Innerwick Castle

This might be the shortest of all the walks I’ve created, but just like a Wallace & Grommit film its well worth the watch. It begins the pleasantly pleasant hamlet of Crowhill, where you’ll find somewhere to park somewhere, they’re quite a laid back bunch out there in the Nordic reaches of the county.

There’s an opening in the verdant wall which is relatively hidden, but quite accessible. Take this & enter Thornton Glen, a wildlife reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

You are then entering a lovely woodland walk which is an explorable bonus to this walk, but for us we’re keeping to the right of the forested valley gouge, just next to the open field.

About maybe half a mile later, if that, you arrive at the castle & this is really worth a good wander about in all its nooks & crannies – but be warned its not one for the old vertigo & I recommend dogs on leashes.

Innerwick castle, built in the 14th century on “the edge of a precipitous glen”, was a stronghold of the Stewarts and of the Hamilton family. It was besieged by English forces in 1547 during the Rough Wooing. The garrison was smoked out but the following year it was back in Scottish hands and it was again attacked by an English army headed by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. Whilst the main English assault was targeted against Thornton Castle, on the other side of the ravine, a detachment of Hakbutters were sent to besiege Innerwick. These sharpshooters picked off the garrison as they attempted to defend the site, burnt the castle gate and stormed in. The final defender jumped from the battlements into the ravine, a drop of some 20 metres, but was subsequently killed by the English forces. Innerwick Castle, now in English hands, was slighted and never rebuilt. In the 17th Century Innerwick Castle was on good enough repair that it was used as a base, along with Dirleton and Tantallon, by the Covenanters to harass Oliver Cromwell’s lines of communication during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Once you’ve absorbed the castle – its pretty close to being the finest ruin in the county, well at least the most gothic & romantic – its time to head back to the car.  However, if you wanted to stretch your legs a bit longer there’s no harm in a wee potter around a more modern ruin – that of the farm buildings at Crow Hill – a wee circuit of which & a pleasant peering into the North Sea mists should satisfy the sensibilities of all who partook in this walk.

Then, of course, its just a wee drive downhill to my favorite beach in the county at Thorntonloch…

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