Lording it up in Scotland

My Going dark for a week has turned into a little bit longer than that. But I’m back. Back from a somewhat active and food filled holiday in Scotland. Stayed in the stunning Landmark Trust property Castle of Park in the Dumfries and Galloway area – the south-west of Scotland. There could not have been a better building to stay in. For one thing, it’s a freaking castle. And this castle fact was confirmed after some wikipedia’ing on what makes a building a castle.

Shall I just skip on down to the photos? Things are more exciting when told with photos. Though be prepared for some extreme dull weather in these photos. I don’t think I saw the sun once! Wait, I did. On the last day, on the drive home.

Castle of Park

Castle of Park

The rather imposing Castle of Park. Driving up to this building and seeing the top of it appear out of the mist was pretty epic!

This was our humble abode for the week. I believe it was originally from the 1500s, or thereabouts. (There’s information on the link above!) Walking into this building is a pretty epic experience. Firstly you’ve got that huge door. As soon as you’re in, you’re presented with spiral staircases and, what initially felt like, a labyrinth! Seriously, that first day I could easily have lost myself in the castle. Two spiral staircases. Room after room all leading into one another. Countless doors. Some of which went nowhere!

Castle of Park - basement

The slightly creepy bottom level of Castle of Park. And yes, on the right there you see hanging a piece of armour.

Castle of Park Entrance

The massive front door to Castle of Park. Funny thing? All the other doors within are tiny. So tiny, only I was able to walk through them without the need to duck!

The whole place is immaculate. I was honestly amazed. A big part of me was expecting something a lot less than what we got. A huge kitchen/dining room/living room at the bottom with an enormous stove. Then another living room above that, which we gave the pet name of the ‘snug’ as it was just so damn warm in there all the time.

Castle of Park view

The view from one of my bedroom windows. All you see is trees. Though one morning I woke up and I couldn’t see the trees. Too much mist!

At night, the first night anyway, things felt mighty creepy. For one thing, the area which we were in got pretty damn dark at night. There was nothing outside. Just darkness. Combine that with a very old and somewhat creaky building equals a few “oh my god, what was that?!” moments. Didn’t stop us going out at night to get some night shots of the place.

Castle of Park at night

At night Castle of Park looked a little like a haunted house. Well, it sounded like one too.

Out and About in Dumfries & Galloway

Of course we didn’t spend our whole time in the castle. Though it was mighty tempting. We went out and about seeing places.

The small town of Port Patrick was our town of choice on our first day. As you can guess, pretty quiet in the off-season. We took a walk up to the top of the cliffs and beyond and holy crap was it windy. The wind was literally sucked out of my lungs. And there might have been a few occasions where I was blown away. Thankfully the wind was blowing me inland, not off the cliff face!

Port Patrick

The sea was a little choppy for a dip.

The town of Port Patrick

The town of Port Patrick taken from the cliffs above it. A rather nice little town.

Came across what looked like an abandoned BT station. Kinda creepy. If I wasn’t getting blown about like a rag doll, it could have been worth an explore. And then probably get my face eaten off by zombies who happened to be lurking inside…

Hello zombies?

Completely abandoned. Or so I presumed. Looked creepy as hell.

On the windiest day known to man we also decided to head to the Mull of Galloway. I believe it’s the western most tip of Scotland. Boy was it windy. Car doors unable to open sort of windy. Still managed to get out and then quickly head into a coffee shop. I think you’re meant to be able to see Northern Ireland from that tip. Suffice to say, we could see a few hundred metres into the ocean and that was it!

There was some beautiful areas on our doorstep too. Beautiful areas which lead to tragically funny consequences. It involves a footpath, a viaduct, beach, an unknown tidal area and a possible poor choice of footwear. Sad to say, I had to be saved by a man. Well, saved in a loose term. I was ‘stranded’ on a bridge. Ahh good times!

Viaduct

First there’s the viaduct…

Footpath

Then there’s a footpath

The infamous scene

This photo is so very deceiving. The bridge. The water. Ahhh… so many memories!

Less tragic consequences happened when we took a drive to Galloway Forest Park. It’s known as a ‘dark forest’. At night, nothing lights up the area. So you’re meant to be able to see a heck of a lot of stars on a clear night. If we’d had a clear night, I might have been able to back that statement up! What we did have was a drizzle-y day in which to admire the forest. It really is pretty amazingly beautiful.

