Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 8, 2011

Adventures in Scotland

I wasn’t about to let a little rain stop me from castle hunting, so off I went in search of Doune Castle. While it may not sound familiar to most of you, maybe Castle Anthrax or Swamp Castle ring a bell. Actually they are all one in the same. Doune Castle was the site used to shoot many of the scenes from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one of my favorite movies of all time. I can’t wait to go back and watch the movie again to see if I recognize it from what I’ve now seen in person.

Doune Castle is definitely a place to be visited, if you love castles. It is one of the most intact tower house type castles I’ve seen, with lots of little ante-rooms, chambers, and passageways. You do have to dodge the occasional bird in the kitchen tower but the circular stairways are some of the easiest to navigate, which, coming from me, says a lot. It was definitely the highlight of my day.

Doune Castle

I needed to get some petrol for the rental car (ouch! – castle hunting is daor), which turned into a challenge as I couldn’t find the release for the gas cap. It wasn’t in any of the normal places and the instruction sheet that came with the car, though written in “English” was too obscure for me to interpret. I tried calling the car rental number, but no one was answering the phones as they had to evacuate the building, according to the recorded message. There’s been a great deal of rain in parts of Scotland so they may have been flooded out. So I finally asked someone at the station to assist. It turns out the darn thing is simply spring loaded (though I had tried that, I guess I pushed the wrong side). The whole sequence of events certainly gave me a laugh, so I hope it made you chuckle as well.

Next stop was Castle Campbell. It was another one of those challenging places to reach, with a walk up, down, and around a stream. Only the tower house and some storage rooms in the south gate are accessible, though they have been repairing some of the other areas, replacing the lime mortar, and those should be re-opened soon. This castle also had a number of side chambers, though not nearly as extensive as Doune Castle. If you do climb the stairs to the top, which are fairly easy to navigate, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the parapet that surrounds the tower. Beware of the one door up there, though – it appears there are “bats in the belfry,” so to speak. This particular room, seemingly accessible only from the parapets, is blocked off as bats are protected and cannot be disturbed.

I found two other castles on the way back – Sauchie Tower, which is a tower house, but pretty well blocked off and inaccessible, and Menstrie Castle. Only a few rooms of Menstrie Castle are open to the public. It sits right in the middle of a residential area and the rest of the building has been turned into apartments. There’s actually one for sale at the moment (originally, I thought the whole thing was for sale, but the kind woman in the public area informed me otherwise). It’s a 2 bedroom flat, currently going for 105,000 British Pounds, in case you’re interested.

Menstrie Castle

Menstrie Castle Apartment for Sale

I cooked my own dinner tonight in the little apartment I’m renting and will likely be eating leftovers for a few days. No problem, though, as it saves a few pennies to help pay for petrol to further me along on my adventures.


  1. Thanks for the regular posts. Its fun to “travel with you”. Take care!

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