Fields of brilliant green dotted with grazing sheep, mountains cloaked in purple heather, dark lakes and lochs reflecting the leaden tones of the sky - in the midst of these still largely wild landscapes, the Scottish castles recount the story of a land tormented by centuries of still smouldering struggle. From the first defensive towers in bare stone to the stately homes of the nineteenth century, crammed with paintings and precious furniture, the path was long and perilous. The most daring of men fought to defend or conquer them. Artists and architects were commissioned to embellish them. Their fortunes were ensured by the most powerful families. Leafing through the pages of this book, lingering over the magnificent images and reading the rich and exhaustive texts, is to follow and evocative itinerary through this ancient building, climbing narrow spiral staircases, crossing imposing halls, admiring splendid libraries - a journey of discovery of bility and misery, splendours and fragments of Scottish history.