Electric Environment

“Fireball”: Lightning strike damages ancient Scottish castle

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 03:59 UTC

 Castle Maol Scottland Lightning

Castle Maol Scottland before and after Lightning. Image: Duncan Barwise

An ancient castle on the northwest coast of Scotland has been heavily damaged by a lightning strike that a witness compared to a “massive fireball.”

Castle Maol on the Isle of Skye was left significantly damaged by the dramatic display of nature’s power. Local hotel manager Robert Ireland captured dramatic footage of the powerful strike that blasted the ancient tower.

Duncan Barwise, who was safely indoors during the violent storm, described it as “a rare and unnerving combination of lightning, thunder, violent wind, and wet snow.” Local man Barwise captured before and after photos of the ruin.

“Suddenly, a sharp, almost deafening crack of thunder coincided with what seemed like a massive fireball,” he said, reliving the incident that felled the ancient fortification.

“Electricity filled the air. The familiar floodlights, which illuminated the walls of the once-fortified tower were extinguished.”

The following morning Barwise discovered that the castle’s iconic peak on the left wall was entirely gone. He said it had been “blown apart” by the lightning strike.

“The castle, first established by the Vikings in the 9th century, was dealt yet another blow by nature’s capricious hand – right before our eyes,” he added.

Comment AEC: Compare this to Black Death and Abrupt Earth Changes in the 14th Century, page 32:

[…]One of the many atmospheric disturbances recognized by the writers of the time were extraordinary lightning strikes and unexplained electric discharge events.

Coincidently, only a decade later, in the context of a further presumed outbreak of the plague in 1361, during the Pestis Seconda, extreme strikes of lightning were described as having killed many in England:

“(…) In the 35th year (of Edward III’s reign, corresponding to 1361): “And in that same year, men beasts, trees and houses were smitten violently with lightning and suddenly perished. And fiends in the likeness of men accosted men as they went their way.”[1]

[1] Sloane, Barnie. 2011: The Black Death in London. The History Press,

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