Finlarig Castle-An Intriguing Ruin near Loch Tay

At the western end of Loch Tay, roughly a half-mile northeast of the village of Killin, Scotland, lies the precarious, overgrown, atmospheric, and seriously cool ruins of Finlarig Castle.

Finlarig Castle ruins.

It is unlikely that you will find this one in your guide books, as Finlarig sits on private property. However, it’s worth a stop if you happen to be in that neck of the woods. If you are a serious castle seeker, then I think Finlarig is worth going out of your way to see.

Parking is available across from the cemetery, about a minute’s walk to the castle. When Mr. C and I were there a few years ago, we were approached by a local who requested we move our car to the lot rather than park directly at the site. I don’t think we were hurting anything, but alas, it is private property, so it’s best to respect the property owner’s wishes.

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Atholl Palace-A Suprise at Every Turn

Atholl Palace surrounded by trees, smaller houses, green grass, and snow-capped mountains.

Whether you’re traveling through Scotland on a dual carriageway (divided highway) or a single track road – yes, they really are only wide enough for a single car – you will discover that there is no shortage of beautiful, interesting, and unique surprises.

I snapped this photo the morning that Mr. C and I arrived in Scotland a few weeks ago. We were heading north on the A9 (on our way from Glasgow Airport to our rental near Inverness) when I suddenly spotted this beautiful castle on the right. Mr. C quickly rolled down his window, and I somehow managed to capture the shot from my side of the car, at some 70 mph – a testament to the quality of my camera!

After doing some sleuthing, I finally figured out that this is Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, a 19th-century hotel set against the gorgeous slopes of Ben Vrackie.

See? A surprise at every turn.

Auchindoun Castle-A 15th Century Treasure

Hi, friends. What’s new in your corner of the world? It’s hard to believe that a week ago yesterday, I was sitting on a crappy, cramped Boeing 757, heading home from two amazing weeks in Scotland. Why we would ever get into a metal tube that shoots us through the air at 500 miles per hour and at some 34,000 feet above the ground is beyond me. Ohhhh, I know why. It’s because our love for the people and places that await us far outweigh any of the risks. And for Scotland (in the words of Adele), I’m willing to take the risk.

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorites castles on my ever-expanding list. This is Auchindoun Castle, a 15th-century treasure that lies near Dufftown, in Moray.

Yellow gorse in the foreground and Auchindoun Castle in the background.

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Tantallon Castle-A Formidable Fortress

Tantallon Castle in a word: Badass.

Seriously. Mr. C and I didn’t realize just how imposing a structure Tantallon was until we had parked the car and made the walk toward the castle grounds. The closer we got, the more Tantallon grew. And grew. And grew! By the time we had reached the building, it’s safe to say we were both quite dumbfounded by the formidable fortress staring back at us.

Tantallon Castle in Scotland.
That little black line is me standing in front of Tantallon Castle’s Mid Tower and massive curtain wall. The ruined tower on the left is the Douglas Tower. Originally seven stories high, it served as the earl’s private residence. The East Tower sits to the far right and served as lodging for household staff and guests.
Castle signage.
Tantallon Castle and a doocot.
Though a large, open space today, the area in front of the castle would have been a place of much activity. There would have been all manner of structures essential to life in the castle, such as bakehouses, brewhouses, workshops, and stables.
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My Plaid Heart In England-A Visit to Lindisfarne Castle

Hey guys! Happy Wednesday to you. And happy first day of spring!

Today’s trip is going to take us through beautiful southeast Scotland and across the border into neighboring England. We won’t be going too far away from Scotland mind you, only about seventeen miles. We will be leaving the mainland, however. Don’t worry, you won’t need a lifejacket. A long causeway will lead us to our destination.

Intrigued? Grab your things because today we are headed to Holy Island of Lindisfarne (or simply Holy Island) to see Lindisfarne Castle.

A blue car on the causeway.
It is essential to check the tide schedule before you visit Holy Island. Twice daily, the North Sea tide comes in, making the causeway to the island inaccessible.
Welcome sign to Holy Island.
Lindisfarne Castle perched atop Beblowe Crag.

