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!

First there’s the viaduct…
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!