Saltcoats Castle takes its name from the salt marshes which once surrounded and defended the castle. The 16th century castle itself is an unusual court-yard castle, surrounded by curtain wall with outer buildings from various periods of habitation.
Taking centre stage is the four storey twin towers with some interesting architectural features and gun loops.
The walls of the castle are very thin and so any would be attacker, once they had managed to find a safe passage in numbers across the salt marsh, would have little difficulty breaching the castle's defences.
The castle can be found via a rough track from Gullane that you can drive down past the last of the properties, where you can park with consideration near farm out buildings. From here you can see the castle and proceed on foot. We first visited on a wet autumn day and found the track really very muddy, definately requiring wellies! We returned several years later on a glorious sunny dry day which made for a lovely stroll to the castle, popular with dog walkers. Watch out for the nettles!
~ History ~
1590 ~ Patrick Livingstone of Saltcoats, 'an ancient family of East Lothian', builds himself and his new wife, Margaret Fettis of Fawside, a hall house on land granted to Peter Livingstone as reward for hunting down and killing a wild boar that had been terrorising Gullane.
1600's ~ Two ornate towers are added to the hall house, which includes gunloops.
1695 ~ Patrick's grandson George Livinstone builds a courtyard and outer buildings around the hall house with connecting walls.
1700's ~ Following George's death, being the last male of the Livingstone line, the castle passes through marriage initially to Alexander Menzies and later via their own daughter Margaret Menzies to the Hamilton's of Pencaitland. Margaret outlives her husband and marries William Carmichael, son of the 1st Earl of Hyndford.
1800 ~ The last tennant, Mrs Margaret Carmichael leaves her castle. Over the next two decades the castle is quarried for its stone for use in farm buildings and walls in the nearby town.