Thursday, 19 May 2016

GOOD FENCES - Scrabo Tower, near Newtownards

Although I showed you a closer view of Scrabo Tower last Sunday, today I am sharing some of the history about the Tower with you. This turreted Tower, as it stands today, was built on a site 540 feet above sea level and is 125 feet  high. The walls are over a metre thick and the entire building is constructed of stone from Scrabo Hill. The walls are of the dark dolerite rock, which forms the summit of the hill, while the roof, stairs, quoins and window dressings are of Scrabo sandstone.


The tower was erected in 1857, and was built by local people at a cost of £3.000 as a monument to Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, owner of Mount Stewart House. The marquis was a local landowner and nobleman with a distinguished military and diplomatic career. He was Lieutenant Colonel of the light Dragoons and fought in 25 major battles, earning the nickname the 'Fighting Marquis'. He was also Adjutant General to the Duke of Wellington, during the Napoleonic Wars, before becoming diplomat as Envoy Extraordinary in Prussia and Ambassador in Austria.


The McKay's family were the first tenants and were there for more than 100 years. In fact, the Millin sisters, Elizabeth, Jean and Agnes, who handed back the keys to the Londonderry Estate in 1966 were William McKay's grandchildren.


The Misses Millin, were all born in the Tower, and when I was a child we were taken to this very popular and special tearoom, specialising in Irish country teas, an essential ingredient of which was goat's milk which they obtained from the small herd of wild goats that roamed the hillside,


The Tower was then converted into a countryside centre for the Countryside and Wildlife Branch of the Department of the Environment (NI) and housed a permanent exhibition on the Country Park and the surrounding countryside. 


It was open during the summer months when visitors could climb the 122 steps to a viewing platform at the top of the tower and gain a panoramic view of the landscape. The islands and coastline of Strangford Lough dominate the foreground, while, on clear days, there are distant views of the Isle of Man, Ailsa Craig and the Scottish coast to the east and the peaks of the Mournes to the south.


Often you can see horses grazing and Buzzards, Ravens and Peregrine nest in the area of the two quarries below the Tower.



Unfortunately, as of 2015, the Tower only opens occasionally due to "serious water ingress", and therefore unsafe for visitors.  However the Bluebells remain and are as beautiful as ever.  


I hope you enjoyed hearing about Scrabo Tower.

I am linking this post with GOOD FENCES.

Many thanks for your visit and also the comments you leave.

29 comments:

  1. Beautiful pics of Scrabo Tower and its surrounding. Have a great day!

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  2. I loved learning a little about the Tower.
    And am seriously impressed at what could be built without the benefit of 'modern' technology. And how well it lasts...

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    1. Sue Glad you liked Scrabo and its history. We have another tower near by called Helen's Tower so maybe someday I will photograph it although that is more difficlt as it is in a wood near a golf course however you can now pay to stay in it.

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  3. Wonderful series.. love that last capture.
    Thanks for the history!

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  4. It is a striking landmark tower & one I have admired every trip along the Ards Peninsula but have not been fortunate enough to visit inside. Great photos!

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  5. Très belle série, bel endroit ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

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  6. A very interesting place with all its wonderful history, and as always I thoroughly enjoyed your photos. Thank you Margaret.

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  7. Great shots of the place. The tower looks nice.

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  8. all are wonderful, but I like the last image

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  9. Hello Margaret, wonderful photos of the tower and beautiful surrounding scenery. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

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  10. HI Margaret,
    This particular post gave me the feeling of reading
    a great story. Nice castle-like structures, birds, scenery, and your lovely narration to go with it all.
    Have a Happy Week ahead!
    Peace :)

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  11. Thanks for giving us the history of this impressive tower.

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  12. Intriguing place and lovely shots and of course love the bird photos!

    Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

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  13. What a great history! I do hope there's a way for the tower to be restored to safety. It looks like a lovely place to visit.

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  14. What a fabulous piece of history! It would be a shame to allow this one to deteriorate.

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  15. Such an interesting and fascinating tour. Enjoyed learning so much about a place I will never see.

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  16. Margaret, thank you for the fine photographic tour of the tower and its surroundings. Lovely.

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  17. Beautiful photos of the tower and interesting history.

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  18. I actually think my favorites are the last two pictures. They are just DIVINE!!! All I could think of was how many steps there would be! I wonder if there even are any living accommodations on the low floor, as I see no windows that low. It is very pretty, though. And looks like it is from a fairy tale. Makes me think of Rapunzel.

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  19. All great to see, but that last one is my favorite.

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  20. You know how much I do love History and to read about this so wonderful tower I didn't know yet, while watching your always stunning shots, has put my spirits so high, thank you sweet Margaret !

    Hope you're enjoying your week I wish you most wonderful days to come,
    sending much love to you

    xox - Dany

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  21. I did enjoy learning about the tower, thank you! Wonderful pics and great information. Fun post :o)

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  22. Enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Beautiful pictures with the first one showing all those yellow flowers being my favourite.

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  24. a beautiful tower in a magnificent setting.

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  25. What a lovely place! How sad it can no longer be visited.

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  26. What a gorgeous tower and surrounding countryside. I did enjoy reading about it very much.

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  27. Amazing. Thanks for sharing :)

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