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Dinner at Dalhousie Castle-A Perfect Night Out

Hi, friends, I have missed you! I’ve been on a little blogging break, and now I feel refreshed and ready to get back into the groove. I think it’s important to do that every once in a while. Do you feel that way too?

Reader, today I would like to take you to Dalhousie Castle, a 13th/15th century castle that sits about eight miles to the southeast of Edinburgh, Scotland, near the town of Bonnyrigg.

Front of Dalhousie Castle.

Mr. C and I had the pleasure of visiting Dalhousie in the spring of 2014. While we did not spend the night in this beautiful castle hotel/spa, we did dine in The Dungeon Restaurant.  What a marvelous experience!

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St. Margaret’s Chapel-Edinburgh’s Oldest Surviving Building

Hello, friends. Do you ever feel like the gears in your brain get stuck? Seriously, I have been trying to put words to paper for four solid days, and I haven’t been able to get past ‘hello’! Maybe it has something to do with the elephant sitting on my left sinus cavity. Anyway, if today’s post stinks, you’ll know why. ūüėÄ

Theater scene from the movie An Affair to Remember.
“And all I could say was, “hello.” -An Affair to Remember, 1957

Today we’re going to take a quick look at the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. This is St. Margaret’s Chapel, located at Edinburgh Castle.

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My Plaid Heart In the West Indies-El Morro

Greetings!  How is everyone?  My goodness, can you all believe there are only 14 days until Christmas?  How the days do fly by.

Friends, today I would like to share something a little different with you.  The day after Thanksgiving, Mr. C and I along with his parents, took a Holland America cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.  It was a new experience for me on two counts.  First, because I had never been on a cruise.  Second, because I had never traveled farther south than Houston, Texas or the Florida Panhandle.

Our journey began in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where we embarked on our seven-day sea adventure. We sailed first to Turks & Caicos, then to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and finally, to the Bahamas where we spent a day on the cruise line’s gorgeous private island, Half Moon Cay. ¬†Then it was back to port in Florida, another great vacation in the books.

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Docked for the day at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.

One of the greatest highlights from our trip was our stop in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. ¬†I had done a little research beforehand and knew that if I only had time to see one thing while I was there that it would be the 16th century fort, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (or simply, El Morro). ¬†After all, you guys know I’d never let a good castle go to waste!

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Lauriston Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland-Part 2

Back in May, I took you guys on a photo tour of the spectacularly beautiful grounds at¬†Lauriston Castle. I want to revisit Lauriston with you today. Only this time, we are going to explore the beautiful Edwardian interior, decorated and designed by the Lauriston’s final owners, Mr. William Robert Reid, his wife Mrs. Margaret Johnstone Reid, and Mrs. Reid’s brother, Mr. William Barton.

Front facing view of Lauriston Castle.

Mr. C and I visited Lauriston for the second time in March 2017. It is one of our favorites, so no trip to Edinburgh will now ever be complete without paying a visit to this lovely place. We were thrilled to be able to take a guided tour of several of the castle’s main rooms. Our docent was excellent and was a wealth of knowledge of the castle’s history, from the first construction in the sixteenth century until the passing of Mrs. Reid in 1926. I think that if I lived in Edinburgh, I would want that job!

To recap a little of Lauriston’s history…

Lauriston‚Äôs tower house was built by Sir Archibald Napier sometime around 1593 and the pretty Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827. ¬†Over the centuries, the castle passed through numerous hands until it came into the possession of its final owners ‚Äď William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid‚Äôs death in 1926. ¬†Because the couple had no children, they left the castle to the city of Edinburgh under the condition that it be preserved unchanged. ¬†And so the promise was kept. ¬†The remarkable Edwardian interior, filled to the brim with their fine furniture and artwork, is now a museum maintained by the city. ¬†For a nominal fee, you can take a guided tour of this home (uh, castle) which remains exactly as it was at the time of the Reids. ¬†The manicured grounds, which boast a view of the sea and a stunning Japanese garden are a real bargain ‚Äď free! ¬†Lauriston truly is a gem in Edinburgh. –from my previous post on Lauriston Castle

Well, are you ready to step inside and see what a 425-year-old castle clothed in 100-year-old decor looks like?  Great.  Follow me, friends.

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