Galloway Forest

The stunning Galloway Forest. Autumn has made it look all the prettier I believe.

Getting literary with Wigtown

Wigtown is an actual place. In Scotland. And it’s no less than Scotland’s national book town. I do not joke! Apparently it has over 20 bookshops. I say apparently because what became apparent was that it was more accurate to say that there are over 20 shops in Wigtown that sell books. For example, the place where we had lunch was a little cafe in a hotel… that sold books on the side. Not complaining! While I love my Kindle I’m not averse to looking at some olde books. And there were lots of those.

In the town square there was, rather oddly, a robot made of books. I understand the books part of the sculpture, but not the robot part. Answers on a postcard please!


All in all, it was a pretty amazing holiday. Felt a bit short though as two days were spent travelling to and from the place. Could definitely have done with another couple of days. Now I’m itching to get myself up to the highlands of Scotland. I went there years ago as a child on a family trip, but feel like a refresher of the area is in order. And I totally need to stay in another Landmark Trust property!

20 comments

  1. Oh my, Jaina, absolutely STUNNING photos. That castle has quite an imposing presence. The night shot of it, with the light shining through the windows has a wonderfully epic quality to it. I swear, that fit in a tourist brochure quite nicely. The scenic shots are all so captivating as well! Incredible work, truly :)

    Having to be saved? Bwhaha.

    I’ve only been to Scotland once, on a Christmas holiday trip, and I found it’s the kind of place that leaves its mark on you. The landscapes are so pure and untouched, that you can’t help but be taken in by it all. Possibly spending next Christmas up there, though sadly, not in that fine looking castle!

    • Aww, thank you so much Jina! I can’t help but look back at the photos and think “Why couldn’t I have had at least one sunny day!” but the scenery makes up for that, I hope!

      Driving through the Scottish countryside, part of me wished I was just a passenger so I could soak up the views. Though the bigger part of me LOVED driving along the country roads ;)

  2. Welcome back…it’s good to hear from you. I’m so glad that you have a wonderful trip. Your photos looks amazing. I’ve never been to Scotland before, but now I really want to go!

  3. Glad to read you had a lovely time! I’m so jealous, i always wanted to visit Scotland I hope I’ll get a chance someday :) The photos are just breathtaking!

  4. OH MY! These are breathtaking pics, Jaina!! So so jealous! I have a soft spot for that part of the world and not just the gorgeous Scottish actors, ahah. I hope one day I could go visit there. I especially love the shot of the castle at night, definitely looks like an enchanting haunted house!

  5. Seriously. If web design ever falls through, you’d have a hell of a career as a photographer. :D Not sure if I saw all these on the Google post, but somehow this time, that long road shot really strikes me. That deserves a nice frame somewhere. :)

    • Aww, thanks Dan! I really need to pick up my camera more though. Which is something I will force myself to do come the New Year!

      Think I did a bit of a pick’n’mix as to which photos I put up where. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t use logic in that decision!

      You know what? I think I might just want to frame that one ….

  6. What a splendid adventure. I think I would have found it hard to go out at all. It must have been so much fun just photographing the castle!

    • I wish I took more photos of the interior of the castle but I just didn’t have the equipment. Lots of dark stairwells and rooms, very small rooms too with not much space. Even with my 35mm lens it was tough. A fish eye would have been perfect!

  7. I can’t believe you stayed in a castle. How amazing to photograph! But I woulda been freaked out too with all the sounds and mazes inside! I love the photo of the window looking outside and the one of the castle all lit-up with yellow lights. You’ve been watching one too many scary movies ;). And LOL about the zombies comment. Glad you didn’t get stuck on that bridge/viaduct in your ill-chosen shoes ;).

  8. Glad you enjoyed it, looked like an amazing place you were staying at! You should definitely try and get up to the Highlands and in particular the west coast and islands, i’m a bit biased seeing that I live in Aviemore, but it’s one of my favourite areas in the world! Love the photo of Portpatrick.

    • I would love to head up that way one of these days. Years ago, on a family holiday, I was up that way. Went to the Isle of Skye. Beautiful place. Need to refresh my memory on the area, that’s for sure!

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