A Surprise at Every Turn

Whether you’re traveling through Scotland on a dual carriageway (divided highway) or on 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 at every turn.

I snapped this photo on 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 looking structure 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 think I finally figured out what this building is. I believe (someone please correct me if I am wrong) 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

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 humans consent to getting 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, a 15th century treasure that lies near Dufftown, in Moray.

I have told you before that I love all castles. Never let a castle go to waste, I say! But I have an extra special affinity for the lonely, romantic ruins that time has all but forgotten. Thankfully Auchindoun isn’t entirely forsaken, as it is looked after by Historic Environment Scotland. I’d wager, though, that only a tiny number of tourists ever find their way to this treasure and I have a hunch that many Scots aren’t familiar with it either. It feels like a secret that I was lucky enough to learn. And now you know it too.

Are you ready to explore? You’ll need a good pair of comfy, weather resistant walking shoes. It is quite a hike from where you park at the end of the road and you may have the feeling you are trespassing on a farmer’s land. It’s okay, you’re not. Trust, me, friend. The view from the hill that the castle sits upon is worth every single step you’ll take.

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Hello From Bonny Scotland!

Hello Friends!

I am writing to you this morning from our cabin in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Mr. C and I have had a tremendous first week, racking up both miles and memories. The weather thus far has been outstanding with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. And with nearly seventeen hours of daylight, we have actually had to remind ourselves to go to bed at night! As always, Scotland feels like home. Well, my second home anyway.

Here is a wee peek at some of the things Mr. C and I have been up to this past week. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to sharing more with you when I return. 🙂

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Tantallon Castle

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.

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.
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: 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 the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (or simply Holy Island) to see Lindisfarne Castle.

It is very important 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.

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Dalhousie Castle

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 really important to do that every once in awhile. Do you feel that way too?

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

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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Lauriston Castle Part 2

Hi Friends!  A warm welcome to you today.

Earlier this year, I took you guys on a photo tour of the spectacularly beautiful grounds at Lauriston Castle.  Well I would like to revisit Lauriston with you today.  Only this time, I invite you to join me as we explore the beautiful Edwardian interior, decorated and designed by the castle’s final owners, Mr. William Robert Reid, his wife Mrs. Margaret Johnstone Reid, and Mrs. Reid’s brother, Mr. William Barton.

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Mr. C and I visited Lauriston Castle 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’s 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 – William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid’s 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 – free!  Lauriston truly is a gem in Edinburgh. -from my previous post, “Lovely Lauriston“.

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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