Lochmaben is sited on a peninsular near the town of that name. It was one of the principal fortresses in Scotland and it is more the pity that it is in such a lamentable condition today. This state of affairs was not the result of conflict but that well-known Scottish pastime of 'carting off' stone for building purposes.
A romantic 18th century engraving of Lochmaben
Its unique plan, which has intrigued architectural historians for years, is mainly the result of the pressures of the time when the Scots and English fought in the 14th century.
Lochmaben curtain wall - gap marks entrance
A massive curtain wall cuts the castle off from the mainland with an entrance gate in the centre. From either end walls thrust forward to cross the ditch on open arches but come to an abrupt termination. Boats could reach the castle via a canal at this point.
Boats approach main gate (figure) via canal from loch
Some of the surviving masonry is of the very highest quality.
Entrance with ashlar lined drawbridge pit - SCA group in background
Beyond, and occupying by far the largest area, were outer courts defended by earth and timber.
The enigmatic projecting walls bridging the canal
Lochmaben was long in English hands allowing them to establish a 'pale' in southern Scotland until its capture in 1384.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle