Monument man reveals the movie secrets of Blackness Castle

Tourist visitors to Blackness Castle were thrilled to get a unique view of filming for Outlaw King this time last year - when actress Florence Pugh was dangled from the battlements in a cage.

Florence Pugh as a very different character in another medieval epic - as the evil Lady Macbeth.
Florence Pugh as a very different character in another medieval epic - as the evil Lady Macbeth.

Historic Environment Scotland has revealed how the landmark heritage site was adapted to suit the production needs of the movie crew, and how lucky visitors were treated to a free sneak preview of scenes from the biggest movie ever filmed in Scotland.

A spokesperson said: “Distinctive Blackness Castle with its rocky courtyard and ship-shaped exterior is easily spotted in Outlaw King, as it plays the Yorkshire castle where Bruce’s wife Elizabeth is imprisoned.

“Before and after the filming that took place at Blackness Castle in November 2017, the staff kept the site open as much as possible, meaning that many lucky visitors got a genuine behind the scenes experience to see the set”.

Blackness Castle.

The castle’s attraction as a movie set was confirmed by its use in hit TV fantasy history series Outlander, which was responsible for a major spike in visitor numbers.

Now it could be set for a new surge of tourist traffic, both from visitors touring sites under their own steam and through organised Outlaw King tours.

In the movie Florence, who plays King Robert’s English wife Elizabeth de Burgh, had to endure the indignity of a brief incarceration in a cage apparently suspended from the castle wall - but in fact attached to an out-of-shot modern hoist.

Historic Environment Scotland monument manager Graeme Sinclair said of the work carried out to make the castle look more as it did in medieval times: “A great deal of clever work was done to clad metal railings in timber.

“Timber features including a balcony outside the water gate and a platform rising above the North tower were added, and a wooden staircase leading up to the pit prison entrance was removed and the doorway plugged.

“There was such skill and workmanship involved that you really felt you were getting a privileged glimpse into the distant past.”