Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Castle Campbell,Clackmannanshire, Scotland.

This evening, I am posting information on the romantic and imposing Castle Campbell which dominates Dollar Glen and is located in central Scotland, about thirty-five miles N.W. of Edinburgh.Summary information on the castle is provided below.

  • Most of the building dates from the 15th century although it may have evolved from an earlier, 12th century, motte and bailey castle.
  • In common with many Scottish castles, the building was high status and positioned to display wealth and power. Location provided added benefit of proximity to Scottish royalty,very advantageous for an owner who aspired to improve his standing and status.
  • Key aspects of the castle are: Main Courtyard; Tower House; Hall and Chamber Range; East Range; and the south-facing Terraced Gardens.

Tower House, Castle Campbell

  • Acquired by the Campbells in the second half of the 15th century.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots visited during mid-winter 1563 for a wedding of the Earl of Argyll’s sister.
  • Protestant preacher and leader of the Scottish Reformation, John Knox gave a sermon at the castle in 1566.
  • Partly burned by English Parliamentary forces in 1654.
  • Subsequently became a ruin but was taken into Government care in 1948 and then repaired and restored.
  • Now a visitor attraction under management of Historic Environment Scotland.
  • The high elevation offers excellent views over the local landscape.

View from Castle Campbell

Inchmahome Priory, Lake of Menteith

This evening, I am posting information on Inchmahome Priory, a ruin situated on an island in the middle of the Lake of Menteith, near to Aberfoyle in central Scotland. Access is by small boat Salient features of the Priory’s history include:

  • Established by Augustinian canons under the patronage of Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith in 1238.
  • The church and chapter house are in reasonable condition but the cloisters in a state of ruin. The Chapter House houses a collection of carved stones (effigies).

Inchmahome Priory, Scotland

  • Robert the Bruce visited in 1306, 1308 and 1310.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots was taken here for sanctuary at age 5 years by her mother, Marie de Guise in September 1547 for a period of about three weeks to escape the ‘rough wooing’ policies of King Henry VIII of England who wished to have Mary betrothed to his son, Edward. At the time there was an English military force at Leith, near Edinburgh.
  • Religious life came to an end with the Scottish Reformation in 1560.

Inchmahome Priory, Scotland

The Priory is now a popular and pleasant visitor attraction have been highlighted by the English travel writer H.V. Morton in the 1930s.

The island is a home for flora and birdlife.

Inchmahome Island, Lake of Menteith, Scotland

Mary, Queen of Scots reenactment at Traquair House

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Glasgow and drove S.W. towards the Jedburgh region in the Scottish Borders, a trip which too about two hours. On the latter section of the drive we encountered classic Borders landscape as manifested in rolling hills, narrow roads, omnipresent sheep, rivers and streams and seasonal colours (gorse).

Scottish Borders Landscape

Scottish Borders Landscape

Scottish Borders Landscape

Our first destination was Traquair House which has a history dating back to 1107 and which has been home to the Stuart family since 1491. We were met by Catherine Stuart a descendent of Mary Q of S. and toured the ancient house in course of which we encountered a lady dressed in typical attire of Mary.

Traquair House, Scottish Borders

Maze at Traquair House, Scotland.

Four poster bed at Traquair House.

Dining room at Traquair House.

Landscape view from Traquair House

Mary, Q of S visited Traquair House in summer 1566 in context of, a hunting trip. Mary’s husband, Darnley joined her there but the two were in disagreement at the time.

We had lunch at Traquair’s restaurant and then moved on to Hermitage Castle, a stark and remote edifice.

Hermitage Castle, Scotland

Mary visited Hermitage on October 16th 1566. Mary and her entourage rode to Hermitage, a fifty mile journey on horseback, to visit Bothwell, her advisor, who had been seriously wounded and was close to death. Upon returning from the Hermitage visit Mary fell seriously ill but later recovered.

Hermitage Castle, Scotland

After spending about one hour at Hermitage we drove north to Edinburgh arriving at the hotel about 6.15pm in readiness for guests return trip tomorrow.