1 Craignethan Castle

Mary came here during her final days in Scotland in May 1568, after her escape from Lochleven Castle. She was building an army to reclaim her kingdom, and needed a series of impregnable fortresses to use as bases.

At the time, Craignethan was just that, and the Hamiltons who owned it were loyal to her at this time. But her final defeat at the Battle of Langside was only a few days away.

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2 Dumbarton Castle

A powerful fortress since prehistoric times, Dumbarton was a secure royal stronghold on the west coast. Mary came here in February 1548: aged five, she had been betrothed to Dauphin Francis, heir to the French throne, and she then had to await departure for France.

For five months, she lived in royal lodgings nestled between Dumbarton’s twin summits, and in July 1548 she boarded a ship sent by the French king. She married Francis in 1558, became Queen of France in 1559 and did not return to Scotland until 1561.

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