On Scotland’s northeast coast, the ruins of Dunnottar Castle keep silent watch over the North Sea. Thought to have been built around the sixth century as Dùn Fhoithear, the fortress occupies 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres) on a clifftop 50 meters (160 feet) above the rocky coast below. A national landmark since 1970, the castle draws local and visiting Instagrammers alike to its scenic views and rich history.

From the 13th through the 18th century, Dunnottar was the home of the Keith family, Earls Marischal of Scotland—custodians of the Honours of Scotland (the crown jewels, sword and scepter). During the height of the English Civil Wars, the crown jewels were carried to Dunnottar for safekeeping, where they remained during Oliver Cromwell’s eight-month blockade of the castle. Though Cromwell was ultimately victorious in defeating this last remaining Scottish stronghold, the jewels were smuggled out of Dunnottar Castle and hidden under an old church where they remained until Charles II regained the throne in 1660. 
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Photo by @jshwon
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