Your Amazing Race: Outlanders in the Shetland Islands

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Scalloway Castle

By Otter (Own work) [





via Wikimedia Commons

As the racers disembarked from the ferry, they raced off to Scalloway Castle. As the teams entered the maze-like corridor, it became evident that this particular castle wasn’t filled with warm fuzzies. In fact, an executioner guarded the clues! The episode never explained this unexpected pairing, so for those who were curious like me, here’s the scoop.

Black Patie

In 1592, Patrick Stewart (no, not that Patrick Stewart…but might they be related?) became the Earl of Orkney and Lordship of Shetland. He ruled the islands with a tight fist and was known for being a tyrant. The main hall of the castle, which takes up the entire first floor, is best known for the many (and public) executions that he mandated. Many of the executions were from witch hunts.

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This reputation led to him being called Black Patie. Eventually, in 1609, he was arrested by the crown and executed in Edinburgh. Over the years, the building saw less and less use. Now, the roof is gone and castle is a shell of its former glory.

The Scalloway Museum, located just next door, holds the key to the castle. Visitors can roam freely in the ruin and, even better, for FREE!

Pick your Castle

While the castle is definitely worth a visit if you are in Shetland, it shouldn’t be the only reason for your tip. These reminders of the past litter the countryside all across the UK. English Heritage is an organization purposed with helping to maintain these structures and remind the world of the UK’s long history. If you would really like to see one of these structures, check out their list of The Top 10 Castles which is a list compiled by their Facebook fans. The list is great because it gives the perspective of visitors and provides a brief history of the building and its inhabitants.