The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.
After getting myself in a bit of an update mess, in September I haven't any new castles to put on the site.
First of all, I was finishing off the Inverness/Culloden monster 6 day castle/battle hunt and when we got back, I'd also decided to put on castles in 80 Scotland, a new map square but when looking in the squares around it, the pages were a mess of old maps and write ups. So I started to put things right, new pages, new maps, new write ups, along with building the 5 new castle pages, before I knew it the end of the month was closing in. Oh dear, trouble, so I quickly made this months castle wallpaper and put it on just before September ended but I still had 20 or so pages unfinished. I've only just finished updating the maps and some of the older pages, giving Hawick, Barnshills there correct name and spelling Liddel Castle the right way and I've put the 6 sites which have changed the most on my Homepage, to make it look like I've updated.
So now the hunt, we set off at 6 on Saturday morning, straight up heading for Kinross, a 5 hours trip we would be at the first site by 11. Hit
Scotch Corner, then the Angle of the North before turning inland on the A68 to Jedburgh, it was now a lovely day and we were making good time. Then the Smart lost power and a warning light came on, so here we are in the middle of nowhere, what to do, at a small group of houses we stop and phone the Smart breakdown. After an hour the AA man arrived but it was now 11 o'clock, the smart would run but only slowly, so he said if we leave it in Jedburgh Abbey car park, he would take us to Edinburgh Airport to pick up a hire car, so off we slowly go.
Now it's 2pm and we set off again in a top of the range Corse, very nice it was but it's not Smart and we've blown it for today, a great sunny castle hunting day gone and my Smart was dead and now a long way away. We worked out we had time to visit Lochleven Castle because it's in Kinross, the castle was going to be the highlight of the day, so lets do it. The boat ride follows in the footsteps of King Robert Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots as you cross the loch to the island, this was the castle to visit after the day we had, had. Then to the Kirklands Hotel, where we were given the family suite to stay in, good beer, wine and food, a great end to a very bad day.
Sunday morning we head for Nairn but first there be castles to see, Burleigh, Balvaird, Elcho and Huntingtower all mighty towers, no time now to see the small stuff. Hit the A9 at Perth, first stop Blair Castle and then Ruthven Barracks at Kingussie, it's 3 o'clock now and time to find the Albert Inn.
Up there we see all the big stuff but they all take time, we just got toured out and end up walking out of Brodie Castle, it was an hours guided tour or a couple of beers back at the Albert.
Best tour, Kilravock Castle, best castle, Duffus Castle, best tower, Spynie Palace, best motte, Tom an Tigh Mhoir, best beer, McEwan's 80/- in the Albert.
Culloden, 16th of April 1746, this is one of the reasons why we are here, with excitement we pull into the car park, the battlefield is run by the National Trust for Scotland and being a National Trust member I have a sticker on the Smart for free parking, no Smart no sticker, I buy a ticket and we go into the Culloden Battlefield visitor centre. We walk through the interpretive exhibition, it's good, then into the battle zone which is an immersion theatre where you can experience first hand what it was like to be in the middle of the action at Culloden and onto the display of authentic weapons and artefacts found on the battlefield. We pick up a hand held audio device, that is triggered automatically and we set out to walk the battlefield of Culloden Moor. Out of the door you see a sign saying that the battlefield is a war grave, well with that scene setter, we start to walk the battlefield which is now restored to how it appeared to the opposing forces. Up to the Government line, the audio go off at the trigger points it's very compelling, you can now go along the Government line but the castle spotter heads straight for the Jacobite line, going to her side she says, you walk down the line of the Highland charge, the audio goes off again and just before you get to the Jacobites you go into the Culwhiniac enclosure. Then my other audio device goes off, it's Smart wanting to know what's wrong with the car, looking around as you do while talking, the moor it's flat, not a hill, Highland charge down hill?? not so here but then this ground is also boggy, it would be hard to walk over it, never mind run. We walk in silence along the Jacobite line and head towards the memorial cairn and the graves of the clans that hold over a 1000 Jacobite dead, you can see the standing water on the moor, to charge here was hopeless. The graves are well care for, you can see the humps in the ground, well here you all are, it all gets to much for the both of us, people are in front of the cairn getting photographed, happy and talking, we're not. I tell the castle spotter I can't come back here again, it feels horrible, she doesn't want to talk and walks off, there's one more grave to visit and I feel I must. We meet up again by the Old Leanach cottage, back behind the Government lines we feel better, the madness is over there out of reach. We leave and go to Cawdor and Rait Castles and then back to the Albert for couple of beers, it been a bit a day but we are glad we went.
I've just ordered the book, Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle and hopefully after reading it I'll understand the reasons why it all went so very wrong for the Jacobites.
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