Broughty Castle from the landward side. 15th century tower with late 19th century outer works. (Photo: James Kemp)

Broughty Castle stands guard over Broughty Ferry and it is a gem hidden in plain sight. From the outside Broughty Castle is a forbidding stone thing, as castles should be. Inside though it has interesting displays on the local history and wildlife, as well as arms and armour.

Natural History

My five year old daughter and niece spent a happy half hour drawing pictures with the paper and crayons provided. They also loved looking at the diaromas with the stuffed animals.

Girls having fun drawing in Gallery 3 of Broughty Castle museum (photo: James Kemp)

My son was taken by the maps and the geological story. One of the questions I’d asked before we’d seen the maps was why was the ferry here rather than at Dundee. The maps show a clear reason for it though, the Tay is significantly narrower at the headland Broughty Castle sits on.


Broughty Castle’s Military History

Broughty Castle started in the late 15th century, and like all British castles was much modified over the centuries. It last saw enemy action during the civil wars of the 17th century. There was an English garrison here in the 1650s, which is where the cavalry pot below comes from. There were also British Army garrisons in the 18th century.

Two pole arm heads, a Partizan and a Halberd, in the Broughty Castle museum (photo: James Kemp)
17th century English cavalry pot from the civil wars found at Broughty Castle. (Photo: James Kemp)
Highland basket hilted broadsword in the Armoury at Broughty Castle museum (photo: James Kemp)

The volunteer movements of the nineteenth century used the Broughty Castle as a base to operate from. It’s last upgrade was in the 1880s in the same wave that built the mobilisation centres on the North Downs. There are features here that it shares with Reigate Fort. That’s also where the Armstrong Rifled Guns date from. They would originally have been mounted in the battery facing the sea.

Breech of an Armstrong Rifled Gun outside Broughty Castle (photo: James Kemp)

These particular Armstrong Rifled Guns spent time as bollards before being dug up and put on display. A keen eyed photographer realised what they were when he was using them as a camera rest!

Another feature of the castle was that it was home to a company of Submarine Miners just before the first world war.