On Sunday I went for a wee jaunt to Doune Castle so I thought this would be a great focus for today’s prompt of “Local History Month”. Doune isn’t exactly local to me – it’s an hour away so local as in ‘Scotland’ if not ‘right on my doorstep’. Not that I have to leave Edinburgh to find some history but it was either this or ruining the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby with the truth, and nobody likes a spoilsport.
Plus Doune Castle is Winterfell from Game Of Thrones, and I’ve been really into GoT lately!
I had an Australian friend say to me once “I’ve been in Scotland for nearly two years and I’ve never seen a real castle” (we could see Edinburgh Castle from our work window) so apart from the obvious laughing that came after that statement I could see what he meant. Think castle and you picture turrets, on a hill or on a lake. Basically you think of either Eilean Donan or Doune Castle. Doune was built in the 1400s and was home to Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, known as the “Uncrowned King of Scotland”. After his death it became a holiday resident for official royals.
Entry to the Castle cost £5.50 for an adult, £4.40 concessions and £3.30 for kids. There is a free audio tour with your entry and although I don’t always go in for audio tours, I really enjoyed this one. Doune was one of the major filming locations for Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the tour is narrated by Terry Jones. There’s a good mix of Monty Python clips and ‘behind the scenes’ stories with the real history of the castle. I feel that this stops the tour from being too dry and I would thoroughly recommend a visit for both history fans and comedy fans.
The above photo shows the courtyard. The main square was closed due to be being used for filming by the BBC show Outlander but we were happy to stand and watch the swallows swooping in and out of the doorways and around the rooftops – although David almost got taken out by one!
The Great Hall.
The Lord’s Hall – this was restored in 1880, maybe not completely in the same style as the rest of the building but a fascinating insight into how people’s perception of historic styles changes. I wonder if people will scoff at our attempts at restorations in 200 years time.
Doune is built on a hill between River Teith and Ardoch Burn – a good defensive move as well as useful for trade routes.
This is the Queen’s Hall – where she would entertain her guests. You can see where the white washed plaster used to be, making it a bright, welcoming room.
It’s amazing to think about how many people once stood where you stand. Especially when you’re standing in what was once a powerful lord’s bedroom listening to how they may or may not have murdered their own brother. Worthy of a GoT plot that one.
Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.