprising amount of accomodation was fitted inside






Craignethan was quite a contrast a sixteenth century artillery fortification, unfortunately the massive artillery rampart was demolished.




The caponiere in the ditch (far end) is quite unusual and the nearer (later) version was an attempt to improve the design

The gorge around three sides makes this castle quite imposing, although the modern woodland prevents a clear view.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Carronade show - Falkirk

On my way to the Outer Hebrides we stopped of with friends in Scotland, so I got to spend most of the day at the excellent Carronade show in Falkirk. AS can be seen from the pictures I was quite interested in the winter terrain being used in a couple of games. Apologies in advance if I got anything wrong as it's over two weeks since I attended.

The battle of Assaye 1802 (If I were to start a new period then this would really tempt me.)












Great Northern War game by the league of Augsberg










Retreat from Moscow 1812






An ECW game






D-Day landing Omaha beach


A Napoleonic Wars scrap between French and Russians


WW2 game (not Pegasus bridge they used it because it looked nice)


54mm Ancients


Gaugamela






break-out from Salonika WW1 played with Bolt Action


Russo-Japanesese War of 1904 naval action


Craig Cartmel in action with his new rules:Blood Eagle


A really good fun participation game - Custer's last stand