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Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, but also discuss history, folklore and films and books. Hope you have a nice stay!

Outlander fan?  Doune Castle a.k.a. McKenzie Clan HQ was a treat!

Outlander fan? Doune Castle a.k.a. McKenzie Clan HQ was a treat!

Doune Castle was really great.  Being an enormous Outlander fan was just icing on the cake - this place is a spectacular specimen of Scottish Castle.  Similar to Castle Campbell, it was rather complete inside and it really felt like I was getting a good glimpse into late medieval life.  Even if it was cleaner ;)

There was a great exhibit inside one of the cellars for the Outlander set.  It showed the wild transformation that the set designers made of the castle to the set.  Smart of them - because when we were there a swarm of Outlander-fan tourists showed up.  I'm actually tickled that Scottish tourism is helped by such things.  Scotland deserves all the love!!

©jennifer bailey doune castle scotland

Can you just imagine the Banquets and meetings and daily goings on in there?  Fantastic.

They had great private quarters as well.  Just like Castle Campbell it really felt authentic.  I'm not very excited about those places that have been tarted up with fake wall hangings to make it look "medieval" for tourists.  Keep it basic, please.

©jennifer bailey doune castle scotland

Look at that floor, it's spectacular.  Honestly this is so complete I could just move right in.  Furs and wool blankets is all I'd need!  That fireplace is <3  Wouldn't that be amazing if we could have a fireplace like that in our homes now?  I mean, you could -- but people would go nuts.  I'd totally love it.

What I think a lot of people don't recognize - because it does not exist in fantasy fiction (it's clear a lot of authors have never, ever, ever been to the UK or Europe or even IN a castle when they write their books) but there are no rooms off hallways - there are no hallways.  So, if someone wanted to go to the next room, it's continue up the stairs).  Castle Keeps aren't that big actually.  They are very simple.  I guess you could consider a courtyard a gigantic hallway, because everything is off the courtyard.  But rooms did not connect.  You'd have a door to the Kitchens but it would be it's own affair.  In particularly splendid Castles like Middleham in England (it's considered the biggest Keep in England) they had multiple floors, and related rooms were connected by doors, but still, no hallways at all.  Everything came in and out of the courtyard.  In the main Keep the floors were connected by spiral staircases only.  Certainly for reasons of defense.

In later medieval times, as life became less dangerous, the notion of a hallway was introduced into houses.  But not castles.  It just wasn't a thing.  If you ever spy any castles with a hallway, it was constructed much later as a refurbish.  Rochester Castle has a gallery, which is like a hallway except it just is to view the Main Hall below it and there are no doors along it to any rooms - it's connected by spiral staircases at the corners of the keep. 

I really don't know why this evolved into a rant about how little fantasy fiction authors know about Castles - but it could perhaps be simply because in my youthful ignorance many years ago I always thought I knew what to expect from the fiction I read, and have had my imagination dashed throughout the years.  The real thing is better anyway. 

In any event I think it would be charming and surprising to find a fiction author who wrote authentically about medieval castles.  I mean, there really is no reason to write inaccurately about them is there?

Falls of Bruar

Falls of Bruar

Croft Moraig in the Perthshire Highlands

Croft Moraig in the Perthshire Highlands