Monday, December 28, 2015

Let's See Some Real Castles!

Dunure Castle, Carrick Coast, Ayrshire

Sasha insisted that since she was in Scotland she needed to see some real castles meaning stone edifices that were broken down and in ruin. I suppose this would be a contrast to our own Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, which is less than 200 years old and actually seems just more of a large drafty house.  In fact it does seem a bit over the top that it is even termed a castle…but I digress.

A bit of a squeeze!
Our ever obliging hostess, Karen, decided to fulfill the request by borrowing her mom’s car and spending the day carting us around Ayrshire in search of broken down piles of stone.  I’m not complaining, because a free chauffeur/guide and transportation for the day is great for the budget traveller, but Aunty Mary’s car was definitely somewhat space challenging for five passengers two of whom are bordering on the six-foot mark!

Our first stop was Dunure Castle and apparently this was just
what Sasha had in mind!  This Castle is located on the west coast of Scotland near the village of Dunure and dates back to the thirteenth century.  It was once visited by Mary Queen of Scots but had fallen on hard times by the 18th century and had been ravaged for more than a century as a source of materials for any new project being built in the area.  I suppose this is acceptable in a country with falling down castles around every corner!  There is nothing like clambering around an old broken down castle on the Cliffs on Dunure to make you forget the impending doom of a fiftieth birthday!

Our next stop was Kilwinning Abbey.  This is a much more extensive run down, dilapidated building so some entrepreneurial group decided to make a pound or two by charging entrance. This is a terrific spot for photos and for just traipsing around the many rooms.

Kilwinning Abbey, Kilwinning Scotland

Our day exploring castles and ruins in Ayrshire wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Culzean Castle.  Being long time fans of Downton Abbey, Shelby and I agreed that while touring the beautiful manor house of Culzean you can easily imagine that you are guests of the Crowley’s.  This is a beautiful area with extensive gardens, cliff paths, outbuildings, a gift house and a restaurant.  The building is rather young as castles go since it was built in the 18th century and the family resided there until 1945 when it was donated to the Scottish Trust.  The castle is still used for weddings and I did mention that we might want to keep this venue in mind.  I think my companions were not as impressed with the rather long walk I took them on down the cliff face and around to the restored gas-house on the far side of the estate.  It is a rather challenging route to take since it involves climbing over slimy boulders and doing a bit of rock jumping but there is nothing like rocks and water to bring out the inner child!

Culzean Castle, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland

Cliffs in front of Culzean Castle


  1. Great pictures. This part of Scotland seems like a nice place to visit. Thanks for the info!

    1. Definitely! I love Ayrshire and would recommend it to anyone who wants to visit the lowlands of Scotland!


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