Castle Campbell

On our penultimate day in Stirling we were absolutely exhausted. The day before had been spent in torrential rain which had entirely failed to dampen our 10 mile hike along the Braes of Ben Ledi. For all that we had thoroughly enjoyed the admittedly sodden walk, it had left our energy levels somewhat depleted, so a gentle day out castle bagging seemed the best option.

Castle Campbell, or Gloume (or sometimes Gloom) Castle as it was previously known, is really a glorified hunting lodge. It is notable as one of Scotland’s best-preserved tower castles, for its position, nestled in a gulch between the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow, and for the renovation work being done to restore elements of its former glory.

The castle is in ruins, but has some very friendly inhabitants in the shape of the beautiful swallows who nest in the spiral staircases.

High on the hills, looking down on Dollar, the castle commands beautiful views, both from the top of the tower and the gardens.

Overall, Castle Campbell is a lovely castle, and well worth a visit!

Literary hotspots: Abbotsford

Abbotsford is the stunning home of writer, Sir Walter Scott. Scott is generally recognised as having more or less invented the romanticised “Scotland” as we know it today, as well as popularising the historical novel and, through his bestselling books, salvaging such properties as Kenilworth and Ashby de la Zouch castles.

This genius was a hoarder on an enormous scale, and for a clutter-monkey like me, the house is a treasure trove, ripe for the exploring! Unfortunately, the books were all elsewhere during our visit, as the site is soon to be closed whilst a visitor centre is built, but the armouries were well-stocked, and the house itself is worth a visit for the building alone, the gardens and the stained glass windows!

Scott inspired more operas than any other writer except Shakespeare…

Abbotsford is the exclusive creation of Scott. His ‘Conundrum Castle’ was where Scotland’s greatest son created a notion of Scotland that was more romantic perhaps, but also higher, more honourable, more noble, than it had been in the past, and in consequence raised Scotland’s reputation in the world. Here he worked diligently and the result was the legend of a great man which exists for so many people across the world to the present day.

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