The 15th century fortress Castle Campbell
Castle Campbell was one of my favorite places that we visited in Scotland -- we didn't get to all of Scotland this time, but of what I saw (Cairngorms, Perthshire Highlands, Stirling and Edinburgh) Castle Campbell was the highlight.
Earlier I had been bemoaning how I always wanted to find a Castle that was still medieval, but complete. That they either had been lived in an updated on the interior, or were in ruins. Little did I know that Castle Campbell was patiently waiting for me to discover it.
Yes, part of it is in ruins, but enough is there to really make it feel like you traveled back in time. It all began with the trek to the Castle itself. It's nestled in Dollar Glen, wrapped and hugged by two large hills, tucked in a valley - but still on a small hill in the valley that is sluiced on either side by two burns. It is a gorgeous setting. You have to walk a ways to get to the Castle, there is a tiny car park, but there is still a walk to the Castle main.
This Castle dates back to the 15th century, so in reality it's more on the cusp of the Renaissance than the Medieval, but I'll take it.
Standing in the Main Hall, it felt like I immediately took a trip back in time. I really do have this gigantic cache of memory from books to fill in all the details. The rushes on the floor, the tapestries on the walls, the fire roaring... the table at the head with chairs and tables pushed back against the walls for the day (and overnight) but pulled out with benches for eating. The bustle from the kitchen, the talk and on special days, maybe a fiddler. We had our usual luck of having the place to ourselves for the most part - people were here but out on the castle green.
There are parts of Castles that I certainly am glad are now clean and sanitized these days. I cannot imagine, nor would I want to! This was the prisoner pit, if you were accused of a crime (or caught in the act) down you went, until it was time to be heard. Horrible.
Up the stairs from the Main Hall are the private quarters of the Castle, each had their own garderobe (toilet) and fireplace and storage areas. It was all so complete it was really the first time I have ever been in a 15th century castle that felt so --- alive. That is not quite the right word, it is difficult to put a finger on the feeling but when I was wandering around these rooms I felt more immersed than ever before.
The floor here is likely a reconstruction -- but this is what higher Castle floors looked like.. they were wood, not stone. From this second private chamber that is up a great spiral staircase on one corner of the keep, of course, is just a quick jaunt up to the top of the Castle itself.
You can see the wide expanse of Dollar Glen here and the village of Dollar below, which is delightfully charming.
After this we headed up into Perthshire and the Highlands around the Cairngorms National Park. Unfortunately it rained almost the entire time! But I've got a few more shots to share where I was lucky :)