Graham Roberts, whose expertise is local castles, was our first speaker of the season. He started by giving an outline as to how mottes arrived in the south west using the Motte of Urr as an example. This is the largest of its kind in the area. The further development of these was due to the involvement of Fergus who did a balancing act between Scotland and England which resulted in his descendents having initiated the largest range of mottes in Scotland. The next development was the replacing of these with stone castles and the finest in this area is Caerlaverock which is an outstanding example of a castle enclosure. This involved a lot of manpower, expense and time which is why there are not many examples of these. The further development of this type was the keep, of which Threave is one of the earliest and best remaining structures. Tower houses then came into being, with a variety of internal structures and individual rooms. They almost all had other buildings round them, some of which survive still as can be seen at Hill House. Usually these towers were square, but as usual the Stewartry had to be different, with a round one at Orchardon. Religion also played a part in the history of local castles and one of Gordon’s examples was the feud between the Protestant and Catholic families of Barholm and Carsluith Castles. The Union of the Crowns changed styles and what was fashionable and Graham gave us an overview of a variety of local tower houses comparing them to those that had been restored with questions as to authenticity.